Definitions

Assessment - a collecting and bringing together of information about a child's needs, which may include social, psychological, and educational evaluations used to determine services; a process using observation, testing, and test analysis to determine an individual's strengths and weaknesses in order to plan his or her educational services.

Assessment team - a team of people from different backgrounds who observe and test a child to determine his or her strengths and weaknesses.

Autism: a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3. Other characteristics, which may be associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.

Birth through two Transition Meeting: a meeting that introduces the family of handicapped toddlers to the school district or agency that could be receiving the child for intervention services after the child turns 3.  This meeting takes place up to 6 months before a child's third birthday.

Cognitive - a term that describes the process people use for remembering, reasoning, understanding, and using judgment; in special education terms, a cognitive disability refers to difficulty in learning.

Developmental Delay:  a child, birth through age eight, who has been identified by a multidisciplinary team as having either a significant delay in the function of one or more of the following areas:  cognitive development; physical development; communicative development; social or emotional development; or adaptive behavior or skills development or a diagnosed physical or medical condition that has a high probability of resulting in a substantial delay in function in one or more of the such areas.

Early Intervention: programs or services designed to identify and treat a developmental problem as early as possible.

Eligibility: meeting the criteria necessary to qualify for special education.

Individual Education Plan (IEP): a written education plan for a child aged 3-21 with disabilities developed by a team of professionals and the child's parents. IEP's are based on a multidisciplinary evaluation of the child and describe how the child is presently doing, what the child's learning needs are, and what services the child will need.  They are reviewed and updated yearly. (A written statement for a child with a disability developed and implemented according to federal and state regulations.)

Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP): a document that guides the early intervention process for children (ages 0 through age 2) with disabilities and their families.  The IFSP contains information about the services necessary to facilitate a child's development and enhance the family's capacity to facilitate the child development.  Through the IFSP process, family members and service provides team to plan, implement and evaluate services tailored to the family's unique concern, priorities, and resources.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): an educational setting or program that provides a student needing special education the chance to work and learn; it also provides the student with as much contact as possible with non-exceptional children, while meeting the child's learning needs and physical requirements in a regular educational environment as much as is appropriate.

Occupational Therapy: a therapy or treatment that helps an individual develop mental or physical skills that will aid in daily living, it focuses on the use of hands and fingers, on coordination of movement, and on self-help skills, such as dressing, eating with a fork and spoon, etc.

Physical Therapy: therapy designed to improve, maintain, or slow the rate of regression of the motor functions of a student to enable him/her to function in his educational environment.

Special Education: specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique educational needs of the student with a disability.

Speech / Language Impairment: a speech or language impairment that adversely affects educational performance, such as a language, articulation, fluency or voice impairment.

Speech and Language Therapy:  therapy designed to improve the skills of an individual with a diagnosed delay or disorder that impacts the ability to  communicate.