March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


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Variation Across States of Eligibility Criteria for Early Intervention and Preschool Services under IDEA

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) establishes broad statements of eligibility. 34 CFR 303.21 defines infant or toddler with a disability as “an individual under three years of old who needs early intervention services because the individual… (1) is experiencing a developmental delay, … or (2) has a diagnosed physical condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay. Each state is required to In 2003, NCHAM gathered the eligibility criteria for Part C programs as related to children who are deaf and hard of hearing. In September 2011, revised Part C regulations based on the 2004 reauthorization of IDEA. As a result of changes to the regulations, each state was required to revise its state rules or regulations. While not specifically required, several states revised their definition of developmental delay and their lists of established conditions that establish eligibility for Part C. The eligibility criteria for preschool special education services, which apply at age 3, are regulated at 34 CFR 300. 8. Under these criteria, children who are deaf and hard of hearing generally qualify either under developmental delay, as defined by the state, or deafness (34 CFR 300.8(c)(3)) or hearing impairment (34 CFR 300.8(3)(c)(5)) that “adversely affects a child’s educational performance.” It is important for all EHDI stakeholders including audiologists, parents and early intervention providers to have a solid understanding of the specific eligibility in a state. This poster presents criteria for eligibility for infants, toddlers, and children who are deaf and hard of hearing for both early intervention and preschool services. It will provide groupings of states that have similar criteria and a discussion of the variance among criteria.

  • Cite the regulatory requirements of IDEA that allows states to establish eligibility criteria for early intervention services under Part C of IDEA and preschool services under Part B.
  • Describe the variance of eligibility criteria across states as related to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Determine whether hearing loss is listed as an established condition for determining eligibility in specific states.

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Sara Doutre (Primary Presenter), NCHAM, saradoutre@gmail.com;
Sara Doutre is a PHD student studying sociobehavioral epidemiology at Utah State University. She has an MA in education policy studies and a BS in elementary and special education. A former special education teacher and education policy professional, he currently consults with state departments of education and health on special education policy. Her four-year-old daughter is deaf due to congenital cytomegalovirus.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.

Karl White (Co-Presenter), Utah State University, karl.white@usu.edu;
Dr. White is a Professor of Psychology, the Emma Eccles Jones Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education, and the founding Director of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management. He has been the PI or Co-PI for over $50 million of competitively awarded research. His work has been recognized with awards from such diverse organizations as the Deafness Research Foundation, the American Association for Speech Language and Hearing, The Swedish Society of Medicine, and the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf. He has hundreds of publications and presentations at scholarly meetings, and has been an invited speaker to more than 35 countries. He also serves on many national and international advisory groups for organizations such as the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.


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