Definitions of Disability Categories and Student Eligibility

It is the students’ responsibility to request accommodations and provide documentation of their disability. Partners in Access to College Education (PACE) office staff may assist students in acquiring verification of their disability from medical and mental health professionals. The verification must identify the student’s specific disability as well as the educational limits that result from this disability. For students requesting services for a learning disability, the PACE staff will evaluate previous documentation and can provide learning disability assessments in compliance with the guidelines for learning disability testing provided by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.

The certification of a disability by PACE is binding upon the District. The PACE professional staff possesses the necessary education and training, as prescribed by the
Chancellor’s Office, to make these decisions. All evaluation of documentation related to a disability will be done by PACE. Should a student present or offer such documentation to a faculty member, staff, or administrator, that individual should refer the student and documentation to the PACE Office. Students requesting PACE services for the first time complete a program application. Although federal law specifies that a student does not have to register with the PACE Office, the evaluation of documentation must be done by PACE. PACE adheres to a strict code of confidentiality pertaining to documentation and will not release information without first obtaining written consent from the student.

There are eight categories of disabilities.

1. Hearing impaired – total deafness or a hearing loss so severe that a student is impaired in processing information through hearing, with or without amplification. Specific definitions can be found in Title 5, Section IIIA, Article 56034.

2. Acquired Brain Impairment – An acquired brain impairment caused by external or internal trauma, resulting in total or partial functional limitations that adversely affects or limits a student’s educational performance by impairing cognition, information processing, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment and/or problem solving; language and/or speech; memory and/or attention; sensory, perceptual and/or motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; or physical functions.

3. Developmentally Delayed Learner – Learning deficits resulting from below average intellectual functioning which adversely affects educational performance, existing concurrently with measurable potential for achievement in educational and/or employment settings.

4. Learning Disability - Learning disability is defined as a persistent condition of presumed neurological impairment which continues despite instruction in standard classroom situations. To be categorized as learning disabled a student must exhibit:
• Average to above average intellectual ability
• Severe processing deficit(s)
• Severe aptitude-achievement discrepancy(ies)
• Measured achievement in an instructional setting

5. Mobility Impaired - Mobility problems can be associated with several different bodily systems: skeletal, musculature, neurological, or combinations of systems. Mobility impairments also include problems associated with motor control, such as hand dexterity and strength, spasticity of head and limbs, and loss of appendages.

6. Visually Impaired – Including but not limited to
Blindness - visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye after correction, visual loss so severe that it no longer serves as a major channel for information processing,
Partial sightedness – visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye after correction, with vision which is still capable of serving as a major channel for information processing.

7. Psychological Disability – persistent psychological or psychiatric disorder, emotional or mental illness that adversely affects educational performance.

8. Other Disability – This category includes all other verifiable disabilities and health related limitations that adversely affect education performance but do not fall into any of the other disability categories. These conditions may be chronic or acute and may result in limited strength, vitality, or alertness. 


Education Code Sections 67310, 84850; Title 5, Sections 56000 et. seq.;
Section 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title 2, Americans with Disabilities
Act Title III-4.2300