Glossary of Special Education Terms

Accommodations: Specific and individualized instructional, environmental and assessment teaching strategies required for a student to meet curriculum expectations for a grade/course. Examples of accommodations include: extra time for tests/assignments, scribing of answers, use of assistive technology, preferential seating, chunking of information, frequent breaks and human resources.

Acquired Brain Injury: A diagnosed medical condition of damage to the brain, resulting from a traumatic or non-traumatic injury, occurring after birth. Traumatic brain injuries involve an external force, like a fall, hit or motor vehicle accident. Non-traumatic brain injuries could result from loss of oxygen, a brain lesion, toxins or illness like meningitis. Temporary or permanent cognitive, emotional, behavioural or physical impairments are symptoms of acquired brain injuries. Acquired brain injuries do not include degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s Diseases or Multiple Sclerosis (MS), nor congenital conditions like Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

Adaptive Technology: Any piece of equipment that is specifically designed for those with disabilities and would not be used for those without disabilities, like wheelchairs, standers, large scale switches/mice, etc.

Aggression Management: An area of student need based on his/her demonstrated verbal, non-verbal or physical actions.

Alcohol-Related Neuro-developmental Disorder (ARND): A diagnosed condition, related to the numerous neurological problems that can result when a child is exposed to alcohol before birth.

Anger / Frustration Management Skills: An area of student need, based on his/her demonstrated behaviour.

Annual Program Goal(s): A reasonable overall goal for each modified subject and/or alternative program, determined from the student’s current level of achievement, which the student can reasonably attain in the course of the year.

Anxiety: An emotional state characterized by heightened feelings of tension and worry, resulting in physical changes.

Anxiety Disorders: A diagnosed condition involving heightened feelings of tension and worry, often resulting in physical symptoms, behaviours and distortions in thinking.

Anxiety Management: An area of student need, involving frequent worry and nervousness.

Alternative Program: In response to a student’s need, individualized alternative programming is develop and taught for the acquisition of knowledge and skills that are not specifically part of the Ontario curriculum. Examples of alternative programs may include: speech remediation, social skills, self-help/personal skills and/or personal care programs. Alternative programming is individualized and documented on a student’s IEP. Alternative programming goals are assessed, communicated at reporting periods and regularly revised.

Alternative Report Card: School board generated report card for the reporting of Alternative Program Learning Expectations, used for students who are only working on Alternative Programming goals. Some boards use the Provincial Report Card Addendum to report on Alternative Programming.

Antecedent, Behaviour and Consequence (ABC) Tracking: A strategy often used with ABA methods or behaviour modification to record and later analyze what occurred prior to the behaviour being targeted (antecedents), the actual behaviour and the outcome/reinforcer (consequence). Consequence in ABC tracking does not usually mean the discipline measure put into place following a behaviour, unless its function is the reinforcing element to the behaviour.

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA): A systematic and individualized method of teaching based on principles of learning and behaviour, to reduce undesirable and increase adaptive behaviour. The ABA process begins defining the behaviour to be changed, which is then specifically tracked with antecedents and reinforcers of the behaviour. ABC tracking sheets are often utilized and analysis of the tracking helps to develop specific strategies to develop shape the desired outcome. ABA can be implemented in schools by teachers and school teams.

Articulation Skills: An area of student need, based on his/her speech pronunciation.

Asperger’s Syndrome: One of the five Autism Spectrum Disorders as outlined in the DSM-IV. Asperger’s is characterized by a social interaction impairment, limited or preoccupying interests and difficulty with non-verbal communication skills. Some with Asperger’s may refer to themselves as “Aspies”.

Assessment Methods: Part of modified and alternative IEP programming that indicates how the specific learning expectations will be assessed.

Assistive Technology (AT): Any piece of technology that helps a student with or without a disability to increase or maintain his/her level of functioning. These often include lap tops with specialized programs, like speech to text, text to speech, graphic organizers and word prediction software.

Attendance Strategies: An area of student need of any deliberate student absence from school, often referred to as truancy and/or chronic absenteeism that is not due to legitimate illness.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD): A diagnosed neurobiological condition that is characterized by chronic and persistent inattention, poor impulse control and over-activity. ADHD can be diagnosed in three types: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive and combined. ADHD is not a learning disability, but can commonly occur with learning disabilities (comorbid in about 30-40% of instances).

Attention Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulty with maintaining concentration, especially on non-preferred activities, while ignoring distractions.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): Communication using pictures, symbols or voice output devices to augment or act as an alternative to a student’s current or previous communication.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): A set of five diagnosed conditions of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs) as indicated in The Diagnostic and Statistical/ Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-lV). While ranging in severity, these disorders all have three common characteristics: impaired social skills, impaired verbal and nonverbal communication and restricted/repetitive interests or behaviours. The five disorders under the ASD “umbrella” are: Autistic Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified including Atypical (PDD-NOS).

Autistic Disorder: One of the five Autism Spectrum Disorders as outlined in the DSM-IV. Autistic Disorder is characterized by severe impairment in social interaction, communication (could be non-verbal) and repetitive and restrictive patterns of behaviour that are non-functional.

Baseline: Determination of the current level of functioning as documented by type, frequency and duration. Often used with determining current level of behaviour.

Behaviour Modification: Using both positive and negative reinforcers/consequences to try and encourage positive behaviour.

Bipolar Disorder: A diagnosed medical condition that involves intense phases of depression and mania that impair daily functioning.

Blindness: A medical condition of the eyes that involves a severe impairment in vision, not corrected by glasses.

Blind and Low Vision: A formal exceptionality, identified by an Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC), in the category of Physical. Also a diagnosed medical condition, involving the inability or reduced ability to see.

Bullying: Behaviours that involve using strength or influence with the deliberate intent of making the target victim feel uncomfortable, verbally, physically, socially and/or over social media. Students who demonstrate bullying behaviours may frequently switch between roles, to that of the victim or bystander depending on the social situation.

Central Auditory Processing: An area of student need, involving attentive listening comprehension skills amongst background noise/conversations and/or processing to understand information given orally.

Cerebral Palsy (CP): A diagnosed condition, affecting body movement and muscle co-ordination, resulting from an anomaly during brain development.

Chunking: An instructional and assessment accommodation where teachers provide new information and/or instructions in small pieces (chunks) to ensure student success.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Taking control over thoughts as a way of improving feelings and behaviours, through talking in one to one or group counselling sessions facilitated by a mental health practitioner (social worker, child and youth worker, psychologist, etc.).

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: One of the five Autism Spectrum Disorders as outlined in the DSM-IV. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is characterized by normal development until the age of two then a significant loss of social and communication skills with a development of restricted and repetitive behaviours occurring before the age of ten.

Communication Disorder Assistant (CDA): A speech and language professional who works under the supervision of a Speech and Language Pathologist, often servicing students with articulation and speech difficulties, in schools.

Comorbid: More than one debilitating condition occurring at the same time. See the strategy pages for each condition a student is diagnosed with.

Conduct Disorder (CD): A diagnosed condition made by a certified professional that is characterized by a consistent pattern of behaviour in which the basic rights of others or societal norms or rules are violated.

Current Level of Achievement: The baseline or current functioning of a student in a particular area. Current level of achievement is part of modified and alternative program plans on IEPs for students who are not utilizing the Ontario curriculum. Current level of achievement provides the basis for goal and expectation setting. Current level of achievement could include the previous grade level and achievement mark for the subject area. For alternative programs, the current level of achievement is often indicated anecdotally.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF): A diagnosed condition that impairs the body's ability to move salt and water in and out of cells, which causes the lungs and pancreas to secrete thick mucus, blocking passageways and preventing proper function.

Depression Disorders: A diagnosed psychological condition of low mood and aversion to activity that has a negative impact on thoughts, feelings, behaviour, views and physical well- being, beyond periodic irritability, moodiness and ups and downs most experience, often brought on by years of anxiety.

Depression/Sadness Management: An area of student need characterized by chronic sadness and feelings of inadequacy. Students may have low moods that negatively impact their thoughts, feelings, behaviours, views and physical well-being.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Exceptionality: A formal exceptionality identified by and Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC), in the category of Communication. Also a medically-diagnosed condition, involving the inability, or severe reduction in ability, to hear.

Deafness: A diagnosed condition, where there is a complete loss of the ability to hear from one or both ears.

Developmental Disability (DD): Characterized by significantly below average intellectual ability approximately the 2nd percentile or below. Deficits in adaptive functioning must also be present.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM –IV): Published by the American Psychiatric Association, the DSM-IV provides criteria for the diagnoses of all mental health disorders for children and adults, along with some common treatments.

Differential Instruction (DI): A method of instruction that is aimed at maximizing each student’s development. The method looks at the individual needs and the level of development and then offers a learning experience that works with the student’s specific needs.

Disengagement/Motivation Strategies: An area of student need involving students who do are not engaged behaviourally (do not participate in school activities), emotionally (feel excluded or separate from the school), nor cognitively (tend not to take ownership for their learning).

Down Syndrome: A diagnosed medical condition, caused by extra genetic material, resulting in impaired development, both mentally and physically. It affects about one in every 800 babies.

Eating Disorders: An area of student need involving a self-imposed restricted diet or refusal to eat and/or purging after eating.

Echolalia: The repetition of words of phrases, often by students with ASD.

Educational Assistant (EA): Are members of the educational system who work in schools to support student needs. Educational Assistants work with teachers to ensure the safety and medical needs of students are met. EAs also implement accommodations and support students with their modified and/or alternative programming goals.

English as a Second Language (ESL): A program that aims to teach English to someone who has a different first language. The program could be taught during specific periods while for the rest of the day the student will most likely be placed in a regular classroom, an immersion program, or a bilingual educational environment.

English Language Learner (ELL): A student who is learning English. These students do not fall under special education services, but are not excluded if their needs indicate. The prevalence of an ELL student requiring special education services is the same as for non-ELL students. Sometimes an ELL has been referred to as English Second Language.

English Language Skills: An area of student need, involving the acquisition of the English language. While not officially part of special education, English Language Learners will have special education needs in the same proportion as students whose first language is English. ELL students often benefit from some of the resources related to special education.

Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO): A provincial agency that provides province wide examinations for students in grades 3, 6, 9, and 10 for the purpose of collecting information and statistics about annual student achievement. The information is for parents, teachers and the public. Along with collecting information, EQAO also proposes strategies to parents and educational personnel to better educate students. Specific accommodations are permitted as per EQAO guidelines for students on IEPs who require them.

Emotional Regulation: An area of student needs, involving difficulty with expression of feelings appropriately.

Epilepsy: A diagnosed medical condition, characterized by recurrent seizures that may include repetitive muscle jerking called convulsions, caused by a disruption of the brain's normal electrical activity.

Error Analysis: The analysis of mistakes to determine why and how students make them in order to determine what needs to be taught and how.

Exceptional Pupil: A student is regarded as exceptional or identified only after an Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) has determined that the student meets the criteria for a specific exceptionality in their school board.

Executive Functioning: An area of student need, involving challenges in prioritizing, organizing and completing tasks, especially when dealing with timelines, unexpected events, problems, and/or new challenges.

Expressive Language: The ability to communicate language by speech, sign and/or writing, to be understood.

Fine Motor Skills: An area of student need, involving fine (small) physical motor skills of the fingers and hands.

Fragile X Syndrome: A diagnosed inherited condition, caused by a 'fragile' or broken site on the X chromosome, resulting in mental and physical impairment.

Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ): A numeric value given to overall intelligence on the standardized Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). The FSIQ is determined by ten core subtests and up to five supplemental tests. The FSIQ is comprised of four scores: verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, processing speed and working memory.

Functional Behaviour Assessment (FBA): An examination of the function of a student’s behaviour in an attempt to develop strategies to alter the behaviour. FBA is often utilized with students with ASD.

Giftedness Exceptionality: A formal exceptionality, identified by an Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC), in the category of Intelligence.

General Ability Index (GAI): An alternative overall score to the Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) for the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). The GAI is a useful estimate of a student’s overall ability if better overall indicator of a student’s functional ability If a great deal of difference exists between the four scores that make up the FSIQ: verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, processing speed and working memory.

Graphic organizers and outlining assistive technology software programs support the writing process by collecting ideas and information in any order and then providing organization choices for sentence and paragraph development.

Gross Motor Skills: An area of student need, involving gross (large) physical motor skills.

Hearing Impairment: An area of student need, involving a medical condition of the ears that involves a severe impairment in hearing, not corrected fully by hearing aids.

Inclusive Education: Including all students in the regular class so that each student attains to their fullest. Inclusive education’s foundation is based on the human right to quality education and social acceptance.

Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC): A group of at least three, including a principal or supervisory officer from a board of education, hat evaluates and decides if a student meets the criteria of being an exceptional pupil based on the Education Act and each school board’s identification criteria. If a student has been identified as exceptional the IPRCD group then determines the best educational placement to meet the student’s needs. The identification and placement are reassessed every year.

Individual Education Plan (IEP): A written plan for learning, developed for students with special needs, who may or may not be formally identified as exceptional, that outlines special education programming and accommodations and/or modifications of curriculum. The plan may also include alternative programming and transition plans.

In-school team: A group of educators (teachers, special education teachers, administrators, guidance teachers, student success teachers and/or educational assistants) that meet to review data and develop next steps for student achievement.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ): Intelligence quotient is a score obtained from the standardized intelligence tests. Frequently the standardized Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, fourth edition (WISC-iv) or the Stanford Binet Intelligence scale is used. IQ tests often examine mathematical and spatial reasoning, language skills and logical abilities. IQ tests are conducted by a registered psychologist.

Intellectual Ability – High: An area of student need, involving advanced cognitive ability for the student’s age/grade level.

Intellectual Ability – Low: An area of student need that involves low levels of cognition. Reduced intellectual ability reduces the understanding and functioning of a student compared to age/grade peers.

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI): A program of instruction for younger children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). IBI is based Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to teach children and involves twenty to forty hours per week of intervention by a trained therapist to address skills deficits to develop more positive behaviour.

Klinefelter’s Syndrome: A diagnosed condition that occurs in boys who have an extra X chromosome in most of their cells. Klinefelter’s Syndrome is also referred to as XXY. The syndrome can affect different stages of physical, language and social development.

Language Impairment Exceptionality: A diagnosed psychological condition and IRPC exceptionality. Specialized professionals, including psychologists and psychological associates, evaluate and diagnose Learning Disabilities. Significantly low achievement (based on age, education and intelligence) in reading, mathematics and/or writing standardized tests are seen as the fundamental attribute of a learning disability when intelligence is within normal ranges.

Learning Disability (LD): A formal exceptionality, identified by and Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC), in the category of Communication.

Learning Expectations: Part of modified and alternative IEP programming breaking down the annual goal into specific learning expectations on a per term basis. Learning expectations are often developed using a SMART framework.

Listening Comprehension Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulty with receptive processing of oral information.

Low Vision: An area of student need, involving reduced vision, even when corrected with glasses.

Mental Health: A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (World Health Organization) Mental health professionals/practitioners: Social workers, Child and Youth Workers, psychologist, psychiatrics, mental health nurses, trained to provide various types of therapies including cognitive behaviour counselling and/or pharmacological.

Memory: An area of student need, involving difficulty remembering.

Mental Health Strategies: An area of student need involving an unsatisfactory psychological state, in terms of emotional, behavioural, physical and/or social well-being.

Metacognition: The awareness and analysis of one’s own thoughts with the capability to observe one’s own learning.

Mild Intellectual Disability (MID): A diagnosed psychological condition and IPRC exceptionality characterized by below average intelligence.

Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE): A committee that advises the Minister of Education with regard to special education programs and the services for students with special needs, including the identification and provision of early intervention programs.

Mobility Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulty with physically moving.

Modifications: Adjustments made to age-appropriate curriculum to better fit a student’s specific educational needs. The changes may sometimes include a different grade level, higher or lower.

Multiple Exceptionalities: A formal exceptionality, identified by an Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC), in the category of Multiple, which indicates that the student’s needs are in two or more categories of exceptionality.

Multiple Intelligence (MI): The belief that a larger group of intelligences other than just IQ testing is more accurate in showing the ability of both children and adults. Teaching and assessment in multiple intelligences would include linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist activities. MI is often addressed in differential instruction (DI).

Muscular Dystrophy (MD): A diagnosed condition for a group of inherited disorders in which strength and muscle bulk gradually decline over time.

Neurological Disabilities: A diagnosed condition, where damage to the nervous system has resulted in the loss of some physical or mental functions. A neurological disability may affect a person's capacity to move or manipulate things, or the way they act or express their feelings.

Non-Verbal Reasoning: An area of student need, involving a difficulty with recognizing and understanding concepts, especially with relations between patterns and complex problems.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): An anxiety disorder based on unreasonable thoughts, fears and/or worries (obsessions), that makes the sufferer perform routines (compulsions) in an attempt to manage the anxieties. Cognitive therapy is suggested to help deal with OCD.

Occupational Therapist (OT): A therapist that works in the area of rehabilitative services which range from, improving a student grip of a pen to routines that improve strength and dexterity.

Ontario Education Resource Bank: A password protected site for educators to find resources by grade, subject/course, strand, overall expectations, and/or keywords. Passwords are provided by school boards.

Ontario School Record (OSR): A file of educational achievement for every student in Ontario schools, including a listing of schools attended, copies of report cards, Individual Education Plans and assessments, if any. A Ontario Ministry of Education document on OSRs outlines procedures.

Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee (OSAPAC): free software for publicly funded schools. Teachers can install on home computer for educational purposes:

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): A diagnosed psychological condition that hinders the acceptance of authority and is characterized by rebellious disobedience. A professional will diagnose the disorder based on the criteria including symptoms for at least six months.

Organizational Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulty in following or developing a system of managing materials and ideas.

Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI): One of the four components of the Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) as determined by the standardized Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, fourth edition (WISC-iv). The PRI is a measure of visual perception, organization and reasoning using only visually (nonverbal) material.

Personal Care: An area of student need, involving hygiene, dressing, toileting and/or eating.

Personal Safety: An area of student need, involving a student’s own personal safety and/or the safety of others.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified Including Atypical Autism (PDD-NOS): One of the five Autism Spectrum Disorders as outlined in the DSM-IV. PDD-NOS is characterized by severe and persistent impairments in social interaction skills, communication skills, with steotypical behaviour, but do not meet the criteria for another PDD disorder.

Phonological Processing: An area of student need, involving detecting and discriminating differences in speech sounds. This is an oral skill and is not based on the student’s knowledge of letters.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A diagnosed anxiety condition that can develop after exposure to any event which results in psychological trauma.

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS): A diagnosed genetic condition, caused by the absence of chromosomal material. Characteristics include developmental impairments, poor muscle tone, short stature, small hands and feet, abnormal sexual development and distinguishing facial features. Insatiable appetite is a feature of PWS, and this can lead to health problems with obesity and with the consumption of non-food items.

Processing Speed Index (PSI): A measure of cognitive efficiency, one of the four main components measured by the WISC-iv that makes up a student’s Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ). Processing speed measures the automatic skills pertaining to attention and concentration.

Provincial Report Card: Ontario Ministry of Education generated report card template with elementary and secondary versions for the reporting of student achievement per subject area. The IEP box is marked only when the student is working on modified programming of the indicated subject. The Provincial Report Card is used in all publically funded schools in Ontario.

Physical Disability Exceptionality: A formal exceptionality, identified by an Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC), in the category of Physical.

Physical Therapist (PT): Trained in the instructional support and treatment of people with physical disabilities, mainly in improving muscle, bone, joint and nerve usage. A doctor's prescription or referral is usually needed in order to obtain support of a physical therapist. Some PTs support students within schools.

Policy/Program Memorandum 140 (PPM 140): A policy/program directive issued by the Ontario Ministry of Education for all school boards to follow pertaining to the teaching of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) utilizing Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). PPM 140 mandates that students with ASD be offered an individualized program, based on positive reinforcement, data collection, with the transfer of skills and transition planning.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD): A diagnosed condition, where a problem with social interaction occurs because a child's basic physical and emotional needs have been neglected, particularly when the child is an infant.

Receptive Language: The ability to understand language in speech, sign and/or writing to be understood.

Rett’s Disorder: One of the five Autism Spectrum Disorders as outlined in the DSM-IV. Rett’s is characterized by normal development up to five months of age then deceleration of head growth and loss of social engagement. Those with Rett’s have severely impaired expressive and receptive language skills.

Scaffolding: New learning built on previous knowledge. This is an educational method that focuses on teacher support leading to the student being self-sufficient.

Section Classes (23): A governmentally approved, specialized class that students may attend when he/she is unable to attend schools in their area because of the care needs and/or treatment the programs. The number “23” refers to the related section in the Grants for Student Needs and the number could be revised at any time.

Self-Advocacy Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulty with the self-expression of one’s needs.

Self-Esteem: An area of student need, involving a negative concept of one’s abilities and worth.

Self-Harm/Suicide Management: An area of student need involving thoughts, feelings, statements and/or actions of harming or killing oneself.

Selective Mutism: A diagnosed condition in which an individual cannot or will not speak, in specific situations that usually contain conversation.

Self-Regulatory Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulty with using appropriate behaviours for a given situation.

Sensory Integration Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulty with the way that the brain takes in information from the senses.

Sequencing Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulty with following logical steps to solve a problem.

SMART Goal Setting: An acronym often used in the development of modified and alternative learning expectations to ensure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable and Time limited.

Social Stories: A teaching strategy for students to learn appropriate social skills. Social stories are individually written for a student to teach them a needed social skill and are frequently used with, but not limited to, students who have ASD. Social stories can be read by or to the student throughout the day to reinforce the pro-social behaviour. Social stories are also known as social narratives.

Social Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulties with social interactions.

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC): A committee that exists in every school board. Members include representatives from different associations in the area and employees from the board itself. The committee’s role is to advise the board on issues concerning special education and serves.

Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT): A teacher who has qualifications in special education. Additional qualification courses are available in special education.

Special Education Per Pupil Amount (SEPPA): An amount of funding that is determined based on the number of students in a school board.

Special Equipment Amount (SEA): Funding that helps provide the assistive equipment prescribed to help a student. The funding is supplied by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Special Incidence Portion (SIP): The finical support from the Ontario Ministry of Education in response to exceptionally high needs students.

Speech Impairment Exceptionality: A formal exceptionality, identified by an Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC), in the category of Communication.

Speech to text (STT) software is a type of assistive technology program that converts words that are spoken aloud to electronic written text to support increased demonstration of learning and independence. SST can also be referred to as dictation or Speech Recognition Programs.

Spina Bifida: A diagnosed medical condition that occurs when a serious birth abnormality in the spinal cord occurs, leaving the spinal cord lacking in its usual protective skeletal and soft tissue coverings.

Splinter Skills: Well developed skills in a specific area.

Strengths and Needs Committee (SNC): An in-school team meeting of educators, possibly including parents and students, intended to determine the next steps in meeting the student’s needs.

Substance Abuse and Addictions (Drugs and Alcohol) Strategies: An area of student need involving students taking illegal drugs, over-taking legal drugs/medications and/or consuming alcohol. Students may abuse drugs/alcohol for purposes of recreation and/or for other purposes, like laxatives for weight control, simulants to improve performance in school or sports, or steroids for growth.

Task Initiation: An area of student need, involving difficulty starting work.

Teaching Strategies: Part of modified and alternative IEP programming that outlines the specific strategies related to supporting the student in acquiring his/her learning expectations.

Text to speech (TTS) software is a type of assistive technology program that reads electronic written text aloud to support increased learning and independence.

Time Management Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulty with using time effectively.

Tourette Syndrome: A diagnosed condition of the nervous system, characterized by a variable expression of unwanted movements and noises (tics).

Transition Plans: Transition plans are a required component of Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Students on IEPs who are 14 years of age and older require a transition plan as part of their IEP to plan for post-secondary activities, except for students who are solely identified with giftedness. Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and other students who need support with changes, will also have a transition plan to prepare for daily transitions, between activities or locations, as their specific needs indicate. Transition plans can be utilized for students to help them cope with change.

Transition Skills: An area of student needs, involving difficulty with changes.

Turner Syndrome (TS) : A medical condition, affecting girls, resulting from only having one intact X chromosome. Characteristics of Turner Syndrome include short stature, drooping eye lids and abnormal bone development.

Usher Syndrome: A medical, inherited condition, resulting in hearing and vision loss.

Verbal Ability: An area of student need, involving difficulty with understanding and/or expressing oral language.

Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI): A measure of skills that includes: verbal fluency and ability to understand and use verbal information. It is one of the four components that makes up an individual’s Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-iv).

Visual-Motor Skills: An area of student need, involving difficulty with coordination between hands and eyes to produce accurate physical movements.

Visual-Spatial Processing: An area of student need, involving difficulty with organizing and rotating visual information.

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT): A standardized assessment of academic achievement based on comparisons to students of like age. Reading, math, written and oral language are assessed.

Williams Syndrome: A medical, inherited condition, causing developmental disabilities.

Word prediction assistive technology software supports written communication by providing possible choices for words based on initial the spelling, syntax and/or frequency of use, which supports spelling and grammar difficulties with fewer keystrokes.

Working Memory Index (WMI): One of the four components of a student’s Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) as assessed by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition (WISC-iv). The WMI determines the ability to memorize, to hold and manipulate information in short-term memory and concentrate.

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition (WISC-iv): A commonly administered cognitive assessment, performed by psychologists to determine intellectual functioning. A Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) or General Ability Index (GAI) is determined based on subtests.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL): A term borrowed from architecture and applied to education that involves offering a variety of accommodations to all students in order to maximize on the various styles of learning, including those with special needs.