If your child has been diagnosed with AD/HD or a learning disability, you've entered a new world of special-ed acronyms, abbreviations, and terms. This glossary will help you penetrate the jargon to get your child the educational help he or she needs.
Accommodations - Techniques and materials that help AD/HD or LD students learn or perform schoolwork more effectively. Accommodations include extra time on tests, a lighter homework load, and permission to tape-record assignments.
Assistive Technology - Equipment or software that helps children compensate for learning impairments. Examples include electronic spell-checkers and audiobooks.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) - A neurobiological disorder that causes problems with attention span, impulse control, and activity level.
Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) - A set of strategies developed by school personnel to help a child behave in a way that is appropriate to the classroom and that allows him to learn.
Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician - A physician who specializes in childhood behavioral problems, such as AD/HD and aggressive behavior, as well as difficulties at school.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) - A publication of the American Psychiatric Association that is used to diagnose psychiatric disorders, including AD/HD.
Educational Advocate - A professional who works with families to secure appropriate educational placement or services for children with AD/HD or LD.
Educational Psychologist - A psychologist who specializes in learning and in the behavioral, social, and emotional problems that interfere with school performance.
Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) - Under IDEA (see below), public schools are required to provide disabled students with appropriate educational services at no cost to the parents.
Formal Assessment - A school-based evaluation of a student's learning difficulties using standardized tests and other tools. A team of school professionals uses the assessment to determine a child's eligibility for special education and related services.
Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) - An evaluation conducted by a qualified professional who is unaffiliated with a public school district. Schools are required to consider the findings or recommendations of an IEE.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - The federal law that guarantees special education and related services to students with disabilities. AD/HD is not listed among IDEA's disability categories, but children with AD/HD often qualify under a category called "Other Health Impairments."
Individualized Education Program (IEP) - The formal, written plan that guides the delivery of special-education services to a child who qualifies for such assistance under IDEA.
Learning Disability (LD) - A neurobiological disorder that impairs a person's ability to read, write, or do math by affecting the way he receives, processes, or expresses information.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) - Under IDEA, school districts must provide special-ed services in a general education setting, rather than in separate classes or schools, whenever possible. A regular classroom is the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities.
Modification - An adjustment in the curriculum that creates a different standard for students with disabilities, as compared to others in the class.
Multidisciplinary Team - A group of people who work together to develop and review a child's IEP. The team might include the child's classroom and special-education teachers, school administrator, school psychologist, therapist, educational advocate, and parents.
Neuropsychologist - A psychologist who specializes in the relationship between brain function and behavior.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - The federal law that grants children with disabilities the right to an appropriate public school education. Children with AD/HD or LD who are ineligible for special-education services under IDEA may qualify for accommodations and services under Section 504. The written plan outlining these services is called a 504 Plan.
Special Education (SPED) - Specially designed instruction for children whose educational needs can't be met in a regular instructional program.
This article comes from the August/September 2006 issue of ADDitude.