Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms
504 Plan--A section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1943 designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal Financial Assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. A Section 504 plan is designed to accommodate an individual who has been determined, as a result of an evaluation, to have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Accommodations--"Accommodations are practices and procedures that provide equitable access during instruction and assessments for students with disabilities or English language needs. Accommodations are intended to reduce or even eliminate the effects of a student's disability but do not reduce learning expectations and do not alter the validity of score interpretation, reliability, or security of the assessment"
Adaptive Physical Education (APE)--Physical education has been modified to meet the needs of a student with a disability as appropriately as the general education curriculum meets the needs of a student without a disability.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)--A law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life. The Americans with Disabilities Act clarifies Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that students with disabilities have the same protections against discrimination and are provided any necessary support to ensure access to a free and appropriate public education, even if they do not have an IEP.
American Sign Language (ASL)--The natural language for the deaf communities in the United States.
Annual Goals--The skills listed in the IEP for the student to master during the IEP cycle that the team determines are appropriately challenging and relevant.
Annual Performance Review (APR)--The public report of the state’s progress towards the State Performance Plan (SPP) goals.
Assistive Technology (AT)--A device, software, or equipment that mitigates a student’s disability.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)-- ADD and ADHD can be factors that warrant further data review. If the disorder is causing, for reason of behavior or academically, a need for special services, it may be appropriate for that student to have an IEP or a 504 plan.
Behavior Disorders (BD)--Behavior disorders involve a pattern of disruptive student behaviors that occur for at least six months and manifest in school, social, and home settings. They can range from inattention and hyperactivity to defiance and criminal behavior. Common behavior disorders include ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).
Behavior Improvement Plan (BIP)--The documented plan to teach and reward positive behaviors, prevent and stop unwanted behaviors, and provide resources/supports that the student needs to change his or her behavior successfully.
Cerebral Palsy (CP)--Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s muscular systems and can affect their ability to move, balance, and posture.
Cognitive Delay (CD)--Cognitive Delays affect a child’s intellectual abilities and awareness. They can cause learning difficulties and may cause difficulty playing or communicating with others.
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)--The Council for Exceptional Children is a professional organization for educators of students with exceptionalities.
Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for the State of Missouri (DESE)--DESE is the governing agency for education in Missouri. It provides resources and standards for parents and educators alike.
Department of Health (DOH)--The Department of Health offers health services and health-related education resources.
Developmental Delay (DD)--A developmental delay occurs when a child consistently does not meet the developmental milestones at the expected times. This can manifest in physical, cognitive, emotional/social, adaptive, or communication delays.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM-IV)--The DSM-IV is a comprehensive medical resource for diagnosing disorders and conditions. Missouri's standards and indicators for qualifications under IDEA use information from DSM-IV to determine eligibility criteria.
Disability--A factor that is recognized by the law as making it difficult for a student to progress in general education. For more information, see IDEA.
Due Process--A formal way for schools and parents to resolve special education and IEPS disputes. Other ways include mediation and filing a complaint with the state.
Early Intervention (EI)--A system of services that provides intervention to young children with developmental delays or disabilities.
Educational Environment--The physical locations and cultures in which students learn. School policies and their governance are also considered characteristics of the educational environment.
Educational Experiences--"Students get knowledge from different programs, lessons, interaction with other people, or other experiences in which learning takes place. It can take place in conventional academic settings like in a classroom at school or in nonconventional environments, which take place outside school locations, or we can say outdoor environments. As we all know, students can get great learning experiences from both school and outside, so students should be motivated to participate in different school activities and also the activities which take place outside the school premises" (from the "Learning Experience, Meaning and Definition on the Teachmint webpage).
Educator--All trained stakeholders within a school system, e.g., District or School Level Administrator, Teacher, Paraprofessional, Counselor, and Service Provider.
Extended School Year Services (ESY)--Special education resources are offered outside of the normal school day, most often offered over summer break.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)--The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law that protects the rights of students and families concerning their educational records, including attendance records, transcripts, disciplinary records, and family/student information.
Free and appropriate public education (FAPE)--Every child is entitled to a free and appropriate public education under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)--A functional behavior assessment is a data-driven probe into why a student’s behavior occurs. It often requires observation and interviews with both the student and the family.
General Education Curriculum--The knowledge/skills expected for all students in the state to master at a particular grade level.
Grade/Age Appropriate--Age-appropriate means that the topics, messages, and teaching methods are suitable to the typical developmental and social maturity of the particular age or age group of children or adolescents.
High Quality Instruction--Outlines the planning and instructional delivery processes that teachers can enact to ensure that each student has access to demonstrate competency.
Inclusive Practices--Inclusive practices aim to minimize or remove barriers to learning and support the social, academic, and physical success of all learners, whilst ensuring that teaching standards are not compromised.
Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)--An Individual Family Service Plan provides early intervention services to children with developmental delays and can be written for students under the age of 3 years old.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)--
The federal law guarantees students with disabilities an appropriate education offered at no cost to the parents. Students qualify for protection under IDEA in one of 13 provided sections:
A developmental disorder that affects a student’s communication, behavior, relating to others, and has an adverse affect on their educational performance.
Visual and hearing impairments that adversely affect a student’s educational performance.
Deafness/Hearing Impairment (HI)
A hearing impairment that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.
Emotional Disturbance (ED)
A condition in which a student exhibits one or more of the following for an extended period of time and to a marked degree:
An inability to learn that cannot be explained by health, sensory, or intellectual factors.
An inability to form or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
Inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances.
A general, pervasive mood of unhappiness and depression.
A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or social problems.
Intellectual Disability (ID)
A disability characterized by reduced cognitive ability and deficits in adaptive behavior consistent with the student’s cognitive abilities.
A condition in which the student has two diagnosed physical/sensory impairments or a diagnosed physical/sensory impairment in addition to a disabling condition.
Orthopedic Impairment (OI)
A diagnosed, severe orthopedic condition that adversely affects the student’s educational performance.
Other-Health Impaired (OHI)
The diagnosis of a medical condition that acutely affects the educational performance of a student. Such a condition can be diagnosed by a medical doctor or a licensed psychologist, a licensed professional counselor, a licensed clinical social worker, or a school psychologist. Such a diagnosis must have a marked effect on the student’s strength, vitality, or alertness.
Specific Learning Disability (SLD or LD)
Despite the provision of appropriate learning experiences and grade-level appropriate instruction, a student continues to demonstrate patterns of strength and weaknesses in one or more specific area.
Speech or Language Impairment (S/L I)
Difficulties in producing the correct sounds in words, speaking fluently, properly voicing sounds, or understanding/using language correctly.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A brain injury that results in an adverse effect in the student’s education performance and deficits in the student’s current functioning capabilities, such as building or maintaining social competence, performance of functional daily living skills across settings, the ability to acquire and retain new skills, and/or the ability to retrieve prior information.
Visual Impairment (VI)
A condition affecting the student’s vision which adversely affects the student’s educational performance.
Individualized Education Program (IEP)--The term individualized education program (IEP) means a written statement for each student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting. The IEP is designed to meet the student's unique needs based on their disability, and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living (SpED Rules III.J.1.).
Individualized Health Care Plan (IHCP)--A written plan stating specific care instructions provided by the school nurse in order to maintain a safe school environment and minimize chronic health-related absences.
Intelligence Quotient (IQ)--A number used to communicate a student’s reasoning ability as compared to the norm for their age group. The average score is 100.
Learning Disability (LD)--A neurological processing problem that limits the student’s ability to perform in a certain subject area.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)--To the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities, including students in public or private institutions or other care facilities (e.g., nursing homes), are educated with similar-aged non-disabled students; and b. Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of students with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes using supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. In the case of a student who is deaf or hard of hearing, consideration of a special class or school may be the least restrictive III. IEP Development and Service Delivery 100 environment that provides opportunities for direct communication and instruction in the student's language and communication mode with professional personnel and peers. c. LRE provisions apply to transition programs (i.e., preschool and post-secondary) and placement (SpEd Rules III.I.1.a.-c.).
Limited English Proficiency (LEP)--Individuals who do not speak English as their primary language or have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English may be entitled to additional services.
Local Education Agency (LEA)--The public board of education or a representative thereof.
Meaningful Inclusion--Meaningful inclusion focuses on building belonging, which is a prerequisite for achievement and self-actualization. This includes active participation, where students achieve high academic standards and receive social support in settings designed to meet individual needs, honoring and promoting each student's inherent dignity and equal worth.
Modification--A change to the curriculum or content in which the student is expected to learn or demonstrate proficiency.
No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA)--This 2002 law was the greatest change to public education since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was signed into law in the 1970s. It increased oversight of certain groups, such as low-income students and English Language Learners, and provided more resources from the federal government to hold schools accountable for the achievement of all students. In 2015, Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act to replace No Child Left Behind.
Occupational Therapy (OT)--Occupational Therapy is a related service that provides interventions to students so that they may complete the daily activities necessary for school performance and functional day-to-day living.
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)--A governmental office that oversees the administration of civil rights laws in schools.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)--A behavior disorder that is characterized by particularly defiant and disobedient behavior to authority figures.
Parent Report--A report you provide to the school about your student. This can be done formally or informally.
Peers--A person who is a member of one's classroom, school, or community who are the same grade/age level.
Physical Therapist (PT)--Physical therapists work to improve a student’s physical access to his or her educational surroundings.
Present Level of Academic and Functional Performance (PLAAFP)--A snapshot of how the student is doing academically and functionally. It includes background information about the student, such as family information and school history, a report of how the student has changed since the previous IEP, and areas of strength and weakness for the student. It is used as a reference point for the student's annual goals.
Progress Reporting--The school reports on progress towards the IEP goals. These reports are often sent quarterly, but it will be specified in the student’s IEP.
Response to Intervention (RTI)--A research-based, tiered monitoring system to provide early identification, intervention, and support services to learners with diverse academic and behavioral needs.
Sensory Integration (SI)--This therapy for students with a sensory processing disorder provides sensory stimulation to help students receive appropriate information from their environment.
Specially Designed Instruction (SDI)--Adapting, as appropriate to the needs of a student who is eligible under these Rules, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the student that result from the student's disability; and ensure access of the student to the general curriculum, so that the student can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the LEA that apply to all students (SpEd Rules I.E.51).
Speech Language (SL)--The study area focused on communication, including word use, meaning, articulation, voice tone and inflection, and speech fluency.
Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)--A clinician who provides evaluation, identification, and direct interventions for students with difficulties in the areas of speech and language.
Stakeholders--Families, students, administrators, teachers, and community members.
Standards-Based IEP --An IEP that measures the student’s academic performance compared to what is expected of other students in that grade level.
Supplementary Aids and Services--Supports to help the student learn in the general education environment.
Teacher--Educators in the classroom.
Teaching Strategies--Methods and techniques that teachers use to deliver course material in ways that keep students engaged and practicing different skill sets used commonly referred to as Instructional Strategies.
Transition Plan--A specific part of the IEP detailing how the student will transition from high school to adulthood. The plan must include the skills and knowledge the student needs to gain to function independently, such as practical life skills and job training. It must be developed before the student turns 16 years old.
United States Department of Education (USDE)--The federal department that oversees education in our nation. Their website provides information on loans, grants, laws relating to education, and data.
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)--A DESE-operated service that specializes in job training and employment services.