Paraprofessional / Shadow Teacher Glossary
Tools and procedures that provide equal access to instruction and assessment for students with disabilities; designed to "level the playing field" for students with disabilities, accommodations are generally grouped into the following categories:
- Presentation (e.g., repeating directions, reading aloud, using larger bubbles on answer sheets, etc.);
- Response (e.g., marking answers in book, using reference aids, pointing, using a computer, etc.);
- Timing/Scheduling (e.g., extended time, frequent breaks, etc.);
- Setting (e.g., study carrel, special lighting, separate room, etc.).
- The scope of each term and role may change and be used differently based on the state and by official educational department at your location. * Although the Kids on the Yard educational team is taking steps to update regular this glossary, you may find a mistake or changes from the official educational department at your location.
A specialized physical education program for children with disabilities who may not safely or successfully participate in the regular physical education program.
AKA or a.k.a. an abbreviation
also known as.
An educational setting, other than the student's current placement, at which the student will receive special education services.
Services provided to general education students who are having difficulty in school. These services are an alternative to special education for students who are not classified as disabled or prior to a referral for a special education evaluation. Alternatives to special education may include reading and math remediation programs, guidance services and speech and language therapy that are provided within the school prior to referral for a special education evaluation.
Goals written on the IEP that describe what the child is expected to achieve in the disability related area(s) over a one-year period. Annual Review: A review of a disabled student's special education services and progress that is completed at least once each school year by the student's teacher(s) at an IEP Team meeting. Changes in special education services may or may not be recommended at this time.
The process of collecting information about a student's strengths and weaknesses to improve his or her educational program. The information collected through tests, observations and interviews will assist the team in determining the child's levels of functioning and educational needs.
An Assistive Technology Device is any piece of equipment, product or system that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a student with a disability (e.g., a communication device, FM unit, computer access). An Assistive Technology Service is any service that directly helps a student with a disability select, acquire or use an assistive technology device. Any assistive technology or services a student requires must be listed in his or her IEP.
A developmental disability, significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects educational performance.
Other characteristics often 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.
The term does not apply if a student's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional disturbance. A student who manifests the characteristics of autism after age 3 could be diagnosed as having autism, if the above criteria are otherwise satisfied.
A plan to address problem behavior that includes, as appropriate, positive behavioral interventions, strategies and supports; program modifications; and supplementary aids and services that may be required to address the problem behavior.
Teams of schools, organized into geographic clusters.
Ongoing activities undertaken by states and local school districts to locate, identify and evaluate all children residing in the city, who are suspected of having disabilities, so that a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) can be made available to all eligible children, including all children in public, private and parochial schools.
The maximum number of students permitted in the recommended services and/or class. This is indicated in the IEP.
This term is taken from New York State law and refers to types of disabilities.
The process of observing a student during the school day in the classroom and other school settings to see how learning occurs and what behaviors are exhibited.
Another term used for a Department of Education assessment professional, such as a school psychologist or school social worker.
State Education Department guidelines, based on Federal and State education laws, specifying among other things, the steps school districts must follow in the special education referral, evaluation and placement process.
Based on the state, this term may used differently
The "CSE Office" has historically referred to the Committee on Special Education Office and the teams that are housed in that Office, as well as other IEP Teams. Currently, the "Committee on Special Education Office" and "IEP Teams" are referred to separately. IEP Teams are located both at schools and in the Committee on Special Education Office, and they may be composed as either a Full Committee or a Subcommittee. The IEP Teams located at the Committee on Special Education Office and directed by the Chairperson are responsible for several groups of students.
These teams are responsible for all students 5 to 21 years of age who attend a school within the geographic boundaries of the districts that is a:
Based on the state, this term may used differently
- Private school
- Parochial school
- Charter school
- State approved non-public school
The IEP Teams located at a Committee on Special Education Office are also responsible for students who reside within the geographic boundaries of the districts that are served by the Committee on Special Education Office and who are:
- Students attending non-public schools outside of the State ();
- Students who receive home or hospital instruction as their placement on their IEP (please note that this does not include students on temporary home instruction, as these students are expected to return to their prior school);
- Students who are being home-schooled; and
- Students who are non-attending.
Based on the state, this term and the role may change and be used differently.
The obligation of the Department of Education to maintain the student's special education records in a manner that assures that only appropriate staff has access to the student's IEP and records.
The range of education services in the Department of Education to support educating children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.
These services are designed to improve social and emotional functioning in the areas of appropriate school behavior, discipline, self-control, conflict resolution if a student is experiencing difficulty interacting appropriately with adults or peers, withdrawal or acting out, low self-esteem and/or poor coping skills that significantly interfere with learning. If students require services from a particular provider (e.g., Guidance Counselor, School Psychologist or Social Worker) it must be outlined in the IEP. 47
All of the student's referral, evaluation and placement materials: including due-process notices, IEPs and school reports.
Accommodations change how a student accesses information and demonstrates that s/he has learned the information. They may include the use of audiotapes instead of books, large-print books, Braille materials, use of a calculator for math and/or use of a word processor instead of handwriting.
Modifications change the way the curriculum is delivered and the instructional level, but the subject matter itself remains the same. Examples of modifications include redesigning the size or focus of the assignment.
A student with both hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with deafness or students with blindness.
A student with a hearing impairment that is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects the student's educational performance.
An IEP Team determination that a student no longer needs special education services.
Services to support a decertified student to make the transition back to general education classes with no special education services. Declassification services may be provided for up to one year from the date of decertification and may include instructional supports and modifications, speech and language services, counseling services, etc.
During the IEP Team meeting, discussion will include a decision as to whether or not the recommended special education services should begin immediately. It may not be in a student's best interests to immediately implement the recommended special education services. This is referred to as a "deferred" placement and requires consent from the parent.
The provision in law that guarantees and protects the rights of parents, students and the Department during the referral, evaluation and placement process.
Also called a Request for an Impartial Hearing, this is a written complaint filed by a parent or a school district involving any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement or provision of a free, appropriate, public education to a student with a disability. This may result in an Impartial Hearing.
A legal proceeding before an Impartial Hearing Officer (who may not be an employee of the Department of Education at your location). Both the parents and the school district present arguments, witnesses, if any, and evidence.
Employee Identification System, may be different in each location used for all employee, while active.
A student who exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects the student's educational performance:
- An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors;
- An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
- Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
- A generally pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression;
- A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
- The term "emotional disturbance" includes schizophrenia. It does not apply to students who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
A student who speaks a language other than English at home and scores below a state designated level of proficiency in English upon entering the public school system.
A teaching approach and methodology used by trained English-speaking teachers for ELLs who are acquiring English-language skills.
Special education and related services that are provided at public expense, under public supervision, direction and without charge to the parent.
A problem-solving process for addressing student problem behavior. FBA relies on a variety of techniques and strategies to identify the reasons for a specific behavior and to help IEP Teams select interventions that directly address the problem behavior.
The body of knowledge and range of skills that all students, including students with disabilities, are expected to master.
Alternative high school diploma, issued by a State, for completing an equivalent high school competency examination.
A type of related services provided to students who are identified as having medical and/or health needs that require the assistance of a nurse or health paraprofessional during the school day. Examples of this service may be feeding, ambulation, suctioning or catheterization.
Services designed to provide instruction in speech, reading, auditory training and language development to enhance the growth of receptive/expressive communication skills.
An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects the student's educational performance but is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.
Given to students who have successfully completed either Regents exams or competency tests and course credit requirements, as prescribed by regulation.
Home Instruction may be recommended by the relevant IEP Team for students with disabilities who have a medical or psychological illness which prevents the student from attending a public or private facility for an extended period of time (i.e., one year or longer).
A parent questionnaire to determine whether or not a language other than English is spoken in the student's home.
An educational service provided on a temporary basis to students who are hospitalized for medical conditions that prevent them from attending school.
The IEP diploma certifies that a student has completed IEP goals. IEP diplomas are not accepted for admission to college or enrollment in military service. Students who are participating in alternate assessment and are expecting to achieve an IEP diploma should discuss transition plans including post-graduation and career training during their IEP Team meeting. Students receiving
IEP diplomas are entitled to remain in school until the end of the school year in which they turn 21 and may pursue Advanced Regents, Regents, Local, Careers and Technical Education (CTE or GED diplomas.)
The IEP documents a student's eligibility for special education services and formalizes the school system's plan to provide special education services that are appropriate for his or her unique needs. It contains specific information about the student and the education program designed to meet these needs, including:
- The student's current performance in school and goals that can be reasonably accomplished in a school year;
- Special education and related services, including counseling; speech, occupational or physical therapy; paraprofessional support; assistive technology; behavior intervention and modifications;
- Participation with non-disabled students and/or mainstreaming opportunities;
- Participation in state and citywide tests, promotion criteria and diploma objectives;
- Date services will begin, how often they will be provided, where they will be provided and for how long;
- Means of measuring the student's progress.
Based on the state, this term's scope may change and be used differently.
Examples of supports include rephrasing of questions and instructions, additional time to move between classes, special seating arrangements, testing accommodations such as questions being read or re-read aloud, additional time, etc., curricular aids such as highlighted reading materials, main idea summaries, organizational aids, pre-written notes or study guides.
A Federal law that gives students with disabilities the right to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment from age 3 to the year the student turns 21 years or graduates with a high school diploma.
Assistive technology communication device for students who do not have speech capabilities.
A test given to determine a student's level of proficiency in English and need for bilingual ESL instructional services.
Learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which manifests itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities; of mental retardation; of emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.
"Least Restrictive Environment" means that placement of students with disabilities in special classes, separate schools or other removal from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that even with the use of supplementary aids and services, education cannot be satisfactorily achieved.
Students who have specific mobility impairments, whether physical or sensory, for whom the design of buildings may pose barriers and who, therefore, must be offered access to programs to the extent required by law.
Children who are identified as having an educational disability and receiving special class services full-time or for the majority of the school day must have access to general education classes and services to the maximum extent appropriate.
Mainstreaming is the placement of a child who is in a full-time special class or in a special class for the majority of the school day into a general education classroom with age-appropriate peers for the areas of instruction in which the child's disability does not impact on his or her ability to participate. A child may be mainstreamed in academic classes such as math, language arts, science or social studies or a non-academic program such as music or art.
The amount of adult supervision and any necessary environmental modifications required to meet a student's needs. This must be indicated in the IEP
A person who assists students on the special education bus while riding to and from school.
A doctor's report on a student's physical and medical condition that is taken into consideration during the IEP Team meeting.
A student with significantly sub-average (“subaverage”) general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects that student's educational performance.
Describes a change in the curriculum. While accommodations are changes in formats or procedures that enable students to participate readily rather than be limited by disabilities, modifications are more extensive changes of both difficulty level and/or content quantity. 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 or her ability to understand the content in the general education class in which they are included.
The complete assessment of students by the evaluation team to determine if the student is disabled and requires special education services. This is also called a Multidisciplinary Assessment.
A student with concurrent impairments (such as mental retardation–blindness, mental retardation– orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes educational needs that cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.
A specialized assessment conducted by a neurologist to determine if the student exhibits signs of a brain dysfunction that may affect learning.
A student who is not classified as having a disability and receives no special education services.
A school that provides a publicly funded special education program and that is not part of your state Department of Education.
A letter sent to parents in their preferred language, if known, no more than five days after the receipt of a referral for special education screening.
The central Office of Student Enrollment facilitates student placement, enrollment, zoning and choice programs on a citywide basis for all grade levels. OSE is also responsible for placing public school students in collaborative team teaching and special education classes once they have been recommended for these services and the student cannot be served in his or her current school.
This will help your child maintain, improve or restore adaptive and functional skills, including fine motor skills and oral motor skills in all educational activities.
These services are designed to improve a student's understanding of spatial and environmental concepts and use of information s/he receives through the senses (e.g., sound, temperature, vibrations) for establishing, maintaining and regaining orientation and line of travel. They are provided to students with visual impairments.
A severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.) impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.) and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputation and fractures or burns which cause contractures).
A student with limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that is due to chronic or acute health problems, including but not limited to a: heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or Tourette syndrome, which adversely affects that student's educational performance
Related services provided to students who require developmental or corrective assistance to be maintained in their current educational programs.
A person who provides assistance (e.g., behavior management, health services, transportation or toileting, awaiting placement services, alternate placement services, or sign-language interpretation) either to the entire class or an individual or group of students.
If the parent(s) need some help understanding the special needs of their child, Parent Counseling and Training can provide them with information about their child's development. Parent Counseling and Training is typically provided as part of the program if their child is in special classes with staffing ratios of 8:1:1, 6:1:1 and 12:1:4. These are not adult counseling services and are not intended to meet their personal or educational needs.
Based on the state, this term's scope and ratio may change and be used differently.
A parent of a child with a disability in the school district who participates in IEP Team meetings and assists a parent of a child with a known or suspected disability in making educational decisions for his or her child.
When a party requests an Impartial Hearing or participates in mediation, pendency, a "stay-put" provision, allows the student to remain in his or her "last-agreed-upon placement" until the Impartial Hearing process (including all appeals) is complete, unless the parent and the IEP Team agree in writing to an alternative.
A person in parental relationship to the child, as defined in your State Education Law, including a father or mother (by birth or adoption) a stepfather, a stepmother, a legally appointed guardian or a custodian. A custodian is someone who has assumed the charge and care of a child because the parents or guardian have died, are imprisoned, are mentally ill, have been committed to an institution, or have abandoned or deserted the child or are living outside the state or their whereabouts are unknown.
Pursuant to Title 15-A of the General Obligations Law, which allows parents to voluntarily designate someone else to make educational decisions for their child, a person may be designated as a Person in Parental Relation. The designation must be in writing and can be for no longer than six months at a time. If the designation is for longer than 30 days, it must be notarized and signed by the designee, as well as the parent.
The person acting in a parental relationship is called on by the IEP Team for involvement and consultation throughout the special education process. If the birth parents return to the student's life at any time and assume parental responsibility, the IEP Team involves them in the decision-making process and no longer recognizes the other parenting relationships that existed prior to the parent's return.
Uses activities to maintain, improve or restore your child's functioning, including gross motor development, ambulation, balance and coordination in various settings, including but not limited to the classroom, gym, bathroom, playground, staircase and transitions between classes.
The language that a parent feels most comfortable speaking. This may or may not be the language regularly spoken at home.
A specialized assessment conducted by a psychiatrist to determine a student's ability to relate to the environment and the level to which emotional problems interfere with learning.
An assessment conducted by a licensed psychologist to measure a student's strengths and weaknesses in overall learning abilities and how s/he relates to other children and adults.
A determination of the provision of special education services made at an IEP Team meeting.
An updated evaluation(s) for a student with a disability. A request for this can be made by the student's teacher, parent or school district. Additionally, students with disabilities must be reevaluated once every three years, except when the district and parent agree in writing that a reevaluation is not necessary. A reevaluation may not be conducted more than once a year unless the school and the parent agree otherwise.
A referral begins the evaluation and placement process to determine whether the student has a disability and requires special education services.
See General Education curriculum.
Services that may be given to special education students to help support and assist their participation in their school program. These services must be recommended on the IEP and are provided either individually or in groups of no more than five. Services include: counseling, school health services, hearing education services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/ language therapy, vision education services, orientation and mobility services and "other support" services.
An RSA is an authorization letter given to parents that allows them to obtain the services of a non- Department of Education independent provider of specific related services at Department of Education expense when the Department of Education has been unable to provide these services for the student within the required timelines.
An IEP Team meeting to review the child's IEP to determine if it continues to meet his or her needs. This review may be requested at any time by a parent, a teacher or other school staff member.
A mandatory meeting that the school district must convene within 15 days of receiving the parents' due process complaint. The resolution session includes parents, members of the IEP Team relevant to the complaint and a representative of the school district who has decision-making authority.
Parents have the right to visit the school where their child will receive special education services. The parent may be shown a class that is an example of the program the student is recommended to receive.
A school nurse or paraprofessional provides services that are designed to address your child's specific health needs, as documented by his or her physician, to ensure a safe educational environment.
An interview with parents concerning a student's health, family and school background, including social relationships, that is used as part of a student's evaluation.
Special Class Services are services provided for children with disabilities in a self-contained classroom. They serve children whose needs cannot be met within the general education classroom, even with the use of supplementary aids and services. In self- contained special classes, students must be grouped by similarity of educational needs. Classes may contain students with the same disability or with different disabilities as long as they have similar levels of academic and learning characteristics, levels of social development, levels of physical development and management needs. Special classes offer different levels of staffing intensity depending upon the student's academic and/or management needs.
Ways that special education professionals adapt the content, methodology (approaches to teaching certain grade-level content), or the delivery of instruction to address the unique needs that result from the child's disability. Specially designed instruction should
also ensure that the eligible child has access to the general curriculum so that he or she can meet the educational standards of the school district that apply to all children.
A student with a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment or a voice impairment that adversely affects that student's educational performance.
These services help in the way your child understands sounds and language (called auditory processing), with articulation or phonological skills, comprehension, use of syntax, pragmatics, voice production and fluency.
To ensure the rights of the student are protected, in the following circumstances, a person may be appointed by the Department as a "surrogate parent" to act in the place of parents or guardians:
- No parent can be identified;
- After reasonable efforts, the Department cannot discover the whereabouts of the parent;
- The student is an unaccompanied homeless youth as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act;
- The student is a Ward of the State and does not have a parent who meets the definition of parent. A Ward of the State is a child or youth under the age of 21 who has been placed or remanded through a juvenile delinquency, PINS or child protective proceeding; is in the custody of the Commissioner of Social Services or the Office of Children and Family Services; or is a destitute child not being cared for in his or her home.
Surrogate parents are not officers, employees or agents of the Department of Education or the State Education Department or any other agency involved in the education or care of the student.
Toilet Training is a short-term instructional service to help prepare a student for independence in toileting. It is provided by a paraprofessional who schedules, instructs and assists the student.
A coordinated set of activities that:
- Improves the academic and functional skills of the student in order to facilitate the student's movement from school to post- school activities such as post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation;
- Is based on the individual student's needs, taking into account his or her strengths, preferences and interests, and includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives and, when appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
Transitional support services, such as consultation and/or training, may be provided to staff (generally for 30 days) who work with children with disabilities as they move into less restrictive settings. Although transitional support services are provided to teachers, the benefit extends to the child with a disability.
A student with an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force or by certain medical conditions such as stroke, encephalitis, aneurysm, and anoxia or brain tumors with resulting impairments that adversely affect that student's educational performance.
The term includes open or closed head injuries or brain injuries from certain medical conditions resulting in mild, moderate or severe impairments in one or more areas, including cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing and speech. The term does not include injuries that are congenital or caused by birth trauma.
A service that teaches high school-aged students to travel to and from school or to and from the work-study site safely and independently.
Twelve-Month School Year Services are provided to students with severe disabilities who require the continuity of education in order to prevent substantial regression in their developmental levels during July and August. This must be recommended by the IEP Team and indicated on the IEP. Parents must consent to extended school year services.
Sensory integration for the reinforcement of learning strategies. (See below)
These services are designed to provide instruction for your child if he or she is visually impaired. They utilize Braille, Nemeth Code, large print, optical and non-optical low-vision devices and other skills necessary to attain academic, social, vocational and life adjustment skills, literacy and acquisition of information using tactile, visual and auditory strategies.
An impairment in vision including blindness that, even with correction, adversely affects that student's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Tests for junior and senior high school students to measure their interest and abilities in job-related areas. This assessment helps the IEP Team, the parent and the student to plan for the student's transition from school to post-school activities, including future career and job possibilities.