Acronyms & Glossary of Terms


Glossary of Terms

Accessibility is the “ability to access” the functionality and benefit of some system or entity. This term is used to describe the degree to which a product (such as a device, a service, or an environment) is accessible by as many people as possible.
Accommodations are adaptations made for specific individuals with disabilities (as defined by law) when a product or service isn’t accessible. These techniques and materials don’t change the basic curriculum but do make learning a little easier and help students communicate what they know.
Achievement Tests
Measures of acquired knowledge in academic skills, such as reading, math, writing, and science.
Adaptive Software
Adaptive software is any software or program that builds a model of the preferences, goals, and knowledge of each individual student and uses that model throughout the interaction with the student in order to adapt to that student’s assessed needs.
Recognizing and communicating needs, rights, and interests on behalf of a child; making informed choices. 
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a mediation for the resolution of complaints between parents and school district personnel in a cooperative forum of problem- solving conducted by skilled neutral facilitators who are not CUHSD employees.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA is a federal civil rights law that provides legal protections for individuals with disabilities from discrimination in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and transportation. Title II of the ADA requires schools to make educational opportunities, extracurricular activities, and facilities open and accessible to all students. These provisions apply to brick-and-mortar and online schooling.
Process of identifying strengths and needs to assist in educational planning; includes observation, record review, interviews, and tests to develop appropriate educational programs, and to monitor progress
Assessment Plan
The description of the battery of tests (psychological, achievement, language, etc.) to be used in a particular student's assessment.
Assistive Technology
Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, product or system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.
Child Find
Ongoing activities undertaken by states and local school districts to locate, identify, and evaluate all children residing in the state who are suspected of having disabilities so that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) can be made available to all eligible children, including all children in public and private schools, including religious schools.
Community Advisory Council for Special Education (CAC)
A group of parents of children with disabilities, members of the community, students and special education professionals who advise the school board and school district administration about special education programs.
Compliance Complaint
Complaint filed with the state department of education or local school district by a person who feels that an educational law has been broken.
Designated Instruction and Services (DIS)
Sometimes called related services; specialized instructional, and/or support services identified through an assessment and written on an IEP as necessary for a child to benefit from special education (e.g. speech/language therapy, vision services, etc.)
Difference between two tests, such as between measures of a child’s intellectual ability and their academic achievement
Due Process
Procedural safeguards to protect the rights of the parent/guardian and the child under federal and state laws and regulations for special education; includes voluntary mediation or a due process hearing to resolve differences with the school.
The determination that a student is a child with a disability.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
The nation’s main law governing K–12 education, ESSA calls for states, districts, and schools to provide students access to challenging academic standards and holds schools accountable for the success of students, including students with disabilities and other subgroups. 
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), a cornerstone of the IDEA, our nation’s special education law, is that each eligible child with a disability is entitled to a FAPE that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet the child’s unique needs and that prepares the child for further education, employment, and independent living.
General Education
CurriculumThe body of knowledge and range of skills that all students in the state are expected to master.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The nation’s main law governing specific rights of K–12 students with disabilities (and a civil rights law), IDEA entitles all public school students to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Students suspected of having a disability have the right to a free evaluation, and students deemed eligible for special education have the right to special education and related services.
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
An IEP is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services. 
Informed Consent
Agreement in writing from parents that they have been informed and understand implications of special education evaluation and program decisions; permission is voluntary and may be withdrawn.
A change in instructing the student in the area of learning difficulty to try to improve learning and achieve adequate progress.
Least restrictive environment (LRE)
A term meaning that children with disabilities must be educated (to the maximum extent appropriate) with children without disabilities.
Modifications are changes in the delivery, content, or instructional level of a subject or test. They result in changed or lowered expectations and create a different standard for kids with disabilities than for those without disabilities.
Multidisciplinary Team
Professionals with different training and expertise; may include, but is not limited to, any combination of the following public school personnel — general education teacher, special education teacher, administrator, school psychologist, speech and language therapist, counselor — and the parent.
Non-public school (NPS)
A private placement under contract with the district and certified by the state, to service pupils with disabilities whose needs can not be served by the special education programs offered within the CUHSD.
Post-Secondary Education
Formal education or training beyond high school, including college, university, vocational school and trade school.
Primary Language
Language that the child first learned, or the language that’s spoken in the home.
Prior Written Notice (PWN)
A Prior Written Notice (PWN) is a document that informs (provides notice to) a parent/guardian/education rights holder of actions that the school intends to take in regard to their child’s Individualized Education Program. It is important that parents understand what the school plans to do (or not do) for their child
Procedural Safeguards
Legal requirements that ensure parents and kids will be treated fairly and equally in the decision-making process about special education.
Progress Reports
Progress Reports must, at a minimum: inform parents of their child's progress toward each annual goal; determine whether progress is sufficient for their child to achieve the goals by the annual IEP due date; must be reported on when report cards are sent out ( a copy must be sent home to parent/guardian)
Pupil Records
Personal information about the child that is kept by the school system and is available for review by legal guardians and others directly involved in their education.
Related Services
Related services is the term for those services a disabled child needs in order to benefit from special education. Related services include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and rehabilitation counseling are related services. Transportation to school is a related service.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination in the education of children and youth with disabilities; vocational education; college and other post-secondary programs; employment; health, welfare and other social programs; and other programs and activities that receive federal funds
Child’s ability to explain specific learning needs and seek necessary assistance or accommodations.
Special Education (SPED)
Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of eligible students whose educational needs can’t be met through modification of the regular instructional program; provides for a range of options for services, such as pull out programs, special day classes; available to students enrolled in public schools.
Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA)
The county office from which some special education services are funded.
Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI)
Specialized academic instruction (SAI) is determined by the IEP team and is derived from assessment information, data collected, and goals/objectives developed in the student's area(s) of need. Each student's educational needs are unique; thus, SAI and services may vary greatly between students.
Student Success Team (SST)
A regular education process designed to make preliminary modifications within the regular education program of a student not succeeding in class.