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Knowledge is Power!  Below are several informal definitions of many of the terms and acronyms used by educators when working with other professionals or parents of children with special needs. Parents of children with disabilities should be familiar with these terms and acronyms in order to actively participate in their child’s education

ABA-Applied Behavior Analysis

ACCESS-Plastic identification card issued to Medical Assistance recipients.

ADA-Americans with Disabilities Act

ADD-Attention deficit disorder

ADHD-Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

AIDS-Acquired immune deficiency syndrome

APS-Approved Private School

ASD-Autism spectrum disorder

ASL-American sign language

AT-Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Device-Equipment used to maintain or improve the capabilities of a child

with a disability.

AVT-Area vocational technical school

AYP-Annual Yearly Progress

BD-Behavior disordered

BEC-Basic Education Circular

BIP-Behavior Intervention Plan

COP-Communities of Practice

Due Process Hearing-An administrative hearing before an impartial hearing officer

EDGAR-Education Department General Administrative Regulations

EHA-Education for All Handicapped Children Act. It was renamed in 1990 to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  In the 2004 revisions, it was renamed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA’04)

Early Intervention-Special education and related services according to IDEA provided to children under the age of 5.

ED-Emotionally disturbed

EI-Early intervention

EPSDT-Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment

ER-Evaluation Report

ESEA-Elementary and Second Education Act

ESL-English as a Second Language

ESOL-English to Speakers of Other Languages

ESY-extended school year

FAPE-free appropriate public education

FBA-Functional Behavioral Assessment

FERPA-Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. FERPA deals with confidentiality and access

to student records

HI-Hearing Impaired

IAES-Interim Alternative Educational Setting

ICC-Interagency Coordinating Council

IDEA-Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act – federal law that protects children with disabilities right to a free appropriate public education.

IEE-Independent Educational Evaluation – if a parent disagrees with the results of the evaluation the school district performed they can request an IEE.

IEP-Individualized education plan – must be conducted yearly – an extremely important document stating what level the child is currently learning in, his strengths and weaknesses, what is expected in the next year, how they intend to educate the child and related services.

IFSP-Individualized family service plan – must be conducted bi-yearly for special needs children from 0-3 yrs. of age – an extremely important document stating what level the child is currently learning in, his strengths and weaknesses, what is expected in the next year, how they will assist the family in order to ensure that the child is benefiting from his/her educational services and/or placement, and related services.

Inclusion-The practice of educating children with special needs in regular education classrooms in their neighborhood schools

IQ-Intelligence quotient. An IQ score is an artificial number that is used to indicate levels of mental development, not to be confused with persons capabilities.

LD-Learning disabled

LEA-Local education agency

LEP-Limited English Proficiency

LRE-Least restrictive environment. LRE is the concept of educating children with disabilities in an

educational environment that allows them to participate to the maximum extent possible with their non-disabled peers.

LTF-Local Task Force

MA-Medical Assistance

Mainstreaming-The practice of placing children with disabilities in regular education classrooms to the maximum extent possible.

MAWA-Mutually Agreed Upon Written Agreement

MD-Multiple Disabilities

MDE-Multidisciplinary Evaluation

MDT-Multidisciplinary Team

Mediation-A meeting to resolve issues between school and home amicably, for it is voluntary

thusly both parties must agree to it.

MR-Mentally retarded

NCLB-No Child Left Behind

NOREP-Notice of Recommended Educational Placement – is issued after an IEP meeting and states type of placement and level of service to be provided, parents must sign for their approval or disapproval.

OCD-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

ODD-Oppositional Defiant Disorder

ODR-Office for Dispute Resolution

OHI-Other health impaired

OSEP-Office of Special Education Programs

OT-Occupational Therapy - therapy for fine motor skills

OVR-Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

PASA-Pennsylvania Alternative System of Assessment – for children who can not because of their sever disabilities take the PSSA.  (Grades 3, 5, 8, & 11)

PBI-Positive Behavioral Interventions

PDD-Pervasive Developmental Disorder

P.L. 94-142-The original public law number of the EHA.

PSSA-Pennsylvania System of School Assessment – All children are tested, including special education children, must make accommodations for child to participate. (Math & Reading at grades:3,5,8,& 11, Writing at grades: 5,8, & 11) If a child can’t participate then the PASA should be administered.

PT-Physical Therapy - Therapy for gross motor skills

Reasonable Accommodation-An adoption of a facility or program for a child with a disability that can be accomplished without undue administrative or financial burden

Related Services-Services to supplement special education, such as counseling services, behavioral therapy, and occupational therapy.

Resolution Session-According to IDEA’04 must be requested before a Due Process can be requested.  The parties (parents & school) try to resolve the issues amicably.

Resource Room-A special education placement that is provided in conjunction with or as a supplement to a child’s regular education program.

SDI-Specially Designed Instruction

SEA-State Education Agency

Section 504-Part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that provides that program recipients that receive federal funds can not discriminate on the basis of a child’s disability.

SED-Seriously emotionally disturbed

SDI-Specially Designed Instruction - modification or changes to the general curriculum instruction necessary to implement the goals, benchmarks, and objectives of a child’s IEP.

SLD-Specific Learning Disability

Special Education-Educational programs and placements provided according to IDEA

TBI-Traumatic Brain Injury

Transition Services-A service to facilitate movement from school to the workplace or high education that must be included in the IEP at the age of 16.

TMR-Trainable mentally retarded


VAAS-Value Added Assessment System

VI-Visually Impaired

Special Education Acronyms and Terminology