Behavior and Special Education Terms

Cactus in flower pot reading Behavioral Health Terms

Assembly Bill of the California Legislature Bills are numbered for identification
Accommodation Accommodations are supports that should be based on the child needs in order to have an equal opportunity to participate in the assessment, with minimal impact by the child’s disability. Accommodations change the way that a test or assignment is presented, but does not change what they measuring.  For example, if a child gets extremely distracted in a large group setting, a separate testing area may be an appropriate accommodation.
Adapted Physical Education (APE) A diversified program of developmental activities, games, sports, and rhythms suited to the interests, capabilities and needs of students with disabilities who may not successfully engage in a regular physical education program.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) An impartial alternative opportunity for parties to resolve differences collaboratively and find common ground solutions and avoid litigation, typically through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
Assessment Any systematic method of obtaining information from tests and other sources; used to draw inferences about characteristics of people, objects, or programs. An initial evaluation (or periodic re-evaluation) to determine whether a child is a child with a disability and to determine the educational needs of this child.
Assistive Technology (AT) Device Any piece of equipment used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
Autism A brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, communication and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Signs usually begin before a child is 3 years old.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) It is similar to a BSP, in that it includes positive behavioral interventions that specifically address the needs of a child whose behaviors interfere with his/her learning or that of others. It should be noted that a BIP is what is recognized / defined in the law, and a BSP is more of a district-specific tool. BIPs are based upon specific types of assessments in the area of behavior.
Behavior Support Plan (BSP) Refers to a portion of the IEP that indicates specific behavioral strategies and supports that will be utilized for the particular child to meet his/her behavioral needs in the classroom. It is sometimes referred to as a Positive Behavior Support Plan (PBSP), and should be based on positive reinforcements as the primary type of strategy.
Compliance Complaint A formal assertion in writing that agreed upon services and supports in an IEP have not been delivered, or that the school district has violated IDEA mandates.
Curriculum-based Assessment A methodology in special education in which a child’s progress in the curriculum is measured at frequent intervals.
Due Process In general, a course of legal proceedings according to rules and principles established for enforcement and protection of private rights. Essential components of due process are “notice” and “a meaningful opportunity to be heard.”
Due Process Hearing The formal, legal procedure guaranteed by federal law to resolve disputes relating to the education of IDEA-eligible children with disabilities to ensure that each receives a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) tailored to his/her unique needs.
Developmental Disability (DD)

Defined by state law as:

  • A disability that begins before the person’s 18th birthday,
  • Continues or can be expected to continue indefinitely,
  • Presents a significant disability in three or more functional life areas,
  • And must be due to one of the following conditions:
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Epilepsy
    • Intellectual disability

Disabling conditions closely related to mental retardation or requiring similar treatment.

Extended School Day A provision for a special education student to receive instruction for a period longer than the standard school day.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) A federal law that regulates the management of student records and disclosure of information from those records, with its own administrative enforcement mechanism.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) Special education and related services are provided to students with disabilities at public expense and under the direction of the child’s IEP, at no cost to the student’s parents.
Functional Analysis Assessment (FAA) An evaluation process to understand the purpose, motivation, and correlates of challenging behavior(s) in order to develop a positive and appropriate Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), instructional supports and services.
Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) A variation on procedures originally developed to ascertain the purpose or reason for behaviors displayed by individuals with severe cognitive or communication disabilities (e.g., individuals with autism spectrum disorder).
Goals and Objectives A written component of an IEP: skills the student is expected to reasonably achieve in one-year maximum (reviewed and re-evaluated by the IEP team at least annually).
Inclusion or Inclusive Education A belief that every student is entitled to an instructional program that meets his or her individual needs and learning characteristics; a commitment to build and maintain an assured sense of belonging for all students, regardless of strengths or challenges.
Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) A school district is required by law to conduct assessments for students who may be eligible for special education.  If the parent disagrees with the results of a school district’s evaluation conducted on their child, the district must provide parents with the information about how to obtain an IEE. An IEE is conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the school district, and the school district pays for the full cost of the evaluation.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Federal law that entitles students with disabilities to special education services.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) Is outlined by IDEA and is a written document of an eligible individual’s special education and related services, describing the child’s present levels of performance (PLOP), goals, objectives and related services.  A student’s placement is to be based on the IEP and is developed by the IEP team.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meeting A gathering required at least annually under IDEA in which an IEP is developed for a student receiving special education.
IEP Team (Minimum Required Members)

Is a group of individuals who meet to develop a child’s IEP. It should consist of at least the following:

One or both parents (or legal Surrogate) of the student, a school district representative qualified to provide/supervise provision of specialized instruction, knowledgeable about the general curriculum and the resources of the district, one general education of the child (if the child is in general education); and one special education teacher.  Instructional services to meet the goals as specified in the student’s IEP. Placement is a set of services, not a location.

Inclusion This term doesn’t appear in the statute, but is often used to refer to including students with disabilities in the regular education schools and classrooms with their non-disabled peers.  Students are given appropriate support services and may receive instruction from both a general education teacher and a special education teacher.
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) A written plan for providing early intervention services for children ages 0-3 with special needs.  Family based needs are identified and a written plan is developed and reviewed periodically.
Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) This plan starts at age 14 and addresses areas of post-school activities, post-secondary education, employment, community experiences and daily living skills.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) A federal mandate stipulating that, to the maximum extent possible, students with disabilities be educated in general education classrooms and with non-disabled peers. The LRE continuum refers to the list of placements that should be available within a school district, on a continuum for the least restrictive (general education) to the most restrictive (residential or home instruction). LRE is an individualized decision for each child.
Mainstreaming This lay term doesn’t appear in the statute. It refers to IDEA’s preference for the education of every child in the least restrictive environment (LRE); most widely refers to a student in a special education setting, moving into a regular classroom setting, during times that they are able to gain an educational benefit.
Manifestation Determination Within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a child with a disability because of violation of school code, the IEP team must review all relevant information in the student’s file to determine if the conduct in question was caused by the child’s disability or if the conduct was a direct result of the school district’s failure to implement the child’s IEP.
Mediation (Mediation-Only) A voluntary alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that may be requested PRIOR to filing a Due Process Complaint. It is not a prerequisite to filing.
Mediation (Formal Due Process) A voluntary alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that may occur AFTER a Due Process Complaint is filed. Office of Administrative Hearing (OAH) provides mediators.
Modifications A change of instruction or program in terms of what a child is expected to produce or demonstrate within the curriculum.  Modifications can substantially alter the requirements of the class or its content, standards or benchmarks.  A change in the instructional level could be reducing the grade level of what is presented.  A change in the content could be reducing the amount of work or changing what is presented.
Normalization The use of culturally valued means to establish and maintain personal behaviors, experiences, and characteristics that are equally culturally normative or valued.
One-to-one aide An individual who is either employed by the public school district or by an agency contracting with the district to provide support directly to a particular student. This may be in place to provide support to address a child’s behavioral, social, safety, or communication needs.
Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) The designated agency that offers workshops and training on special education rights and responsibilities in a parent’s locale.
Placement The unique combination of facilities, personnel, location or equipment necessary to place a child in the appropriate setting.
Prior Written Notice (PWN) A notice supplied to the other party that includes a description of the action proposed or refused by the school district or by the parent.
Procedural Safeguards and Referral Services (PSRS) An office of the CA Dept. of Education (CDE) that provides technical assistance and resources about procedural safeguards and educational rights of students with disabilities, from ages 3 up to 22nd birthday. Compliance Complaints are filed here.
Public Law 94-142 Federal legislation ensuring that all handicapped children have the right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
Related Services [aka] Designated Instruction and Services (DIS) People with specific expertise or knowledge of the student required to assist an individual with disabilities to benefit from special education, including but not limited to: behavioral services, mental health services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and transportation.  (Optional: Attorneys or advocates)
Resolution Meeting A meeting mandated in IDEA 2004 as part of the Due Process Complaint process where parties attempt to resolve a dispute prior to proceeding to a Due Process Hearing.
Special Education (SPED) Specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of an eligible individual, including the specially designed instruction conducted in schools, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings. Special education provides a continuum of services in order to provide for the education needs of each eligible individual regardless of the nature or severity of the educational needs.
Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) A consortium of school districts, within a geographical service area, responsible for ensuring that every child eligible for special education receives appropriate services. Each SELPA’s Local Plan, based on Federal and California law and regulations, describes how special education services are provided.
Specialized Academic Instruction

An instructional delivery model, not a program. It is used to describe instructional services on the Individualized Education Program (IEP). “Specialized Academic Instruction”: Adapting, as appropriate to the needs of the child with a disability the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that he or she can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.

(Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Section 300.39(b)(3)) assistance is provided by a credentialed Special Education teacher as authorized on the student’s Individual Education Program (IEP). This specialized instruction may be provided within the general education classroom in a co-teaching or collaborative model, through consultation with general education teachers, and/or in a pull-out model in the Learning Center. Additionally, assistance from trained instructional assistants and accommodations or modifications to curriculum provides additional support to students within the general education classroom. Specialized Academic Instruction focuses upon individual goals and objectives established for each student from their IEP.

Stay Put The ruling that permits a student to remain in their current placement during any dispute concerning special education services.
Student Study Team (SST) Trained professionals at each school site who review concerns about individual students. The SST serves as a general education problem-solving process and is a forum to support classroom teachers in their effort to provide quality classroom experiences for all of their students. The SST is a general education process that is neither a function of special education nor an automatic process for referral and/or assessment for special education services.
Transition IEP IDEA mandates that at age 16, the IEP must include a statement about transition including goals for post-secondary activities (vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation) and the services needed to achieve these goals.  This is referred to as an Individual Transition Plan or (ITP).