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This is a compiliation of definitions found across this website and in other documents pertaining to general education, special educaiton and related services.
Adapted Physical Education (APE): Is physical education which may be adapted or modified to address the individualized needs of children and youth who have gross motor developmental delays.The emphasis of adapted physical education is to facilitate participation of students with disabilities with typically developing peers in age-appropriate activities.
Accommodations: Changes within the academic curriculum that allow a person with a disability to participate fully in an activity. Examples include: extended time, different test format, and alterations to a classroom.
American Academy of School Psychology: The American Academy of School Psychology (AASP) was organized for the purpose of contributing to the development and maintenance of school psychology practice at its highest level.
American Psychological Association (APA): Based in Washington, D.C., the American Psychological Association (APA) is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States. With 150,000 members, APA is the largest association of psychologists worldwide.
Anxiety in Children: Defined as extreme agitation, filled with tension and dread. Anxiety is different than fear. Children with anxiety may or may not qualify for special education. Those who need modifications to their school day can achieve this through a 504 plan.
Assessment or Evaluation: Term used to describe all of the testing and diagnostic processes leading up to the development of an appropriate IEP for a student with special education needs.
Asperger's Syndrome: Asperger syndrome (AS) is a neurobiological disorder that is part of a group of conditions called autism spectrum disorders. It is usually noted during early school years and characterized by near normal language acquisition accompanied by marked delays in the social domain.
Autism: Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life. It is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain and affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills.
Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP): Takes the observations made in a Functional Behavioral Assessment and turns them into a concrete plan of action for managing a student's behavior. Also known as: Behavior Management Plan, Behavioral Support Plan, & Positive Behavioral Support Plan.
Behavior Intervention Case Manager (BICM): Professional who specializes in student behavior and management within the academic setting.
Bipolar Disorders: Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. It is difficult to diagnose children with this disorder.
Blindness: Condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.
California Association of School Psychologists (CASP): Founded in 1953 and located in Sacramento, the California Association of School Psychologists (CASP) is the statewide membership organization for school psychologists in California.
Cerebral Palsy: Is a condition, sometimes thought of as a group of disorders that can involve a series of motor problems and physical disorders related to brain injury. CP causes uncontrollable reflex movements and muscle tightness and may cause problems in balance and depth perception. Severe cases can result in mental retardation, seizures or vision and hearing problems.
Community Advisory Committee (CAC): The purpose of the committee is to advocate for effective Special Education programs and services, and advise the Board of Education on priorities in the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA). This committee advises school administration and local school boards regarding the plan for special education, assists with parent education and promotes public awareness of individuals with special needs.
Complaint Procedure: A formal complaint filed with the County or State Board of Education if a district violates a legal duty or fails to follow a requirement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (IDEA)
Confidentiality: Counselor confidentiality is a term used to describe the responsibility of a therapist or counselor to hold any proprietary or personal information supplied by a patient in the strictest of confidence. Breaking counselor confidentiality by revealing that information without the expressed permission of the patient is considered highly unethical with the exception of: 1) suspecting child abuse or elder abuse, 2) suicide, 3)duty to warn (IMMEDIATE threat to someones life), 4)court ordered breach
Cumulative File: Containes student records maintained by the local school district. The file may contain evaluations and information about a child’s disability and placement. It also contains grades and results of standardized assessments. Parents have the right to inspect these files at any time.
Deafness: Is a condition wherein the sufferer's ability to detect certain frequencies of sound is completely or partially impaired.
Designated Instruction Services (DIS): The focus of school-based designated instruction and service is to assist students with disabilities to access the core curriculum and to make progress towards their goals and objectives. A child must qualify for an IEP before qualification for DIS is determined.
Differential Standards for Graduation: Standards for graduation that may be modified for students with exceptional needs.
Disability: Physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
DSM-IV: Psychiatric Diagnoses are categorized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th. Edition.  The manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and covers all mental health disorders for both children and adults. It also lists known causes of these disorders, statistics in terms of gender, age at onset, and prognosis as well as some research concerning the optimal treatment approaches.
Due Process: Special education term used to describe the process where parents may disagree with the program recommendations of the school district. The notice must be given in writing within 30 days. IDEA provides two methods for resolving disputes, mediation or fair hearing.
Early Intervention: Programs for developmentally delayed infants and toddlers through 35 months of age; designed to help prevent problems as the child matures.

Emotional Disturbance (ED): A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:
(A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
(B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
(C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
(D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
(E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.”

Extended School Year Services (ESY): Extended school year is special education services for students with unique needs who require services in excess of the regular academic year. Extended year often refers to summer school.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA): The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): A required component of IDEA, FAPE mandates that school districts provide access to general education and specialized educational services. It also requires that children with disabilities receive support free of charge as is provided to non-disabled students. It also provides access to general education services for children with disabilities by encouraging that support and related services be provided to children in their general education settings as much as possible.
Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA): Is generally considered to be a problem-solving process for addressing student problem behavior.
Home/Hospital Instruction: Existing law requires each person subject to compulsory education to attend full-time school or continuation school. The Home and Hospital Instruction Program (California Education Code Section 48206.3) serves students who incur a temporary disability, which makes attendance in the regular day classes or alternative education program impossible or inadvisable.
Inclusion: Inclusion in education is an approach to educating students with special educational needs. Under the inclusion model, students with special needs spend most or all of their time with non-disabled students.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004): A law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP): Is designed to meet the unique educational needs of one child, who may have a disability, as defined by federal regulations. The IEP, according to this argument, helps children reach educational goals easier than they otherwise would. In all cases the IEP must be tailored to the individual student's needs as identified by the IEP evaluation process, and must especially help teachers and related service providers (such as paraprofessional educators) understand the student's disability and how the disability affects the learning process.The IEP should describe how the student learns, how the student best demonstrates that learning and what teachers and service providers will do to help the student learn more effectively.
Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE): An independent educational evaluation is an evaluation of a child that is done
by a person who does not work for the child's school district, public charter school, or intermediate unit (IU).
Individualized Education Program Team: Term used to describe the committee of parents, teachers, administrators and school personnel that provides services to the student. The committee may also include medical professional and other relevant parties. The team reviews assessment results, determines goals and objectives and program placement for the child needing services.
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP): Is a plan for special services for young children with disabilities. An IFSP only applies to children from birth to three years of age. Once a child turns 3, an IEP it put into place.
Individualized Transition Plan (ITP): This plan starts at age 14 and addresses areas of post-school activities, post secondary education, employment, community experiences and daily living skills.
Internship: A professional apprenticeship that offers school-based experience in school psychology. (NASP, 2000c)
Intervention: An orchestrated act of interposing academic supports to better enhase or improve the learning experience or outcome.
International School Psychology Association (ISPA): A group of school psychologists from different parts of the world, under the leadership of the late Calvin D. Catterall, that form an International School Psychology Committee in order to promote worldwide cooperation amongst school and educational psychologists
IQ: An intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests designed to assess intelligence.
Learning Dissabilities Association of America (LDA): The largest non-profit volunteer organization advocating for individuals with learning disabilities and has over 200 state and local affiliates in 42 states and Puerto Rico. LDA's international membership of over 15,000 includes members from 27 countries around the world.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): The placement of a special needs student in a manner promoting the maximum possible interaction with the general school population. Placement options are offered on a continuum including regular classroom with no support services, regular classroom with support services, designated instruction services, special day classes and private special education programs.
Local Education Agency (LEA): Is a commonly used synonym for a school district, an entity which operates local public primary and secondary schools in the United States,
Local Plan: The Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) coordinates with school districts and the County Office of Education to provide a continuum of programs and services for disabled individuals from birth through 22 years of age.
Mainstreaming: Refers to the practice of educating students with special needs in regular classes during specific time periods based on their skills. This means regular education classes are combined with special education classes.

Manifestation Determination: "Manifestation Determination" is a process to determine if a student’s behavior problem was or was not a manifestation of the student’s disability. A Manifestation Determination is completed as part of an IEP team meeting. The IEP team must convene no later than 10 school days when:
- A parent requests such a meeting following a disciplinary incident.
- A student is suspended for 5 or more consecutive days.
- A student is suspended for more than 10 cumulative days in a school (and for every suspension thereafter).
- A change in placement for more than 10 consecutive days is being sought for disciplinary reasons.
- Exclusion or expulsion is being considered.

Mental Retardation (now referred to as Intellectually Disabled): This term has recently been changed. This disorder is characterized by below average cognitive functioning in two or more adaptive behaviors with onset before age 18.

Multiple Disabilities: Multiple disabilities is a disability category under IDEA. Children with multiple disabilities have two or more disabling conditions that affect learning or other important life functions. To qualify for special education services under this category, both of the student's disorders must be so significant that educational needs could not be met in programs that are designed to address one of the disabilities alone.

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP): The National Association of School Psychologists
(NASP) is the premier source of knowledge, professional development, and resources, empowering school psychologists to ensure that all children and youth attain optimal learning and mental health.
No Child Left Behind: NCLB supports standards-based education reform, which is based on the belief that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education. The Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools.
Non-public School (NPS) Districts contract with non-public schools when an appropriate placement cannot be found within the scope of the public education setting. Non-public school placement is sought only after efforts to find appropriate placement in public schools have been exhausted.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD): OCD is an anxiety disorder that presents itself as recurrent, persistent obsessions or compulsions. Obsessions are intrusive ideas, thoughts or images while compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the child feels they must perform.
Occupational Therapists: Provide consultation and support to staff to improve a student’s educational performance related to fine motor, gross motor and sensory integration development.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): A child who defies authority by disobeying, talking back, arguing or being hostile in a way that is excessive compared to other children and this pattern continues for more than six months may be determined to have ODD. ODD often occurs with other behavioral problems such as ADHD, learning disablities and anxiety disorders.
Orthopedic Impairment: Term used to define impairments caused by congenital anomaly, impairments by diseases and impairments by other causes.
Other Health Impaired: Term used to describe limited strength, vitality and alertness that results in limited ability in the educational environment. Impairment could be a result of chronic health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder, epilepsy, heart condition, hemophilia, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever and sickle cell anemia.
Parent Consent: Special education term used by IDEA that states you have been fully informed in your native language or other mode of communication of all the information about the action for which you are giving consent and that you understand and agree in writing to that action.

Physical Therapists: Provide consultation and support to staff to improve a student’s educational performance related to functional gross motor development.

Private School: There are new laws regulating the rights of students with disabilities whose parents place them in private schools. When a student is enrolled in private school and has academic difficulties, the school where the student attends needs to inform the parent and the local public school district of the student’s difficulties. The district of residence may assess the student to determine if the student qualifies for special education. If they do qualify, the district of residence is responsible for writing an Individualized Education Plan
Residential and Private Placements: Part B of IDEA does not require a school district to pay for the cost of education for your disabled child at a private school or facility if the school district made free appropriate public education available to your child and you chose to place your child in private placement.
Resource Specialists: Provide instructional planning and support and direct services to students who needs have been identified in and IEP and are assigned to general education classrooms for the majority of their school day.
Resource Specialist Program (RSP): Term used to describe a program that provides instruction, materials and support services to students with identified disabilities who are assigned to general classroom for more than 50% of their school day.
School Psychologist: Assist in the identification of intellectual, social and emotional needs of students. They provide consultation and support to families and staff regarding behavior and conditions related to learning. They plan programs to meet the special needs of children and often serve as a facilitator during an IEP meeting.
Sensory Processing Disorder: A complex brain disorder that causes a child to misinterpret everyday sensory information like movement, sound and touch. Children with SPD may seek out intense sensory experiences or feel overwhelmed with information.
Specific Learning Disability: Special education term used to define a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language spoken or written that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical equations.

Speech and Language Impairments: Communication disorders such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment or voice impairment.

Speech and Language Specialists: Assesses students for possible delayed speech and language skills and provides direct services in the area of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. They are also available regarding hearing impairments and amplification.
SSDI: Social security disability insurance benefits are provided to qualified individuals who cannot engage in substantial gainful work activity because of a disability and who have paid into the system or has a parent who has paid into the Social Security system.
SSI: Supplemental Security Income benefits are provided to qualified individuals who cannot engage in substantial gainful work activity because of a disability and who fall below certain assets and income levels.
Special Day Class (SDC): Term used to describe a self contained special education class which provides services to students with intensive needs that cannot be met by the general education program, RSP or DIS program. Classes consist of more then 50% of the student’s day.
State Schools: Most states operate state run residential schools for deaf and blind students.
Student Study Team (SST): A group that evaluates a child’s performance, makes recommendations for success and develops a formal plan. The team includes the classroom teacher, parents, and educational specialists. They may make a recommendation for a special education evaluation.
Tourette's Syndrome: Disorder that includes multiple motor and one or more vocal tics, which occur many times per day, nearly daily. If a child has Tourette's syndrome, symptomes tend to appear between the ages of 3-10 years old.
Traumatic Brain Injury: An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment. Applies to open or closed head injuries.
Transition IEP: IDEA mandates that at age 16, the IEP must include a statement about transition including goals for post-secondary activities and the services needed to achieve these goals. This is referred to an Individual Transition Plan or (ITP).
Turner's Syndrome: This rare genetic disorder affects females and is characterized by the absence of an X chromosome. Characteristics include small stature, limited development of sexual characteristics, low hairline and abnormal eye and bone development.
Visual Impairment: Impairment in vision that even with correction adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Vision Specialists: Provide consultation and support to staff and direct instructional support to students with visual impairments. They provide functional vision assessments and curriculum modifications including Braille, large type and aural media.
Workability Program: These programs focus on preparing high school students with disabilities for successful transition to employment, continuing education and quality adult life with an emphasis on work based learning opportunities.