Do the terms and acronyms that school personnel use when talking about your child’s special education services seem like the letters in a bowl of alphabet soup? All jumbled up and not meaning anything? Today’s post will define some of the most commonly used terms when it comes to your child’s special education services.
Some of these terms will be specific to the state of Texas.
Accommodations: Change how the child will access the general education curriculum. They level the playing field by helping the child overcome his or her disabilities. They do not modify the curriculum.
Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee: In Texas, the committee that develops the IEP for a child.
Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP): A BIP describes the interventions and strategies that school personnel will use, as well as modifications and supports they will provide, to help change a student’s behavior. A BIP is based on the information contained in the FBA. For those receiving special education services, the BIP then becomes part of the child’s IEP.
Early Childhood Intervention (ECI): Early intervention program from birth through age 3 for children with development delays or disabilities and their families. In Texas, DARS is the designated lead agency for the implementation and maintenance of the ECI program. ECI programs are required by Part C of IDEA.
Extended School Year Services (ESY): Extended School Year (ESY) services are services provided outside of the normal school year (over the summer or during holiday break). Extended school year services must be provided if the IEP team has decided that the services are necessary for the child to receive a free and appropriate public education.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): A federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. This law gives parents certain rights with respect to their child’s education records. This includes the right to inspect and review your child’s education records and the right to ask that your child’s education records be corrected.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): Special education and related services that are provided at no cost to the parents and based on the individual needs of the students as specified in the IDEA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE): An evaluation process to determine if the child is a child with a disability or if the child continues to be a child with a disability and by reason thereof need special education and related services. It should cover all areas of the child’s suspected disabilities and should not be limited to just one test.
Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA): A process of collecting information that is used to determine why certain behaviors in a student occur. The FBA is then used to develop the Behavior Intervention Plan.
Inclusion: Integrating special education students into the mainstream general education classroom.
Individual Education Evaluation (IEE): An independent evaluation at public expense asked for by the parents when they are in disagreement with the school’s evaluation. The IEE is conducted by an individual who is not employed by the local education agency.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Act to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate education through special education and related services that is designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.
Individual Education Program: A document required by IDEA that is designed to meet a child’s individual needs and must be developed based on the child’s individual needs. Every child who receives special education and related services must have an IEP. The IEP is a legally binding document.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): To maximum extent appropriate children with disabilities are educated with children who are not disabled. Removal of children with disabilities to a more restrictive environment should occur “only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.” (20 U.S.C § 1412(a)(5)(A))
Local Education Agency (LEA): Your local school district or charter school.
Modifications: Are a change in what is being taught or expected from the student. Modification generally means that the grade level curriculum is being watered down or altered.
Office of Civil Rights (OCR): The part of the U.S. Department of Education that is responsible for the enforcement of Section 504.
Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP): Part of the U.S. Department of Education that is dedicated to improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS): According to PBIS.org it is “a framework or approach for assisting school personnel in adopting and organizing evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances academic and social behavior outcomes for all students.”
Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities (PPCD): In Texas, school district Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) provide special education and related services for eligible children with disabilities ages 3-5. PPCD refers to the services provided by the school district, not to the place where they are provided. In Texas, TEA is the designated lead agency for implementation and maintenance of Part B of IDEA.
Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP): Description of a child’s current abilities, skills, weaknesses and strengths both academically, socially, and physically. It should describe how a child’s disability affects his or her ability to access the general education curriculum. It should contain information from a variety of sources such as the most recent FIE, teacher observations, data that has been collected either through formal or informal assessments, progress monitoring, results of local and state tests, and parent information. The PLAAFP should serve as the foundation for the development of the IEP.
Prior Written Notice (PWN): A procedural safeguard under IDEA. Schools are required to provide to parents prior written notice of why they are proposing or refusing to evaluate, initiate or change identification, placement, or a provision of free appropriate public education.
Response to Intervention (RTI): The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities website states, “RTI is a process that schools can use to help children who are struggling academically or behaviorally.” Every student in schools using RTI is involved on one level or another. The idea behind RTI is to identify students who are at risk or struggling and provide them with evidence based instruction and interventions. Schools cannot use the RTI process as a reason to deny a parent’s request for their child to be evaluated for special education and related services.
State Education Agency (SEA): In Texas, the state education agency is the Texas Education Agency (TEA).