Medically fragile refers to a student receiving special education and related services who is:
- in the age range of birth to 22 years, and
- has a serious, ongoing illness or a chronic condition that has lasted or is anticipated to last at least 12 or more months or has required at least one month of hospitalization, and that requires daily, ongoing medical treatments and monitoring by appropriately trained personnel which may include parents or other family members, and
- requires the routine use of medical device or of assistive technology to compensate for the loss of usefulness of a body function needed to participate in activities of daily living, and
- lives with ongoing threat to his or her continued well-being.
The following are some examples of conditions that could be regarded as meeting the definition of "medically fragile." This is not an exhaustive list. Ventilator dependence, tracheotomy dependence/breathing through tracheostomy tube, nutritional difficulties causing gastrostomy tube dependence, bronchial or tracheal malacia, congestive heart problems, life threatening respiratory infections, apnea monitoring, kidney dialysis, conditions requiring suctioning of lung and throat, or state of health is tenuous to the point of being life threatening.
Students with medically fragile disabilities require an intensive individual education program of special education services that includes specially designed instruction, related services, assistive technology, school health services, and/or other services required for the provision of a free appropriate public education. Although services are frequently provided in a self-contained instructional setting, they may also include activities in other academic and non-academic inclusive settings. A multi-disciplinary team consisting of the student's parents, educational specialists, and medical specialists in the areas in which the student demonstrates problems should work together to plan and coordinate necessary services.