Glossary of Terms

  • Glossary of Terms
    Accommodations: Tools and procedures that provide equal access to instruction and assessment for students with disabilities. Designed to “level
    the playing field” for students with disabilities, accommodations  are generally grouped into the following categories:
    - Presentation  (e.g., repeating  directions, reading aloud, using larger bubbles on answer sheets, etc.);
    - Response  (e.g., marking answers in book, using reference aids, pointing, using a computer, etc.);
    - Timing/Scheduling (e.g., extended time, frequent breaks, etc.);
    - Setting (e.g., study carrel, special lighting, separate room, etc.).
    Adapted Physical Education (APE): A specialized physical education program for children with disabilities who may not safely or successfully participate in the regular physical education program.
    Alternative, or intervention/ prevention services): Services provided to general education students who are having difficulty in school. These services are an alternative to special education for students who are not classified as disabled or prior to a referral for a special education evaluation. Alternatives to special education may include reading and math remediation programs, guidance services and speech and language therapy that are provided within the school prior to referral for a special education evaluation.
    Annual Goals: Goals written on the IEP that describe what the child is expected to achieve in the disability related area(s) over a one-year period.
    Annual Review: A review of a disabled student’s special education services and progress that is completed at least once each school year by the student’s teacher(s) at a CSE meeting. Changes in special education services may or may not be recommended at this time.
    Articulation: A process that begins each spring to determine a student’s movement from elementary to middle or from middle to high school within the same program.
    Assessment: The process of collecting information about a student’s strengths and weaknesses to improve his or her educational program. The information collected through tests, observations and interviews will assist the team in determining the child’s levels of functioning and educational needs.
    Assistive Technology Devices and Services: An Assistive Technology Device is any piece of equipment, product or system that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability (e.g., a communication device, FM unit, computer access). An Assistive Technology Service is any service that directly helps a child with a disability select, acquire or use an assistive technology device. Any assistive technology or services your child requires must be listed in his or her IEP. If you think your child needs assistive technology, you may request an assistive technology evaluation.
    Audiological Evaluation: A specialized hearing assessment conducted to determine whether or not a student has a significant hearing loss.
    Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP): A plan to address problem behavior that includes, as appropriate, positive behavioral interventions, strategies and supports, program modifications and supplementary aids and services that may be required to address the problem behavior.
    Child Find: Ongoing activities undertaken by states and local school districts to locate, identify and evaluate all children residing in the city who are suspected of having disabilities so that a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) can be made available to all eligible children, including all children in public, private and parochial schools.
    Class Size: The maximum number of students permitted in the recommended services and/or class. This is indicated in the IEP.
    Classification: This term is taken from New York State law and refers to types of disabilities.
    Classroom Observation: The process of observing a student during the school day in the classroom and other school settings to see how learning occurs and what behaviors are exhibited.
    Commissioner’s Regulations: State Education Department guidelines based on Federal and State education laws that specify, among other things, the steps school districts must follow in the special education referral, evaluation and placement process.
    Confidentiality: The obligation of the Department of Education to maintain the student’s special education records in a manner that assures that only appropriate staff has access to the student’s IEP and records.
    Consent: Consent must be “informed,” which requires more than obtaining a parental signature. The following steps are taken for informed consent to be obtained:
    ?  You must be fully informed, in your preferred language or other mode of communication, of all information relevant to the activity for which
    consent is sought. Also, you must be notified of the records of your child that will be released and to whom they will be released. This includes providing you with information about what testing will be completed, if any, and where the testing will take place;
    ?  You must understand  and agree in writing to the activity for which consent is sought; and
    ?  You must be made aware that the consent on your part is voluntary and may be revoked at any time. However, if you revoke consent, understand that revocation is not retroactive, meaning that it does not negate an action that has occurred after you gave consent and before the consent was revoked.
    Continuum: The range of education services in the school district to support educating children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.
    Deaf-Blindness: A student with both hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with deafness or students with blindness.
    Deafness: A student with a hearing impairment that is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects the student’s educational performance.
    Declassification: A CSE determination that a student no longer needs special education services.
    Declassification Support Services: Services to support a decertified student to make the transition back to general education classes with no special education services. Declassification services may be provided for up to one year from the date of decertification and may include instructional supports and modifications, speech and language services, counseling services, etc.
    Due Process: The provision in law that guarantees and protects the rights of parents, students and the district during the referral, evaluation and placement process.
    Emotional Disturbance: A student who exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects the student’s educational performance:
    ?   An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors;
    ?   An inability to build or maintain satisfactory inter- personal relationships with peers and teachers;
    ?  Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
    ?   A generally pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
    ?   A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
    The term “emotional disturbance” includes schizophrenia. It does not apply to students who are socially maladjusted unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
    English Language Learner (ELL) (formerly students with limited English proficiency): A student who speaks a language other than English at home and scores below a state- designated level of proficiency in English upon entering the public school system.
    English as a Second Language (ESL): A teaching approach and methodology used by trained English-speaking teachers for ELLs who are acquiring English-language skills.
    Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): Special education and related services that are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge to the parent.
    Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA): A problem-solving process for addressing student problem behavior. FBA relies on a variety of techniques and strategies to identify the reasons for a specific behavior and to help CSEs select interventions that directly address the problem behavior.
    General Education Curriculum: The body of knowledge and range of skills that all students, including students with disabilities, are expected to master.
    Hearing Impairment: An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects the student’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of Deafness.
    Health Services: A type of related services provided to students who are identified as having medical and/or health needs that require the assistance of a nurse or health paraprofessional during the school day. Examples of this service may be feeding, ambulation, suctioning or catheterization.
    High School Diploma: Given to students who have successfully completed either Regents exams or competency tests and course credit requirements as prescribed by regulation.
    Home Instruction as a program recommendation on the student’s IEP: Home instruction may be recommended by the relevant CSE for students with disabilities who have a medical or psychological illness which prevents the student from attending a public or private facility for an extended period of time (i.e., one year or longer).
    Home Language Identification Survey (HLIS): A parent questionnaire to determine whether or not a language other than English is spoken in the student’s home.
    Hospital Instruction: An educational service provided on a temporary basis to students who are hospitalized for medical conditions that prevent them from attending school.
    Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA): A Federal law that gives students with disabilities the right to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment from age 3 to the year the student turns 21 years or graduates with a high school diploma.
    Interpreter/Translator: A person who speaks the parent’s preferred language/mode of communication or the child’s language and interprets meetings for the parent and/or assessments for the student.
    Language Assessment Battery-Revised (LAB-R): A test given to determine a student’s level of proficiency in English and need for bilingual ESL instructional services.
    Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): “Least Restrictive Environment” means that placement of students with disabilities in special classes, separate schools or other removal from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that even with the use of supplementary aids and services, education cannot be satisfactorily achieved.
    Limited Mobility: Students who have specific mobility impairments, whether physical or sensory, for whom the design of buildings may pose barriers and who, therefore, must be offered access to programs to the extent required by law.

    Management Needs: The amount of adult supervision and any necessary environmental modifications required to meet a student’s needs. This must be indicated in the IEP.
    Mediation: A confidential, voluntary process that allows parties to resolve disputes without a formal due process hearing. An impartial mediator helps the parties to express their views and positions and to understand the other’s views and positions. The mediator’s role is to facilitate discussion and help parties reach an agreement, not to recommend solutions or take positions or sides. If parties reach agreement, that agreement is binding and may not be appealed.
    Medical Examination: A doctor’s report on a student’s physical and medical condition that is taken into consideration during the CSE meeting.
    Modifications: Describes a change in the curriculum. While accommodations are changes in formats or procedures that enable students to participate readily rather than be limited by disabilities, modifications are more extensive changes of both difficulty level and/or content quantity. Modifications are made for students with disabilities who are unable to comprehend all of the content an instructor is teaching. For example, assignments might be reduced in number and modified significantly for an elementary school student with cognitive impairments that limit his or her ability to understand the content in the general education class in which they are included.
    Multidisciplinary Evaluation: The complete assessment of students by the evaluation team to determine if the student is disabled and requires special education services. This is also called a Multidisciplinary Assessment.
    Neurological Evaluation: A specialized assessment conducted by a neurologist to determine if the student exhibits signs of a brain dysfunction that may affect learning.
    New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT): The NYSESLAT is taken by English Language Learners (ELLs) in kindergarten through grade 12 who have been placed in ESL, bilingual or Dual Language classes. They will continue to receive ESL and bilingual services until their scores on the NYSESLAT indicate that they have gained sufficient proficiency in English to fully participate in an English-only program.
    Non-Disabled: A student who is not classified as having a disability and receives no special education services.
    Notice of Referral: A letter sent to parents in their preferred language, if known, no more than five days after the receipt of a referral.

    Other Support Services: Related services provided to students who require developmental or corrective
    assistance to be maintained in their current educational programs.
    Parent Member: A parent of a child with a disability in the school district who participates in CSE meetings and assists a parent of a child with a known or suspected disability in making educational decisions for his or her child. Parents have the right to decline participation of the Parent Member at CSE meetings.
    Psychiatric Evaluation: A specialized assessment conducted by a psychiatrist to determine a student’s ability to relate to the environment and the level to which emotional problems interfere with learning.
    Psychological Evaluation: An assessment conducted by a licensed psychologist to measure a student’s strengths and weaknesses in overall learning abilities and how he/she relates to other children and adults.
    Recommendation: A determination of the provision of special education services made at a CSE meeting.
    Reevaluation: An updated evaluation(s) for a student with a disability. A request for reevaluation can be made by the student’s teacher, parent or school district. Additionally, students with disabilities must be reevaluated once every three years, except when the district and parent agree in writing that a reevaluation is not necessary. A reevaluation may not be conducted more than once a year unless the school and the parent agree otherwise.
    Referral: A referral begins the evaluation and placement process to determine whether the student has a disability and requires special education services.
    Related Services: Services that may be given to special education students to help support and assist their participation in their school program. These services must be recommended on the IEP and are provided either individually or in groups of no more than five. Services include: counseling, school health services, hearing education services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/ language therapy, vision education services, orientation and mobility services and “other support” services.
    Requested Review: A CSE meeting to review the child’s IEP to determine if it continues to meet his or her needs. This review may be requested at any time by a parent, a teacher or other school staff member.
    Social History: An interview with parents concerning a student’s health, family and school background, including social relationships, that is used as part of a student’s evaluation.
    Special Class: Special Class Services are services provided for children with disabilities in a self-contained classroom. They serve children whose needs cannot be met within the general education classroom, even with the use of supplementary aids and services. Classes may contain students with the same disability or with different disabilities as long as they have similar levels of academic and learning characteristics, levels of social development, levels of physical development and management needs.
    Special classes offer different levels of staffing intensity depending upon the student’s academic and/or management needs.
    Specially Designed Instruction: Ways that special education professionals adapt the content, methodology (approaches to teaching certain grade-level content), or the delivery of instruction
    to address the unique needs that result from the child’s disability. Specially designed instruction should also ensure that the eligible child has access to the general curriculum so that he or she can meet the educational standards of the school district that apply to all children.
    Speech or Language Impairment: A student with a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment or a voice impairment, that adversely affects the student’s educational performance.
    Transition Services: A coordinated set of activities that:
    ?  Improves the academic and functional skills of the student in order to facilitate the student’s movement from school to post-school activities such as post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation;
    ?  Is based on the individual student’s needs, taking into account his or her strengths, preferences and interests, and includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives and, when appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
    Transitional Support Services: Transitional support services, such as consultation and/or training, may be provided to staff (generally for 30 days) who work with children with disabilities as they move into less restrictive settings. Although transitional support services are provided to teachers, the benefit extends to the child with a disability.
    Travel Training: A service that teaches high school-aged students to travel to and from school or to and from the work-study site safely and independently.
    Twelve-Month School Year Services (also known as extended school year services): Twelve-Month School Year Services are provided to students with severe disabilities who require the continuity of education in order to prevent substantial regression in their developmental levels during July and August. This must be recommended by the CSE and indicated on the IEP. Parents must consent to extended school year services.
    Vocational Assessment: Tests for secondary students to measure their interest and abilities in job-related areas. This assessment helps the CSE, the parent and the student to plan for the student’s transition from school to post-school activities, including future career and job possibilities.
    Work-Study: Opportunities for secondary students to participate in educational, vocational and work-related experiences in preparation for the adult world.