Glossary of Frequently Used Terms


The ability to make specific sounds correctly, such as the /r/ in “roll” or the /w/ in “we.” Difficulties may include omissions (sounds that are left out), substitutions (i.e., a /w/ sound instead of a /r/ sound), additions, and distortions.

Behavior Intervention Plan
A formalized plan that targets specific behaviors for alteration and that follows from a functional behavioral assessment and is included in a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The plan is based on positive supports and typically includes environmental or proactive changes that can be made to decrease the likelihood of the undesirable behavior or symptom.

Case Manager
A member of the student’s IEP team who coordinates meetings with you and appropriate school staff members. The case manager also serves as your contact when you have questions regarding your child’s special education program and services.

Child Find
A federal mandate that local educational agencies initiate programs to identify children in need of special education services.

Child Study Team (CST)
A committee of the local education agency that has responsibility for determining a student’s eligibility of special educational services. If the student is found eligible, then the team is also involved in developing the needed IEP for the student. The CST consists of a school psychologist, learning disabilities teacher consultant (LDT-C) and a school social worker and other related service providers, as deemed appropriate. A speech language specialist is part of the preschool CST.

Child Study Team Evaluation
A way of collecting information about your child's special learning needs, strengths, and interests. An evaluation is used to help make decisions about whether your child is eligible for special education and related services. The evaluation will include administering individual tests, observing your child, a review of records, talking with you and your child. The evaluation may include the following: an educational assessment, health appraisal, psychological assessment, social assessment, a speech/language assessment, occupational therapy assessment, physical therapy assessment and any other pertinent medical evaluations.

Due Process Hearing
A due process hearing is designed to be a fair, timely and impartial procedure for resolving disputes that arise between parents and school districts regarding the education of students with disabilities.

Extended School Year
A provision in the IEP for special education students to receive instruction beyond the standard 10-month program. ESY services or programming may focus on all, or only some, of a student’s needs that are addressed during the regular school year, depending on the needs of the child. The IEP team determines whether a student needs ESY services as part of the IEP process; data is typically gathered to substantiate this need.

Functional Behavioral Assessment
A collection of tools, scales, observations, and interviews that are tailored to the needs of a specific student whose behavior is particularly problematic and/or jeopardizes their educational placement. The purpose of the FBA is to determine under what conditions this behavior occurs, what drives it, what reinforces it, and what time of day or patterns can be detected. This assessment is then used to create a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) for the student.

Home Instruction
A home based special education placement made by a student’s IEP team. Home instruction is the most restrictive educational setting, as instruction is provided 1:1 in the child’s home with a certified special education teacher. Related services can also be provided as specified in the student’s IEP. Home instruction should not be confused with home schooling (a choice by the parent to educate their child at home).

Individualized Education Program (IEP)
This is a written plan that details what the child will be taught and documents what will actually be provided to the child through special education and related services.

IEP Team
A team of individuals comprised of school professionals (CST member(s), general education teacher, special education teacher), the child’s parent(s), and any other individual(s) who have specialized knowledge of the child. The IEP team is responsible for developing the goals and objectives for the student, writing the program (IEP) that will serve as a guide for the student’s teachers and related service providers. The IEP Team is also responsible for reviewing and revising the IEP.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
To the maximum extent appropriate, educating students with disabilities, including students in public or private institutions or other care facilities, with their nondisabled peers. Removing students with disabilities to special classes, separate schools, or other settings apart from the general education occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in general education classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Manifestation Determination
A meeting of the IEP team held within 10 days after a student with a disability violates a school rule and is suspended for 10 or more days. It is an investigation to determine if a student’s misbehavior is related to his or her known disability (manifestation of the disability) or is the result of the IEP not being implemented.

A voluntary dispute resolution process in which an impartial mediator assists the parties in resolving issues in dispute.

Substantial changes in what the student is expected to demonstrate; includes changes in instructional level, content, and performance criteria; may include changes in test form or format; includes alternative assignments.

Preschool Disabled
Children ages three to five, with an identified disabling condition and/or measurable developmental impairment, who require and would benefit from special education and related services.

Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP)
A statement in the IEP that describes what the student knows and can do at the time it is written. It includes how the student’s disability affects the student’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum (i.e., the same curriculum as for nondisabled students); or for preschool children, as appropriate, how the disability affects the student’s participation in appropriate activities.

Related Services
Services that children with educational disabilities require to benefit from their educational programs. Related services include, but are not limited to the following: counseling, occupational therapy, school nurse services, recreation, social work services, medical services, speech-language therapy, and physical therapy. Related services shall be provided by appropriately certified and/or licensed professionals as specified in the student’s IEP.

Respite Care
A service provided to the families of children who require extraordinary forms of care so that the family can take vacation, handle business affairs, and have some relief from the duties of caring for their children.

Section 504
A part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Public Law 93-112. This section states that no program or agency receiving federal funds can exclude, deny benefit to, or discriminate against any person on the basis of a handicap. A 504 Plan is an individualized plan developed for a student with a disability that specifies what accommodations and/or services they require in school to “level the playing field” so that they derive as much benefit from their public educational program as their nondisabled peers.

Special Education
Instruction and needed related services, modified or designed, at no cost to parents/guardians, to meet individual needs of a child with disabilities, including instruction in classrooms, homes, hospitals, and other institutions.

“Stay Put”
The “pendency” provision in some due process situations whereby the student’s placement and program “stays put” or the same while the dispute is resolved.

Supplemental Aids and Services
Accommodations that could permit a student to profit from instruction in the least restrictive environment.

Transition Plans
Transition plans describe how the school will help students prepare for life after high school, in college, employment and independent living; must be included in the IEP beginning by the first IEP when the student turns 14. Students have a right under IDEIA to be a part of this plan.

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