Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms
A change to or in the learning environment, such as providing extended time or an alternative setting.
Adaptive Physical Education (APE)
Physical education that 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 supports to ensure access to a free and appropriate public education, even if they do not have an IEP.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
The national professional, scientific, and credentialing organization for professionals working in fields involving audiology, speech, and language.
American Sign Language (ASL)
The natural language for the deaf communities in the United States.
The skills listed in the IEP for the student to master during the IEP cycle that the team determines 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 be successful in changing his or her behavior.
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 resources for health services and health related education.
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 used to diagnose disorders and conditions. Missouri's standards and indicators for qualifications under IDEA use information from DSM-IV to determine eligibility criteria.
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.
A formal way for schools and parents to resolve disputes about special education and IEPS. 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.
Extended School Year Services (ESY)
Special education resources 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, which can include 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 the reason 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.
Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA)
The health insurance portability accountability act protects the rights of students and families’ to privacy regarding their medical records. This is particularly applicable to the medical records provided to the school by the parents, and to the work of the school nurse.
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 that 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)
A written document guaranteeing a student’s access to a free and appropriate public education. It is re-written each year during a collaborative meeting between the school, the family, and when appropriate, the student.
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)
The school setting that affords the student the most time appropriate with their non-disabled peers.
Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
Individuals that do not speak English as their primary language or have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English and may be entitled to additional services.
Local Education Agency (LEA)
The public board of education or a representative thereof.
A change to the curriculum or content 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 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.
A report you provide to the school about your student. This can be done formally or informally.
Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD)
Now referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder, this term can encompass Autistic Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). These disorders include delays in how children typically develop, socialization and communication problems, trouble with disruptions in routine, and repetitive behavior and movements.
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 annual goals of the student.
The school’s 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.
The section of the Americans with Disabilities Acts that provides protection for students with discrimination within schools. Students who qualify for aid under Section 504 are given accommodations and modifications in a document called a 504 Plan.
Sensory Integration (SI)
This therapy for students with a sensory processing disorder provides sensory stimulation to help students receive appropriate information from their environment.
Speech Language (SL)
The area of study focused on communication, including word use, meaning, articulation, voice tone and inflection, and fluency of speech.
Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)
A clinician who provides evaluation, identification, and direct interventions for students with difficulties in the areas of speech and language.
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.
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 in order 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. On their website, they provide 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.