Key Terms in Special Education-School Age

Accommodations and Modifications:  Accommodations and modifications support changes in what is being taught or expected from the student with a disability by making assignments and learning activities easier. 

Accommodations provide adjustments to instruction or materials that allow a student with a disability to access educational content, complete assigned tasks, and measure and improve academic and functional performance.

Modifications support the change in the curriculum that enable the student with a disability to participate and make progress in the regular education curriculum. 

Age of Majority:  The age at which a young person is considered an adult as defined by State law.  Rights and responsibilities that parents had under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) with respect to their child’s education belong to that child when the age of majority is reached.  The Individualized Education Program (IEP) must include a statement that the student has been informed of the rights that will transfer on reaching the age of majority.

Child with a Disability:  A child that has been evaluated and met eligibility requirements in accordance with the IDEA must have one or more of the 13 impairments identified and needs special education and related services because of the impairment(s). 

Dispute Resolution: One of several processes, such as, mediations, complaint procedures, due process hearing procedures, administrative appeals, and civil judicial proceedings available to parents when there is a dispute related to a violation under Part B of IDEA.

Early Childhood Transition:  This process refers to children with an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) who are eligible to transition, by age three, from Early Intervention (IDEA Part C) to Early Childhood Special Education (IDEA Part B) with an IEP.  The process begins at least six months prior to the toddler’s third birthday.

Educational and Developmental Intervention Services (EDIS): This is the title of the programs operated by the Military Services that provide early intervention services to infants and toddlers (birth through 35 months) in overseas and designated domestic locations and related services for children ages 3-21 located in Department of Defense schools overseas.

Extended School Year Services (ESY):  The primary purposes of ESY are to prevent serious regression of previously learned skills, prevent the interruption of a major breakthrough in learning, and maintain skills for students with significant educational needs.  It is a component of special education services for students who require services in excess of the regular academic year.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE):  Children with special education needs are entitled to special education and related services provided at public expense, in accordance with an IEP that meets the requirements in IDEA. 

A parent must consent to actions related to the provision of services.  The consent documents that parents have been fully informed, in their native language or other mode of communication, such as Braille, of all the information about the action (s).

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004):  This legislation guides how special education and related services are provided to children with disabilities.  States develop their own special education policies and procedures based on what IDEA requires.

Individualized Education Program (IEP):   An IEP is a plan developed for a child with a disability.  It is reviewed, and revised in accordance with the IDEA and specifies the special education and related services necessary to meet the child’s needs.  By age three, an IEP must be developed for eligible toddlers transitioning from Early Intervention (IDEA Part C) to Early Childhood Special Education (IDEA Part B).

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP):  The IFSP guides and supports the provision of early intervention services for children with special needs ages birth through 35 months.  The IFSP team, that includes the parents, develops the IFSP which identifies family based needs and is reviewed every six months and updated at least once a year.

Individualized Transition Plan (ITP):  This is a plan that addresses a student’s transition out of public education and begins at age 16.  The ITP consists of goals that cover outcomes in the areas of post-school activities, post-secondary education, employment, community experiences and daily living skills. 

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE):  The intent of this principle is to ensure that children receiving special education services spend as much time as possible with peers who do not receive special education. 

Related Services:  These services enable a student with a disability to benefit from special education programs.  Example of these services include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language services, counseling, and transportation.

Special Education:  A process and practice of educating students with disabilities that addresses their individual differences and needs.