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Accommodations: Changes in how testing is done to provide equal opportunity to demonstrate knowledge.

Achievement test: Test that measures competency in a particular area of knowledge or skill.

Alternative dispute resolution: Resolve disputes between parents and schools; must be voluntary; must be conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who is trained in mediation techniques.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA): Federal legislation enacted to prohibit discrimination based on disability.

Appeal: Procedure where party seeks to reverse or modify a judgment or final order of a lower court or administrative agency, usually on grounds that lower court misinterpreted or misapplied the law.

Assessment: Method of obtaining information from tests or other sources; procedures used to determine child’s eligibility, and services child requires to meet these needs.

Assistive technology device: Equipment used to maintain or improve the range of ability of a child with a disability.

Audiology: Related service; includes identification, determination of hearing loss, and referral for techniques to improve hearing.

Basic skills: Skills in subjects like reading, writing, mathematics, and spelling.

Behavior intervention plan: A plan of positive behavioral interventions of a child whose behaviors interfere with his or her learning or that of others.

C.F.R: Code of Federal Regulations

Child find: Requirement that States ensure that all children with disabilities are identified, located and evaluated, and determine that all children are receiving special education and related services when appropriate.

Counseling services: Related service; includes services provided by social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, or other qualified personnel.

Cumulative file: General file maintained by the school.

Damages: Monetary compensation that may be recovered by a person who has suffered loss, detriment or injury to his person, property or rights, through the unlawful act or negligence of another; damages are not generally available under the IDEA.

Disability: In Section 504 and the ADA, defined as impairment that substantially affects one or more major life activities; an individual who has a record of having such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Due process hearing (impartial due process hearing): Procedure to resolve disputes between parents and schools; administrative hearing before an impartial hearing officer or administrative law judge with attorneys present.

EMR: Educable mentally retarded.

ESY: Extended school year services.

FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act; statute about confidentiality and access to education records.

Free and appropriate public education (FAPE): Free Appropriate Public Education. IDEA defines this term as meaning special education and related services that: (i)are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge; (ii) meet the standards of the State Education Agency; (iii) include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and (iv) are provided in conformity with an individual education program (IEP) that meets legal requirements.

IEE: Independent educational evaluation.

IEP: Individual Education Program or Individual Education Plan and is sometimes referred to as the Individual Education Program Plan.

IFSP: Individualized family service plan.

Inclusion: Practice of educating children with special needs in regular education classrooms in neighborhood schools.

Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA): An acronym for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, our nation’s special education law. IDEA was first passed in 1975, where it was called the Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act. Every few years, the law has been revised (a process called reauthorization). The most current version of the IDEA is Public Law 108-446, passed in 2004, and called the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.” It’s still most commonly referred to as IDEA, or IDEA 2004 (to distinguish it from other reauthorizations). Final regulations for IDEA 2004 were published in 2006.

ITP: Individual Transition Plan.

LEA: Local education agency or school district.

LRE: Least restrictive environment; requirement to educate special needs children with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent possible.

Mainstreaming: Practice of placing special needs children in regular classrooms for at least a part of the children’s educational program.

Mediation: To resolve disputes between parents and schools; must be voluntary; must be conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who is trained in mediation techniques.

Medical services: Related service; includes services provided by a licensed physician to determine a child’s medically related disability that results in the child’s need for special education and related services.

Native language: Language normally used by the child’s parents.

Occupational therapy: Related service; includes therapy for fine motor skills.

OCR: Office of Civil Rights.

Orientation and mobility services: Related service; includes services to visually impaired students that enable students to move safely at home, school, and community.

Pro se: Representing oneself without assistance of legal counsel.

Procedural safeguards notice: Requirement that schools provide full easily understood explanation of procedural safeguards that describe parent’s right to an independent educational evaluation, to examine records, to request mediation and due process.

Reasonable accommodation: Adoption of a program that can be accomplished without undue administrative or financial burden.

Related services: Services that are necessary for child to benefit from special education; includes speech-language pathology and audiology services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, early identification and assessment, counseling, rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, school health services, social work services, parent counseling and training.

Remediation: Process by which an individual receives instruction and practice in skills that are weak or nonexistent in an effort to develop/strengthen these skills.

Special Education: Educational programs and placements provided pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA).

Specific learning disability (SLD): Disability category under IDEA; includes disorders that affect the ability to understand or use spoken or written language; may manifest in difficulties with listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, and doing mathematical calculations; includes minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

State education agency (SEA): State departments of education.

Supplementary aids and services: Means aids, services, and supports that are provided to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.

Transition services: Services to move from school to the workplace or to higher education.

Transportation: Related service about travel; includes specialized equipment (i.e., special or adapted buses, lifts, and ramps).

Travel training: See orientation and mobility services.


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