Special Education Terms to Know: Part 2

Special Needs Terms To Know Part 2

Written by Michelle

Parent Alliance for Students with Exceptional Students (PASEN) is meant purely for educational or medical discussion. It contains information about legal or medical matters; however, it is not professional legal or medical advice and should not be treated as such. Limitation of warranties: The legal and medical information on this…

April 28, 2019

Special Education Terms to Know: Part 2

So my post got so long I needed to break things up! Here is another installment of the terms, defined, for your reading pleasure!

IEP: Individual Education Plan is developed for children who qualify as a child with a disability under IDEA. If your child is needing academic goals or classroom modifications then your child will need an IEP versus a 504.

LRE: This stands for Least Restrictive Environment. This is another great term to know REALLY well! A child with a disability should be taught in the least restrictive environment. Often people will discuss inclusion but do not realize that IDEA does not mention ONE word about inclusion. It DOES discuss LRE!

34 CFR § 300.114 – LRE requirements
(a)General.
(1) Except as provided in § 300.324(d)(2) (regarding children with disabilities in adult prisons), the State must have in effect policies and procedures to ensure that public agencies in the Statemeet the LRE requirements of this section and §§ 300.115 through 300.120.
(2) Each public agency must ensure that –
(i) To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and
(ii) Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Least Restrictive Placement in the Continuum of Services

(b)Additional requirement – State funding mechanism
(1)General.
(i) A State funding mechanism must not result in placements that violate the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section; and
(ii) A State must not use a funding mechanism by which the State distributes funds on the basis of the type of setting in which a child is served that will result in the failure to provide a child with a disability FAPE according to the unique needs of the child, as described in the child’s IEP.

(2)Assurance. If the State does not have policies and procedures to ensure compliance with paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the State must provide the Secretary an assurance that the State will revise the funding mechanism as soon as feasible to ensure that the mechanism does not result in placements that violate that paragraph.

OSEP has several guidance letters on various aspects of LRE including discussions on adaptive physical education, transitional service, and the issues with sorting children with a specific disability into a specific placement setting due to their disability along with general information on LRE. These letters are great to review if you are needing more guidance than just the law.

Manifestation Hearing: Hopefully you will never have to face a Manifestation Hearing. When a child is placed on suspension for 10 days or more in a school year the law considers this to be a change in placement so a Manifestation Determination hearing must be conducted. The hearing will be used to determine if the child’s behavior issues are related to their disability or not. If it is determined that the child’s behavior IS the cause of the disciple issue then the school should be prompted to develop an FBA if they have not previously.

Medical: HX, DX, RX, Apgar, FTT: One of the parents mentioned all these medical terms that you may see in the written portion of an evaluation report. This is a great point! Sometimes parents are not familiar with all of these terms. HX is used to stand for the medical history of the child. DX is for medical diagnoses. RX is prescriptions. Apgar is a score your child receives based on their Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration. Apgar scores range from 0 to 10. A baby who scores a 7 or above on the test is considered in good health. A lower score does not mean the baby is unhealthy. It means that the baby may need some immediate medical care, such as suctioning of the airways or oxygen to help him or her breathe better. Perfectly healthy babies sometimes have a lower-than-usual score, especially in the first few minutes after birth. At 5 minutes after birth, the test is given again. If a baby’s score was low at first and hasn’t improved, or there are other concerns, the doctors and nurses will continue any necessary medical care. The baby will be monitored closely. This information is of interest because low scores would put the child at risk of hypoxic injury and children with hypoxic injury are known to have learning disabilities. The final term medical term is Failure To Thrive (FTT). Children are diagnosed with failure to thrive when their weight or rate of weight gain is significantly below that of other children of similar age and sex. Infants or children that fail to thrive seem to be dramatically smaller or shorter than other children the same age. Teenagers may have short stature or appear to lack the usual changes that occur at puberty. However, there is a wide variation in what is considered normal growth and development.

Modifications: The term “modification” may be used to describe a change in the curriculum. Modifications are made for students with disabilities who are unable to comprehend all of the content an instructor is teaching. For example, assignments might be reduced in number and modified significantly for an elementary school student with cognitive impairments that limit his/her ability to understand the content in general education class in which they are included.

OCR: The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is where you would file a complaint about discrimination or retaliation.  As people oppose the discriminatory practices and participate in the OCR investigations as it is critical to make sure there is the right to an equal education opportunity in accordance with federal law.   This is why recipients of federal funds are not allowed to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by federal civil rights law. Once a student, parent, teacher, coach, or other individual complains formally or informally to a school about a potential civil rights violation or participates in an OCR investigation or proceeding, the recipient is prohibited from retaliating (including intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against the individual) because of the individual’s complaint or participation.

OHI: This is one of the 13 categories recognized under IDEA. Other health impairment (OHI) means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that –
(i) Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and
(ii) Adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
OT: This can stand for Occupational Therapy and/or Occupational Therapist. Educational Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapists Assistants (OTA) help children to fulfill their role as students by supporting their academic achievement and promoting positive behaviors necessary for learning. Educational OT (and OTA, under the supervision of the occupational therapist) support academic and non-academic outcomes, including social skills, math, reading and writing (i.e., literacy), behavior management, recess, participation in sports, self-help skills, pre-vocational/ vocational participation, transportation, and more.

Due to their expertise in activity and environmental analysis, practitioners are particularly skilled in facilitating student access to curricular and extracurricular activities. They focus on the students’ strengths and can design and implement programming to improve inclusion and accessibility, such as Universal Design for Learning. Additionally, they play a critical role in educating parents, educators, administrators and other staff members. They offer services along a continuum of prevention, promotion, and interventions and serve individual students, groups of students, whole classrooms, and whole school initiatives. They collaborate with the education team to support student success. In this way, occupational therapy practitioners can contribute to both general and special education. Occupational therapy practitioners have specific knowledge and expertise to increase participation in school routines throughout the day. Interventions include:
  • Conducting activity and environmental analysis and making recommendations to improve the fit for greater access, progress, and participation
  • Reducing barriers that limit student participation within the school environment
  • Providing assistive technology to support student success • Supporting the needs of students with significant challenges, such as by helping to determine methods for alternate educational assessment and learning
  • Helping to identify long-term goals for appropriate post-school outcomes
  • Helping to plan relevant instructional activities for ongoing implementation in the classroom
Preparing students for successfully transitioning into appropriate post-high school employment, independent living, and/or further education Occupational therapy practitioners are key contributors within the educational team. They help to address both mental and physical health. They collaborate with a variety of partners, such as: Students, to help them to develop self-advocacy and self-determination skills in order to plan for their future and transition to college, career/employment, and community living; improve their performance in learning environments throughout the school (e.g., playgrounds, classrooms, lunchrooms, bathrooms); and optimize their performance through specific adaptations and accommodations.
Many parents are confused about what can be covered in OT and Physical Therapy (PT). Many states have an OT/PT  guide. If you need help finding your state’s OT  and PT  guide visit up at the IEP/504 Assistance group.
The list was LONG when I asked my group for terms they were not familiar with concerning special education. I decided to break this post up into three parts. This is part 2 of 3 so I will have one more post on this topic. I hope this has helped provide some clarification.  Remember, some of these terms are impacted by specific state laws.   To learn more, continuing reading the final post Special Education Terms To Know: Part 3.

Please take the time to click on the links in the post as it contains the reference material used to write this post. As always, you are welcome to join us for more discussion on the jargon of special education at our FB group,
IEP/504 Assistance for parents of public school students from all over the United States. 

AESA also runs a special needs homeschool group,
Homeschooling Special (Needs) Kids, and we also have a group for all parents and caregivers of special needs children called Special Needs Parenting Advice and Support where we discuss ALL things related to special needs care and Educating Gifted Children is where we discuss topics concerning gifted children and those that are twice exceptional (2e).  I hope to see you there!  

Parent Alliance for Students with Exceptional Students (PASEN) is meant purely for educational or medical discussion. It contains information about legal or medical matters; however, it is not professional legal or medical advice and should not be treated as such.

Limitation of warranties: The legal and medical information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. PASEN makes no representations or warranties in relation to the legal or medical information on the website.

Professional assistance: You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal or medical advice from your attorney or medical provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal or medical matter, you should consult your attorney or medical service provider.

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      All the terms that are defined also have links embedded in that section as hyperlinks. That is the reference material I used to write that section (definition). If you have more questions on a topic let me know. You can ask your questions in “The Park.” That is our new online community for paying members. 🙂

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