Disability & Special Education Acronyms


AAC – Alternative Augmentative Communication

ABA – Applied Behavioral Analysis

ABC – Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence

ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act

ADD/ADHD – Attention Deficit/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADLs – Activities of Daily Living

ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution

AIM – Accessible Instructional Materials

APE – Adaptive Physical Education

APR – Annual Performance Report

ARD – Admission, Review, and Dismissal Committee

ARRA – American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorders

ASL – American Sign Language

AT – Assistive Technology

AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress


BD – Behavioral Disorder

BIE – Bureau of Indian Education

BIP – Behavioral Intervention Plan

BOE – Board of Education


CAP – Corrective Action Plan

CAPD – Central Auditory Processing Disorder

CAPTA – Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

CBA – Curriculum Based Assessment

CC – Closed Captioning

CDA – Child Development Associate

CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CEC – Council for Exceptional Children

CF – Cystic Fibrosis

CFR – Code of Federal Regulations

CIFMS – Continuous Improvement and Focused Monitoring System

COP – Community of Practice

CP – Cerebral Palsy

CPRC – Community Parent Resource Center

CSHCN – Children with Special Health Care Needs

CSPD – Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

CST – Child Study Team


DB – Deaf-Blind

DD – Developmental Delay

DD Act – Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act

DIBELS – Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy

DoDDS – Department of Defense Dependent Schools

DS – Down Syndrome

DSM – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association


ECE – Early Childhood Education

ECSE – Early Childhood Special Education

ED – Emotional Disturbance

ED – U.S. Department of Education

EDGAR – Education Department General Administrative Regulations

EHA – Education of the Handicapped Act (now IDEA)

EHDI – Early Hearing Detection and Intervention

EI – Early Intervention

EIS – Early Intervening Services

ELL – English Language Learner

EMH – Educable Mentally Handicapped

EMR – Educable Mentally Retarded

EPSDT – Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment

ERIC – Educational Resources Information Center

ESD – Extended School Day

ESEA – Elementary and Secondary Education Act

ESL – English as a Second Language

ESY or EYS – Extended School Year or Extended Year Services


FAPE – Free Appropriate Public Education

FAS – Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

FBA – Functional Behavioral Assessment

FC – Facilitated Communication

FEOG – Full Educational Opportunity Goal

FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

FOIA – Freedom of Information Act


GE – General Education

GPRA – Government Performance and Results Act

GT – Gifted and Talented


HI – Hearing Impaired

HO – Hearing Officer

HoH – Hard of Hearing

HOUSSE – High Objective Uniform State Standards of Evaluation

HQT – Highly Qualified Teacher


IA – Instructional Assistant

IAES – Interim Alternative Educational Setting

ID – Intellectual Disabilities

IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IEE – Individualized Educational Evaluation

IEP – Individualized Education Program

IES – Institute of Education Sciences

IFSP – Individualized Family Service Plan

IHE – Institution of Higher Education

ITCA – Infants and Toddlers Coordinators Association

ITP – Individualized Transition Plan


LD – Learning Disability

LEA – Local Education Agency

LEP – Limited English Proficiency

LRE – Least Restrictive Environment


MD – Muscular Dystrophy

MD or MH – Multiple Disabilities or Multiply Handicapped

MDR – Manifestation Determination Review

MMR – Mildly Mentally Retarded

Mod MR – Moderately Mentally Retarded

MOU – Memorandum of Understanding

MR – Mental Retardation


NASDSE – National Association of State Directors of Special Education

NCLB – No Child Left Behind Act (Elementary and Secondary Education Act)

NIH – National Institutes of Health

NIMAS – National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard

NIMH – National Institute of Mental Health

NPRM – Notice of Proposed Rule Making


OCD – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

OCR – Office of Civil Rights

ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder

OHI – Other Health Impairment

OI – Orthopedic Impairment

O & M – Orientation and Mobility

OSEP – Office of Special Education Programs

OT – Occupational Therapy


P&A – Protection & Advocacy

PALS – Peer-Assisted Learning System

PASS – Plan for Achieving Self-Support

PBS – Positive Behavioral Supports

PCA – Personal Care Attendant

PD – Physical Disability

PDD – Pervasive Developmental Disorder

PEI – Spanish acronym for the Individualized Education Program (Plan Educativo Individualizado)

Perkins Act – Carl Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act

PLEP or PLP – Present Level of Educational Performance or Present Level of Performance

PP – Paraprofessional

PS – Preschool

PT – Physical Therapy

PTI – Parent Training and Information Center


RFP – Request for proposals

RS – Related Services

RTI – Response to Intervention

RTTT – Race to the Top Fund


§ – This symbol means “Section” as in “§ 300.7 Child with a disability” in the IDEA regulations

SAS – Supplementary Aids and Services

SB – Spina Bifida

SCHIP – State Children’s Health Insurance Program

SE – Special Education

SEA – State Education Agency

SEAC – Special Education Advisory Committee

Section 504 – Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

SED – Serious Emotional Disturbance

SI – Sensory Integration

SIG – State Improvement Grant

SIP – State Implementation Plan

SLD – Specific Learning Disability

SLI – Speech/Language Impairment

SLP – Speech/Language Pathologist

SPOA – Specific Power of Attorney

SPP – State Performance Plan

SSDI – Social Security Disability Income

SSI – Supplemental Security Income

SST – Student Study Team


TA&D – Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

TANF – Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury

TDD – Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf

TMH – Trainable Mentally Handicapped

TMR – Trainable Mentally Retarded

TS – Tourette Syndrome

T-TA – Training and Technical Assistance

TTY – Teletypewriter (phone system for the deaf)

TWWIIA – Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act


VI – Visual Impairment

Voc Ed – Vocational Education

VR – Vocational Rehabilitation


WIC – Women, Infants and Children (Special Supplemental Food Program)

WWC – What Works Clearinghouse