Acronyms - Special Education



504 Plan

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 is a federal civil rights law that is designed to eliminate disability discrimination in programs and activities that receive federal funds. Since all public school districts receive federal funds, all public school districts must comply with Section 504. Under Section 504, denying a disabled student a free appropriate public education constitutes disability discrimination.


Alternative Augmentative Communication

All forms of communication (other than oral speech) that is used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas.


Applied Behavior Analysis

A scientifically validated approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment.


Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence

This simple formula helps a professional write a Functional Behavioral Analysis (FBA).


Americans with Disabilities Act

Civil rights law that protects people with disabilities from discrimination.


Attention Deficit Disorder

A range of behavioral disorders occurring in students that include inappropriate inattention and impulsivity for their mental and chronological age.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

A brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.


Activities of Daily Living

Common, everyday tasks people learn to do to become self-sufficient.


Accessible Instructional Materials

Accessible versions of instructional materials for those students unable to use printed materials.


Adaptive Physical Education

An adapted or modified physical education program designed to meet the individualized gross motor needs or other disability related challenges of an identified student.


Annual Performance Report

OSPI must report annually on our state’s progress and activities for each of those performance indicators and must report publicly each district's progress forindicators 1-14.


Autism Spectrum Disorder

A group of complex disorders of brain development characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.


American Sign Language

A complete, complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body.


Assistive Technology

Assistive and adaptive technology to support special education in the regular classroom and the special education classroom.


Adequate Yearly Progress

AYP sets a standard for accountability, which measures states, schools and districts by the results of state-level tests in 2 main content areas — math and reading. AYP uses this assessment data to measure the academic performance of all students, including subgroups such as children whose families qualify as low-income. .


Birth through Two


Behavior Intervention Plan

Special education term used to describe the written plan used to address problem behavior that includes positive behavioral interventions, strategies and support. May include program modifications and supplementary aids and services.


Corrective Action Plan

Corrective action tasks assigned to the District by OSPI as a result of a finding in a special education citizen’s complaint. The tasks can be student specific, district specific, or both.


Central Auditory Processing Disorder

An auditory deficit in how the central nervous system uses auditory information that is not the result of other higher-order cognitive, language, or related disorder.


Common Core State Standards

The CCSS provide clear and consistent learning goals to help prepare students for college, career, and life. The standards clearly demonstrate what students are expected to learn at each grade level, so that every parent and teacher can understand and support their learning.


Communication Disorder

Problems related to speech, language and auditory processing. CDs may range from simple sound repetitions such as stuttering to occasional misarticulation of words to complete inability to use speech and language for communications (aphasia).


Child Find

All children with disabilities residing in the district regardless of the severity of their disability, and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located, and evaluated.


Cognitive Impairment

A brain function syndrome where the ability to learn and to retain what was learned is impaired or damaged for some reason.


Certificate of Individual Achievement

A certificate for students who have mastered a minimum set of skills required for graduation.



Concomitant [simultaneous] hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.


Developmental Delay (ages birth-9 only)

A delay in one or more of the following areas: physical development; cognitive development; communication; social or emotional development; or adaptive [behavioral] development.


Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Assist individuals with disabilities to participate fully in their communities and become employed.


Emotional Behavior Disorder

A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance: (a) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors, (b) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers, (c) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances, (d) a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression, or (e) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.


Early Childhood Special Education

ECSE is designed for students ages 3-5 years that have been found eligible for special education services under the IDEA. PSTD provides a continuum of services and supports intended to meet the individual needs of our preschool aged students. ECSE professionals and related services personnel provide specialized educational services to students with disabilities in a variety of settings such as a developmental preschool.


Early Intervention

Early intervention applies to children of school age or younger who are discovered to have or be at risk of developing a handicapping condition or other special need that may affect their development. Early intervention consists in the provision of services such children and their families for the purpose of lessening the effects of the condition. Early intervention can be remedial or preventive in nature.


English Language Learners

A student who is learning the English language in addition to his/her native language.


Every Student Succeeds Act

The ESSA is a US law that governs the country's K–12 public education policy. The law replaced the NCLB act, and modified but did not eliminate provisions relating to the periodic standardized tests given to students. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.


Extended School Year

ESY is the special education and related services provided to students beyond the regular 180 day school year to maintain a student's learned skills / behavior, not the teaching of new skills/behaviors. The IEP team decides whether or not the student requires ESY services and the location of these services.


Free Appropriate Public Education

Legal requirement for school districts to provide free appropriate public education to qualified students with disabilities, regardless of disability.


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

A Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.


Functional Behavioral Assessment

A problem solving process for addressing inappropriate behavior; a systematic data-collection procedure, and exploring the functions or reasons for students' interfering behaviors.

GE or GenEd

General Education

The program of education that typically developing children receive based on state standards and evaluated by the annual state educational standards test.


Hearing Impaired

An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but is not included under the definition of “deafness.”


Interim Alternative Educational Setting

An educational setting and program other than the student's current placement that enables the student to continue to receive educational services according to his/her IEP determined by a team who develops a set of modifications for the educational program of a student. The setting is designed to allow the student to continue progress in the regular curriculum to meet the goals set out by the IEP and to allow students to receive services and modifications designed to help students address problem behavior.


Intellectual Disability

Significantly sub average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently [at the same time] with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Federal law ensuring services to children with disabilities. Governs how states and public agencies provide education to youth with disabilities.


Independent Educational Evaluation

An educational evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the public agency responsible for the education of the student in question.


Independent Educational Plan

Personalized education program for students with disabilities.


Individualized Health Plan

A formal written agreement for a student with special health care needs developed with the interdisciplinary collaboration of the school staff in partnership with the student’s family, the student, and the student’s health care provider(s)


Inclusive Education

Inclusive education practices are defined as attitudes, approaches and strategies taken by educators to ensure that all students are welcomed, accepted, safe, listened to and valued so they can participate to the extent possible and practical in all educational and extracurricular activities. Inclusive practices ensure students with and without disabilities are not excluded or isolated from the learning environment due to their learning style, readiness level or interests. Inclusive practices have come about as a response to the increasing demands to meet the needs of diverse groups of students we have in our schools and classrooms today. The aim of inclusive teaching is not to dilute the standards or change the content, but to accommodate a diversity of abilities, cultural backgrounds, learning styles and needs of the students.


Integrated Program

The IP provides an environment which allows students access to the general education curriculum in a manner that is similar to students without a disability. The program focuses on providing SDI in multiple academic and non-academic areas. Students successfully access grade level content with their non-disabled peers to the fullest extent possible with a teacher student ratio of 1:30. Students receiving IP services may be supported in special education setting within the general education setting or small group intervention outside of the general education classroom using the general education curriculum based on the students’ needs.


Individualized Transition Plan

An ITP is added to the student’s IEP beginning no later than the year the student reaches age 16. This plan focuses more intentionally on preparing the student for life after s/he graduates or “ages-out” of the school system. There are six steps in creating this plan that include: transition assessments, appropriate and measurable post-secondary goals, individualized transition services, a relevant course of study, coordinating services with adult service agencies, and writing IEP goals to support the post-secondary goals of the student.


Learning Disability

A learning disability is a neurological disorder. A LD results from a difference in the way a person's brain is "wired." Students with learning disabilities can be of average or higher intelligence than their peers, but may have difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information if left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in conventional ways.


Local Education Agency

A commonly used synonym for a school district.


Least Restrictive Environment

Requirement to educate special needs children with children who are not disabled, to the maximum extent as appropriate.


Measurable Annual Goals

The IEP must include measurable academic and functional annual goals for the student (including benchmarks or short-term objectives if the student is participating in alternate assessments) that will meet the student’s needs resulting from the disability(ies) to enable involvement and progress in the general education curriculum or in preschool activities, and will meet the student’s other educational needs.


Multiple Disabilities

Concomitant [simultaneous] impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness, intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments.


Multiple Disciplinary Team

A group of individuals from multiple disciplines who meet to pursue a common goal, such as evaluating a student for placement in special education or creating an individualized education program (IEP) for a student. Another multidisciplinary team is the student support team (SST). The professional collaboration of a multidisciplinary team helps ensure that their work regarding students is comprehensive and as unbiased as possible.


Manifestation Determination Review

Manifestation determination is a test employed when a student who receives special education services is considered for suspension, expulsion or any alternative placement due to some behavioral concern. It is a process where the behavior of a student who receives special education is considered to determine if the actions that resulted in the consideration of some disciplinary action against the student were manifestations of the student's disability.


Memorandum of Understanding

An agreement between two or more parties, such as a school district and a university.


No Child Left Behind (Act of 2001)
This act reauthorized the ESEA, incorporates principles and strategies such as increased accountability for States, school districts, and schools; greater choice for parents and students, particularly those attending low-performing schools; more flexibility for States and local educational agencies (LEAs) in the use of Federal education dollars; and a stronger emphasis on reading..


Non-public School

A "private school" is a non-public school conducting a program consisting of kindergarten and at least grade one or any of all grades one through 12. Minimum standards of health, safety, and education are also defined. Currently the private schools in PTSD are Swan School and Jefferson Community School.



The school nurse is a member of a multidisciplinary team providing health related services in schools.


Other Health Impairment

Having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment due to chronic or acute health problems.


Orthopedic Impairment

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. amputations, fractures or burns that cause contractures)


Orientation and Mobility

A profession specific to blindness and low vision that teaches safe, efficient, and effective travel skills to our students.


Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Oversees public education in Washington state.


Occupational Therapist

Focuses on daily living, fine motor skills and sensory integration.



Paraeducators assist the teacher(s) in various special education programs. The paraeducator’s duties include small group instruction, one-on-one instruction, preparing materials for a lesson, correcting papers, teaming, collaboration between regular and special education staff and assisting students with individual learning and health needs.


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

A process to understand and resolve the problem behavior of students that is based on values and empirical research. It offers an approach to develop an understanding of why the student engages in problem behavior and strategies to prevent the occurrence of problem behavior while teaching the student new skills. Positive behavior support offers a holistic approach that considers all factors that have an impact on a child and the student’s behavior.


Pervasive Developmental Disorder

A group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills notably are the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination.


Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance

As a foundation for higher achievement, the IEP team will identify your child’s current level of learning or performance and the effect or impact of your child’s disability on learning. The PLAAFP statement will give a snapshot of the student at a particular time and place. It will describe the level at which the student is working academically and functionally. This includes a description of a student’s strengths and needs.


Physical Therapy

Evaluation and treatment of physical disabilities to improve the use of bones, muscles, joints and nerves through exercise.


Prior Written Notice

A PWN is a written statement from the school district that inform the parent(s) about recommendation(s) relating to the initiation or change in the identification, evaluation, educational placement of the student or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the student.


Response to Intervention

A multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs.


Related Services

Specialized services provided by the district for qualified students, such as physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT) and speech language therapy (SLP).


Supplementary Aids and Services

Aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.


Specially Designed Instruction

SDI is what a teacher (not a para) does to present information to the student that is different than what other students received. It may be instruction that is additional to what other students received and/or different methods or techniques to present the instruction not used with other students. SDI is what makes special education “special.” SDI is what is done by the teacher, not the student, to help close the academic performance gap between students with disabilities and their general education peers.


Special Education

Educating students with special educational needs in a way that addresses their individual differences and needs.


Specific Learning Disorder

A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.


Speech or Language Impairment

A communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.


Speech Language Pathologist

A therapist who focuses on improvement of communication issues such as the proper formation of words, sounds, inflections and phonemes.


Student Support Team

A school-level intervention team emphasizing that early intervention for struggling students is a function of the general education program and not of special education.


Traumatic Brain Injury

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.


Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf

A teleprinter, an electronic device for text communication over a telephone line that is designed for use by persons with hearing or speech difficulties.


Visual Impairment

Impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance.


Washington Access to Instruction & Measurement

An alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards aligned to the Common Core State Standards for students with significant cognitive challenges.


Washington Administrative Code

Regulations of executive branch agencies are issued by authority of statutes. Like legislation and the Constitution, regulations are a source of primary law in Washington State. The WAC codifies the regulations and arranges them by subject or agency.


Washington Integrated System of Monitoring

A special ed program review by OSPI with a primary focus on improving educational results and functional outcomes for all students with disabilities.

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