Glossary of Special Education Terms for Southeast Georgia

Glossary of Special Ed Terms


Access Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities: The special education program for high school students with disabilities who are significantly cognitively disabled and are in Mild, Moderate or Severe and Profound classes.

Students require a significantly modified, integrated curriculum based on functional life skills instead of the general education curriculum with/without support. They earn Carnegie Units/Access credits which along with other requirements lead to a regular education diploma.

Accommodation: A change in instruction or setting that enables students to demonstrate their abilities in the classroom or an assessment/test setting. Accommodations are designed to provide equity, not advantage, for students with disabilities. Accommodations include assistive technology as well as alterations to presentation, response, scheduling, or settings. When used appropriately, they reduce or even eliminate the effects of a student’s disability but do not reduce or lower the standards or expectations for content. Accommodations that are allowed and appropriate for assessments do not invalidate assessment results.

Adapted Physical Education (AdPE): AdPE is physical education that has been modified so that students with disabilities who are unable to participate in regular PE can participate in a modified or adapted PE.

Alternative Teaching: A co-teaching model used in a class when several students need specialized instruction. One teacher takes responsibility for the large group while the other teacher works with the smaller group.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): ABA is a scientifically designed teaching method that utilizes rewards to teach specific behaviors and skills and reduce unwanted behaviors.

Asperger’s Syndrome (AS): A neurological disorder which is noted as a mild form of Autism Spectrum Disorder that is characterized by differences in responses to sensory stimuli, impaired language or communication, and persistent difficulty in understanding social situations. Although individuals with AS usually have average or above average intelligence, they may also have learning disabilities in specific areas and difficulties in turn taking or perspective taking.

Assistive Technology (AT): The systematic application of technology, engineering methodologies, or scientific principles to meet the needs of, and address the barriers confronted by persons with developmental disabilities in areas including education, employment, supported employment, transportation, independent living, and other community living arrangements.

Assistive Technology Device: Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of students with disabilities. Low and high technology devices may be purchased, constructed or modified to meet the student’s needs. Examples of commonly used devices are a pencil grip, Boardmaker, specialized software, or low or high voice output devices.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A condition in which a child exhibits signs of developmentally inappropriate hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. These characteristics are usually present before the age of 7. ADHD is similar to “Attention Deficit Disorder” except emphasis is place on the hyperactivity. The appropriate terms are ADHD-predominately inattentive type or ADHD- predominately hyperactivity type. There is no longer an ADD diagnosis.

Autism (AU): A developmental disability caused by a physical disorder of the brain appearing during the first three years of life. Symptoms include disturbances in physical, social and language skills; lack of eye contact; abnormal responses to sensations; and abnormal ways of relating to people, objects and events; unusually high or low activity levels; insistence that the environment and routine remain unchanged; little imaginative play, and repetitive movements such as rocking and spinning, head banging, and hand twisting.

Autism Small Group Class: Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder demonstrate deficits in the areas of communication and socialization. They may require a setting in which the principles and procedures of Applied Behavior Analysis are utilized. The classroom environment should be equipped with minimal visual and auditory distractions, boundaries clearly defined, schedules displayed, transition cues utilized, workstations labeled and organized, and student specific data should be evident. Students participate in direct instruction, discrete trial instruction, functional skill instruction, independent work, or natural environment teaching.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): Students with ASD exhibit evidence of delay, arrests or inconsistencies in developmental rates and sequences in motor, sensory, social cognitive or communication skills. Difficulties may also exist in social interaction and participation, and the use of verbal/nonverbal language, especially for social communication and lack of eye contact. Unconventional, unusual, or repetitive responses to sensory stimuli may also be evident. The student may display stress over changes and/or engagement in repetitive activities.

Behavior Checklists: Objective protocols that permit an observer to count or check for the existence or absence of a given behavior or set of behaviors through direct observation of the student being evaluated.

Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP): An individual plan for a student with disabilities exhibiting behavioral difficulties. The Behavior Intervention Plan is based upon the results of a Functional Behavioral Assessment and should have positive interventions, supports and other strategies to address challenging behaviors and enables the student to learn socially appropriate and responsible behavior in school.

Behavior Management/Modification: To develop, strengthen, maintain, decrease or eliminate behaviors in a planned or systematic way.

Campus Based Skills Training (CBST): The Campus Based Skills Training Program is for Transition Academy (TA) students who do not qualify to go into the Community for skills training and the seniors in the Moderate program who should be rising Transition Academy students in Access classes. Students engage in age-appropriate, vocationally related tasks on campus which are supervised and developed by the Transition Specialist assigned to that school. The Access teachers have the option of including all their students in their campus program, but the Campus Based Liaisons are responsible for only the seniors who should be rising TA students or students who are aging out.

Collaborative classes: The special education teacher collaborates with two teachers during the same class period to provide specialized instruction and implement the accommodations and modifications required in the students’ Individual Educational Programs (IEPs) and Individual Learning Plans (ILPs). The special education teacher participates in each class an average of one-half the segment each day per week according to the needs of the students and class activities. The special education teacher incorporates the specialized instruction for each student with disabilities into the class lesson plans. The special education teacher collects data to modify instruction as needed and to monitor student progress on IEP goals and objectives.

Community Based Instruction (CBI): Community-Based Instruction is an instructional model that provides students with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to learn and practice functional skills across a variety of community settings. It allows educators to present curriculum content in natural settings while addressing deficits in generalization. All objectives and activities selected for instruction in the community are coordinated with classroom instruction. This allows for skills to be taught simultaneously, both in the classroom and the community, thereby giving multiple opportunities for practicing and generalizing functional skills. CBI transportation is provided for intellectual disabilities classes from once per quarter to once per month with Transition Academy students going more often.

Community-Based Skills Training (CBST): An instructional model used in the Transition Academies which uses community settings as an extension of the classroom. Community-based instruction provides the opportunity for the student to learn, develop, and/or practice independence skills directly in the settings in which performance is required. Non-paid job sites are developed with partnering businesses by the Community Based Skills Manager and participating students are enrolled in the Transition Academies.

Conduct Disorders: A diagnosis in the DSM-IV, conduct disorders that describe anti-social patterns of rule-violating behavior, often directed with the intent to harm others or property. Some authorities describe conduct disorders as failing to have an emotional basis and describe those who have conduct disorders as making a conscious choice to engage in the behaviors, thereby differentiating conduct disorders from emotional disturbances. Such behaviors may include overt physical aggressions, disruptiveness, negativism, irresponsibility, and defiance of authority.

Confidentiality: The process of keeping records for students with disabilities private and confidential. Parents and school district representatives with a “legitimate educational interest” are entitled to access a student’s records. The school special education file should be maintained in a secure location and include all evaluations, eligibility reports, IEPs and other special education records. The Central Office Records Room maintains all original documents prepared on individual students. Confidentiality is also extended to certain mediation and settlement agreements and to the discussion in those meetings. Confidentiality also includes classroom observations and the names of other students in the classroom.

Continuum of Service: The range of placements required to be available, as appropriate, for the education of students with disabilities including regular classroom; regular classroom with direct service: consultative, co-teaching, or collaborative; small group classes; special classes within a school or center location; home based instruction; and instruction in a hospital or residential setting.

Consultative: Students with disabilities receive their instruction with accommodations or modifications as required in their IEPs from the General Education Teacher in a regular education class. Special Education provides direct support by consulting with the General Education Teacher and the student for a minimum of one segment per month.

Co-Teaching classes: An instructional delivery model in which the special education teacher collaborates with one general education teacher for the entire class period on a daily basis. The special education teacher and general education teacher share responsibility for planning, delivery, and assessment of the instruction for all students in the class. The special education teacher incorporates specialized instruction for each student with disabilities into the class lesson plan. The special education teacher delivers the specialized instruction according to students IEPs and ILPs through flexible grouping with the general education teacher. The special education teacher collects data to modify instruction as needed to maximize student achievement and to monitor students’ progress on IEP goals and objectives.

Curriculum Guide for Students with Intellectual Disabilities: A year long instructional plan specifically designed for classrooms of students with intellectual disabilities that aligns instruction to standards in a way that allows the teachers to align multiple grade levels in a planned, systematic process that will meet GAA and IEP requirements. A guide has been designed for each level – elementary, middle school and high school. Teachers have the flexibility to substitute specific standards/elements within content areas, but must still have a one year curriculum plan incorporating all grade levels and content areas. The guide provides a structure for integrated unit instruction as defined by the Georgia DOE. The guide is available to educators on the Cobb County website.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH): A category of disability describing a hearing loss sufficient to cause difficulty hearing and understanding language and so impacting educational access and learning. Students who are deaf/hard of hearing may require the services of the DHH teacher.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Class (DHH): The specialized instruction required for students who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) is language development and access based. Significant hearing loss impacts language acquisition at a fundamental level and also negatively impacts access to instruction. The DHH teacher’s role is to provide access to content by modifying the language and vocabulary used to address concepts. The DHH teacher may also need to provide a listening environment not available in the general education classroom that will allow a student access to information. This kind of instruction frequently must occur in small group environments where the DHH teacher addresses students’ specific goals/objectives or instructs on GPS curriculum.

Developmental Disability (DD): A disability or impairment originating before the age of 18 which may be expected to continue indefinitely and which constitutes a substantial impairment. The disability may be attributable to an intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or other neurologic conditions and may include autism.

Differentiation: Differentiated instruction occurs when the teacher proactively plans varied approaches and methods to what students need to learn, how they will learn it, and how the students will present what they have learned.

Differentiation increases the possibility that each student will learn as efficiently as possible and achieve to the maximum of their potential.

Direct Parent Referral: The process which occurs when parents request that their child by-pass the tiered intervention process (RTI) and be referred directly to Special Education for eligibility. The tiered intervention process is a problem- solving model that organizes school intervention services for students who are not meeting academic or behavioral expectations. The RtI process also helps identify which students respond favorably to the interventions and which students may need referral to special education. Parents should not be encouraged to by-pass this valuable process. A Direct Parent Referral is used only when parents feel that their child is a child with a disability and requires special education services. Determination of eligibility may or may not require a psycho-educational evaluation. Direct Parent Referral does not circumvent the requirement of documentation of interventions implemented in the classroom and progress monitoring as a component of eligibility for special education, but does require that the evaluation/eligibility process begin and be completed within a 60-day evaluation period.

Discrete Trial Instruction (DTI): Discrete Trial Instruction describes a one to one adult to student instructional technique that teaches skills in a planned, controlled and systematic manner to students with autism. DTI is used when a student needs to learn a skill but requires the information to be taught in small repeated systematic steps. DTI is an adult directed activity. It is applied during an adult to student, one to one teaching situation. Each trial or teaching opportunity has a definite beginning and end, thus the descriptor discrete trial. DTI incorporates the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and is the direct teaching of skills that individuals with autism may not learn naturally.

Due Process Hearing: A formal legal proceeding presided over by an impartial public official who listens to both sides of the dispute and renders a decision based upon the law. A parent of a student with a disability who disagrees with the school system must put his/her request for a due process hearing in writing to the office of Special Student Services.

Emotional and Behavior Disorder (EBD): A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree which disrupts the child’s or adolescent’s educational, academic, or developmental performance: An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers or teachers; a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

EBD Small Group Class: The model of service required when a student’s behavior is so severe that he/she cannot maintain appropriate behavior in the general educational setting even with individualized behavior management support. The behavior impedes the learning of the student and other students in the general education classroom. Students receive support and instruction on appropriate behavior and social skills as well as grade level standards and remediation for deficit academic skills. In addition to the classroom behavior management plan, each student has a Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plan. The goal is always to return students to the general education setting as behavior improves.

Eligibility Team: The educational professionals who determine a student’s eligibility for special education services, including a school psychologist, special educator, general educator, related support staff and parents. Other professionals may be included as needed.

Evaluation: The collection of information (includes testing, observations, and parental input) about a student’s learning needs, strengths, and interests. The evaluation is part of the process of determining whether a student qualifies for special education programs and services.

Extended School Year Services (ESY): A term referring to the school program for students with disabilities that extends beyond the regular school year. An IEP committee reviews data which indicates progress on goals/objectives and determines if ESY services are required as part of the student’s Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The intent of ESY is to prevent significant regression which compromises the student’s ability to make meaningful progress on the IEP, therefore, not providing the student with FAPE. ESY is not provided to guarantee mastery of goals/objectives.

Flexible Grouping: The models of co-teaching used by the general education teacher and special education teacher to deliver instruction in a co-teaching class. The models include Parallel Teaching, Station Teaching, Alternative Teaching, and Team Teaching.

FM Amplification System: A system in which the teacher wears a microphone and an FM Transmitter that broadcasts his/her voice to receivers used by students. The receiver may be either attached directly to a hearing aid, other personal amplification device, or in a desktop device with speakers. These devices allow students amplified access to the teacher’s voice.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): A key requirement of federal legislation (IDEA) which requires that special education and related services be provided to all students with disabilities. The following requirements must be met: (a) Are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge; (b) Meet the standards of the state board of education and the laws pertaining thereto; (c) Include preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, and secondary school education; and (d) Are provided in conformity with an individualized educational program (IEP).

Full Time Equivalency (FTE): FTE reporting is the way Georgia’s local school districts earn their State funding for education. This process is based on the student enrollment and the specific educational services that are provided to students. Special education services earn higher funding “weights” than general education services to students. The special education teacher should be aware that both the students’ service information (entered in the Goalview data system) and their academic schedules directly impact the FTE counts and the State funding the district receives. The special education leadership staff coordinates the process with special education teachers to assure the accuracy of the FTE count in each school.

Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA): An assessment to determine the function of a student’s disruptive behavior through an analysis of the antecedents and consequences surrounding the behavior. Specific functions of behavior could include escape (i.e., getting out of an assignment) or attention (either peer or adult). A Functional Behavioral Assessment is the initial step in the development of a Behavior Intervention Plan.

Functional Curriculum: A curriculum model for students with moderate and severe disabilities. Content is selected based on identified skills needed for functioning in current and future integrated community, residential, and vocational environments. The instruction for students in the moderate and severe/profound classes is based on the Curriculum Guide for Students with Intellectual Disabilities .

Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA): A portfolio assessment designed by the GaDOE for students with significant cognitive disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) whose IEP team has determined they are unable to reasonably participate in the regular assessment program. The purpose of the GAA is to ensure all students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, are provided access to the state curriculum and given the opportunity to demonstrate progress toward achievement of the state standards.

Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS): The GNETS progam supports local school systems’ continuum of services by providing comprehensive special education and therapeutic support for students whose behavior severely impedes their learning. Services for students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders or autism may be provided by the HAVEN, (the CCSD GNETS)program. Students ages three through 21 may be served in a range of settings depending on severity of behavior. They may include consultative service in the home school, satellite HAVEN classes, and direct services in the HAVEN center or other settings as appropriate. The programs provide comprehensive educational and therapeutic support services to students who might otherwise require residential or other more restrictive placements due to the severity of one or more of the characteristics of the disability category of emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD).

Goals and Objectives Probes: Data that is collected on IEP goals and objectives on a regular basis and is reported to parents on the same schedule as report cards or progress reports for general education students.

GoalView: The web-based special education data management system used to manage the IEP process and other program and state reporting requirements to ensure compliance with FAPE and IDEA as well as develop a quality education plan for CCSD’s students with disabilities. The application is integrated with CCSD’s data warehouse, student information and transportation systems.

Hard of Hearing: A term to describe individuals who have some amount of hearing loss, but still rely on hearing and listening to communicate and learn.

HAVEN: The H.A.V.E.N. program provides comprehensive special education services and support for students with Severe Emotional and Behavioral Disorders and Autism. The program serves students from Cobb County, Douglas County and the City of Marietta school systems. H.A.V.E.N. Academy is part of the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS). H.A.V.E.N. stands for Hope, Achievement, Victory, Encouragement, and Nobility. See GNETS definition for additional information.

Home Based Services (HB): Instructional services provided by a Special Education Home Based teacher to students with disabilities who are unable to attend school because of extensive suspensions or the student’s medical condition is a part of or related to his/her eligibility. The IEP team determines that the student should receive educational services, then further determination is made for either Hospital/Homebound or Home Based services. The Special Education Supervisor should be contacted when services are required. See Hospital/Home bound.

Hospital/Homebound (HHB): Instructional services made available to students who are able to participate in educational instruction but who are medically unable to attend school for a minimum of ten consecutive days or equivalent on a modified calendar, or intermittent periods of time throughout the school year. If the student’s medical condition is not a part of or related to his/her eligibility, then services would be provided through Hospital/Homebound services. The School Counselor should be contacted. See Home Based Services.

Inclusion: The process of educating students with disabilities in the general education setting with nondisabled peers. Students receive specialized instructional services through a consultative, collaborative or co-teaching model.

Individualized Educational Program (IEP): A written plan for each student with a disability that is developed by a team of professionals (teachers, therapists, psychologist, etc.) and the child’s parents. IEPs are based on a multidisciplinary evaluation, describe the student’s current level of academic achievement and functional performance and how the student’s disability affects his/her involvement and progress in the general education curriculum. The IEP includes the special education and related services the student will need to make progress toward the annual goals. The IEP must be reviewed regularly and updated at least annually. Cobb County Special Education uses an electronic IEP program called GoalView.

IEP Team: The team of professional educators and parents/guardians who develop and monitor a student’s Individualized Educational Program. The team is required by state law to include members who have the role of a special education teacher, general education teacher, evaluator, Local Education Agency (LEA) representative, and parent/guardian. Other specialists and the student should be included as appropriate.

Individual Learning Plan (ILP): A document used for instructional planning purposes that allows teachers to design instruction that meets each student’s individual learning needs. It is developed for each student with a disability by the case manager using data from the student’s IEP, eligibility report, psychological report (if applicable), and other sources as appropriate. The ILP contains the student’s processing strengths and deficit areas, levels of functioning, learning styles, and effective research-based strategies that will support the student in maximizing his/her achievement.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): The federal law that was enacted to ensure that all students with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living; to ensure that the rights of students with disabilities and their parents are protected; to assist states, localities, educational service agencies, and federal agencies in providing for the education of students with disabilities; and to assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate students with disabilities.

Individualized Transition Program (ITP): The plan developed by teachers, parents, and the student at age 14 as part of the IEP which specifies the education, training, and employment activities that will occur to prepare the student for postsecondary education, work, leisure, and independent living after leaving school. The Transition Plan is required by law for students with disabilities at the IEP meeting before the student turns 16 years old.

Intellectual Disability (ID): Intellectual functioning based on multiple sources of information documenting IQ scores below 70. There is evidence of significant limitations in the child’s effectiveness in meeting standards of maturation, learning, personal independence or social responsibility, and especially school performance. The student’s adaptive behavior in school and home is significantly below average.

Interim Alternative Education Setting (IAES): An educational placement designated by the IEP team for a special education student after involvement in a weapons or illicit substance violation at school. The IAES can be determined from a number of options including alternative school placement or after-school program placement and have a duration of 45 calendar days.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): The policy mandated by IDEA that students with disabilities be educated in the general school environment with their nondisabled peers to the greatest extent possible.

Local Education Agency/ LEA Representative: The law defines LEA Representative as a representative of the local educational agency who:

  • is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities
  • is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum; and
  • is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the local educational agency;

Low Incidence Classes Mild (MID), Moderate (MOID), Severe (SID), and Profound (PID): Students with intellectual disabilities are usually served in a small group classroom for a part of or majority of the school day. Students are mainstreamed into designated general education classes whenever possible for enrichment depending on cognitive and achievement levels and areas of interest. Instruction is aligned to the GA Performance Standards (GPS), based on the Curriculum Guide for Students with Intellectual Disabilities and specialized to meet the cognitive and developmental needs of students with emphasis on daily living skills.

Manifestation Determination Review (MDR): School personnel may remove a student with a disability who violates the district code of student conduct from his or her current placement to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting, another setting or suspension, for not more than 10 days in a school year. After the student has been removed for 10 days in the school year and the student again violates the code of student conduct, a Manifestation determination meeting must be held to determine if the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability or if the conduct was the direct result of the LEA’s failure to implement the student’s IEP. If the violation was deemed a manifestation of the student’s disability, a Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavioral Intervention Plan must be conducted, or revised if already in place, and the student should be returned to the placement from which the student was removed. If the student’s violation was not a manifestation of his/her disability, the student may be suspended, but the IEP team must determine appropriate services needed to provide FAPE so as to enable the student to continue to participate in the general education curriculum in the same setting, another setting or interim alternative educational setting.

Mediation: An informal process for resolving disputes between parents and schools. Mediation sessions are conducted by an impartial neutral third party at no cost to parents or school districts.

Mild Intellectual Disability (MID): A mild intellectual disability is defined by the GADOE as intellectual functioning ranging between an upper IQ limit of approximately 70 to a lower IQ limit of approximately 55; deficits in adaptive behavior that significantly limit a child’s effectiveness in meeting the standards of maturation, learning, personal independence or social responsibility, and especially school performance that is expected of the individual’s age level and cultural group.

Moderate Intellectual Disability (MOID): A moderate intellectual disability is defined by the GaDOE as intellectual functioning ranging from an upper IQ limit of approximately 55 to a lower IQ limit of approximately 40; and deficits in adaptive behavior that significantly limit a child’s effectiveness in meeting the standards of maturation, learning, personal independence or social responsibility, and especially school performance that is expected of the individual’s age-level and cultural group.

Modifications: Refers to alterations in curriculum that change, lower, or reduce learning expectations and outcome. Modifications can increase the gap between the achievement of students with disabilities and expectations for proficiency at a particular grade level. Consistent use of modifications could adversely affect students throughout their educational career. Modifications in Statewide assessments may invalidate the results. The use of modifications exposes the student to the entire curriculum, but only partial mastery is expected.

Multidisciplinary Team: A team of professional educators with various areas of expertise who evaluate, provide educational services for students with disabilities, and are responsible for specific program design and implementation.

Nursing: The special education nurse serves as a liaison among family, community health providers, educators and other school personnel, to assure that the special health care needs of students with individualized education programs (IEPs) are addressed in the school. Special education nurses perform skilled medical procedures that require a licensed nurse. Special education nurses provide competency-based training to school staff for delegated healthcare procedures.

Occupational Therapy (OT): An occupational therapist uses purposeful, goal directed activities and task analysis to enable children with a disability to benefit from their individualized education programs (IEP’s). Occupational Therapists in the school setting address skills which may interfere with a student’s educational performance such as hand function, oral motor function, visual motor and perceptual skills, sensory awareness/processing, self-care and pre-vocational tasks. These areas can be addressed through a variety of intervention strategies, which may include direct therapy with the child, consultation with the teacher, modification of the environment, provision of adaptive equipment, and staff training.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): The covert display of underlying aggression by patterns of obstinate, but generally passive behavior. Students with this disorder often provoke adults or other children by the use of negativism, stubbornness, dawdling, procrastination, and other behaviors.

Orientation & Mobility (O&M): This term refers to the teaching and training of skills to a blind/visually impaired student that will familiarize him/her with surroundings and enable him/her to travel safely and independently throughout the environment.

Orthopedic Impairment (OI): Disorders that are caused by congenital anomalies such as deformity/absence of limb, disease such as muscular dystrophy, etc, or other causes such as cerebral palsy, amputations, etc. Evidence of deficits in academic functioning, emotional development, adaptive behavior, motor or communication skills may exist.

Other Health Impaired (OHI): Chronic or acute health problems documented with a medical report that indicates limited strength, vitality or alertness which adversely affect a student’s educational performance. Evidence of deficits in academic functioning, adaptive behavior, social/emotional development, motor or communication, motor skills or emotional development exists.

Parallel Teaching: A co-teaching model in which the general education teacher and special education teacher are teaching the same content to different groups, but present the instruction in a different way depending on student needs. Flexible grouping allows simultaneous teaching.

Paraprofessional/Para: Support personnel assigned to support students with disabilities under the leadership of a special education teacher.

Parent Mentors: Parents of children with disabilities who are employed on a part-time basis by Cobb County School District as Special Education Parent Mentors. The goal of the Parent Mentor Program is to nurture communication among parents and educators, ultimately leading to greater success for students with disabilities.

Partial Participation: The curriculum and instructional approach for students with moderate and severe disabilities which allows them to participate in a general education class or other school setting for the purpose of enrichment and the development of curriculum objectives which target participation within a task in lieu of the ability to independently perform the task. The general education teacher is not responsible for grades or the achievement level of students with moderate or severe disabilities who partially participate in their class. The student receives special education support as required in the IEP.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD): The umbrella term used in DSM-IV which includes subcategories of Autism Spectrum Disorders, i.e. ,Childhood Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified.

Physical Therapy (PT): School-based physical therapists assist students with disabilities to access their education. This includes activities of a school day such as moving throughout school grounds, sitting, standing in line or at the board, moving in class or through the building. Interventions may include adaptations to school environments, working with a student on motor skills, assistance with identifying and obtaining special equipment, collaboration with other professionals, and training school staff.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS): PBIS is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes. The premise of PBIS is that continual teaching, recognizing and rewarding of positive student behavior will reduce unnecessary discipline and promote a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning. PBIS schools apply a multi- tiered approach to prevention, using disciplinary data and principles of behavior analysis to develop school-wide, targeted and individualized interventions and supports to improve school climate for all students. Implementing PBIS can be a proactive strategy for teaching pro-social school-wide behaviors.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): A picture exchange communication system is a form of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) that uses pictures instead of words to help children communicate. PECS was designed especially for children with autism who have delays in speech development.

Psychological Report: A written report of the results of an evaluation conducted by a school psychologist that identifies student strengths and weaknesses and offers recommendations the student may need to be successful.

Related Services: Services required for a student to benefit from special education. Related sercives may include transportation and supportive services such as speech, audiology, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, and interpreters for persons with hearing impairments.

Response to Intervention (RtI): A tiered intervention process which is a problem-solving model that organizes school intervention services for students who are not meeting academic or behavioral expectations. The model provides high quality instruction and intervention matched to individual student needs, monitors progress frequently, and applies student response data to educational decisions. The RTI process progresses from universal to intensive interventions. This process also helps to identify which students respond favorably to the interventions and which students may need referral for consideration under Section 504 or special education.

Revocation of Parental Consent for Placement: On December 1, 2008, Congress passed an amendment to IDEA which allows parents to unilaterally remove their children from special education by putting their request in writing to the school district. The parent has the right to revoke consent for services and the District has no standing to impede the parent’s request. The amendment does not allow a parent to revoke consent for part of the services provided by the IEP and keep specific services. If the parent and the District disagree about whether FAPE would be provided with or without the provision of a specific service, the school district may use due process procedures. Revocation of consent means the removal of all special education services outlined in the IEP.

School Psychologist: An individual who is trained in both psychology and education and provides consultation, assessment, intervention and training for students with learning, social, emotional, or developmental problems.

Section 504: A part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that states “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Severe Emotional and Behavior Disorder (SEBD): When a child or adolescent exhibits behavioral, emotional and/or social impairment that consequently disrupts their academic and/or developmental progress, family and/or interpersonal relationships, and has impaired functioning that has continued for at least one year, or has an impairment of short duration and high severity.

Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities (SID/PID): A generic classification of disorders which involves physical, sensory, intellectual, social-interpersonal performance deficits significantly below average. These deficits are not limited to any given setting, but are evident in all environmental settings and often involve deficits in several areas of performance. The GaDOE defines severe intellectual functioning as ranging from an upper IQ limit of approximately 40 to a lower IQ limit of approximately 25 and profound disabilities as intellectual functioning below approximately 25; and deficits in adaptive behavior that significantly limit a child’s effectiveness in meeting the standards of maturation, learning, personal independence or social responsibility and especially school performance that is expected of the individual’s age-level and cultural group.

Significant Developmental Delay (SDD): The term refers to a delay in a child’s development in adaptive behavior, cognition, communication, motor skills or emotional development to the extent that, if not provided with special intervention, the delay may adversely affect a child’s educational performance in age-appropriate activities. Initial eligibility must be established on or before the child’s seventh birthday. A categorical eligibility must be established by the end of the school year in which the child turns nine years old.

Small Group Class/Self-contained: A special education class for students with disabilities who require specialized instruction taught by a special education teacher. The model of service required in a subject area when a student’s disability is so severe that he/she cannot benefit from a less restrictive placement. Students are usually functioning at least two to three grade levels below average in the subject area or may require an alternative curriculum or modifications that are too extensive to be delivered in a general education class. Students receive specialized instruction on grade level standards as well as remediation for deficit skills.

Special Education Diploma: “The document awarded to students with disabilities assigned to a special education program who have not met the state assessment requirements referenced in GaDOE Rule 160-3-1-.07 Testing Programs – Student Assessment or who have not completed all of the requirements for a high school diploma but who have nevertheless completed their Individualized Education Programs (IEP).” (A default diploma for SWD)

Special Education Programs/Services: Programs or services which provide specially designed instruction (offered at no cost to families) for children 3 years old through age 21 with special needs who are found eligible for such services.  These include specialized learning methods or materials in the regular classroom and special classes and programs if the learning or physical disabilities are more severe.

Special Needs Preschool (SNP): The special education program for young children ages 3 – 5 with disabilities. Preschool children with disabilities may be served through home-based, community-based, or facility-based (elementary school) model, or unique combinations of these models.

Specific Learning Disability (SLD): A disorder in understanding or using spoken or written language, characterized by imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. A primary deficit in basic psychological processes is identified. There is evidence of underachievement in one or more of the following areas: oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension, reading fluency, mathematical calculation, or mathematical problem solving. Achievement in the classroom indicates a pattern of strengths and weaknesses. The achievement deficiencies are directly related to a pervasive processing deficit and correlates to the child’s response to scientific, research-based interventions. The term does not include students who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; intellectual disabilities or environment, cultural or economic disadvantage.

Specialized Instruction: The use of research-based strategies designed to meet the individual needs of students with disabilities in a collaborative, co-teaching, or small group class. Instruction includes the adaption of the content, methodology, and/or instructional delivery that addresses the unique needs of the student that result from the student’s disability, and ensures access to the general curriculum.

Speech/Language Impairment (SI): An impairment in the areas of articulation, fluency, voice, or language that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) assess students, plan interventions, and provide speech and language support for students who are eligible for speech/language services.

Station Teaching: A co-teaching model in which the general education teacher and special education teacher divide content and students. Each teacher presents the content to one group and subsequently repeats the instruction to the other group. If appropriate, a third “station” could require students to work independently.

Students with a Disability (SWD): A child who is determined by a school multidisciplinary eligibility team to have a disability according to state rules and regulations and who by reason of that disability requires special education and related services.

Team Teaching: A co-teaching model in which the general education teacher and special education teacher deliver the same instruction at the same time using a whole group approach.

Technical Assistance for Severe Behavior (TASB): Research based intervention service available to students in all grade levels in Cobb County schools who exhibit severe behavioral/emotional issues that disrupt the learning environment.

TASB staff will conduct and implement Functional Behavioral Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans in classrooms for behaviors such as self-injury, aggression, property destruction, defiance, and disruption. TASB support is requested by referral after the Behavior Autism Support Teacher (BAST) or Autism or Intellectual Disabilities Trainer has worked with the school team and more in-depth training or assistance is required.

Tracking Log: A tracking log is the form used by special education personnel to document the time between a referral to special education and the eligibility determination meeting. Documentation on the Tracking Log includes information such as the student’s name, DOB, referral date, due date, psychological evaluation date, and eligibility meeting date.

This information is summarized by the special education supervisor to determine the timeliness of the eligibility process at each school.

Transition Academy: The Transition Academy serves qualifying students with intellectual disabilities ages 19-22 in a functional program designed to facilitate the move from school to post-school realities for those with greater challenges. Program components include Home Living, Community Living, Lifelong Learning, Employment, Health and Safety, Social Activities, and Protection and Advocacy. These components correspond with the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) used by the Department of Human Resources (DHR) and other Adult Service Agencies to determine need for service. Students must have completed their diploma requirements including earning 23 Carnegie/Access units and passing GAA before being admitted to the Transition Academy.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A form of acquired brain injury that occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. Deficits in cognitive, social, or motor skills due to acquired injury adversely impact educational performance.

Universal Design: The design of curricula with the needs of all students in mind so that instruction, materials, and assessment are usable by all. Universal design curriculum is designed to be innately flexible, enriched with multiple media so that alternatives can be accessed whenever appropriate. The curriculum takes on the burden of adaptation so the student doesn’t have to, minimizing barriers and maximizing access to both information and learning.

Visually Impaired (VI): A category of disability describing a student whose best corrected visual acuity in the better eye is 20/70 or worse. Students may require the services of a teacher of Visually Impaired students.

Visually Impaired Class (VI): The teacher of visually impaired students (TVI) does not perform instruction based upon the GPS core academic curriculum. The TVI is responsible for delivering the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). The ECC is made up of skills that provide the student with vision loss access to the general curriculum and to the student’s larger environment. The ECC consists of assistive technology, visual efficiency, orientation and mobility, independent living skills, self-advocacy, social skills, career education, and recreation and leisure. As part of visual efficiency, assistive technology, and independent living, some students require instruction in Braille and Nemeth Code in order to access printed materials. Other kinds of assistive technology allow access to textbooks and computers. The TVI provides instruction based on goals and objectives that relate to skills in the ECC.

Copied from the Georgia Department of Education Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Special Education Services Supplement PDF.  Original PDF available here: