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Commonly Used Terms Special Education

  • Accommodations: Techniques and materials that don’t change the basic curriculum but do make learning a little easier or help kids communicate what they know

    Achievement Tests: Measures of acquired knowledge in academic skills, such as reading, math, writing, and science

    Assessment: Process of identifying strengths and needs to assist in educational planning; includes observation, record review, interviews, and tests.

    Collaboration: Working in partnership on behalf of a child, e.g., parent and teacher, or special education teacher and general education teacher.

    Discrepancy: Difference between 2 tests, such as between measures of a child’s intellectual ability and his academic achievement

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Federal law that provides for special education and related services to eligible children with disabilities

    Individualized Education Program (IEP): Written plan to meet the unique educational needs of a child with a disability who requires special education services

    Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): Educational instruction in a place that encourages maximum interaction between disabled and nondisabled kids and is appropriate for both. This decision is based on the child’s individual needs.

    Learning Disability (LD): A neurobiological disorder which affects the way a person of average to above average intelligence receives, processes, or expresses information. LD affects one’s ability to learn the basic skills of reading, writing, or math.

    Modification: Modifications are changes in the delivery, content, or instructional level of a subject or test. They result in changed or lowered expectations and create a different standard for kids with disabilities than for those without disabilities.

    Multidisciplinary Team: Professionals with different training and expertise may include, but not limited to, any combination of the following public school personnel — general education teacher, special education teacher, administrator, school psychologist, social worker, learning disabilities teacher consultant, speech and language therapist, counselor — and the parent.

    Procedural Safeguards: Legal requirements that ensure parents and children will be treated fairly and equally in the decision-making process about special education

    Referral: Written request for assessment to see if the child is a “child with a disability” who needs special education and related services to benefit from her general education program

    Special Education: Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of eligible kids whose educational needs can’t be met through modification of the regular instructional program; provides for a range of options for services, such as pull out programs, special day classes; available to kids enrolled in public schools

    Transition: Process of preparing kids to function in future environments and emphasizing movement from one educational program to another, such as from elementary school to middle school, or from school to work