Definitions and Glossary

Academic Interventions – the use of traditional teaching methods to improve academic performance.

Advocate – an individual who works for the rights and needed services of an individual with a disability (e.g. parent, guardian, or a professional).

Assessment – an accurate and thorough understanding of a child’s strengths and weaknesses. The results of the assessment are integrated into them IFSP and IEP.

Assessment Team – a team that gathers information for decision-making. In addition to parents, this team can include a Psychologist, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Nurse, Teacher and Administrator.

Augmentative & Alternative Communication Device– use of a high or low tech device to assist with communication.

Case Manager – the primary person responsible for coordinating a child’s services; works in partnership with the family and providers of special programs.

Child Find – A federal program that requires states to actively identify children, birth to age 21, with developmental disabilities or who are at risk for developmental disabilities, focusing on individuals not enrolled in school programs.

Cognitive/Cognition – term that describes the mental process people use for remembering, reasoning, understanding, and using judgment.

Curriculum – a master teaching plan in which the specific features reflect the skills, tasks, and behaviors that a school or program has decided are important for children to acquire.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition (DSM-IV) – American Psychological Association’s classification and description of all mental health disorders for children and adults.

Early Intervention – program or services designed to identify and treat a developmental problem as early as possible, usually before the age of 3.

Echolalia – the immediate or delayed involuntary repetition of words or phrases spoken by others.

Evaluation – a way of collecting information about a student’s learning needs, strengths, and interests. An evaluation is part of the process of determining whether a student qualifies for special education programs and services.

Expressive Language – what is said or written to communicate an idea or a question.

Facilitated Communication* – involves having a facilitator support the arm/hand of an individual with limited communication skills as they use a communication board or typing device.

Fine Motor – in physical development, the use of the small muscles of the body, especially the hands and fingers.

Gross Motor – in physical development, the use of the large muscles of the body for activities such as running, climbing, throwing and jumping.

Home Visit – the visit of an intervention staff member to a child’s home to talk with the parents about their child’s school progress, IEP, demonstrate activities and share ideas and materials.

Inclusion – the placement of students with disabilities in classrooms with typically developing students of the same age.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) – an IEP outlines your child’s unique education plan by defining broad goals and specific objectives for the school year, the services needed to implement those goals and objectives, and a method of evaluating your child’s progress. The IEP must include a report of the child’s present academic and non-academic performance, a statement of annual goals which may be reasonably accomplished within the next 12 months, and the specific special educational instruction and related services required to achieve the goals by the child.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) – an IFSP is a written plan for providing early intervention services to eligible children and their families. It must include a statement of the infant or toddler’s present levels of physical development including hearing, vision and health status. The IFSP must include a statement of the specific early intervention services necessary to meet the unique needs of the child and family to achieve identified goals.

Intervention – design for changing an individual’s behavioral, educational, medical or health status or a change in the program itself.

Language – a structured system of symbols, spoken or written, used in interpersonal communication. There are four major components of language. (1) Phonology describes how to put sounds together to form words. (2) Syntax describes how to put words together to form sentences. (3) Semantics describes how to interpret the meaning of words and sentences. (4) Pragmatics describes how to participate in a conversation, how to sequence sentences, and how to

Massage/Touch Therapy – Provision of deep tissue stimulation.

Music Therapy – interventions that seek to teach individual skills through music.

Occupational Therapy (OT) – a therapy or treatment provided by an occupational therapist that helps individual development or physical skills that will aid in daily living. It focuses on sensory integration, coordination of movement, and on fine motor and self-help skills, such as dressing and eating with utensils.

Perception – the process of organizing or interpreting the information obtained through the five senses.

Perceptual Motor – term describing the interaction of the various channels or perception with motor activities.

Physical Therapy (PT) – services provided by trained physical therapists, in the general area of motor performance, to help the person improve the use of bones, muscles, joints and nerves.

Public Law 94-142 – The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, is a federal law that mandates and affirms the right of all children to a free and appropriate public education.

Public Law 99-457 – an amendment to P.L. 94-142 passed in 1986, which requires states to provide a free and appropriate public education to all children ages 3-5. The amendment also provides funds for states to offer programs and services to infants and children (ages birth through 2 yrs.) with disabilities.

Receptive language – language that is spoken or written by others and received by the individual. Receptive language skills are listening and reading.

Self-Stimulatory Behavior – repetitive, stereotyped, atypical behaviors (e.g. head banging, hand-flapping).

Sensorimotor Integration – term applied to the combination of the input of sensation and the output of motor activity.

Special Education – a set of educational programs or services designed to meet the needs of individuals whose special needs cannot be met in the regular classroom.

Speech/language Therapy – a planned program to improve and correct speech, language, or communication problems.

Definitions Source: The Autism Spectrum Disorders Resource Guide 2012