Multiple disabilities, by its very name, means that an individual usually has more than one significant disability, such as movement difficulties, sensory loss, and/or a behavior or emotional disorder.

Utah’s Special Education Rules define multiple disabilities as:

“…concomitant [simultaneous] impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness or intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment), that affect a student’s educational performance. The combination of disabilities must cause such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. The multiple disabilities category does not include deadblindness.”

The greater the severity or impact on an individual, there is a greater likelihood for increased need for supports.  Often, individuals with multiple disabilities require ongoing, extensive support in more than one major life activity in order to enjoy the quality of life available to people with fewer or no disabilities. Ongoing supports may also be necessary to help individuals with severe or multiple disabilities to participate in integrated community settings.

This information is adapted from the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY).

It’s very helpful to read more about multiple disabilities. Following are links to additional information:

NICHCY Multiple Disabilities Resources
The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) offers brief, but detailed fact sheets on Multiple Disabilities. Each fact sheet defines the disability, describes its characteristics, offers tips for parents and teachers, and connects you with related information and organizations with special expertise.

Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN)
Utah’s CSHCN is part of the Utah Department of Health, Division of Family Health and Preparedness.  They are the Maternal Child Health (Title V, MCH) agency for Utah.  They oversee many programs for children with special health care needs and multiple disabilities.