If you are new to the special education process, it may feel like you’ve stumbled into a strange land where they speak a completely different language. Here is a primer on the common abbreviations and acronyms used when discussing special education.
ABA – Applied Behavioral Therapy – A data-driven, evidence-based method of therapy used to increase or decrease behaviors. Commonly used with children on the autism spectrum, it is a very intensive behavior intervention technique.
ADD/ADHD – Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit – A commonly occurring condition marked by difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and sometimes hyperactivity. While not a specific statutory category of disability, children with ADD/ADHD may qualify for services under OHI, SLD, or even ED if it can be demonstrated they require accommodation, modifications, or other special education services to make meaningful progress in their education.
ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder – One of the thirteen specific statutory categories of disability eligible for services if the condition has an adverse impact on educational performance.
BIP – Behavior Intervention Plan – A plan developed based on the insight gained during the FBA designed to use supports and positive behavioral intervention techniques to reduce the behavioral incidents in both frequency and magnitude.
ED – Emotional Disturbance – One of the thirteen specific statutory categories of disability eligible for services if the condition has an adverse impact on educational performance.
ESY – Extended School Year – FAPE may require that a child receive educational or related services outside the normal school year to avoid regression. This typically includes summer services.
FAPE- Free and Appropriate Public Education – The right guaranteed under the IDEA and Section 504. To provide FAPE, the school instruction, services, and support must be adequate to provide a meaningful benefit or allow the child to make meaningful progress in light of the child’s circumstances.
FBA – Functional Behavioral Assessment – A problem-solving process to collect information which may be used to address behavioral issues that are impacting educational progress, or posing a danger to the student or others. The goal is to identify the causes, triggers, or antecedents to the problem behaviors.
IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C sec. 1400-1450) – One of the primary laws governing how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to youth with disabilities.
IEE – Independent Educational Evaluation – An outside assessment or evaluation by a non-school professional. A parent may have a right to an LEA-funded IEE if they disagree with the appropriateness, accuracy, or completeness of the LEA assessment(s).
IEP – Individualized Education Plan – The document required under the IDEA and developed by a team consisting of parents, teachers, service providers, experts, administrators, and often advocates or attorneys that lays out the disabled student’s strengths and challenges, placement, services, supports, goals, and objectives.
IFSP – Individualized Family Services Plan – A process for children age 0-3 with special needs and their families to receive necessary supports and services for early intervention, prior to the child becoming eligible for an IEP.
LEA – Local Education Agency – Typically a school district, school board or other government agency which oversees primary or secondary education. Less common use may refer to an individual school, particularly a charter school.
LRE – Least Restrictive Environment – A requirement under the IDEA that a student with a qualifying disability is educated, as much as possible, with other typical peers. The issue is often referred to as “inclusion” and involves the amount of time a child spends in general education with typical peers (“mainstreamed”) versus in a class specifically for special education students (SDC).
NPS/NPA – Non-Public School or Non-Public Agency – A school or program providing placement, supports or services for a disabled student that is certified by the state. When a LEA cannot provide FAPE within their program the LEA may be required to pay for placement in an NPS or pay for services from an NPA in order to provide FAPE.
OAH – Officer of Administrative Hearings – A government agency that offers a quasi-judicial forum. The OAH and its hearing officers conduct mediations and preside over due process hearings where special education cases may be filed, and resolved or litigated in a court trial.
OCD- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – An anxiety related disorder marked by persistent, recurring obsessions or compulsions. Obsessions are the typically intrusive thoughts or ideas, while compulsions are uncontrollable urges to perform certain tasks or behaviors. While not a specific statutory category of disability, children with OCD may qualify for services under OHI, SLD, or even ED if it can be demonstrated they require accommodation, modifications, or other special education services to make meaningful progress in their education
OCR – Office of Civil Rights – Agency which enforces Federal civil rights laws and investigates complaints of discrimination.
ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder – A disorder marked by an extended period of extreme or excessive defiance, hostility, aggression, or misbehavior well outside the typical behavior of other similar aged children. While not a specific statutory category of disability, children with ODD may qualify for services under OHI, SLD, or even ED if it can be demonstrated they require accommodation, modifications, or other special education services to make meaningful progress in their education
OHI – Other Health Impairment – One of the thirteen statutory categories of disability eligible for services, a catch- all category for other health conditions if the condition has an adverse impact on meaningful educational progress.
OT – Occupational Therapy – A practice used in assessing and treating children with physical, mental, or cognitive disorders to help them develop, recover, or maintain physical skills needed for participation in daily activities.
SDC – Special Day Class – Term used to describe a self-contained special education class which provides services to students with intensive needs that cannot be met by the general education program.
SLD – Specific Learning Disability -One of the thirteen statutory categories of disability eligible for services, may incorporate a number of different conditions or circumstances which have an adverse impact on meaningful educational progress.
SLT – Speech Language Therapy – A practice used in assessing, diagnosing, and treating speech, language, and communication disorders.
SST – Student Study Team – A group gathered for a preliminary analysis of a student’s progress academically, behaviorally and socially/emotionally. The SST may propose interventions and/or accommodations. They also may recommend further assessments or a 504 plan.
TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury – One of the thirteen specific statutory categories of disability eligible for services, if the condition has an adverse impact on educational performance.
UPAPE – Unilateral Placement at Public Expense – Providing a parent gives ten days’ notice, nd can establish the LEA’s offer of FAPE is not appropriate and another school, program or service is appropriate, the LEA may be required to pay for (and reimburse the parent for) the school, program, or service in which the parent independently (unilaterally) places the child.
504 – Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (or a plan implemented under that section) – A law prohibiting discrimination based on disability.