Procedural Terminology and Definitions Associated with Special Education Services

Flint Hills Special Education Cooperative

A pocket guide to the language commonly used in the field of special education


Flint Hills Special Education Cooperative
1700 W. 7th
Emporia, KS 66801
(620) 341-2325

Federal, state, and school district policies and regulations are based on federal and state laws. Much of the language that is an integral part of special education is taken from legal mandates. While compliance with the law is imperative, making the whole process “user friendly” is the intent of this document.

Age of Majority
Beginning at age seventeen, the IEP team must inform the student and parents that in Kansas, at the age of eighteen, the rights under IDEA-97 will transfer to the student. The school must provide documentation in the IEP that the student has been informed of this right at least one year before the student is eighteen.

Annual Review
Students with disabilities have their Individualized Educational Program (IEP) reviewed each year. A review involves an update of the student’s progress and the development of his/her educational program for the coming year.

Child Find
A screening process to locate, evaluate, and identify students from birth to age five who may need special education services.

Refers to precautions an individual other than the student’s parent must take in not revealing information, without consent, about a student to someone who is not directly involved with that student.

Consent (Informed)
Parent is informed of information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought in his/her native language. The parent understands and agrees in writing to the carrying out of the activity. The consent describes that activity and lists the records (if any) which will be released and to whom. The parent understands the granting of consent is voluntary and may be revoked at any time.

Due Process
A set of procedures that seeks to ensure fairness of educational decisions and accountability, both for parents and for educational professionals. Due process provides a forum where disagreements about the identification, evaluation and educational placement and provision of a free, appropriate public education for students with disabilities can be adjudicated.

After completion of appropriate evaluation procedures, a team of qualified professionals and the parent of the child who has been evaluated prepare a written evaluation report that includes a statement indicating whether the child meets the criteria to be eligible for special education.

Educational Advocate
Appointed for students ages three to eighteen who are in the custody of SRS, the Department of Corrections (DOC), or the Juvenile Justice Authority (JJA); are receiving special education services or need an evaluation to determine eligibility for services; and whose parents are unknown or unavailable, whose parents’ rights have been terminated, or whose parents have a court order of “no contact” against them.

Includes children with disability and/or giftedness.

Expedited Hearing
Occurs in three instances: 1) when a school district asks a Special Education Due Process Hearing Officer to order an interim alternative educational setting because a child’s behavior is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others; 2) when a parent challenges the manifestation determination or any placement decision in a disciplinary context; or 3) when a school district maintains it is dangerous to return a child (who is in an alternative educational setting) to a current placement and seeks a Special Education Due Process Hearing Officer’s order that the child’s educational placement be changed.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Refers to the rights of parents and students with regard to confidentiality of student records. Schools must provide access to parents and students to inspect educational records, and to seek correction of records they believe to be misleading or inaccurate.

Formal Complaint
One of the methods parents have to resolve special education disagreements with the school district. The formal complaint process provides an objective investigation to ensure that all procedures under IDEA-97 have been followed properly.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Means special education and related services that: (a) have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction without charge; (b) meets the standards of the state educational agency; (c) include an appropriate preschool, elementary or secondary school education; and (d) are provided in conformity with an IEP.

General Education Intervention
A problem-solving process to help support students with academic or behavioral concerns. Intervention plans are developed by a Student Improvement Team to assist the student’s progress in the general education class.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)
A written plan for a student with disabilities that is developed collaboratively with the parents, student (when appropriate), the school, and other agencies as appropriate.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
This federal act (reauthorized in 2000) governs special education processes and procedures.

IEP Team
A group who comes together to develop, review, and revise a student’s IEP. Members of the IEP team include: student, parents, special education teacher(s), general education teacher(s), school representative or designee, and a person to interpret instructional implications of any new evaluation or assessment result. Representatives of other agencies that are likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services for students ages sixteen and older must be invited.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
An individual plan written by a local agency responsible for a student’s education from birth to three years of age.

Interim IEP
Developed for a student who has been determined to be a child with an exceptionality, but more information is needed to determine the appropriate services. An IEP must be reviewed or re-written within thirty days of the student enrolling in school.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
Used to describe procedures to ensure that, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities are educated with non-disabled students. Removal of students with disabilities from the general education environment may occur only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in general classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. The student should be educated in the school he/she would attend if not disabled, unless the IEP requires otherwise and then as close to home as possible.

Manifestation Determination
When any disciplinary action that constitutes a change of placement is contemplated for a child with a disability, the parents must be notified of the proposed action and of procedural safeguards accorded under IDEA-97. As soon as possible, but no later than ten days after the decision is made, the IEP team must meet to review the relationship between the child’s disability and the behavior subject to disciplinary action to determine whether or not the behavior was a manifestation of the disability.

A method of resolving disputes at the local level. Both parties must agree to mediate. Either the parents or a school representative may suggest this option initially. A parent advocate, outside agency, or another individual may not request mediation. Costs of mediation are borne by the state.

Parent Involvement
Parents have the right to participate in decisions involving the identification, assessment and placement of their child, as well as the right to participate in the child’s educational program.

Parent Rights
Parents of children who are or may be exceptional, have certain rights or procedural safeguards under federal and state laws. A copy of the Parent Rights in Special Education must be given to parents in their native language.

Refers to the program chosen as the most appropriate educational setting for a student. Placement occurs after a comprehensive assessment and formulation of the IEP. The IEP team utilizes the IEP to decide placement.

Prior Written Notice
This notice must be provided to parents before the school proposes to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of their child or the provision of special education and related services to their child.

Procedural Safeguards
Precautions taken to ensure that an individual’s rights are not denied without due process of law.

Section 504
Prohibits discrimination against persons with a disability in any program receiving federal financial assistance. Section 504 defines a person with a disability as anyone who: 1) has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activity; 2) has a record of such impairment; or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

Student Improvement Team
The team uses a multidisciplinary problem-solving process that promotes school-based coordination, individualized student academic or behavioral interventions, school-parent efforts and greater access to community resources. Intervention plans to assist students with academic or behavioral concerns in the classroom are developed.

“Stay Put” Provision
If a disagreement occurs between the parent and school, the student remains in the most current program until the difference is settled, unless both parties agree otherwise.

Team Meeting Notice
The school must provide notice of an IEP meeting to the parents for the initial IEP meeting and any subsequent IEP meetings. The notice must be provided at least ten calendar days prior to the meeting and must be accompanied by the Parent Rights document.


ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
APE – Adaptive Physical Education
FHSEC – Flint Hills Special Education Cooperative
CP – Cerebral Palsy
DB – Deaf-Blind
DD – Developmental Delay
ED – Emotionally Disturbed
ESY – Extended School Year
FAPE – Free Appropriate Public Education
FBA – Functional Behavior Assessment
FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
HI – Hearing Impaired
IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
IEP – Individualized Education Program
IFSP – Individualized Family Service Plan
LEA – Local Education Agency
LD – Learning Disabled
LRE – Least Restrictive Environment
KSDE – Kansas State Department of Education
KSD – Kansas School for the Deaf
KSB – Kansas School for the Blind
OCR – Office of Civil Rights
OHI – Other Health Impaired
OI – Orthopedically Impaired
OT – Occupational Therapy or Occupational Therapist
PDD – Pervasive Developmental Disorder
PT – Physical Therapy or Physical Therapist
SIT – Student Improvement Team
SL – Speech-Language
TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury
VI – Visually Impaired/Visual Disability

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