Special Education Terms & Works
Definitions and Acronyms often used by School of Excellence Staff with regard to The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):
Accommodations: A change or adjustment in the education format to promote learning without changing grade level standards. (PAC Tip: You will often hear the word modification used when they may mean accommodations. These words do not have the same meaning.)
Adapted Physical Education (APE): An appropriate physical education plan for students with special needs not able to participate in regular PE with modifications.
Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD): A committee consisting of the student’s parents, educators or consultants (and student when appropriate) which meets to decide whether a student has an eligible disability and what the Individualized Education Program (IEP) will include.
Advocacy: Expressing the student’s needs and supporting the process of determining an appropriate education program.
Applied Learning Environment (ALE): A program to meet the needs of students with moderate to severe disabilities. The ALE program teaches skills students will need as adults to live and work in the community.
Assessment: Testing of students by the state.
Assistive Technology Program (ATP): A related service that helps students to become more independent in their surroundings with the use of any materials or equipment to improve communication, learning, and self-help skills.
*+Auditory Impairment (AI): A disability of severe hearing loss as determined by a licensed otologist or an audiologist (specialist who determines the degree of hearing loss). Public schools serve students with auditorial impairments from birth to age 22.
+Autism (AU): A brain disorder that typically affects a person's ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond appropriately to the environment.
*Behavior Intervention Center (BIC): A classroom used for general and special education middle school students for short term intervention.
Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP): A written plan based on the Functional Behavioral Assessment, to eliminate specific behaviors that prevent appropriate social interactions and learning. This plan is set up to replace non-compliant behaviors with more socially acceptable behaviors.
*Behavior Mastery Center (BMC): A small environment which addresses the needs of children with significant behavioral and/or emotional problems. Formerly referred to as Level V.
Campus Special Education Coordinator: A professional in the Special Education Program at each campus responsible for the communication between the family, the school and the school district.
Career and Technology Education: A general education program providing training and instruction designed to prepare students to work in certain trades or professions. Also called Vocational Training or Vocational Education.
CSST – Campus-based Student Support Team - A problem solving process used in S.E.E. to provide appropriate educational suggestions to elementary classroom teachers for a specific student’s need. Similar processes are available for middle school and high school.
Code of Student Conduct: The rights and responsibilities of each member of the school community in establishing and maintaining good discipline at district schools. A copy of the code of conduct is sent home at the beginning of each year in your child’s Student Handbook.
Consent: Written permission given by a parent to have his or her child evaluated for Special Education services.
*Content Mastery Center (CMC): A type of resource room service where eligible students can get extra instructional support to master the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and District standards of their mainstream courses. At S.E.E., the Content Mastery Center (CMC) is an academic support service for students with mild disabilities who receive their direct instruction in their grade level mainstream classroom.
Developmental Delay: A disability where milestones of motor, mental and/or social progress are not achieved at normal ages.
Disseminator: (see Campus Coordinator)
Due Process: (see Impartial Due Process Hearing)
Early Childhood Intervention (ECI): A program run by the Texas Department of Health for children with a disability under the age of three.
Eligibility: The determination of whether or not a child has a disability and an educational need that qualifies him or her for special education services.
+Emotional Disturbance (ED): Certain psychological or behavior conditions which significantly affect a student’s educational performance as determined by a licensed specialist in school psychology or a licensed or certified psychologist or psychiatrist.
Employment Placement Specialists: A high school teacher charged with the task of helping students with disabilities find and maintain high school employment and teach employment related skills.
Evaluation: A gathering of information by various means (i.e. observation, objective testing, etc.) by the school’s professionals and parents about a student for determining special education needs.
Extended School Year (ESY): Educational services offered beyond the regular school year (usually during the summer) to students who are not likely to recoup their skills in the first two months of the next school year. Formerly called (EYS) Extended Year School.
Extracurricular or Nonacademic Activities: Those school activities outside the educational coursework such as meals, recess, clubs, athletics and special interest groups usually led or supervised by faculty members.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): Federal law that governs the privacy of a student’s school records.
504 (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973): Federal law that protects people with disabilities to assure that they are not discriminated against because of their disability.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): A legal term for the district’s legal responsibility to provide an appropriate education for every child.
Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA): A tool for evaluating information gathered by various means by the school’s professionals and parents about a student’s behavioral needs.
*Homebound: An in-home program established for students whose illness or injury prevents them from attending school for four or more weeks as determined by a physician and an ARD Committee.
Impartial Due Process Hearing: A legal process used to resolve serious differences between the District and a student’s parents, used if an issue cannot be resolved through mediation. The issue may involve inappropriate or incomplete evaluation, Individualized Education Program (IEP) or placement of an eligible student with a disability.
Inclusion: A special education student is educated with his or her non-disabled peers in some or all of his or her classes with appropriate modifications and/or accommodations implemented.
Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE): A separate evaluation done by a qualified person who does not regularly work for the school district. Many psychologists who are in private practice perform these evaluations. This may be helpful if parents disagree with the District’s evaluation of their student.
Individualized Education Program (IEP): A written plan based on a student’s evaluation that contains the ARD (Admissions, Review and Dismissal) Committee’s recommendation for helping a student reach specific educational goals.
Individualized Transition Plan (ITP): A plan developed by the ARD committee that addresses services the student needs to move successfully to adult life after leaving school.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Public law 101-476-update of PL 94-142): The basic federal law that requires school districts to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities from age 3 to 22.
Initial Placement: The first setting in which a student receives special education services.
Instructional Assistant (IA): A person who assists both teachers and students with educational plans in and out of the classroom setting.
+Learning Disability (LD): A severe difference between a student’s IQ (which must be normal or above) and his or her achievement determined by an evaluation team and based on testing. These problems may be due to perceptual disabilities, brain injury, dyslexia or aphasia, but are not due to visual, hearing or motor disabilities or mental retardation, emotional disturbance or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): A placement that allows a student with disabilities to educationally participate as much as he or she can with non-disabled students.
Mainstreaming: Placement of students with disabilities in a classroom with non-disabled peers. (See Inclusion)
Mediation: A formal meeting between parents and school personnel to settle, compromise, or reconcile serious differences in opinion regarding evaluation, plan or program of a Special Education student.
+Intellectual Disability (ID): A condition of low intellectual ability and adaptive behavior as determined by a psychologist that severely affects a child’s educational performance.
Modifications: A change in the course content or instructional level which changes the standard for a student with disabilities. (PAC Tip: You will hear this term used interchangeably with accommodation, however they have different meanings.)
Occupational Therapy (OT): A related service for students with physical, emotional, developmental or cognitive disabilities in the areas of fine motor skills, developmental independence, or daily living skills needed for their education.
+Orthopedic Impairment (OI): A bone or muscle disability, as diagnosed by a physician, severe enough to affect a child’s educational performance.
+Other Health Impairment (OHI/OH): A medical condition diagnosed by a physician and not covered by other eligible disabilities that severely affects a child’s educational performance. Examples include heart conditions, diabetes, Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette Syndrome, cystic fibrosis and leukemia.
Parent Advisory Committee (PAC): A group of parents of students in Special Education which works together with the Directors of Special Education and Psychological Services in S.E.E. to discuss issues and concerns facing these parents and families. The group serves to educate parents, teachers, staff and the community by working on special projects, including hosting conferences and writing this handbook.
Physical Therapy (PT): A related service that serves students with physical disabilities or movement difficulties. The goal of physical therapy is to maximize physical independence and gross motor skills needed in the school setting.
Referral Process: A formal notification that a student is experiencing difficulties which may require screening and evaluation to determine if the student needs Special Education services.
Region 20 Education Service Center of Texas: A state funded organization that provides high quality and cost effective educational programs for teachers, professionals, nonprofessionals and parents. The center offers various information on Special Education as well. 210-370-5460.
Related Services: Those services a student must receive to benefit from Special Education, such as speech therapy, assistive technology, transportation, etc.
Screening: An informal evaluation or examination of a student to determine if the student requires further evaluation.
+Speech or Speech and Language Pathology (SLP): An instructional or related service for students who have a communication disorder which affects educational performance.
Speech or Language Impairment services can begin at 3 years of age. Services include therapy to improve fluency, articulation, or language.
State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR)
Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)TAKS-A, TAKS-M, TAKS-ALT: The tests developed by TEA that cover core content areas from grades 3-11 (exit level). These tests are aligned with the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) curriculum standards.
Texas Education Agency (TEA): The state agency that is ultimately responsible for ensuring that every student in Texas receives a free appropriate public education.
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS): The standards of knowledge and skills that a student must complete to earn credit for a course K-12 as determined by the State Board of Education (SBOE).
Transition: The process and planning for a student moving from elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school, then high school to adult life.
+Traumatic Brain Injury: An injury occurring after birth which impairs a person’s normal cognition, memory, language or motor functioning and/or development.
Triennial Review: A special ARD (Admissions, Review and Dismissal) is held every three years. This includes an evaluation whereby parents and staff review previous and current information about a student with disabilities in an effort to determine if the disability continues to be present and if there is still a need for special education services. Additional or new testing may be, requested or required at this time.
+Visual Impairment (VI): A serious visual disability, even with correction, as determined by a licensed ophthalmologist that affects educational performance.
Vocational Education: Training and instruction designed to prepare students to work in a certain trade or profession. Also called Vocational Training or Career and Technology Education.
ADA Americans with Disabilities Act
ADD Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
AEP Alternative Educational Program
AI Auditory Impairment
ALE Applied Learning Environment (Program)
AMC Academic Mastery Center
APE Adapted Physical Education
ARD Admissions, Review, and Dismissal
ATP Assistive Technology Program
BIC Behavior Intervention Center/Classroom
BIP Behavior Intervention Plan
BMC Behavioral Mastery Center/Classroom
CBI Community Based Instruction
CHILD Consultative Help for Individual Learning Decisions Process
CMC Content Mastery Center
CP Cerebral Palsy
CPI Crisis Prevention Institute
DB Deaf Blind
DSM Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition)
ECI Early Childhood Intervention
ED Emotional Disturbance
EPS Employment Placement Specialist (formerly VAC)
ESY Extended School Year (formally EYS)
FAPE Free and Appropriate Public Education
FBA Functional Behavioral Assessment
FERPA Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
IA Instructional Assistant
IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PL 101-476)
ID Intellectual Disability
IEE Independent Educational Evaluation
IEP Individualized Education Program
ITP Individual Transition Plan
LAP Learning Accomplishment Profile
LC Local Curriculum
LD Learning Disability
LRE Least Restrictive Environment
MD Multiple Disabilities
NICHY National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities
OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
ODD Oppositional Defiant Disorder
OH Other Health Impairment (also OHI)
OHI Other Health Impairment
OI Orthopedic Impairment
O & M Orientation and Mobility
OJT On Job Training
OT Occupational Therapy
PAC Parent Advisory Committee
PATH Partnerships Assisting Texans with Handicaps
PDD Pervasive Developmental Disorder