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What is the relationship between DSM, ICD, and a State’s educational handicapping conditions?

booksThe DSM, the ICD, and a State’s Educationally Handicapping Conditions are each “self-contained” classification systems, and one does not hold sway or power over another.  Which system is used, depends on the location of the “patient” or “student.”  For example, ICD is used in the doctor’s office, DSM is used in the psychologist’s office, and the system of educationally handicapping conditions is used in the public school system.

To confuse the issue, though, there is some overlap.  For example, “autism” is in DSM, but also in the classification systems used by most States.  Other diagnoses do not overlap, though. For example, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is in DSM, but not a specific category in the New York State Educational system of handicapping conditions.

Does that mean that a child with ADD in New York State would not receive special education services?  No, it just means that the child would not necessarily receive special education services based on the ADD diagnosis alone. If, let’s say, the child with ADD met the criteria for another educationally handicapping classification (e.g., Speech Impaired, Learning Disabled, Other Health Impaired), then that child would indeed be eligible to receive special education services.