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Sunday 21 Jan 2018


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Adaptive Behavior – The capability to familiarize oneself with new environments, people, and things while learning routines which allow coping with those new situations.

Advocate – Individual who promotes or reforms a cause that benefits an individual.

Annual Goals – A set of reasonable expectations for individuals in a period of one year, such as those goals documented in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – A treatment methodology pioneered by Dr. Ivar Lovaas and based on the theories of operant conditioning by B.F. Skinner.

Aphasia – The loss of ability to implement or comprehend language. Condition may be complete or partial.

Apraxia – A disorder in which the individual suffers partial or total loss of voluntary movement, while retaining muscular power and coordination. Disorder most frequently affects speech.

Assessment – Includes tests and observations to determine a child’s areas of strengths and weaknesses. Usually perfomed be an interdisciplinary team of professionals and parents to determine special education needs. Also call an evaluation.

Auditory Integration Training (AIT) – A treatment method of rehabilitation for the auditory system. Developed by Dr. Guy Berard, an eminent ear, nose and throat physician.

Auditory Processing
– The capability to understand aural stimuli, both words and non-verbal sounds.

Augmentative Alternative Communication
– Alternative methods of communication for those who are unable to effectively or functionally communicate verbally. Tactics range from low-tech systems (i.e. sign language or picture exchange) to high-tech systems (i.e. voice output systems).

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)
– A neurobiological condition marked by developmental delay in social skills, communication and behavior which can present itself in varying degrees of severity. This classification encompasses the following disorders: Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified. In the DMV-IV, the term PDD is used which is synonymous to ASD.
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Baseline – The congenital level of function by an individual before instruction is introduced.

Behavior Modification – A term sometimes used to describe ABA.

Behaviorist or Behavioral Therapist
– Certified individual who analyzes behaviors and designs and inplements behavioral treatment programs to teach new skills. Certified individuals will hold the credentials BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst).

Best Practice – Strategies that reliably lead to a desired result or outcome as confirmed through experience, research and evaluation. The set of strategies that utilizes the best practices, knowledge and technology to ensure success.
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Central Auditory Processing Disorder – While retaining hearing, an individual experiences difficulty in understanding and/or processing spoken language.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) – A rare for of ASD in which normally developing children suddenly lose language and social skills after age 3.

Chronologically Age-Appropriate – Altering the activities and behaviors for individuals with disabilities to bring them in line with those of individuals who are typically developing of the same age.

Cognitive – Describes the process used for the tasks of remembering, reasoning, understanding, and using judgeship. In special education, a cognitive disability refers to difficulty in learning.

Communication – The conveyance of gestures or information between people. As a social skill, communication offers autonomy as well as control over one’s environment.

Concrete Thinking – Thinking that is grounded in facts and details, rather that ideas and concepts.

Consequence – The direct result of action or effort. Consequences can either be pleasant (reinforcing) or unpleasant (punishing).

Criterion Referenced Test – Child is evaluated by his own performance, not in comparison to others.
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Daily Living Activities – Routine maintenance or self-improvement tasks which include eating, dressing, grooming, cooking and cleaning.

Development – The process of growth and learning during which an individual acquires intellectual and social skills; includes interaction between psychosocial factors and stage by stage growth of the body.

Developmental Delay – A handicap or impairment which occurs before the age of 18 months and is expected to persist indefinitely. This includes pervasive developmental disorders, cerebral palsy and mental retardation.

Discrete Trial Training (DTT) – Part of ABA therapy, DTT breaks down complex skills into small, easily manageable steps so that skils can be more easily mastered by an individual with an ASD. Each trial is a sequence composed of three parts: a direction, a behavior and a consequence.

Due Process Hearing – A hearing at which parents can present evidence that the school district is no properly educating their child.

Dyslexia – A learning disability which affects one’s ability to read. The results range from reversing written letters, numbers and words to reading backwards and poor handwriting, to difficulty remembering and recognizing written text.
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Early Intervention Services (EI) – A collection of services provided by public and private agencies and designed by law (IDEA Part C) to support eligible children and families in enhancing a child’s potential for growth and development from birth to age 3.

Echolalia – A condition is which an individual repeats words or phrases previously heard. Delayed echolalia can occur days or weeks after initially hearing the word or phrase.

Expressive Language – The language used to communicate with others. Oral expressive language is the expression of thoughts and feelings though oral speech. Expressive language also refers to gestures and signing, as well as communication through objects, pictures and writing.

Extended School Year (ESY) – Educational services specially crafted for students who need them beyond the regular school year. Not to be confused with summer school or year-round school.
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Fine Motor Skills – Activities that require the coordination of smaller body muscles, especially those of the hand, such as writing and drawing.

Fragile X Syndrome
– A genetic cause of mental retardation in which one part of the X-chromosome is defective.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) – A program which mandates the provision of public school services to all school-aged children (up to age 21) even if they have a disability.

Functional Behavior Analysis or Assessment (FBA) – The evaluation of individual behaviors through observation of what happens before and after the behavior occurs. Behaviors are further assessed for their appropriateness to the situation and the individual.
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General Education – A curriculum of the arts and sciences courses that provied studnets with a broad educational experience. A general education schools provide inclusive programs in which individuals with autism are fully integrated into general education classrooms with their typically developing peers.

Gross Motor Skills – Body movements which utilize larger muscle groups of the body such as sitting, walking and jumping.
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Hyperlexia – An ability to read at an early age but without total comprehension.

Hypersensitivity – Excessive, often painful, reaction to everyday auditory, visual or tactile stimuli such as bright lights or loud noises.

Hyposensitivity – A marked absence of reaction to everyday stimuli.
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Inclusion – The concept that students with disabilities should be integrated with their typically developing peers to the maximum extent possible. Inclusion is one of the available educational placements. The terms is many times used synonymously with mainstreaming and integration.

Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) – Assessment of a student requested by a parent who believes the school did not conduct a proper evaluation. In some instances, this evaluation may be conducted at the school’s expense.

Individual Transition Plan (ITP) – A plan which facilitates the transfer of a student from one setting to another, such as to a classroom, school or work environment.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) – The written yearly plan for school-age individuals, ages three through twenty-one, that specifies the services that the local education agency has agreed to provide individuals with disabilities who are eligible under IDEA.

Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)
– Documents and guides the early intervention process for children with disabilities and their families in accordance with Part C of IDEA. Through the IFSP process, families and service providers work together as a team to plan, implement, and evaluate services to meet the specific needs of the child and family.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – A federal law originally passed in 1975 that requires states to establish performance goals and indicators for children with disabilities consistent with the maximum extent appropriate with other goals and standards for all children established by the state and to report on progress toward meeting those goals. IDEA states that children with disabilities mush be included in state and district-wide assessments of student progress with individual modifications and accommodations as needed. IDEA promotes improved educational results for children with disabilities through early intervention, preschool and educational experiences that prepare them for later educational challenges and employment.

Intervention – Action taken to attain an individual’s developmental potential. The term is often used synonymously with treatment.

Intrinsic Reinforcement – The positive reinforcement that radiates from within, stemming from satisfaction or pride in accomplishing a task.
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Joint Attention or Shared Attention – A social skill which develops early in typically developing children, in which two people jointly observe an object or event and share the experience. This skill is crucial to later language and social development.
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Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) – The requirement under the IDEA that all children receiving special education must be educated to the fullest extent possible with children who do not have disabilities.
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Mediation – A resolution process. If parents disagree with the school district on providing services for a child with disabilities, a third party mediator with be assigned to help both parties resolve the issue.

Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (MDT) – A group of people who evaluate the abilities and needs of a child to determine whether the child meets eligibility criteria for special needs.
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Neurologist – A physician who treats medical problems associated with the brain and spinal cord.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) – An act signed in 2002 to reform schools by encouraging stronger accountability for results , more freedom for states and communities, proven education methods and more choices for parents. Under NCLB, states are working to close the achievement gap and make sure all students, including those who are disadvantaged, achieve academic proficiency.
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Objectives – The intermediate steps that must be taken to reach the annual goals; a component of the IEP.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – A psychiatric disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior.

Occupational Therapy (OT) – A therapy that focuses on improving development of fine and gross motor skills, sensory integration skills and daily living skills.

Oral Motor – Movement of the muscles located in and around the mouth.
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Pedantic Speech – A long-winded, tiresome style of speaking emphasizing self-absorption more than salient fact.

Perseverative Behavior – Repetitive movements, speech or play patterns, such as repeatedly opening and closing doors or eye tracking.

Physical Therapy (PT) – A therapy that specializes in the improvement of developing motor skills, with an emphasis on gross motor skills.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) – A communication system for nonverbal or functionally nonverbal individuals.

PICA – Ingestion of nonfood items.

Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) – An intervention for individuals with ASDs that teaches behaviors central to wide areas of functioning such as motivation and responsiveness.

Pragmatics – The method of using language to communicate effectively in a natural context, focusing on considerations like eye contact between speaker and listener, how close to stand, taking turns and selecting topics of conversation.

Prompt – A stimulus or cue given to help an individual complete a task. Prompts may be physical, verbal, visual or location-appropriate.

Pronoun Reversal – Phenomenon wherein an individual switches first- and second-person pronouns, replacing “I” or “me” with “you” or “them”.

Proprioception – A sense that informs us of the position of our body parts in space.

Prosody – The style of speech identified by pitch or intonation, loudness and tempo of spoken words.
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Receptive Language – The comprehension of spoken and written communication and gestures.

Reinforcement – A positive event which immediately follows an action thereby creating the doer a pleasant feeling and increasing the likelihood the action will be repeated.

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) – A program that employs specific exercises and activities to teach interpersonal social skills.

Respite Care – This service allows the primary caregiver (i.e. parents) of a disabled person an opportunity for a temporary break.
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Self-Stimulatory Behavior – Actions used solely to stimulate one’s own senses, such as body rocking and finger flicking. Theories suggest that self-stims serve to reduce sensory overload and increase concentration. Sometimes self-stimulatory behavior can create an arousal state. Other examples include hand flapping, toe walking, spinning, and echolalia. It is often referred to as stimming.

Sensory Integration Therapy (SIT) – Treatment focused on improving the way the brain processes and organizes the senses. Therapy is implemented by an occupational therapist and involves full-body movements that provide vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile stimulation.

Social Skills – Positive, situation-appropriate behaviors that are necessary to communicate, interact and form relationships with others.

Special Education – Specialized and personalized instruction of students with disabilities in response to educational disabilities determined by team evaluation.

Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) – A qualified professional who improves communication skills as well as oral motor abilities.
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Theory of Mind (TOM) – The ability to empathize, which means to understand what another person thinks, feels, desires, intends or believes.

Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) – A structured teaching intervention developed by Division TEACCH of the University of North Carolina.
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Vestibular – Pertaining to the sensory system located on the inner ear that governs posture and balance.

Visual Adaptations or Visual Supports – Written schedules, lists, charts, and picture sequences that convey meaningful information that allows the person with autism to function more independently without constant verbal direction.

Visual Schedule – A group of pictures or objects that guides a child through the order of events or activities.

Visual Discrimination – The ability to distinguish and detect differences in objects, forms, letters and words.
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