Terminology and ABCs

ABA Applied Behavioral Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior.

ADD Attention Deficit Disorder is a neurological (not behavior) disorder affecting attention and focus.

ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurological (not behavior) disorder affecting attention and focus.

AT Assistive Technology Device is any item, equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized and used to assist, increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of a child with special needs.

Assistive Technology Service is anyservice that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

Child with a Disability Achild with mental retardation, hearing impairments, speech or language impairments, visual impairments, serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities and who need special education and related services is considered a child with a disability under IDEA. A child may have disabilities but not be eligible for services under the IDEA but may be eligible for services under a 504 plan. 

Due Process is the legal process by which parents can challenge decisions addressing their child’s educational program.

BIP Behavior Intertervention Plan is an agreed upon set of procedures for replacing inappropriate behavior with an appropriate behavior that serves the same function.

ETR Evaluation Team Report is a comprehensive report conducted by a multidisciplinary team, describing the student’s abilities as they relate to educational performance, make recommendations about a student’s educational needs, and determine whether the student is eligible for special education and/or related services. It establishes eligibility under one of the special education categories. An ETR is conducted at least every 3 years between preschool and school-aged services to determine a student’s eligibility for special education services. This is the same as an Multi-Factored Evaluation or MFE.

ESY Extended School Year are services provided beyond the regular school year necessary to prevent significant regression of skills or knowledge that cannot be recouped within a reasonable amount of time. 

FAPE Free and Appropriate Public Education -The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), formerly PL 94-142, requires school districts to provide all eligible students with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), which provides special education and related services allowing personalized instruction and sufficient support services necessary to permit the child to benefit educationally at the public’s expense.

Full Inclusion is an approach to education in which all disabled children are educated with typical peers no matter the extent of the disability.

FBA Functional Behavior Assessment is a systematic set of strategies that are used to determine the underlying function or purpose of a behavior, so that an effective intervention plan can be developed.

FERPA Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ensures that parents have access to their children’s educational records and to protect the privacy rights of parents and children by limiting access to these records without parental consent. 

IDEA The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities. It governs how states and public agencies identify and provide early intervention, special education and related services to eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

IEE Independent Educational Evaluation is a set of independent evaluations every parent has a right to obtain at the expense of the school if they are dissatisfied with the Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE) or Evaluation Team Report (ETR) and they have followed specific procedural requirements of the law.

IEP An Individualized Educational Program, is a comprehensive written document tailored to the unique needs of the child. A properly drafted IEP contains the essence of what the child’s free appropriate public education should entail, including academic, functional, social, behavioral, and transitional goals.

IFSP Individualized Family Service Plan is a  family-directed assessment of the resources, priorities, and concerns of the family and the supports necessary to enhance the family’s ability to meet the developmental needs of the child.

Infant or Toddler with a Disability is an individual under 3 years of age who needs early intervention services because he or she is experiencing diagnosed developmental delays or has a diagnosed physical or mental condition which has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay.

LD Learning disability is a general term that describes specific kinds of learning problems. A learning disability can cause a person to have trouble learning and using certain skills. The skills most often affected are: reading, writing, listening, speaking, reasoning, and doing math.

Local Educational Agency (LEA) is a public board of education or other agency with administrative control or direction of a public elementary or secondary school.

LRE Least-restrictive environment refers to the educational setting in which the disabled child is the least segregated from typical peers and can receive FAPE.

Mediation is aprocess sponsored by the State which attempts to solve disputes between parents and school districts.

Native Language is the language normally used by the individual, or in the case of a child, by the parents.

NCLB No Child Left Behind is the congressional requirement that public schools bring all students to proficiency in reading and math by the 2013-2014 school year. The law includes sanctions for schools that fail to make acceptable progress. 

OT Occupational Therapy is therapy designed to improve the ability to perform tasks of daily living, independent function, to restore ability, and/or to prevent further impairment.

OSEP The Office of Special Education Programs is the principal agency of the United States Department of Education involved with the rules and regulations related to the education of disabled children.

Parent A legal guardian or an individual assigned to be a surrogate parent of a disabled child.

PT Physical Therapy is therapy designed to improve and promote remediation of impairments and disabilities related to mobility, functional ability, quality of life and movement potential.

Related Services are any supportive service (e.g. transportation, speech therapy, counseling) needed in order to provide a child with special education benefits.

Special Education is specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. 

RTI Response to Intervention is a multi-level integrated assessment and intervention process to identify  and provide interventions to students at risk for learning and behavioral problems.

Speech Therapy is therapy specializing in communication disorders and swallowing disorders.

Transition Services are a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability and can include post-school activities, vocational training, independent living, etc.