What Is an Other Health Impairment?

Andrew Kirmayer

An Other Health Impairment (OHI) is a health condition that has an adverse effect on a child’s ability to learn in school. If a child falls under a category labeled as an OHI, then they are eligible to receive specific services by regional organizations or schools during their education. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a subcategory of other health impairments that is widely recognized, but heart conditions, epilepsy, and diabetes are also conditions that may require children to be cared for accordingly in schools. Chronic or acute problems such as Tourette syndrome and leukemia fall into this category as well as most problems that affect how a child behaves in an educational environment.

Other health impairments are illnesses or conditions that can impact a child's ability to learn in school.
Other health impairments are illnesses or conditions that can impact a child's ability to learn in school.

Many different conditions and disabilities are considered to be an Other Health Impairment. The general way of categorizing health impairments is that they must have an effect on how a child learns and have a limiting factor on their alertness or physical strength. Local and regional services may include programs for young babies or toddlers, for example, where early intervention may be of some help later on. Beyond that, children up until their early 20s can receive services to meet their needs in the school environment.

There are some conditions which may not necessarily fall into the category of Other Health Impairment by a regional authority. These problems, including bipolar disorders or other neurological disorders, might vary in their degree of severity or be exacerbated by other issues. An evaluation of the child’s abilities is first completed to determine whether any educational assistance is required.

Once a child is classified as having an Other Health Impairment, various measures can be taken to address his or her problem in school. These can include having an attendant with them while in school, and accommodating the time needed for medical appointments or even hospitalization. Some organizations provide assistance with providing medical care at home, but in school the services can include help with giving the child medication and taking measures to manage chronic diseases. Local agencies can also educate others in providing the skills needed to be caregivers in a school setting.

Many different organizations offer services in accordance with regional disability law to support those with other health impairments. Some provide assistance for certain medical conditions, while others even keep children informed on school assignments if hospitalization is necessary. Children with an Other Health Impairment are therefore treated on an individual needs basis and in a way they can best progressively learn.

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