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Special Education Abbreviations Explained

These are common abbreviations and terms you may come across
while researching resources for autism.   Ver en español.

If you can't find what you're looking for here, try looking in this acronyms list from MCPSMCPS_Acronyms 

ASD - Autism Spectrum Disorder
The current diagnostic name for a group of developmental disorders that share certain common characteristics while spanning a wide “spectrum” of symptoms, skills, and ability levels. ASD includes the previously separate diagnoses of Autism Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

AT - Assistive/Adaptive Technology

Any product, device or equipment used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. AT used to assist students in schools range from simple tools, like highlighters, to high-tech apps that read text aloud.

BIP - Behavior Intervention Plan

A plan in the IEP of a student whose behaviors interfere with his/her own learning or that of others. The BIP sets out the interventions to be used to promote the student’s use of appropriate behaviors in place of interfering behaviors. These interventions are based on an understanding of the student’s motivations as set out in the student’s FBA.

ESY - Extended School Year (services)

Special education services offered outside of the regular school year, such as during the summer or, less commonly, during winter break or other school vacation periods. 

FAPE - Free and Appropriate Public Educaiton

An education at public expense, under public supervision, that meets the student’s individual needs as stated in the child’s IEP. The IDEA guarantees FAPE for every school-age child with a disability.

FBA - Functional Behavior Assessment

An approach to understanding what function a particular interfering behavior is serving for a student (e.g. escaping demands, seeking attention). 

IEE - Independent Educational Evaluation

Testing done by someone who doesn’t work for the school system. If parents disagree with the assessments provided by the school system, they may either pay for an IEE or request that the school district pay for it. If the school district disputes the need for an IEE, a due process hearing determines which party will pay for it.

IEP - Individualized Education Program

The IEP document is a written, legally binding statement of the educational program designed to meet a student's individual needs. It outlines a student’s learning needs, the services the school will provide, and how progress will be measured. Under IDEA, every student who receives special education services must have an IEP. The IEP will be reviewed and revised at least once each year at an annual review meeting. Parents/guardians are legally mandated members of their student’s IEP team.

IDEA or IDEIA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997

The law that ensures two basic rights of eligible students with disabilities: (1) the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE), and (2) the right to that education in the least restrictive environment (LRE). To be “eligible” the student must fall within any of 14 categories of disability, which include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disability, and Other Health Impairment (which includes ADHD).

LRE - Least Restrictive Environment

IDEA mandates that eligible students receive FAPE in the “least restrictive environment,” which means that, to the maximum extent appropriate, such students are educated with their nondisabled peers.

PLOP - Present Level of Performance

This portion of the IEP documents the child’s current mastery of academic goals, status of any physical disabilities, and performance in social skills needed for independence. It is important that the PLOP be as accurate and specific as possible because these measures become the baseline against which progress toward annual goals is measured.

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