Special Education Terms

A Guide to Commonly Used /Acronyms

Americans with Disabilities Act “ADA”: The Federal law which prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals.

Child Find: Child Find is a component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that requires states to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities, aged birth to 21, who are in need of early intervention or special education accommodations.

Due Process Hearing
:  A hearing presided over by a hearing officer which is governed by administrative law. It is one of the remedies available to parents and school districts to resolve special education disagreements.

Free and appropriate public education “FAPE”:  The special education and related services necessary to provide a student with access to an education and which must be provided at no charge to the student.

Inclusion: The practice of educating all children in the same classroom and adding the services necessary to support successfully including disabled students.

Individualized Educational Program “IEP”: A written document that contains the agreed upon educational program and related services for a disabled students.

Individuals with Disabilities Act “IDEA”: The current federal special education legislation.

Independent Educational Evaluation “IEE”: An evaluation of a student for special education which is conducted by someone not employed by the school district.

Learning disorder:  A condition impacting a student’s ability to learn.

Least restrictive environment “LRE”: Placing a student, to the maximum extent possible in the situation, in school settings with non-disabled students.

Mainstreaming:  The educational practice of placing disabled students in classroom settings with non-disabled students for at least a portion of their school day.

Psychoeducational Evaluation:  A comprehension assessment of a student’s functioning in three primary areas that impact learning and academic functioning: learning aptitude, basic academic skill development, and personality/adjustment factors.

Related services
:  A variety of services that may be necessary for a disabled students to benefit from their educational program.

Resource Specialist Program “RSP”: This is a form of special education typically offered to students with mild to moderate learning disabilities to assist them in gaining access to the core curriculum.

Section 504 “504”: A federal law prohibiting discrimination against disabled students.

Unique needs: The specific educational needs of a child that must be addressed in the IEP.