Whether a condition falls under OHI depends on the limitations the condition places on the student in three different areas: alertness, strength and vitality. A student who has a condition that limits her in a learning situation any of these areas has an OHI for special education classification purposes.


OHI includes many conditions, and not all OHI students suffer from cognitive impairment. Asthma, diabetes and seizure disorders are all possible other health impairments in the educational system. Cancer, sickle cell anemia, and cardiac conditions can also be classified as OHIs. One leading OHI condition is attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Because some health-related OHI conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, have minimal impact on a student’s learning if properly medicated, ADHD is often considered a more challenging OHI in a classroom setting.

Special Education

A student with an OHI that is limiting her ability to learn, such as ADHD, is eligible for special education services. Schools must evaluate a student who is suspected to have an OHI. The student’s medical history is evaluated, and she takes a series of tests to determine her intelligence and comprehension levels. The school also conducts behavioral and academic assessments in most cases. Depending on the results, the student may receive special education services. These services are designed to help the student learn and succeed despite the OHI condition that affects her ability to do so.