Special Education Glossary
Navigating the various terms that come up in discussions about special education can be difficult, so here is a glossary to help parents.
ABA: Applied Behavioral Analysis, a form of therapy often used to help students with autism.
AT: Assistive technology. Assistive technology provides a child tools to assist her with her educational endeavors. The tools can be as simple as highlighters, color coding files or drawers, books on tape, tape recorders, calculators, or a different paper color or background color on a computer screen. Assistive technology can also be high-tech. It can, for example, be computer software that reads to a student with a visual impairment.
ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder.
BASC-2: Behavior Assessment System for Children, 2nd Edition, a test often performed by school districts when evaluating students with behavioral problems.
BIP: Behavior Intervention Plan (also see Positive Behavior Support Plan or PBSP).
BCBA: Board Certified Behavioral Analyst, a professional who is trained in developing behavioral interventions.
BSC: Behavioral Specialist Consultant.
BSE: Bureau of Special Education. Office in the Georgia Department of
Education that administers and manages the state’s special education resources and oversees compliance with the IDEA.
CBA: Curriculum Based Assessment.
Charter School: Charter Schools are publicly funded primary or secondary schools that separate themselves from ordinary public schools by waiving some of the rules and regulations that would normally apply. Through this, the schools may create their own unique culture and curriculum that can fit your child’s needs as a student. Georgia has a number of charter schools.
Comp. Ed.: Compensatory Education. Services owed to a child when the child’s right to a free and appropriate public education has been violated. Compensatory education services can include, among other things, one-on-one tutoring by a teacher outside of normal school hours, summer school, speech and language therapy services, occupational therapy services, direct instruction from a private special education teacher outside of normal school hours, counseling services, or educational software.
Comprehensive Psychoeducational Evaluation. Also known as MDE, or Multidisciplinary Evaluation.
CTE: Consent to Evaluate. School districts provide a CTE to a parent before evaluating her child for special education services
DOE: Department of Education. The Division of Special Education Services and Support includes programs and services that support local school districts in their efforts to provide special education and related services to students with disabilities.
DPH: Due Process Hearing (special education hearing). In Georgia, administrative law judges. In other states, like Pennsylvania for example, hearing officers may preside over due process hearings. Parents can retain a special education attorney for a hearing, or they can litigate a hearing pro se (representing themselves without an attorney).
ED: Emotional Disability (or Emotional Disturbance). Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, “emotional disturbance” is a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a period of time: (1) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors; (2) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; (3) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; (4) a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or (5) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. A student with emotional disturbance is eligible for special education services.
EI: Early Intervention. Early intervention is a way to serve the needs of a young child in need of special education services. It is a public program that provides educational services to toddler-age children with disabilities and their parents. The services include parent education, support services, developmental therapies, and other family-centered services.
EIS: Early Intervening Services.
ER: Evaluation Report.
ESY: Extended School Year (summer services for students with disabilities). The typical length of a school year is 180 days in the United States. For a student with a disability, there is the possibility that during the summer months, she will experience educational regression. Extended School Year services are designed to prevent such regression. Extended School Year also applies to any extension of the traditional school day or school week.
Executive Functioning Skills: Executive functioning skills are the skills an individual uses to complete a goal. The skills include focusing, organizing, and planning, all skills that are critical to succeeding in school. Oftentimes, students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) suffer from executive functioning deficits.
FAPE: Free Appropriate Public Education. What school districts must provide students with disabilities. To provide FAPE, a school district must afford a student with a disability an Individualized Education Program that is reasonably calculated to provide her meaningful educational benefit. If your child is being denied FAPE, you may be able to access compensatory education services.
FBA: Functional Behavior Assessment.
GARS: Gilliam Autism Rating Scale.
GED: General Equivalency Diploma.
IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Federal law that requires states to provide children with disabilities a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The IDEA establishes the right of children with disabilities to special education. It is the banner special education law.
IDEIA 2004: Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. Name of the law which reauthorized and amended the IDEA in 2004.
IEE: Independent Educational Evaluation. An IEE is an evaluation that a parent obtains from a private professional. Parents can obtain public funding for IEEs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
IEP: Individualized Education Program. A plan that sets forth educational interventions and a placement for a student with a disability. IEPs are the lynchpin of a child’s special education program.
IFSP: Individualized Family Service Plan. An educational plan for children with disabilities from birth to age three.
ISS: Instructional Support Services.
LD: Learning Disability or Learning Disabled.
LEA: Local Educational Agency (this often refers to school districts). The Fulton County School District, for example, is an LEA.
LRE: Least Restrictive Environment. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, students with disabilities must be educated in the least restrictive environment; they must have an opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers to the greatest extent appropriate.
LS: Learning Support.
PWN: Prior Written Notice. A notice informing parents of the educational placement that their school district recommends.
ODD: Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
OSAH: Office of State Administrative Hearings. This is the authority for Due Process Hearing Requests.
OT: Occupational Therapy. Occupational therapy is designed to enhance a student’s ability to fully access and be successful in the learning environment. It can include working on handwriting or fine motor skills so the student can complete written assignments, helping the student organize herself in school, and adapting learning materials.
GA DOE: Georgia Department of Education. State agency responsible for overseeing the provision of education and educational services to all children within the state.
GAA: Georgia Alternate Assessment. Test for children with significant cognitive disabilities who cannot take a standardized assessment
PBS: Positive Behavior Support.
PBSP: Positive Behavior Support Plan (see BIP).
PDD/NOS: Pervasive Developmental Delay/Not Otherwise Specified, a type of disability.
PT: Physical therapy.
RR: Reevaluation Report.
RtI: Response to Intervention. Response to intervention is a process used by educators to help students who are struggling with a skill or lesson. Oftentimes when a child fails to respond to RtI, school districts move forward with testing the child for special education services.
SAS: Supplementary aids and services.
SDI: Specially designed instruction (special education).
SEA: State Educational Agency. In Georgia, the Georgia Department of Education is the SEA. SEAs are ultimately responsible for students with disabilities receiving a free and appropriate public education; they are ultimately responsible for upholding students’ special education rights.
Section 504 Plan: Also known as a Service Agreement, 504 Plan, or 504 Accommodations Plan. A plan adopted for children who are eligible for accommodations or other services due to disability under Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
SLD: Specific learning disability.
ST: Speech Therapy.
TOWRE: Test of Word Reading Efficiency, a test that school districts sometime use when evaluating a student with a disability.
WIAT-2: Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, 2nd Edition.
WISC-IV: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th Edition.
WPPSI: Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence.
WRAT-4: Wide Range Achievement Test, 4th Edition.
U.S. DOE: United States Department of Education. Federal agency responsible for overseeing the provision of education and educational services to all children in the United States.