Glossary of Inclusion and Special Education Terms
Inclusive Education – Inclusion is an educational process by which all students, including those with disabilities, are educated together for the majority of the school day. The practice of welcoming, valuing, empowering and supporting diverse academic and social learning among students of all abilities is called inclusive education.
Mainstreaming is an educational practice where a student from a separate special education class visits the regular classroom for specific, usually non-academic, subjects.
Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) A “free and appropriate public education” is guaranteed to children with disabilities under IDEA. The law states that all children with special needs, ages 3-21 years of age, must receive special education and related services in accordance with state-mandated standards at public expense.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) An “individualized educational program” is a document that must be created for each student with a qualifying disability attending public school, as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The IEP specifies the special education and related services that a child with a disability will receive. Produced and periodically reviewed and revised in a meeting with an IEP team, the IEP is intended to provide both long-term and short-term goals and establish the educational placement and necessary supplementary aids. The required contributors and components of the document are specified by IDEA.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) IDEA gives children with special needs the right to receive special education and related services in school. The regulation requires that a free and appropriate education be provided to children with disabilities and that they are entitled to learn in the least restrictive environment.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) IDEA requires that a child with special needs be educated in a setting that provides for maximum interaction with non-disabled peers. IDEA states specifically that education for students with disabilities should take place in the “least restrictive environment.”
Portability Portability refers to the ability to successfully deliver special education services in a general education classroom. Under IDEA, it is inappropriate to provide portable services in a segregated setting unless it is the parent’s preference.
Related Services Related services are transportation and developmental, corrective and other support services that a child with disabilities requires in order to benefit from an education. Examples of related services are speech pathology and audiology, psychological and counseling services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, interpreters for the hearing impaired and medical services for diagnostic and evaluation purposes.
Autism Autism is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. Other ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Tourette’s Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS). Experts estimate that three to six children out of every 1,000 will have autism. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females.
Down Syndrome Down syndrome is a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, and often leads to mental retardation. It affects 1 in every 800 babies born.
Tourette’s Syndrome Tourette’s Disorder, or Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) as it is frequently called, is a neurological syndrome. The essential feature of Tourette’s are multiple tics that are sudden, rapid, recurrent, non-rhythmic, stereotypical, purposeless movements or vocalizations.
Orthopedic Disability A severe orthopedic impairment caused by congenital anomaly such as clubfoot or absence of some member; impairments caused by disease such as poliomyelitis or bone tuberculosis; and impairments from other causes such as cerebral palsy, amputations and fractures or burns that cause contractures.
Visual Impairment A visual impairment is determined by functional visual efficiency including visual fields, ocular motility, binocular vision and accommodation; it is determined by an ophthalmologist’s evaluation and is of such severity as to prevent successful functioning in an educational program without guidance and accommodation.
Hearing Impairment A hearing impairment refers to an individual identified as having a loss of hearing which prevents successful functioning in an educational program
without specialized instruction, additional support services and guidance.
Cognitive Disabilities Present in individuals who exhibit significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning manifested during the early developmental period and existing concurrently with defects in adaptive behavior.
Speech or Language Impaired Refers to individuals with communication difficulties characterized by a delay or deviance in the acquisition of prelinguistic skills, receptive skills or expressive skills of oral communication. Speech and language difficulties may include articulation difficulties, voice difficulties, stuttering and language difficulties involving structure, content and processing skills.
Emotional Disturbance Refers to individuals who have social, emotional or behavioral functioning that significantly interfere with their total education program and development including the acquisition and production of appropriate academic skills, social interactions, interpersonal relationships and adjustment. The handicapping condition of emotional disturbance shall be considered only when behaviors are characterized as severe, chronic, or frequent and are manifested in two or more of the
child’s social systems, e.g., school, home, or community.
Learning Disabilities Refers to children who have severe and unique learning problems due to a disorder existing within the child which significantly interfere with the ability to acquire, organize, or express information. These problems are manifested in school functioning as a severe discrepancy in the ability to read, write, spell, or arithmetically reason or calculate.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Traumatic Brain Injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Other Health Impairment Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems. The term includes but is not limited to a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes, or acquired injuries to the brain caused by internal occurrences or degenerative conditions.
Significant Developmental Delay Significant Developmental Delay means children ages 3, 4, and 5 years of age who are experiencing significant delays in the areas of physical, cognition, communication, social-emotional or adaptive development.
courtesy of Pupil Services Department,
Bosworth, Debra L. Benefits to Students with Down
Syndrome in the Inclusion Classroom: K-3. 2001.
Daily, Melisa. New Horizons For Learning. Inclusion of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.2005. http://www.newhorizons.org/spneeds/autism /daily.htm
Hayes, Nakonia. New Horizons For Learning. To Accommodate, To Modify, and To Know the Difference: Determining Placement of a Child in Special Education. http://www.newhorizons.org/spneeds/inclusion/law/hayes.htm
John Hay Elementary. Autism Included. http://www.seattle schools.org/schools/johnhay/inclusion.html
Schwartz, Ilene S. Billingsley, Felix F. & McBride, Bonnie M. New Horizons For Learning. Including Children with Autism Inclusive Preschools: Strategies that Work. http://www.newhorizons.org/spneeds/inclusion/ information/schwartz2.htm