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Special Education » Special Education Terminology

Special Education Terminology

The following is a list of terms used in specialized areas, such as education, psychology, and medicine. The definitions of these words are helpful to parents when reading reports, attending meetings, conferences, and/or talking with specialists who work with their child.

Academic - Refers to subjects such as reading, writing, math, social studies, and

Access - (1) The right to enter, get near, or make use of something or to have contact
with someone. For example, a child with a disability may need transportation to access
his special education program. (2) A personal inspection and review of a record, an
accurate copy of a record, an oral description or communication of a record, or a
request to release a copy of an educational record.

Accommodations - Changes in format, response, setting, timing or scheduling that do
not alter in any significant way what a test measures or the comparability of scores.
Adapted Physical Education (APE) - A related service for students with disabilities
require developmental or corrective instruction in the area of physical education.
Adaptive Behavior - The ability of an individual to meet the standards of personal
independence as well as social responsibility appropriate for his or her chronological
age and cultural group.

Administrative Unit (AU) - (same as Responsible Local Agency) A district, county
office, or agency identified in a SELPA local plan as having, among other duties, the
responsibility to receive and distribute funds in support of the local plan.
Advocate - A person who represents and provides support to children with disabilities
and/or their parents.

Age of Majority - Age 18, the age at which special education parental rights and
procedural safeguards transfer from the parent to their child with a disability unless
conservatorship is made. This must be addressed by the IEP team prior to age 18.
Alternate Assessment - A test designed for the small number of students with severe
disabilities who cannot participate in the regular state standardized testing and reporting
system. It is a means of including students with the most significant disabilities in the
state’s assessment and accountability program.

Alternate Curriculum - The curriculum used for students with more significant
disabilities to access the core areas of the California State Standards.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) - An informal and FREE method of settling
concerns or disagreements between a parent and a LEA. It is a process that
encourages all parties to problem-solve and reach a mutually beneficial agreement
through strategies such as professional development, parent training, facilitated IEP
meetings, resolution sessions, and mediation meetings.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - This act prohibits discrimination of individuals
based on disability.
Annual Review - A scheduled meeting of the IEP team on at least an annual basis to
review, revise, and update the IEP.

Appeal - An integral part of the due process and complaint procedures. If the party
filing a complaint disagrees with the findings, the party may give input at the local board
presentation of findings or request review of the findings by the State Superintendent of
Instruction. A parent or LEA that disagrees with a due process decision may appeal
that decision through the court of appropriate jurisdiction.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) - Application of learning principles derived from
operant conditioning used to increase or decrease specific behaviors.

Aptitude Test - A test which measures someone’s capacity, capability, or talent for
learning something.

Assessment/Evaluation - Assessment encompasses all those functions in the testing
and diagnostic process. It may include observation, interviews and testing methods to
identify if a child has a disability, the severity of that condition, and the child’s
educational needs based on his or her learning profile.

Assistive Technology - The term "assistive technology device" means any item, piece
of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified,
or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a
child with a disability. The term "assistive technology service" means any service that
directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive
technology device.

At-risk - An infant, child, or youth who has a high probability of exhibiting delays in
development or of developing a disability.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - A disorder characterized by
symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Attention Span - The extent to which a person can concentrate on a single task
(sometimes measured in length of time).

Audiologist - A professional who studies the science of hearing and provides education
and treatment for persons with hearing loss.

Auditory Perception - How a person perceives or hears specific sounds.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - A developmental disorder characterized by
abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication; restricted
repertoire of activities and interests; and/or repetitive patterns of behavior.

Behavior Intervention Services - A systematic implementation of procedures
designed to promote lasting, positive changes in the student's behavior in the least
restrictive environment; may include an individualized plan to address behaviors that
impede a student’s learning or the learning of others and describes positive changes to
the environment, supports, instructional materials and strategies to be used to promote
alternative replacement behaviors that support classroom success.

Blind - An impairment in which an individual may have some light or form perception or
be totally without sight; When a child relies basically on senses other than vision as a
major channel for learning.

Braille - A communication system utilizing raised presentation of written materials for
tactual interpretation; frequently used by individuals who are blind.

California Children’s Services (CCS) - Agency which provides medically necessary
physical and occupational therapy for students eligibly under CCS criteria.

California Code of Regulations (CCR) - Contains administrative regulations for the
application of Education Code.

California Department of Education (CDE) - State agency responsible for educational
policies and procedures required by legislation.

CALPADS (California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System) - The
foundation of California's K–12 education data system that allows for tracking a
student's academic performance over time.

Child Find - A federal mandate, this is the means to locate and refer all individuals who
might require special education.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) - Contains administrative regulations for the
application of federal laws such as the IDEA.

Cognitive Operations (Skills) - Processes involved in thinking, knowing; analytical or
1. Cognition – comprehension
2. Memory – retention and recall of information
3. Convergent thinking – bringing together of known facts
4. Divergent thinking – use of knowledge in new ways (creative thinking)
5. Evaluation – critical thinking

Cognitive Skills - The act or process of knowing; analytical or logical thinking.

Community Advisory Committee (CAC) - A committee of parents and guardians,
including parents or guardians of individuals with exceptional needs, and
representatives from schools and community agencies, which has been established to
advise the SELPA regarding the development and review of programs under the
comprehensive Local Plan.

Community Based Instruction (CBI) - A strategy for teaching functional skills in the
environment in which they would naturally occur.

Compliance Complaint - An alleged violation by a public agency of any federal or state
law or regulation; Typically filed with the CDE by a person who thinks that a special
education law has been violated (e.g., failure to implement a service as specified in an

Confidentiality - Assurance that no information contained in school records be
released without parental permission, except as provided by law.

Consent - Permission from the parent/student or a student eighteen years or older as
required by law for assessment, release of records, and implementation of a special
education program developed by an IEP team.

Core Curriculum - The LEA-defined curriculum. The core curriculum is the range of
knowledge and skills which are included in the LEA-adopted course of study and which
must be learned for successful grade promotion and graduation. IEP goals and
objectives should reflect knowledge and implementation of the LEA’s core curriculum as
adapted for the student with disabilities.

Counseling and Guidance - Counseling in a group setting, provided by a qualified
individual pursuant to an IEP.

Criterion-Referenced Testing (or measurements) - Measures individual performance
compared to an acceptable standard (criterion) – such as “can correctly name letters of
the alphabet” – not to the performance of others as in norm-referenced testing.

Curriculum-based Measurement - Evaluation techniques for monitoring student
progress in core academic areas such as reading, writing and math.

Day Treatment - Day Treatment and Day Rehabilitation may be provided by a schoolbased program or by a non-public school program. Services include assessment, plan development, therapy, rehabilitation, and educationally-related services.

Deaf - When a student has a hearing loss so severe that it inhibits language processing
and affects educational performance.

Deaf Blind - When a student has a hearing loss and visual impairment which causes
severe communication, developmental, and educational problems.

Disability - An inability or incapacity to perform a task or activity in a normative fashion.

Discrepancy - In regard to learning disabilities, the difference between the student’s
actual academic performance and his or her estimated ability.

Disproportionality - Refers to being out of proportion. Disproportionate representation
is the determination that students in special education are over - or under-represented
based on race/ethnicity overall or by disability.

Due Process - Procedural safeguards to ensure the protection of the rights of the
parent / guardian and the student with a disability under IDEA and related state and
federal laws and regulations.

English Language Development (ELD) - A separate core content instructional area for
English Learners (EL) to accelerate their English proficiency by promoting the effective
and efficient acquisition of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills of the EL
student. ELD instruction is the direct, systematic, explicit development of vocabulary,
grammar, comprehension and expression in both oral and written domains of English
using curricula and instructional methods appropriate for second language learners. It
is provided during the regular day, based on the ELD state adopted standards, and
differentiated for the English proficiency level of each EL until the student is reclassified.
All ELs, including those receiving special education services, must receive ELD
instruction appropriate to their proficiency level, consistent with the LEA’s instructional
plan for teaching ELD, and from a teacher authorized to provide such instruction.

Emotional Disturbance - Because of serious emotional disturbance a student exhibits
one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked
degree, which adversely affects educational placement:
1. An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health
2. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers
and teachers
3. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances exhibits
in several situations
4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or
school problems

Early Childhood Education (ECE) - Early identification and special education services
provided to children ages 3-5.

Evaluation - Procedures used by qualified personnel to determine whether a child has
a disability and the nature and extent of the special education and/or related services
that the child needs.

Expressive Language Skills - Skills required to produce language for communicating
with other people. Speaking and writing are expressive language skills.

Extended School Year (ESY) - The term means the period of time between the close
of one academic year and the beginning of the succeeding academic year. An
extended year program shall be provided for a minimum of 20 instructional days,
including holidays. Schools must provide extended year services to individuals with
disabilities based on regression and recoupment data. Whether or not an individual is
entitled to extended school year services is determined by the IEP team.

Facilitated IEP - A facilitated IEP is an Alternative Dispute Resolution process. A
facilitated IEP is developed by a collaborative team whose members share
responsibility for the meeting process and results. Decision making is managed through
the use of essential facilitation skills.

Focused Monitoring Technical Assistance (FMTA) – The CDE Special Education
Division assigns consultants to provide FMTA activities for their assigned counties,
districts and SELPAs. The consultants provide information and facilitate access to
technical assistance related to program monitoring and program implementation.

Fine-Motor Coordination - Pertains to usage of small muscle groups (writing, cutting).

Formal Assessment - Using published, standardized tests usually for measuring
characteristics, such as “intelligence” or “achievement;” tests which have a standard set
of directions for their use and interpretation.

Foster Family - Education Code 56155 (b): A family residence that is licensed by the
state or other public agency having delegated authority by contract with the state to
license, to provide 24-hour non-medical care, and supervision for not more than six
foster children, including, but not limited to, individuals with exceptional needs.

Foster Family Home (FFH) - A family residence that is licensed by the state to provide
for 24 hour non-medical care and supervision of not more than six foster children,
including, but not limited to students with disabilities.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) - A special education program and/or
related service(s) as determined on an individual basis which meets the unique needs
of each child with a disability at no charge to the parent. Such an educational program
and related service(s) are based on goals and objectives as specified in an IEP and
determined through the process of assessment and IEP planning in compliance with
state and federal laws and regulations.

Functional Academics - The application of life skills as a means for teaching academic
tasks; this is the core of many instructional programs for students with more significant

Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) - A functional behavioral assessment may
be conducted for any student identified as having a behavior problem serious enough to
impact the learning of the child him/herself or others.

Grade Equivalent - The score a student obtains on an achievement test, translated into
a standard score which allows the individual student’s score to be compared to the
typical score for students in his or her grade level. A “grade equivalent” score of 6.0
means the score that the average beginning sixth grader makes; a “grade equivalent”
score of 6.3 means the score that the average student who has been in sixth grade for
three months makes.

Gross-Motor Coordination - Pertains to usage of large muscle groups (jumping,
1. Bilateral – Ability to move both sides of the body at the same time (jumping).
2. Unilateral – Ability to move one side of the body without moving the other
3. Cross lateral (cross pattern) – Ability to move different parts of the opposite sides
of the body together or in different sequences (e.g., skipping, which is a highly
integrated movement).

Hard of Hearing - When a student has a hearing impairment, whether permanent or
fluctuating, which impairs processing speech and language reception and discrimination
through hearing, even with amplification, and which adversely affects educational

Individual Counseling - One-to-one counseling, provided by a qualified individual
pursuant to an IEP.

Inclusion – Inclusion is a philosophy and/or practice focused on educating each child
with a disability to the maximum extent appropriate, in the school and/or classroom he
or she would otherwise attend if he or she did not have a disability. It involves bringing
the support services to the child (rather than moving the child to the services).

Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) – An evaluation conducted by a qualified

Individual Services Plan (ISP) – Plan that describes the special education and/or
related services that an LEA will provide to an eligible student who is voluntarily enrolled
by his/her parent(s) in a private school setting.

Individual Transition Plan (ITP) – Plan included in a student’s IEP beginning at age 16
or younger, that addresses transition needs and interagency responsibilities or linkages
that are needed for the student to successfully transition from school to adult life.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) - The Federal
legislation that created amendments to PL 94-42, including the title of the act.

Individuals with Exceptional Needs (IWEN) - A student with a disability whose
educational needs cannot be met by modifications of the regular school program and
who requires special instruction and/or related services. Excluded are children whose
needs are solely or primarily due to the unfamiliarity with the English language or to
cultural differences.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) - The IEP is a written educational plan for
each special education student that includes instructional goals and objectives based
upon the educational needs specified and developed by the IEP team.

Individualized Education Program Team (IEPT) - Comprised of multidisciplinary staff
which includes the surrogate parent and open to any other persons charged with care
and education of wards of the court and dependents in each local educational agency.
The team is responsible for determining special education eligibility for individuals
referred to special education services and appropriate educational program goals.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) - A written plan for providing early
intervention services to an eligible child from birth to three years of age. The plan must
be developed jointly by the family and appropriately qualified personnel involved in the
early intervention. The plan must be based on the multidisciplinary evaluation and
assessment of the child and include the services necessary to enhance the
development of the child and family’s capacity to meet the child’s special needs.

Informal Assessment - Using procedures such as classroom observations,
interviewing, or teacher-made tests which have not usually been tried out with large
groups of people, and which do not necessarily have a standard set of instructions for
their use and interpretation.

Informed Consent - In accordance with 34 Code of Federal Regulations and Education
Code, informed consent occurs when: (1) The parent has been fully informed of all
information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought, in his/her primary
language or other mode of communication; (2) The parent understands and agrees in
writing to the carrying out of the activity for which his/her part and may be revoked at
any time.

Intellectual Disability - A student who has significantly below average general
intellectual functioning and deficits in adaptive behavior, which manifested during the
developmental period, and adversely affects the student’s educational performance.

Intelligence Test - A standardized series of questions and/or tasks designed to
measure mental abilities – how a person thinks, reasons, solves problems, remembers,
and learns new information. Many intelligence tests rely heavily on the understanding
of spoken language. Intelligence tests are given under controlled conditions involving
standard instructions and time limits.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) - The score obtained on a test of mental ability; it is usually
found by relating a person’s test score to his or her age.

Interpreter - A professional who signs, gestures, and/or fingerspells a speaker’s
message as it is spoken to enable individuals who are hearing impaired to understand
spoken language, and who speaks for a person using sign language to be heard.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) - The concept that each child with a disability is
to be provided opportunities to be educated with nondisabled peers and in a setting
which promotes interaction with the general school population and classmates who are
typically developing to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of both. LRE is
determined by the IEP team on an individual student basis.

Licensed Children’s Institute (LCI) aka Group Home - A facility of any capacity which
provides 24-hour non-medical care and supervision to children in a structured
environment, with such services provided at least in part by staff employed by the
licensed agency.

Local Educational Agency (LEA) - A school district, SELPA approved LEA charter
school, or county office of education that provides education services.

Local Plan - The state required plan (EC 56170) that designates how the local
educational agencies of the special education local plan area will meet both state and
federal requirements for educating individuals with exceptional needs who reside in the
geographical area served by the plan. The Local Plan must include the governance
structure, administrative support, and agency responsibilities.

Long-Range Goals - Global and general “aims statements” which describe what needs
to be learned by the student.

Low Incidence Disability - A severe disability with an expected incidence rate of less
than 1 percent of the total K-12 statewide enrollment; includes hearing impairments,
visual impairments, and severe orthopedic impairments (EC 56026.5).

Mainstreaming - Refers to the selective placement of students with disabilities in one
or more general education classes and or extra-curricular activities.

Manifestation Determination - The determination made any time a disciplinary action
is taken that involves a removal of student with a disability that constitutes a change in
placement. A review must be conducted of the relationship between the child’s
disability and the behavior subject to the action.

Mediation - A conflict resolution process that can be used to resolve special education
issues. Mediation is entered into prior to holding a due process hearing as an
intervening, informal process conducted in a non-adversarial atmosphere that allows the
parties to create their own solutions rather than having one imposed upon them through
the judicial process.

Medical Therapy Unit (MTU) - Space provided by LEAs for the provision of medically
necessary occupational and physical therapy provided by CCS therapists.

Modality - A way of acquiring sensation; visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, olfactory,
and gustatory are the common sense modalities.

Modifications - Changes that alter what curriculum is covered and/or what a test is
supposed to measure or the comparability of scores.

Multidisciplinary Team - A group of professionals from different disciplines who
function as a team but perform their roles independently of one another.

Multi-Handicapped - Students with a combination of disabilities (such as intellectual
disability and deafness) which causes severe educational problems. Deaf-blind is not
included in this category.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support - MTSS is defined as a coherent continuum of
evidence based, system-wide practices to support a rapid response to academic and
behavioral needs, with frequent data‐based monitoring for instructional decision‐making
to empower each student to achieve high standards.

Non-Discriminatory Assessment - Assessment tools and methods which are “fair” to
the student in the sense that they are given in the child’s native language; given and
interpreted with reference to the child’s age and socioeconomic and cultural
background; given by trained persons; appropriate even if the child has a physical,
mental, speech, or sensory disability. Because some tests used in schools often do
discriminate against certain students (e.g., by asking questions that relate to the
experiences of white, middle-class, English-speaking persons), the term culturally
appropriate assessment has come into use to emphasize that assessment must be fair
to students of other language and cultural backgrounds.

Non-Public Agency (NPA) - A private, nonsectarian establishment certified by the CDE
that provides contracted, related services to students with disabilities.

Non-Public School (NPS) - A private, nonsectarian school certified by the CDE that
enrolls students with disabilities pursuant to an IEP.

Norms - Information, provided by the test-maker, about “normal” or typical performance
on the test. Individual test scores can be compared to the typical score made by other
persons in the same age group or grade level.

Occupational Therapist - Trained in helping pupils develop daily living skills (e.g., selfcare, prevocational skills, etc.)

Occupational Therapy (OT) - Treatment provided by a therapist trained in helping a
student develop daily living skills (e.g., handwriting, self-care, prevocational skills, etc.)
Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) - The agency that handles due process
hearings and conducts mediations when there is a dispute between districts and

Office of Civil Rights (OCR) - Agency that ensure equip opportunity and accessibility
for users of programs and services that receive federal funding.

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) - A component of the Office of Special
Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education.
OSEP focuses on the free appropriate public education of children and youth with
disabilities from birth through age 21.

Orientation and Mobility - Services provided by qualified personnel to teach students
with a visual impairment systematic techniques for planning routes and movements
from place to place in the school, home, and/or community.

Orthopedically Impaired - A severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a
child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital
anomaly, impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and
impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or
burns that cause contractures).

Other Health Impaired - A pupil has limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a
heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, due to chronic or acute health problems
such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis,
rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and which adversely
affects a child’s educational performance.

Parent - Means a biological or adoptive parent unless the biological or adoptive parent
does not have legal authority to make educational decisions for the child, a guardian
generally authorized to act as the child’s parent or authorized to make educational
decisions for the child, an individual acting in the place of a biological or adoptive
parent, including a grandparent, stepparent, or other relative with whom the child lives,
or an individual who is legally responsible for the child’s welfare, a surrogate parent, a
foster parent if the authority of the biological or adoptive parent to make educational
decisions on the child’s behalf has been specifically limited by court order.

Parent Counseling - Individual or group counseling provided by a qualified individual
pursuant to an IEP to assist the parents of special education students in better
understanding and meeting their child's needs.

Prior Written Notice (PWN) - A written notice that must be given to the parents of a
child with a disability a reasonable time before a LEA (a) Proposes to initiate or change
the identification, evaluation or educational placement of the child or the provision of
FAPE to the child; or (b) Refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or
educational placement of a child or the provision of FAPE to the child.

Procedural Safeguards - Also known as Parent Rights; Procedural safeguards must
be given to the parents of a child with a disability at a minimum (a) Upon initial referral
for evaluation; (b) Upon each notification of an IEP meeting; (c) Upon reevaluation of a
child; and (d) Upon receipt of a request for due process.

Proficiency Level Descriptors (PLDs) - The stages of English language development
that English learners are expected to progress through as they gain increasing
proficiency in English as a new language. The PLDs describe student knowledge, skills,
and abilities across a continuum, identifying what ELs know and can do at early stages
and at exit from each of three proficiency levels: Emerging, Expanding and Bridging.

Program Specialist (PS) - A specialist who holds a valid special education credential
and has advanced training and related experience in the duration of students with

Psychological Services - Services provided by a credentialed or licensed psychologist
pursuant to an IEP. Services include obtaining and interpreting information about child
behaviors and conditions related to learning, planning programs of individual and group
counseling and guidance services for children and parents.

Reading Comprehension - The ability to understand what one has read.

Receptive Language - Receiving and understanding spoken or written communication.
The receptive language skills are listening and reading.

Referral - The process of requesting an evaluation for a student who is suspected of
having a disability. A referral is official and must be in written form. Once it is made,
time lines and procedural safeguards ensue.

Related Services - Related services means transportation and such developmental,
corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a
disability to benefit from special education; can include speech pathology and
audiology, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, early
identification, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. The term
also includes school health services, social work services in schools, and parent
counseling and training.

Reliability - The extent to which a test provides precise or accurate measures.

Residential Treatment Services - A 24-hour out-of-home placement that provides
intensive therapeutic services to support the educational program.

Resolution Meeting - A structured meeting lead by the facilitator with the primary goal
of clarifying issues, determining if solutions can be achieved, and designate the issues
for hearing or complaint if no agreement to solutions can be achieved.

Response to Instruction (RTI) - Interventions that include screening, observing,
intervening, and tracking progress over time (progress monitoring).

Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2) - Is defined as a general education
approach of high quality instruction, early intervention and prevention, incorporating
academic and behavioral strategies.

Scaled Scores - The translation of “raw scores” (total points earned on a test) into a
score which has similar meaning across age levels.

School Psychologist - A person trained to give psychological tests, interpret results,
and suggest appropriate educational approaches to learning or behavioral problems.

Search and Serve - All schools are required to have procedures in place for identifying
children who have or are suspected of having a disability and needing special education
and related services. These procedures are commonly referred to as “search and
serve” or “child find.” The school’s responsibilities for search and serve apply to the
families and students attending and enrolling in the school. The District also has
responsibilities for search and serve activities directed at the families of children below
school age and students in private schools.

Section 504 - A component of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is a civil rights law that
prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities, public and
private that receive federal financial assistance. Any person is protected who (1) has a
physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
(2) has a record of such impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such impairment.
Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning,
working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks.

Self-concept - A person’s idea of himself or herself.

Self-help - Refers to feeding, dressing, and other activities necessary for functioning as
independently as possible in a family, in school, and in the community.

Service Provider - Refers to any person or agency providing some type of service to
children and/or their families.

Severely Handicapped (SH) - Students who require intensive instruction and training
(e.g., multi-handicapped, intellectually disabled, autistic, or emotionally disturbed).

Significant Disproportionality - Is the determination that a LEA has significant
overrepresentation based on race and ethnicity overall, by disability, by placement
inparticular educational settings, or by disciplinary actions.

Social Skills Training - Using direct instruction to teach students appropriate social
behaviors that increase the individual’s social competency and acceptance.

Social Work Services - Provided pursuant to an IEP by a qualified individual and
include such services as preparing a social or developmental history of a child with a
disability; group and individual counseling with the child and family; working with those
problems in a child's living situation (home, school, and community) that affect the
child's adjustment in school; mobilizing school and community resources to enable the
child to learn as effectively as possible in his or her educational program; and assisting
parents in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies.

Special Day Class (SDC) - A separate classroom that provides intensive instruction for
students with disabilities who require special education instruction for more than 50% of
the school day.

Special Education - Specifically designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the
unique needs of a child with a disability.

Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) - Individual district, group of districts, or
districts and County Office of Education, which forms a consortium to ensure that a full
continuum of special education services is available to all eligible students within its

Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI) - Adapting, as appropriate to the needs of the
child with a disability, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to ensure
access of the child to the general curriculum, so that he or she can meet the educational
standards that apply to all children.

Specialized Physical Health Care Services - Health services prescribed by the child’s
licensed physician and/or surgeon which are necessary during the school day to enable
the child to attend school and are written into the IEP. Designated providers must be
appropriately trained and supervised as defined in Education Code

Specific Learning Disability - Means a disorder in one or more of the basic
psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or
written, that may have manifested itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak,
read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. The basic psychological processes
include attention, visual processing, auditory processing, sensory-motor skills, cognitive
abilities including association, conceptualization and expression.

Speech Language Impairment - When a student has a language or speech disorder
that meets one or more of the following: articulation disorder, abnormal voice, fluency
disorder, language disorder (receptive or expressive).

State Operated Programs (SOP) - Special schools operated by the California
Department of Education for the education of students with disabilities, including
individual assessment services and the development of IEPs for students who are deaf
and/or blind.

State Performance Plan Indicators (SPPI) - Measures of educational benefit
developed by the CDE Special Education Division for students with disabilities enrolled
in California public schools.

“Stay Put” - During the pendency of a hearing a child with a disability must remain in
his or her current educational placement unless the parents of the child agree

Student Study Team (SST) - A team of educational personnel including classroom
teachers who are responsible for developing modifications to the regular program and
providing appropriate learning environments for students who may be exhibiting school
related problems. Through combining knowledge and brain storming efforts, the SST
may generate solutions that enable a student to remain in general education rather than
be referred for special education.

Supplementary Aids and Services - Aids, services and other supports that are provided
in general education classes or other education-related settings to enable children with
disabilities to be educated with typically developing peers to the maximum extent
appropriate. These aids and services must be noted on the IEP.

Surrogate Parent - A person appointed by the SELPA who acts as a child’s parent for
the purpose of the IEP process to ensure the rights of an individual with exceptional
needs when no parent can be identified or located, or the child is a ward of the state
and the parents do not retain educational rights for the child.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external
physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial
impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Traumatic
brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or
more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract
thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities;
psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech.
Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or
degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

Transition - Transition services are a coordinated set of activities for a student,
designed within an outcome-oriented process, which promotes movement from school
to post-school activities. The coordinated set of activities is based upon the individual
student’s needs, preference and interests. The process begins at 16 years or younger
and includes the student, family, education personnel, and vocational and adult service

Triennial Assessment - Every student with a disability eligible for special education
services shall have a complete reassessment at least every three years.

Unilateral Placement - When a parent removes their child from a public educational
placement into a private placement outside the IEP process.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) - UDL focuses on planning instruction in such a
way to meet the varied needs of students at the point of first best instruction, thereby
reducing the amount of follow-up and alternative instruction necessary.

Validity - The extent to which a test really measures what it is intended to measure.

Visual Discrimination - Using the eyes to discriminate letters and words.

Visually Impaired (VI) - Students who are blind or who have partial sight and who, as a
result, experience lowered educational performance.

Visual-Motor - The ability to relate vision with movements of the body or parts of the

Visual Perception - The identification, organization, and interpretation of data received
through the eye.