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Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Terms

Achievement testing: measures what a child has already learned in areas such as reading, math, spelling or written and oral language.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL): daily tasks necessary to care for oneself such as dressing or eating.

Adapted Physical Education: a physical education program designed to meet the special needs of individual students with disabilities who need modifications to the school's regular physical education program, or a specially designed physical education program.

Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Meeting: See Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meeting.

Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Team or Committee: See Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team or Committee.

Advocate: a person who speaks on behalf of himself/herself or others to protect his/her rights and ensure access to services to which the individual is entitled.

Annual Goal: a measurable outcome written in the IEP (along with related short term objectives) for each area of identified need that the student can reasonably achieve in one year by meeting each of the related short term objectives. Progress toward meeting the objectives related to each annual goal must be documented and shared with parents at least quarterly.

Annual Review: meeting of the IEP Team held at least annually to review a child's progress and to develop and use an IEP, including goals, objectives and services, to determine appropriate placement for the next year.

Appeal: a written request to change a decision or the act of making a request to change a decision.

Appropriate: able to adequately address/meet identified needs.

Assessment: the process of securing information, which may include results of such tests as a psychological and/or educational evaluation and family/teacher input and observations, to determine eligibility for special education services, and to plan for the type and extent of special education to be provided for a child who qualifies for services.

Assistive Technology (AT): any device, product, or piece of equipment that improves functional capabilities (such as walking, hearing, seeing, speaking, or learning) of a child or adult with disabilities.

Assistive Technology (AT) Services: assist an individual or family in selecting, acquiring, maintaining, or using AT.

Case Manager: a person (frequently the Special Educator for a student who qualifies for an IEP or the Special/General Educator, Guidance Counselor or other school staff for a student who qualifies for services under Section 504), who acts as a coordinator for all of the services provided for a student.

Central Individualized Education Program (CIEP) team: screens all nonpublic referrals to determine appropriateness of the requested placement and completeness of the documents provided in a referral packet. The team also reviews all requests for residential placement. Parents, school personnel and the student, if appropriate, may be invited to the team meeting if the team has questions or concerns about the placement.

Child Find: a system of identifying children age 3 through 21 years of age who may have a disability and be in need of special education services.

Consent: written permission from parents, which is required for all evaluations, and for the first IEP to be supplemented.

Developmental Delay: a delay in the usual steps of growth and development for children from birth through 18 years old.

Disability: the result of a physical or mental condition that prevents an individual from developing, achieving or functioning within a normal range.

Due Process Hearing: a formal procedure to resolve a dispute between parents and the school system about identification, evaluation or educational placement/program of a child.

Early Intervention: services or programs designed to identify and treat developmental problems in children from birth through 36 months of age.

Education Records: records covered under the definition of education records in part 99 of this title (the regulations implementing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974).

Educational Disability: After the existence of a disability has been established, the IEP Team must use and document using a variety of sources such as achievement tests, teacher and parent input, physical condition of the child, adaptive behavior, etc. to determine if a child has a disabling condition affecting learning and is in need of special education and/or related services.

Eligibility: The IEP Team uses a variety of sources (see Educational Disability) to determine whether a child has an educational disability and qualifies for special education services according to the guidelines specified in special education law.

Evaluation: includes use of existing information along with tests and procedures used initially to determine whether a child has a disability and if the child qualifies, the type and extent of special education services needed by the child.

Extended School Year (ESY) Services: must be explained to parents at every annual review regardless of whether their child has a severe or mild disability. ESY is an extension of specific services beyond the 180-day school year provided to children who meet at least one of the criteria as stated in special education law.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): the right to a free public education which meets the specific educational needs of a child with a disability as guaranteed by IDEA.

Functional Behavior Assessment: a systematic collection of data that identifies conditions under which an inappropriate behavior is likely to occur, the motivation for the behavior and what the behavior communicates for a student.

Home/Hospital Teaching: provided to Kent County Public School students who are unable to attend school due to a certified physical or emotional condition. It is provided to the student to continue academic work and remain current with classroom instruction while absent from school.

Identification: the process of finding and identifying children needing special education services.

Inclusion Program: an education program in which a child receives special education services that meet his/her educational needs to the maximum extent possible within the regular education setting that the child would attend if he/she did not have a disability.

Independent Evaluation: an evaluation, such as psychological or educational testing usually arranged and paid for by parents. Team members must consider - although they may not necessarily agree with - the results of a private evaluation as long as the evaluator meets certain school criteria, such as specific licensing requirements. Under certain circumstances, the school system may agree to pay for an independent evaluation.

Individualized Educational Program (IEP): a written document, reviewed annually, including a child's current level of performance and needs, long term goals and short term objectives, which describes the special education services (including related services, and supplementary aids and services) that will be provided for a child who qualifies. The IEP should also include the date services are to begin, the criteria for evaluation of progress toward each short term objective (to be documented at least quarterly) and the extent to which the child will participate in academic and non-academic general education programs.

Individualized Education Program Meeting: any of the meetings held throughout the special education process such as screening, determining eligibility for special education, developing an IEP, conducting an annual review, etc.

Individualized Educational Program (IEP) Team or Committee: Starting with the initial referral, all phases of the special education process take place under the supervision of the IEP Team which is made up of school staff, the student's parent(s), and when appropriate, the student.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP): a written plan for infants and toddlers under 3 years of age, describing a child' s developmental levels, family information, early intervention services that the child will be receiving including when and where the services will be provided, and naming the service coordinator assigned to the child and his/her family. Note: By 24 months of age the IFSP should include a Transition Plan of steps to be taken to make a smooth transition at 3 years old when the child will no longer be eligible for services in the early intervention system.

Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE): a plan which outlines the services needed to reach an employment goal, how the services to be provided will be evaluated, and the approximate time expected when employment will occur.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): a federal law which was reauthorized in 1997 that guarantees that all children with disabilities are provided with a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE), and that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ): a measure obtained from psychological testing that indicates a child's potential for learning.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): the setting that gives the child as much contact as possible with non-disabled children of the same age while meeting all of his/her educational needs.

Local School System (LSS): formerly called the Local Education Agency (LEA), the local school district.

Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program (MITP): a statewide system of early intervention for eligible children age birth to 3 years old and their families.

Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE): see State Education Agency (SEA).

Mediation: the process of having a trained person, a mediator, try to help parents and the school system reach an agreement about a child's special education program and services.

Multidisciplinary: describes a team approach involving specialists in more than one area. To get a complete picture of a child's needs, for example, he/she might be evaluated by a special educator, a (SLP) speech-language pathologist and an (OT) occupational therapist.

Nonpublic Placement: Parents may choose to apply for their child with disabilities to attend a nonpublic school but still access some special education services from the local public school system through the IEP process. Or, if an appropriate public placement as determined by the IEP Team cannot be provided, the school system must place and pay for a child to attend an appropriate program in a nonpublic school.

Occupational Therapy (OT): instruction in skills such as coordination and control of fine motor movements to handle activities of daily living (ADL) provided by an occupational therapist (OT).

Partners for Success: Resource Centers for Parents, Families, and Schools: formerly called Parent Information Training Centers (PITC's), a partnership between the Maryland State Department of Education and the local school systems establishing resource centers that provide parents and professionals with information, consultation, referral, training and advocacy support regarding special education services.

Personal Identification Information: information includes:

  • the name of the student, the student's parent, or other family member;
  • the address of the student;
  • a personal identifier, such as the student's social security number or student number.

Physical Therapy (PT): services provided by a physical therapist (PT) to address needs in areas of gross motor development such as strength, flexibility, motion and endurance.

Placement: determined after the IEP has been completed (and often mistakenly referred to only as the class or school facility where a student in special education goes to be educated); placement encompasses all aspects of the individualized program for a student with disabilities including: general and special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, the general educator(s), special educator, therapists, specialists and other components of the special education program. The classrooms and the school where the student is educated are just part of the placement for a student with disabilities.

Positive Behavioral Supports: interventions intended to reduce an inappropriate behavior and teach a student alternative ways to communicate needs.

Procedural Safeguards: procedures to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their parents according to the provisions in the IDEA.

Protection and Advocacy Agency (P&A): a state agency that provides legal and advocacy assistance to individuals with disabilities and their families. Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC) is the P&A agency in Maryland.

Reevaluation: when the IEP team looks at available information to determine what additional tests, observations, etc. are necessary to document continued eligibility for special education and/or related services, and to determine what constitutes an appropriate educational program for the student.

Referral: the process of requesting a screening to determine if a child should be evaluated to find out if there is a need for special education services.

Related Services: services (which are written in the IEP) that must be provided for a child who qualifies for special education in order to benefit from his/her educational program, for example, transportation, speech, occupational or physical therapy, psychological services, audiology, etc.

Residential Placement: a highly restrictive special education placement requiring 24 hours of special education intervention every day.

Screening: a review of existing information to decide if a child may have a disability and should be evaluated to determine if there is a need for special education services.

Section 504: a civil rights law from The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits any agency that receives federal money from discriminating against an individual on the basis of disability. The law requires "reasonable accommodation" of a disability, and Section 504 may be used to access special education services that a student may not necessarily qualify for under the IDEA.

Service Coordinator: also called a Case Manager, the individual selected by an early intervention team and named in the IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) to coordinate early intervention services and integrate the family into the process.

Short Term Objectives: specific, measurable steps written in the IEP and implemented to assist in achieving annual goals. Student progress in meeting the objectives should be reviewed, and progress documented and shared with parents at least as frequently as parents of nondisabled students.

Special Education: specifically designed instruction, related services, and supplementary aids and services provided for a child determined to have an educational disability under the IDEA in order to meet the student's unique educational needs.

Speech Therapy (ST): a planned program provided by a Speech and Language Therapist/Pathologist (SLP) to correct or improve problems with communication, language and/or voice disorders.

State Education Agency (SEA): responsible for monitoring local education agencies and for making sure that they follow state and federal laws. In Maryland the SEA is the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

Student with Disabilities: students who have been evaluated in accordance with County procedures and identified as having temporary or long-term special educational needs arising from:

  • cognitive factors;
  • emotional factors
  • physical factors; or
  • any combination of these;
  • their ability to meet general education objectives is impaired to a degree whereby the services available in the general education program are inadequate in preparing them to achieve their educational potential
  • included are students having
  • mental retardation;
  • hearing impairments;
  • speech disorders
  • language disorders
  • visual impairments
  • emotional disturbance;
  • other health impairments
  • orthopedic impairments
  • specific learning disabilities;
  • deaf/blindness; or
  • multiple disabilities (multihandicapped)
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