Glossary of Terms and Acronyms


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Apraxia in children refers to a motor speech disorder. In childhood apraxia of speech, children have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.

Adaptive behavior means the effectiveness with which an individual copes with, or manages, the natural and social demands of his or her environment. Adaptive skills include, but are not limited to, self-help skills, such as feeding, dressing and toileting.

Affective or Affect refers to that which relates to, arises from, or influences feelings, or the expression of emotion.

Annual goals are a required component of an Individualized Educational Program or IEP. Goals are written for the individual student and can be for a maximum of one year. Annual goals are developed sequentially with each new goal building on the previous one.

Annual review means an evaluation, conducted at least annually by the Committee on Special Education or the Committee on Preschool Special Education of the status of each student with a disability and each student thought to have a disability, who resides within the school district. This evaluation is for the purpose of recommending the continuation, modification, or termination of special education services to the Board of Education. This meeting will address whether or not the annual goals for the student have been achieved.

Aphasia refers to a language disorder typically resulting from a brain injury. This impairment can affect expressive and receptive language, articulation, fluency, and reading and writing skills.

Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA refers to a research based teaching strategy which utilizes the principles from the field of Operant Conditioning, particularly the principle of positive reinforcement.

Articulation delay or disorder refers to the consistent mispronunciation or misproduction of speech sounds that make it difficult for an individual to be understood. Errors in production may include substitutions, additions, omissions, and distortions.

Asperger’s Syndrome or AS is considered part of the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders or PDD. Individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome usually don’t show any signs of major cognitive difficulties (ex: their IQ’s fall in the normal or even superior range) and they exhibit few, if any, delays in speaking. These individuals also generally hit most of their developmental milestones within reasonable time periods. Because of this, some describe children with this condition as “high-functioning” or as having a “mild” form of Autism, at least compared to others on the Pervasive Developmental Disorders or PDD spectrum. Those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome may seem just like other children, but not quite, since they are usually socially awkward in a manner that’s not easily understood.

Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop an understanding of what an individual knows, understands and can do with knowledge gained as a result of his or her experiences. The goal of an assessment is to use the results to improve subsequent learning.

Assistive technology devices are any items, pieces of equipment, or product systems, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that are used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a student with a disability.

Assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a student with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. The term includes an evaluation of the needs of a student with a disability, a functional evaluation of the student in the student’s customary environment, and training or technical assistance for a student with a disability or, if appropriate, that student’s family.

Audiologist refers to a hearing-care professional who specializes in the prevention, identification, and assessment of hearing loss, hearing impairment and other related disorders. Audiologists provide treatment, rehabilitative services, and assistive devices.

Auditory refers to that which is related to the process of hearing.

Augmentative Communication Devices or ACD’s refers to those tools that aid children or individuals with special needs to communicate which, in turn, not only enhances their ability to participate and learn, but increases independence as well.

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. It is part of a category of disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders or PDD. Sometimes, people may make reference to Autism as an Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with Autism. The cause of Autism remains unknown. Autism is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than one single symptom. The main characteristics are impairments in social interaction and communication. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.

Autism and Behavioral Services are intervention services designed to strengthen developmental skills and decrease severely challenging behaviors. Such interventions, as in Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA, identify the specific behaviors to change, identify environmental events that may currently be supporting or failing to support those behaviors, and then arrange antecedents and consequences in ways that help achieve the desired behavior change.

Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD’s refer to Autism, along with related, but slightly different, disorders of Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified or PDD-NOS.

Autonomic function refers to that which is independent or self-controlling. For example, some autonomic functions include, but are not limited to heart rate, digestion, respiration rate, salivation, and perspiration. Whereas most of its actions are involuntary, some, such as breathing, work in tandem with the conscious mind.

Behavioral Intervention Plan or BIP is based on the results of a functional behavioral assessment or FBA. It includes a description of the problem behavior, global and specific hypotheses as to why the problem behavior occurs, and intervention strategies that outline how to understand, prevent, replace, and manage problem behaviors. A Behavioral Intervention Plan should include an operational definition of the behavior and be consistent with the principles and fundamentals of behavior. It should be a good fit for the values of those involved and the setting, and effectively change the student’s behavior and those working with the child. A BIP is a professional and legal document.

Behavior Management refers to developing, strengthening, maintaining, decreasing or eliminating behaviors in a planned or systematic way.

Bilingual education involves an educational program in which two languages are used to provide content matter instruction. Bilingual education programs vary in their length of time, and in the amount that each language is used.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder or CDD is a rare condition that is part of the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders or PDD. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder or CDD is characterized by late onset, usually greater than 3 years of age, and is marked by delays in language, social and emotional development, and motor skills. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder or CDD has some similarity to Autism, but an apparent period of fairly normal development is often exhibited before a regression in skills or a series of regressions in skills.

Classroom readiness skills include the ability to use functional communication to express wants and needs and follow classroom routines. Also, the ability to work independently, transition between activities, follow multiple step directions, observe and imitate peers, participate in small group instruction and follow directions when presented in a group are all part of classroom readiness.

Cognitive development or Cognition refers to learning and thinking skills. It describes the process used for remembering, reasoning, understanding, and making decisions. Cognition is a scientific term for “the process of thought”.

Committee on Preschool Special Education or CPSE refers to a team that is responsible for the special education needs and services for children 2 years and nine months (2.9) through 5 years of age. Every school district and/or county has a Committee on Preschool Special Education. You are a member of the committee for your child and will be invited to attend a CPSE meeting. Other members of the committee are people who have a broad range of experiences planning for and/or working with children with special needs. Together, you will work to make sure that the recommendations made at the CPSE meeting are appropriate and, necessary services (if any), are provided to meet your child’s needs.

Committee on Preschool Special Education or CPSE meeting refers to a team meeting whose purpose is to determine if a preschool-aged child between the ages of 2.9 to 5 years old meets the eligibility requirements for preschool special education services. Once a child is determined to be eligible, an Individualized Educational Program or IEP will be developed and implemented. The CPSE will also determine the child’s placement in the least restrictive environment and ensure that the child receives the support necessary to prepare them to enter kindergarten. For students receiving services, this meeting is sometimes referred to as an annual review or IEP meeting.

Committee on Special Education or CSE refers to the team that is responsible for the special education needs and services for students 5 years through 21 years old. You are a member of the committee for your child. Other members of the committee are people who have a broad range of experiences planning for and/or working with students with special needs. Together, you will work to make sure that the recommendations made are appropriate and necessary services (if any) are provided to meet your child’s needs. If your child meets the eligibility requirements to receive school-age special education services, the Committee develops and implements an appropriate Individualized Educational Plan or IEP to meet the needs of the student in the least restrictive environment.

Communication delay is when a child is noticeably behind his peers in the acquisition of speech and/or language skills. Sometimes a child will have greater receptive than expressive language skills, but this is not always the case.

Communication disorder encompasses a wide variety of problems in language, speech, and hearing, affecting the ability to utilize skills to interact with others. Speech and language impairments include articulation problems, voice disorders, fluency problems (such as stuttering), aphasia, and delays in speech and/or language. Speech and language delays may be due to many factors, including environmental factors or hearing loss.

Communicative or Communication skills refer to understanding and using words. Communicative skills involve receptive and expressive language.

Community-based refers to special education services that occur at varied locations in the community, rather than in the classroom, in order to facilitate the generalization and application of skills.

Confidentiality refers to the privilege that personal information about a child and family is not released without parental consent, or only when permitted, or as required by law.

Consent is a requirement that the parent or legal guardian of a child, or minor, be fully informed of all information that relates to that child. Parental consent is voluntary and may be revoked at any time.

Consultant teacher services means direct and/or indirect services provided to a student with a disability who attends regular education classes and/or to such student’s regular education teachers.

Consultation refers to the seeking and giving of advice, information, and/or opinion by qualified personnel. A consultant can provide advice in a particular area of expertise including, but not limited to, special education,  speech and language therapy, feeding problems, occupational therapy, sensory integration, physical therapy, child development, toilet training and counseling.

Continuation of services is a category indicated on a student’s Individualized Educational Program or IEP, and is marked at an annual review, where it is determined that there is no change in the type, frequency, or duration of the present level of special education services being delivered to that student.

Counseling services is a related service that includes services provided by social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, or other qualified personnel.

Development(al) refers to the steps or stages in the growth of a child.

Developmental delay is an expression that is used to describe a child who is behind in at least one area of development, including physical, cognitive, communicative, social-emotional and/or adaptive functioning. It specifically refers to development which does not occur within expected time ranges.

Developmental history involves information based on the reporting of the developmental progress of a child in skills such as, sitting, crawling, standing, walking, or talking.

Developmental language delay is characterized by a slow development of language in preschoolers.

Developmental milestones refer to the age, or age range, at which an infant or toddler normally develops a particular skill. For example, by nine months, a child should be able to grasp and toss a bottle. Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye-bye” are considered developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move.

Developmental tests are assessments that will indicate if a child has not realized the expected level of development based on his or her age group.

Diagnosis refers to the process of identifying a condition by its signs, symptoms, and from the results of various diagnostic procedures. The term “diagnostic criteria” is the combination of signs, symptoms, and test results that allows a doctor or other qualified personnel to ascertain the diagnosis of the respective condition.

DIR Floortime The Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based model (DIR®/Floortime™) is a comprehensive treatment approach that relies on an understanding of how processing challenges affect learning, socialization, communication and behavior, and the developmental process through which children develop the foundational skills for all interactions. Interactive play is used to foster children’s shared attention, engagement, reciprocal communication, problem solving, and reasoning to help them move up the developmental ladder was created by child psychiatrists Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Wieder, PhD. It is based on the Developmental Individual-difference Relationship-based model (DIR). Dr. Greenspan developed the DIR model as therapy for children with a variety of developmental delays and issues.

Direct Instruction or DI refers to a rigorously developed, highly scripted method of teaching that is fast-paced and provides constant interaction between students and the teacher. Direct instruction emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons that are designed around small learning increments with clearly defined and prescribed teaching tasks.

Disability refers to a physical, sensory, cognitive or affective impairment that causes a student to need special education.

Discrete Trial Teaching or DTT involves skills that are broken down into smaller tasks and presented in trials. Trials are discrete in that they have a very clear beginning, middle and end. Discrete trial teaching is primarily taught on a one-to-one basis and allows for many opportunities to respond, practice, and earn reinforcement. In discrete trial teaching, data are collected on each trial and visual displays are used to monitor progress.

Disorder refers to a mental or physical condition in which there is a disturbance of normal functioning.

Down Syndrome: A genetic disorder that occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. Down syndrome was first studied and described by a doctor named John Langdon Down. For more information:

Early Intervention Official Designee or EIOD is the person who serves as the “single point of entry” for the Early Intervention Program or EIP. Every county in NYS, including New York City, has an Early Intervention Official Designee or EIOD who is responsible for making sure that eligible children receive evaluations at no cost. The EIOD is also responsible for choosing an initial service coordinator to help families arrange for their child’s evaluations and assist with the Individualized Family Service Plan.

Early Intervention Program or EIP is a statewide program that provides many different types of services to infants and toddlers, from birth to 3 years old, and their families, who meet the eligibility requirements for Early Intervention. In New York State, the Department of Health is the lead state agency responsible for the Early Intervention Program.

Early Intervention services are those provided by qualified personnel that meet the needs of the child and family as described in the Individualized Family Service Plan or IFSP. These services are provided with parental consent and to the maximum extent possible in the child’s natural environment.

Educational Psychologist refers to a psychologist who specializes in learning and in the behavioral, social, and emotional problems that interfere with school performance.

Eligibility or Eligibility requirements in general are requirements that a child must meet in order to receive services. This will include the age of the child and whether or not the child has a disability or developmental delay.

Eligibility requirements for the Committee on Preschool Special Education refers to children 2 years and nine months (2.9) through 5 years of age who exhibit a significant delay or disability in one or more functional areas of development related to cognitive, language, communication, adaptive behavior, social and emotional or motor development which adversely affect the child’s ability to learn. Eligibility for Preschool Special Education Services is based upon the determination of the CPSE.

Eligibility requirements for the Committee on Special Education refers to students 5 years through 21 years of age, who, because of mental, physical or emotional reasons, have been identified as having a disability and who require special services and programs approved by the Department of Special education.

Eligibility requirements for the Early Intervention Program refers to children who are in need of support from birth to 3 years of age who have a confirmed disability or established developmental delay.

Errorless teaching refers to an instructional strategy that ensures a child always responds correctly. Following an instruction, a child is provided with the immediate correct response to that instruction. This prevents any chance for an incorrect response. No opportunities for mistakes are allowed. Prompts are systematically removed until a child is able to respond correctly on their own.

Evaluation refers to the use of various assessment methods to determine if an individual meets the eligibility requirements for special education services.

Evaluation process refers to when evaluations are arranged in order to formally assess an individual’s abilities and needs.

Expressive language refers to the process of formulating and sending a message. One way to express language is through speech or sign language. Others may include Augmentative Communication Devices or ACD’s, like pointing to words and pictures on a communication board (ex: PECS), or formulating written messages on a computer screen.

Extended school day refers to a provision for special education students to receive instruction for a period longer than the standard school day. This sometimes includes “double” kindergarten, later afternoons, or earlier starting times.

Extended school year refers to a provision for a special education student to receive instruction during ordinary school “vacation” periods.

Family assessment is the process used to identify and collect information related to the family concerns, priorities, and resources.

Family training services are provided by qualified personnel to assist families in understanding the special needs of their child and in promoting his or her development.

Feeding problems can be defined as the inability or refusal to eat certain foods because of oral-motor, sensory, positioning, and/or behavioral issues.

Feeding therapy involves the assessment and management of individuals with swallowing and feeding disorders. The speech-language pathologist is the primary qualified personnel involved in this type of therapy. In addition to performing a clinical swallowing and feeding evaluation and instrumental assessments of swallowing function, with medical professionals, as appropriate, identification of normal and abnormal swallowing structures and functions can be identified.

Fine motor function refers to the development of skills involving the smaller muscle groups or those skills which require tiny muscle movements. For example, writing or typing would require fine motor movement.

Fine motor skills include the ability to manipulate small objects, transfer objects from hand to hand, and various hand-eye coordination tasks. Fine motor skills may involve the use of very precise motor movement in order to achieve an especially delicate task. Some examples of fine motor skills are using the pincer grasp (thumb and forefinger) to pick up small objects, cutting, coloring, writing, or threading beads.

Fluency refers to the ability to express oneself readily, clearly and effectively. It is characterized by speech that is relatively smooth in rate and rhythm. It is free of interruptions such as fillers and repetitions.

Formal assessment refers to an evaluation of a student’s needs using standardized tests and other tools. A team of qualified personnel uses the assessment to determine a child’s eligibility for special education and related services.

Functional behavioral assessment is the process used to determine why a student engages in behaviors that impede learning and how the student’s behavior relates to the environment. The functional behavioral assessment shall include, but is not limited to, the identification of the problem behavior, the definition of the behavior in observable and measurable terms, and the identification of the contextual factors that contribute to the behavior. From this assessment, a hypothesis is developed regarding the general conditions under which the behavior occurs and the probable consequences that serve to maintain it.

Functional capabilities, with regard to individuals with disabilities, refer to being able to accomplish daily living tasks, communicate, learn, work, and participate in recreation activities. The goal of maximizing the functional capabilities of an individual is for that individual to be able to achieve greater independence and to enhance his or her quality of life.

Functional evaluation involves the assessment of the functional capabilities of an individual with a disability to determine whether or not that individual could benefit from the use of an assistive technology device and the support of assistive technology services.

Generalization of skills refers to the extent to which a student successfully and effectively applies a skill outside the setting in which it was learned. This term usually refers to the ability to demonstrate skills with different people, across different situations, settings, and time.

Generalization procedures are those procedures used to ensure that learned responses or skills can be used broadly. The goal of generalization procedures is to promote the generalization of skills.

Gross motor functions are those which require large muscle movements. For example, walking or jumping would require gross motor movement. Gross motor development usually follows a pattern. Generally large muscles develop before smaller ones; thus, gross motor development is the foundation for developing skills in other areas, such as, fine motor skills. Development also generally moves from top to bottom. The first thing a baby usually learns to control is its eyes.

Group developmental intervention or Developmental toddler groups refer to Early Intervention services delivered to a group of eligible children at an Early Intervention site or community-based setting. These groups may be large or small and may include children without disabilities. The goal of these groups is to provide multifaceted learning experiences and opportunities adapted to the special needs of the children in the group. Attendance can be up to five, two and a half hour sessions.

Hearing impairment refers to permanent or fluctuating impairment in hearing that adversely affects educational performance.

Hearing loss refers to any reduction in a person’s ability to detect sound.

Incidental teaching involves the structuring and sequencing of educational objectives so that they occur within ongoing, typical activities. Incidental teaching takes advantage of a student’s interests and motivation.

Inclusion refers to the practice of educating students with special needs in regular classes for all or nearly all of the day instead of in special education classes.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA refers to the United States federal law that governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. It addresses the educational needs of children with disabilities from birth to 21 years of age.

Independent Educational Evaluation or IEE means that a parent has the right to obtain an “outside evaluation” such as a procedure, test or assessment done by a qualified personnel who does not work for the school district or other public agency responsible for the child’s education. This evaluation can be at public expense if the parent disagrees with the evaluation obtained by the school.

Individualized Educational Plan or IEP refers to the document developed at an IEP meeting which sets the standard by which subsequent special education services are usually determined appropriate. It is a written statement, developed, reviewed, and revised, that includes the components to be provided and the annual goals to meet the unique educational needs of a student with a disability.

Individualized Educational Program Meeting or IEP meeting refers to a gathering required, at least annually by the Committee on Pre-school Special Education (for students 2.9 to 5 years old) or Committee on Special Education (for students 5 to 21 years old), under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA in which an Individualized Educational Plan or IEP is developed for a student, where appropriate, in need of, or receiving, special education.

Individual Family Service Plan or IFSP is the document which outlines the services to be delivered to families of infants and toddlers under the age of 3 years, with disabilities, who are eligible to receive special services through the Early Intervention Program. The IFSP must be based on the child’s evaluations and assessments and describe who will be providing services, where they will be provided, how often, and for how long. A Service Coordinator is responsible for development and coordination of the IFSP services.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA refers to the United States federal law that governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. It addresses the educational needs of children with disabilities from birth to 21 years of age.

Individualized Family Service Plan or IFSP meeting refers to a gathering where the IFSP is developed jointly by the family and appropriate qualified personnel involved in the provision of Early Intervention Services. The IFSP will be reviewed every six months, or sooner if you request it, to evaluate your child’s progress and continued need for services. You will be given a copy of your IFSP each time that it is written or changed by you and your team.

Infants and toddlers refer to children not yet three years of age.

Language development is the process by which children come to understand and communicate language during early childhood. Language refers to the exchanging of ideas from one person to another. Language can be conveyed through written and verbal expression. Some nonverbal means of communication could be through art, facial expression, eye contact, body language, and vocalizations.

Language disorder refers to impairment in the ability to understand and/or use words in context, both verbally and nonverbally. Some characteristics of language disorders include improper use of words and their meanings, inability to express ideas, inappropriate grammatical patterns, reduced vocabulary and inability to follow directions. One or a combination of these characteristics may occur in children who are affected by a language learning disability or developmental language delay. Children may hear or see a word but not be able to understand its meaning. They may have trouble getting others to understand what they are trying to communicate.

Learned response refers to that which has been taught. The response may be learned through intentional teaching, or may be learned through interaction with the environment.

Learning Disability or LD refers to a neurobiological disorder that affects the way an individual receives, processes, or expresses information and impairs his or her ability to read, write, or do math.

Least Restrictive Environment or LRE means that, whenever possible, special education services must be provided in a general education setting rather than in separate classes or schools. The educational environment must provide the special education student with the special education and related services needed, to the maximum extent appropriate, with other students who do not have disabilities. Also, these services must be provided as close as possible to the student’s home.

Legal guardian refers to any person who can make legal decisions for a minor child.

Literacy Specialists work closely with students to help them work toward achieving reading skills that match their current grade level. Literacy specialists, sometimes called reading specialists, strive to increase the reading capabilities of all students through individualized and school-wide reading programs. By using literacy materials and resources, a diverse set of strategies and methods, and ongoing collaboration with classroom teachers, parents and administrators, literacy specialists support learning to read and comprehend meaning from printed words. Literacy specialists may conduct assessments, create individualized reading plans to match student ability and/or learning style, consult with parents and teachers to recommend at-home strategies for reading skill improvement, and may coordinate school-wide reading intervention and literacy programs.

Management involves using the information obtained from an assessment to plan, organize, access, implement, and direct efforts for the purpose of accomplishing a goal.

Modification of services refers to the alteration, change, or adjustment of special education services.

Motor planning requires that, when presented with a given a task, an individual demonstrates the ability to develop an idea, organize, and utilize the materials needed, and then sequence the steps necessary to complete the task. Individuals who exhibit poor motor planning may seem accident proneThey often struggle to master new skills because they have difficulty sequencing the steps needed to move and perform effectively.

Motor skills refer to a learned series of movements that combine to produce a smooth, efficient action. Both fine motor and gross motor skills are involved in purposeful movement.

Multidisciplinary means the involvement of two or more qualified personnel from different areas of training for the purposes of providing services. These services may include evaluation, assessment, and planning.

Multidisciplinary team refers to a group of qualified personnel who work together to develop and review a child’s educational or service plan.

Multifaceted approach refers to placing emphasis on the collaboration between the educational, therapeutic, and administrative staff, and family and community to specifically address the unique needs of each child. This includes and considers all aspects of that child, when planning for and delivering educational and therapeutic intervention services.

Natural environment usually means a setting that is natural or “normal” for young children with or without disabilities. These settings may include home, a childcare setting, a therapeutic facility, or other community setting in which children participate. For older children we usually refer to what is known as the “least restrictive environment” as the most “natural” setting to deliver educational and related services.

Natural Environment Training or NET is designed to transfer skills acquired in other learning settings or activities to naturally occurring settings most often experienced by children. Many skills, such as, demanding (requesting), following directions and transitioning, are best taught in environments that have naturally occurring reinforcing value for the learner.

Nursing refers to a health care profession that is focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life from birth to the end of life.

Neurobiological disorder refers specifically to a condition of the nervous system caused by genetic, metabolic, or other biological factors. Autism and Tourette syndrome are examples of neurobiological disorders.

Neurological disorders are conditions involving the nervous system. A neurological disorder is a disease or injury of the nervous system that usually results in some deficit. Sometimes these conditions can result from genetic or biochemical causes. Other times, the cause may be unknown and only the effects are seen.

Nutritional services are services that help address the nutritional needs of children, including the identification of feeding needs or feeding problems, food habits and food preferences.

Occupational Therapists or OT’s are qualified professionals who assess and work with eligible individuals to enhance their ability to function and be successful in the negotiation of their environment. Occupational therapists can work on improving underlying sensory motor foundation skills, fine motor coordination, visual motor control, visual perception and activities of daily living.

Occupational therapy or OT services are related services associated with self-help skills, adaptive behavior, play, sensory motor, and postural development. Occupational therapy services involve a functional evaluation of the student and the planning and use of a program of purposeful activities to develop or maintain adaptive skills. Occupational therapy services are designed to help individuals with disabilities achieve maximal functional capability in their daily life tasks.

Operant conditioning is the use of consequences to modify the occurrence and form of behavior. Operant conditioning deals with the modification of “voluntary behavior” or operant behavior. Operant behavior “operates” on the environment and is maintained by its consequences.

Oral-motor function refers to the use of the muscles in and around the face during speech and feeding. This includes the coordination, range of motion, and strength of the lips, tongue, palate, jaw, and teeth.

Outcomes are the statements of changes that parents wish to see in their child or family. These statements are a part of the Individualized Family Service Plan or IFSP and, for older students, are an important consideration when developing the annual goals for the Individualized Education Program or IEP.

Parent and child groups are Early Intervention Services that are delivered to a group of parents and children together by one or more qualified personnel at an Early Intervention Site or community-based setting. The primary goal is to help parents generalize skills that children learn to home and other natural settings.

Parent counseling and family training involves assisting parents, family and caregivers in understanding the special needs of their child. This includes providing information about child development, the understanding of and working with a child with a disability, and helping to facilitate the necessary skills that will allow for support of the goals of their child’s educational program.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified or PDD-NOS is a diagnostic condition in which some, but not all, features of Autism or another explicitly identified condition in the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders or PDD are identified.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder or PDD refers to a group of five disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication. The pervasive developmental disorders are: Autism, the most commonly known Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), which includes atypical Autism. Parents may notice symptoms of Pervasive Developmental Disorder or PDD as early as infancy; typically, onset is prior to three years of age.

Physical development has to do with demonstrating growth, gross motor and fine motor abilities. Physical development also includes auditory and visual development.

Physical impairment or delay refers to a significant limitation, impairment, or delay in the physical capacity to move, coordinate actions, or perform physical activities. These characteristics are exhibited by difficulties in one or more areas such as motor planning, independent movement, and performing basic life functions.

Physical Therapists or PT’s provide therapeutic services to individuals in order to develop, maintain, and restore maximum movement and functional capability throughout life.

Physical Therapy or PT is a related service that involves preventing or reducing movement difficulties and other related functional problems resulting from physical impairment or delay.

Picture Exchange Communication System or PECS is a form of augmentative communication. It is typically used as an aid in communication for children with Autism and other special needs. The system has been used with a variety of ages including preschoolers, adolescents, and adults who have a wide array of communicative, cognitive, and physical difficulties.

Positive Behavioral Supports or PBS offer a creative problem solving process for understanding why problem behaviors occur and how to deal with these problems effectively. PBS is based on principles of applied behavior analysis and use a consistent, effective approach to encourage positive behavior. PBS use proactive versus reactive strategies.

Positive Reinforcement involves the presentation of a stimulus, following a behavior, which serves to increase the likelihood of that behavior occurring in the future. Positive reinforcement increases the future occurrences of a particular behavior.

Preschool age refers to children between the ages of 3 and 5 years.

Primary referral sources, with regard to Early Intervention, are defined as all individuals who are qualified personnel under the Early Intervention Program and all State approved evaluators, service coordinators, and providers of Early Intervention Services.

PROMPT stands for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets. It is a speech and language treatment technique allowing a trained therapist, during communicative exchange, to physically manipulate a child’s jaw, face and mouth to show how a speech sound, sounds in words, or words in sentences are produced. The PROMPT approach holds the belief that communication (verbal or not) represents the integration of a child’s mental, physical, and emotional development. A breakdown in any of these developmental areas can lead to communication difficulties. When a child’s speech and language needs are analyzed and treated by a PROMPT-trained therapist, he/she will also incorporate activities that address areas of developmental needs including cognitive function and social skills. The goal of PROMPT therapy is to achieve a state of equilibrium across these developmental areas to the highest level attainable by that child.

Psychological evaluation means a process by which a New York State certified school psychologist or licensed psychologist uses, to the extent deemed necessary for purposes of educational planning, a variety of psychological and educational techniques and examinations in the student’s native language to study and describe a student’s development, learning ability, behavior, and other personality characteristics.

Psychological services are related services that involve administering and analyzing psychological tests and information about a child’s behavior and family conditions related to learning, social and emotional development as well as planning services including counseling, consultation, parent training, and education programs.

Qualified personnel refers to State-approved or State-recognized certification, licensing, registration, or other comparable requirements that apply to the professional discipline in which those personnel are providing special education or related services.

Receptive language refers to the ability to understand spoken, written and/or visual communication. This includes the identification of objects and pictures, understanding directives, responding to your name, and following the dynamic of a conversation.

Re-evaluation should take place at least once every three years and involves the review of a student’s need for special education programs and services, and the revision of the Individualized Educational Program or IEP, as appropriate. A re-evaluation may also occur when requested by a parent or teacher.

Referral means that a child may be in need of special education services. Referrals should be in writing. A referral sets certain timelines in place.

Regression is said to occur when a child or individual loses the ability to perform previously acquired skills due to a decrease, temporary withdrawal, or termination, of special education support services.

Related services refer to services that are necessary for a child to benefit from special education. These services include speech and language pathology and audiology, psychological, physical therapy, occupational therapy, recreation, early identification and assessment, counseling, rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, school health services, social work services, and parent counseling and family training.

Remediation is the process by which an individual receives instruction and practice in skills that are weak or nonexistent in an effort to develop and strengthen those skills.

Resource room refers to a room set up in a public school to provide assistance to children in subjects where they are having trouble. Resource rooms are classrooms (sometimes smaller classrooms) where a special education program can be delivered to a student with a disability. It is for the student who qualifies for either a special class or regular class placement but needs some special instruction in an individualized or small group setting for a portion of the day. Individual needs are supported in resource rooms as defined by the student’s Individualized Educational Program or IEP.

Response to Intervention (RTI) refers to the use of research-based instruction and interventions for students who are at risk for and who are suspected of having specific learning disabilities. The emphasis of RTI is to focus on providing more effective instruction by encouraging earlier intervention for students experiencing difficulty learning to read.

Rett Syndrome or RS is a rare condition in the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders or PDD. It is characterized as a unique developmental disorder that is first recognized in infancy and seen almost always in girls, but can be rarely seen in boys. Rett syndrome causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, social and emotional development, motor and autonomic function. These can include learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion.

School age with regard to special education refers to students between the ages of 5 and 21 years.

Screening refers to a process used to measure a child’s developmental status to indicate what type of evaluation, if any, is warranted.

Self-help skills refer to behaviors of persons which enable them to care for themselves in the areas of feeding, dressing, bathing, and toileting.

Sensory Integration or SI refers to the process of receiving, organizing, and interpreting information that forms the basis for motor planning, learning, and behavior. When this process is disorganized, it is called Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

Sensory Integration Dysfunction or Sensory Impairment is considered a neurological disorder that results from the brain’s inability to integrate certain information received from the body’s five basic sensory systems. These sensory systems are responsible for detecting sights, sounds, smell, tastes, temperatures, pain, and the position and movements of the body. The brain then forms a combined picture of this information in order for the body to make sense of its surroundings and react to them appropriately. The ongoing relationship between behavior and brain functioning is called Sensory Integration or SI. Sensory integration provides a crucial foundation for later, more complex learning and behavior.

Sensory integration gym refers to a facility that is designed to provide therapeutic intervention to students who have sensory integration dysfunction or sensory impairment.

Sensory motor foundation skills rely on the interaction of sensation and movement. We receive sensory information from our bodies and the environment through our senses. This sensory information then needs to be organized and processed in order to be able to produce an appropriate motor or movement response that makes it possible to be successful in our daily tasks.

Service Coordinator refers to a person who works in partnership with the family of an infant or toddler with a disability to provide support and services that help the family to coordinate and obtain their rights under the Early Intervention Program or EIP and services agreed upon in the Individualized Family Service Plan.

Social and emotional development and social interaction skills involve relating to others. This area emphasizes many skills that increase self-awareness and self-regulation. Research shows that social skills and emotional development (reflected in the ability to pay attention, make transitions from one activity to another, and cooperate with others) are a very important part of school readiness.

Social history means a report of information gathered and prepared by qualified professionals pertaining to the interpersonal, familial, and environmental variables which influence a student’s general adaptation to school, including but not limited to, data on family composition, family history, and developmental history of the student, health of the student, family interaction, and school adjustment of the student.

Social Worker refers to a qualified professional trained to talk with individuals and their families about educational, therapeutic, emotional, or physical needs, and to find them support services.

Social work services are family-directed services, including parent counseling and family training, and support.

Special Class or SC refers to a class for children with disabilities.

Special Class in an Integrated Setting or SCIS refers to a class for preschool children with and without disabilities.

Special Education Itinerant Teacher or SEIT is a licensed special education teacher who is able to work with young children with disabilities participating in early childhood programs. The Special Education Itinerant Teacher or SEIT serves children in different groups and/or programs, and therefore “travels” from group to group or program to program.

Special education preschool program means a special education program approved to provide special education programs and services and to conduct evaluations of preschool students with disabilities, if such program has a multidisciplinary evaluation component.

Special education services or Special instruction refers to the designing of learning environments and activities that promote a child’s or individual’s development. This includes providing information, modeling, training and support to positively affect the development and maintenance of skills.

Special Education Teacher or Instructor means a person, including a Special Education Itinerant Teacher or SEIT, who works with children and individuals who have a variety of disabilities. Special education teachers assist students in the development of cognitive, communication, social and emotional, adaptive, fine motor and gross motor skills. Special Education teachers can offer direct and indirect consultation services to general education professionals in order to meet a student’s individualized annual goals.

Special needs refer to a child or individual who has a disability or developmental delay and is eligible for special education services.

Speech and language disorders refer to problems in communication and related areas such as oral motor function necessary for functional speech and feeding.

Speech and Language Pathologistor SLP’s are trained health care professionals that help people develop their communicative abilities as well as treat speech and language disorders, feeding problems, swallowing and voice disorders. Their services include prevention, identification, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Speech and language pathology services are related services that include identifying and diagnosing speech and language disorders, as well as delivering speech and language therapy, counseling, and guidance.

Speech and language therapy may include, depending upon the nature and severity of the disorder, common treatments that range from physical strengthening exercises, instructive or repetitive practice and drilling, to the use of audio-visual aids and introduction of strategies to facilitate functional communication. Speech and language therapy may also include sign language and the use of picture symbols or Augmentative Communication Devices or ACD’s.

Stages of development refer to building on the successful completion of earlier stages of development. Challenges in development involve those stages not successfully attained by an expected age.

Student with a disability means a student with a disability who has not attained the age of 21 prior to September 1st and who is entitled to attend public schools and who, because of mental, physical, or emotional reasons, has been identified as having a disability thus requiring special education services and programs approved by the Department of Education.

Swallowing disorder or dysphagia is a condition that suggests difficulty in the passage of solids or liquids from the mouth to the stomach.

Task analysis refers to the sequential steps necessary to complete a task. It also includes any other unique factors involved in or required to perform the task. Task analysis emerged from research in applied behavior analysis. Task analyses break complex skills or series of behaviors into smaller, teachable units.

Termination of services refers to the discontinuation of special education services.

Therapeutic facilities refer to locations where therapy and support services are provided in accordance with state and local regulations and authorization.

Toilet training or potty training refers to the process of training a child to use the toilet for elimination of bodily waste. For many children, this process is usually completed by three years of age. Cultural factors, developmental delays and/or disabilities play a large part in this process.

Tourette Syndrome or TS is a neurobiological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The early symptoms are almost always noticed first in childhood, with the average onset between the ages of 7 and 10 years. Although Tourette Syndrome can be a chronic condition with symptoms lasting a lifetime, most people with this condition experience their worst symptoms in their early teens, with improvement occurring in their late teens and continuing into adulthood.

Transition planning is a process to help children who are approximately age 3 years of age, transition out of the Early Intervention Program by determining the child’s needs for educational planning at the preschool level.

Transition services mean a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability, to facilitate the student’s movement from home to an educational environment or from one educational environment to another. The coordinated set of activities must be based on the individual student’s needs and take into account strengths, preferences and, where appropriate, individual interests.

Twelve-month special service means a special education service and/or program provided on a year-round basis for students determined to be eligible and whose disabilities require a structured learning environment of up to 12 months duration to prevent substantial regression.

Verbal Behavior or VB is the behavioral analytic approach to analyzing, teaching, and understanding language as theorized by B.F Skinner. Verbal behavior theory explains language as it would any other observable behavior; as such, it is subject to the same principles that govern all behavior. It focuses on teaching verbal behaviors (language skills) through a collection of highly effective teaching procedures taken from the science of behavior analysis. VB has been successfully used to teach functional communication to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD and other developmental disabilities. In Verbal behavior, all aspects of functional communication are divided into smaller teachable components that utilize motivation and reinforcement to teach echoics, mands, and tacts, intra-verbal and other more complex verbal operants.

Vision pertains to the sense of sight.

Vision services involve the detection of visual disorders or delays and
provide services and training to those affected with these conditions.

Visual disorders or Visual impairment involve the impairment of the sense of sight. These deficits require assistance, adaptations, or modifications.

Visual-motor skills involve the ability to coordinate one’s eyes with the movement of the hands and the process of thinking.

Visual perception refers to the ability to discern likeness and differences in colors, shapes, objects, and words.

Voice disorders refer to a group of problems involving abnormal pitch, loudness, or quality of sound. Distortions in vocal quality are characterized as sounding harsh, hoarse, breathy, hyper-nasal, or hypo-nasal.