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Special Education - Common Acronyms & Key Definitions

ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis): ABA is also about maintaining and using skills. Through a behaviorist many skills can be taught as long as there are intact brain functions to learn and practice the skills.

Annual goals: IEP goals indicate what the student should accomplish in one year if the services being provided are effective.

BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan): takes the observations made in a Functional Behavioral Assessment and turns them into a concrete plan of action for managing a student's behavior.

BOCES: Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

Class Ratio: The student-to- teacher-to- teaching assistant ratio. For example, an 8:1:3 class ratios refers to a maximum of 8 students, 1 special education teacher, and 3 teaching assistants.

Collaborative/Co-teaching: a teaching model where general education students and classified students receiving special education services are taught side by side in the same classroom by a general education and a special education teacher.

COTA: Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

CPSE (Committee on Preschool Special Education):The team that is ultimately responsible for conducting evaluations and recommending placement of children (3-5 years of age) in special education programs is the CPSE. The members of the CPSE should include under law
the child’s parent, a parent member, a district representative, a general education teacher, & a special education teacher.

CSE (Committee on Special Education): The team that is ultimately responsible for conducting evaluations and recommending placement of children (5-21 years of age) in special education programs is the CSE. The members of the CSE should include under law the child’s
parent, a parent member, a district representative, a general education teacher, a special education teacher, and a New York State licensed psychologist. The student, when appropriate, can also be a part of CSE meetings.

SCES (Sub-Committee on Special Education): a subcommittee meeting does not require a parent member. A school psychologist is only required if a new psychological evaluation is reviewed or a change to a program option with a more intensive staff/student ratio is considered.

Direct Consultant Teacher Services: individualized or group instruction provided to a student with a disability by a certified special education teacher to aid the student in a general education classroom.

EI (Early Intervention): New York State intervention services for children ages 0 to 3.

ERSS (Educationally Related Support Services):curriculum and instructional modification services, direct student support team services, assessment and non-career counseling services and special instruction to eligible students with disabilities pursuant to Education Law and
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Free Appropriate Public Education: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of individuals with disabilities to obtain a Free Appropriate Public Education.

Functional Behavioral Assessment: a problem-solving process for addressing student problem behavior. It relies on a variety of techniques and strategies to identify the purposes of specific behavior and to help IEP teams select interventions to directly address the problem behavior.

Group Therapy: Therapy conducted in a small group with a specified teacher to child ratio. For example, 3:1 means 3 students and 1 teacher or therapist.

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act): IDEA is the federal law governing the education of children with disabilities.

IEP (Individualized Education Program): a plan developed for each Student receiving special education services. An IEP must include an evaluation of the student’s academic performance and learning characteristics, social and emotional performance, health and
physical development, annual goals, short term objectives to meet those goals, school environment and service recommendations, a detailing of the extent to which the student will participate in other school activities, any related service recommendations and a detailing of the
extent to which the student will participate in state and citywide assessments, either with or without modifications. IEPs can be reviewed at any time upon request from any of the interested parties, and must be reviewed at least once a year.

Inclusion: Inclusion is a term often used to describe a method of educating children in need of special education in a general education classroom in the school they would have attended if not disabled, with age appropriate peers, and with appropriate supports and services.

Individual Therapy: Therapy conducted 1:1, that is, with 1 teacher or therapist and 1 student.

Integration: like the inclusion model, integration is a term used to describe a method of educating children with disabilities and children without disabilities together. The number of children with disabilities in an “integrated” class can range from one student to half of the class.

LRE (Least restrictive environment): Under the IDEA, all children who require special education services must be educated in the least restrictive setting appropriate to their individual needs. The statute states that “each public agency shall ensure – (1) That to the maximum extent appropriate children with disabilities … are educated with children who are non-disabled; and (2) That special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.” In other words, if a child can learn in a general education class with necessary supports and services, s/he must be allowed to do so. If that’s impossible, then there must be a continuum of placements and services to allow for the individual needs of children receiving special education services to be met in the most integrated settings appropriate.

Mainstreaming: placement of a special education student with a disability in the general education classroom, with age appropriate peers, for those areas of instruction in which the student’s academic and behavioral performance is within the range of his or her, non-disabled peers, and is not impacted by his or her disability. Mainstreaming can occur in academic classes or during other times of day including, for example, lunch, gym, art and music.

Occupational Therapy: a related service provided by a qualified occupational therapist to address a student's ability to function in an educational program with regard to physical or mental functioning, attention, sensory function and interpersonal skills. They primarily help to build the small muscles groups of the upper body to assist in day to day skills. However in the school setting, they primarily focus on various areas of the fine motor development to assist in handwriting and visual motor tasks for school related skills.

Physical Therapy: a related service provided by a qualified physical therapist to address a student's posture, muscle strength, mobility, and organization of movement in educational environments.

Pull Out Services: related service provider or consultant teacher takes your child out of the classroom for his or her related service.

Push In Services: related service provider or consultant teacher works with your child within the classroom.

Resource Room Program: a special education program for a student with a disability registered either in a special class or a regular class who is in need of specialized supplemental instruction in an individual or group setting for a portion of the school day.

RTI (Response to Intervention): law and process of identifying children with specific learning disabilities.

School Counselors: a related service to help students with personal and social concerns such as developing self-knowledge, making effective decisions, learning health choices, and improving responsibility. Counselors may also help students with future planning related to setting and reaching academic goals, developing a positive attitude toward learning, and recognizing and utilizing academic strengths. Counseling services are services provided by qualified social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, or other qualified personnel.

SEIT (Special Education Itinerant Teacher): services provided by certified special education teachers of an approved preschool program on an itinerant basis to a preschool student with a disability, at a site determined by the board of education, to provide specialized individual or group instruction directly to the student.

Self-Contained Class: the most restricted setting for children with learning disabilities. In this type of placement, the student is removed from the mainstream for all or most of the school day. The Education Law permits self-contained classes to have school age children with a 36 month age span.

SETRC: Special Education Training and Resource Center

Speech Therapy: a related service provided by speech-language professionals and speech-language assistants to address the needs of students with communication disabilities.

Supervisory Aide (Monitor): Can oversee children at lunch or recess, but cannot assist children in learning class materials. They are not licensed by NYS.

Teaching Assistant: Teacher assistants provide instructional and clerical support for classroom teachers, allowing teachers more time for lesson planning and teaching. They support and assist children in learning class material using the teacher’s lesson plans, providing students with individualized attention. Teacher assistants also supervise students in the cafeteria, schoolyard, and hallways, or on field trips; they record grades, set up equipment, and help prepare materials for instruction. Teaching Assistants are licensed by NYS.

Transition plan: plan followed as a student moves from secondary to post-secondary or adult services. In developing the transition plan for transition services, defined in 8NYCRR 200.1(rr), the CSE/CPSE addresses the following eight quality components:

  1. The student is actively involved in transition planning and is supported in achieving desired adult goals.

  2. Family members and other community service agencies, as appropriate, are informed and involved in and   committed to transition planning.

  3. Transition planning addresses services and supports across all areas of the student's life.

  4. A documented, sequential process for accessing transition services is developed.

  5. Services and supports are provided in a timely manner as specified in the IEP, as agreed to by the student and family.

  6. Unmet needs are identified and addressed.

  7. Outcomes are measured in terms of the student's preparation for successfully achieving post-school living, learning and working goals.

  8. A student from a linguistically and/or culturally diverse background receives these services in an instructional environment in accordance with his/her needs.

VESID: Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (NYS)

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