Accessibility – Ensuring that school, home, or work environments are barrier free.
Accommodations – Service or support connected to specific needs of an identified disability that allows for access to the general education curriculum. These supports do not “water-down” the curriculum.
Activities of Daily Living – Everyday skills the person needs to learn to function: eating, dressing, bathing, hygiene skills, communication skills. Sometimes referred to as Daily Living Skills.
Adaptation – Material or assignments that are significantly changed from the material or assignments given to all students in a classroom. Adaptations tend to be permanent and modifications are applied as needed.
Adaptive Behavior – An individual’s ability to act appropriately in social situations and to take care of their personal needs. Included as part of the identification process for individuals with cognitive impairments.
ADL– Everyday skills the person needs to learn to function: eating, dressing, bathing, hygiene skills, communication skills. Sometimes referred to as Daily Living Skills.
Advocate – A person who helps take action for someone else who is not able to. Can be a member of the multi disciplinary team at the request and identification of the parents.
Age Appropriate – Within the child’s chronological age.
Annual Goals – Yearly goals documented in the Individualized Education Plan.
Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) – Measured progress that attains one grade level in one academic year. Use of AYP is related to mastering goals and benchmarks.
Assistive Technology – Technology used to help a person with disabilities. The range of technologies can vary from use of rubber pencil grips through voice synthesizers. Typically, needs and goals in this area are determined by the Multi Disciplinary Team.
Baseline – The current level the child is functioning at before instruction. Obtained in order to determine Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) or Response to Intervention (RTI). Can be obtained through observation or testing.
Behavioral Contract – A behavior improvement plan designed to increase desirable behaviors and decrease undesirable behaviors. The plan is developed in conjunction with the teacher, parents and students’ goals. The contract may be monitored at school at home or in the community.
Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) – Strategies used to address the function of a student’s behavior as a way to alter (change, extinguish, increase). Typically based on observation and goals are identified by the multi disciplinary team in consultation with behavior specialists.
Benchmarks – The skills or content goals to be met within an academic year. These goals represent the standard curriculum for all students and adapted goals for student with special needs. They are used as the basis for IEP annual goals and short term objectives as well as a measure of annual yearly progress (AYP).
Center School – Separate school, which may be a residential facility, designed to serve students with specific needs not able to be addressed in the neighborhood public school setting.
Child Study Team – The pre-referral and referral team that works at the school level to review student data and determine response to intervention (RTI) and/or eligibility for special education services.
Co-Teaching – An approach where the general education teacher and special education teacher collaborates (works together) to provide instruction to students with and without disabilities. Both teachers are responsible for the education of the students.
Collaboration – Opportunities for general and special education teacher to work together to provide services to students with and without disabilities.
Community Based Instruction – Instruction that meets student’s needs that is delivered in an array of settings including those beyond the school classroom.
Comprehensive Evaluation – Battery of tests that measure multiple need areas (such as intelligence, adaptive behavior, speech, vision, achievement, etc). Typically done every 3 years for students who are determined to be eligibility for special education services. This level of evaluation is needed to make the initial determination of eligibility.
Consultation – A form of special education services when the special education teacher works with the general education teacher to modify and adapt instructional practices and materials for use with students with disabilities.
Criteria – A benchmark used to identify mastery of a goal or objective.
Criterion Referenced Test – Test that evaluates a child according to performance against a set criteria, not in comparison to other students. Tests based on specific criteria.
Curriculum Based Assessment (CBA) – A type of test or assessment used to monitor progress through a curriculum. Often used to measure annual yearly progress.
Diagnosis – The problem identified after an evaluation.
Disability – A physical or mental problem that prevents someone from functioning at a normal rate.
Due Process – A non-court proceeding before a mediator (impartial hearing officer) that may be used if the parents and school team disagrees on the services needed for a student with disabilities.
Early Intervention Services – Identifying and treating children before the age of 3.
Eligible (Eligibility) – Qualifies for services.
Etiology – The identified cause of a behavior or condition.
Evaluation – A process used to determine if a child qualifies for special education services.
Exclusionary Clause – From an array of possible causes, identifying those that DID NOT cause the disabling behaviors; typically used when talking about learning disabilities and how that syndrome may differ from organic cognitive impairments.
Extended School Year (ESY) – Services provided year round for some students with disabilities. These services and goals are determined by the multi disciplinary team based on the rate of regression and recoupment observed in the individual student.
Fine Motor – Hand and finger small muscle movement.
Free Appropriate Public Education – A requirement that all school-aged children despite having a disability, be provided services in the public school system at no cost to the parent. A foundational principle within special education legislation dating from 1975.
Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) – A behavioral technique that determines the exact nature of problem behaviors, the reasons why they occur, and under which conditions their occurrence is reduced.
Functional Curriculum – Curriculum used to teach daily living skills.
Generalization – Transfer of learned skills or information from one environment (for example from school to work) to another.
Goals – The identified standards to be met in an IEP.
Gross Motor – Coordinated movements of all body parts.
Homebound Instruction – A teacher provided to students unable to attend school. Typically, this service is determined by the Multi Disciplinary Team.
Inclusion – Children with disabilities receive services in their home school and are placed in the same classroom with children without disabilities.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) – A yearly education plan written by teachers, therapists, psychologists, etc. and the child’s parents for school age children with disabilities.
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) – An education plan written by teachers, therapists, psychologists, etc. and the child’s parents for a child birth through 2 years old with disabilities.
Individuals with Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) – A law passed in 1975 that requires public schools to provide a free and appropriate public education to school-aged children ages 3-21 regardless of disability.
Integrated Employment – Employment options that are designed for an individual with disabilities that provides needed structures and supports to ensure success.
Interdisciplinary Team – Various individuals from different disciplines that assess children’s needs (speech therapist, occupational therapist, nurse, psychologist, etc.)
Intervention Ladder – A hierarchy of instructional or behavioral tactics organized from the least intrusive and least complex to the most intrusive and complex.
IQ-Achievement Discrepancy – A traditional identification process used to determine eligibility for services related to a specific learning disability. Maybe be used instead of response to intervention (RTI) measures.
Language Impairment – Difficulty understanding and/or using language.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) – An educational setting which gives students with disabilities a place to learn to the best of their ability and also have contact with children without disabilities. Typically, this service is determined by the Multi Disciplinary Team.
Mainstreaming – Some or all of the child’s day is spent in a regular classroom; often used interchangeably with inclusion.
Mediation – Process through which a neutral party facilitates a meeting between parents and school officials to resolve disagreements related to student services, IEPS, or program placements.
Mental Age – The level of intellectual functioning based on the average for children of the same chronological age.
Multidisciplinary Team – A team of specialists such as a speech and language pathologist, psychologist, occupational therapist, used to help determine student needs.
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) – Federal school reform legislation aimed at increasing school accountability for teaching and learning. This act provided more options for parents and students and increased the flexibility in funding at the school level.
Objective – A goal to be met. Short term objectives are identified in an IEP and set the priorities for instruction in the IEP all objects should have a specific content, standards (criteria) for mastery and conditions for testing the mastery of the skill.
Occupational Therapist (OT) – A therapist that focuses on daily living skills, sensory integration, and fine motor skills. Typically, needs and goals in this area are determined by the Multi Disciplinary Team.
Paraprofessional – An individual trained to assist a professional.
Physical Therapist – Provides evaluation and treatment of physical disabilities to help the person improve the use of bones, muscles, joints, and nerves through exercise and massage. Typically, needs and goals in this area are determined by the Multi Disciplinary Team.
Placement – The program that the team of specialists and parent decide is the most appropriate for the student. Typically, this service is determined by the Multi Disciplinary Team.
Positive Behavior Support – An approach to managing behavior using scientifically valid practices are used at home, in school in the community.
Post School Outcomes – Goals identified by the student and their family for life after secondary school.
Private Agency – A non-public agency that uses public funds to provide services for some children.
Progress Monitoring – A form of assessment in which student learning is evaluated on a regular basis (for example weekly, monthly) in order to determine the appropriateness of an intervention of teaching methodology.
Public Law (P.L.) 94-142 – A law passed in 1975 that requires public schools to provide a free and appropriate public education to school-aged children ages 3-21 regardless of disability.
Pull In Services – Educational services provided within the general classroom.
Pull Out Services – Educational services provided in a separate environment from the general classroom.
Related Services – Other support services that a child with disabilities requires such as transportation, occupational, physical and speech pathology services, interpreters, and medical services, etc.
Resource Room – A room that serves the children’s needs to learn specific skills within the least restrictive environment for part of the day. Sometimes called pull out services. Often used for intensive remediation that makes use of teaching techniques or curriculum very different from the general education setting. Typically, this service is determined by the Multi Disciplinary Team.
Response to Intervention (RTI) – Multi-tiered method for identifying specific learning disabilities and/or delivering instruction.
School Psychologist – A professional trained to test, and interpret individual student abilities. Part of the multi disciplinary team.
Self Contained Class – A classroom specifically for special education students. Student in this class need teaching methods and curriculum different from those used in the general classroom. Typically, this service is determined by the Multi Disciplinary Team.
Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) – School based support personnel who works with identified students to improve and/or correct communication problems. Goals and needs in this area are identified by the multi disciplinary team.
Statewide Testing Program – The plan of tests or assessments that a state selects to monitor progress for all students. Some students with disabilities may be exempted from participation in this program because they are not working toward a standard diploma. For these students alternative assessment plans are used.
Student Centered Planning – Planning that focuses around student identified goals and desires. This is part of the transition planning process and is required for all students with disabilities by the age of 16.
Three Year IEP – In an effort to decrease redundant paperwork, some states/districts are adopting the use of an IEP that is revised every three years, rather than on a yearly basis.
Transition IEP – Goals and objectives that will facilitate a student’s transition from school to work or post school education. Transition goals and objectives are included within an IEP and must be addressed by the time the student is 16 years old.