• Commonly Used Special Education Acronyms

    Special Education seems to have a language of its own. Educators often use many of these words in conversations with parents, so, as a parent, please ask for clarification or an explanation of the meaning.  Teachers, speech/language pathologists,  principals, etc. will be more than happy to do so.  As an equal partner in planning, parents must be comfortable with and understand the information they are seeing and/or reading. We welcome your questions!

  • ARD- Admission, Review, and Dismissal

    An ARD committee makes an initial assessment about a student's eligibility for special education services and continues to make most of the major decisions about that student's individualized educational program. If an ARD committee is formed for your child, you will be a member of that committee.

    The above definition can be found on the TEA website

  • AT- Assistive Technology

    300.105 Assistive technology.

    Definition from IDEA website 

    (a) Each public agency must ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services, or both, as those terms are defined in §§300.5 and 300.6, respectively, are made available to a child with a disability if required as a part of the child’s—
    (1) Special education under §300.39;
    (2) Related services under §300.34; or
    (3) Supplementary aids and services under §§300.42 and 300.114(a)(2)(ii).
    (b) On a case-by-case basis, the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child’s home or in other settings is required if the child’s IEP Team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE. (Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 1820-0030)

    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(1), 1412(a)(12)(B)(i))

    [71 FR 46753, Aug. 14, 2006, as amended at 82 FR 29759, June 30, 2017]

  • BIP- Behavior Intervention Plan

    Once an FBA is completed, the ARD committee can use this evaluation to, if necessary, develop a plan that meets the individualized behavioral needs of the student. A BIP is developed by the ARD committee and used to teach or reinforce positive behaviors.

    The BIP typically includes:

    • teaching strategies designed to increase appropriate replacement behaviors that serve the same function as the interfering behavior for the student

    • changes that will be made in classrooms or other environments to reduce or eliminate problem behaviors (antecedent/prevention strategies)

    • supports for the student that promote the appropriate behaviors (e.g., reinforcement).

    • Consequent strategies (what to do when challenging behavior occurs, what to do when replacement behavior occurs)

    Technical Assistance: Behavior Supports and Guidance for Students with Disabilities 

  • CMIT- Campus Management Intervention Team

    When a student’s name has been brought before CMIT, suggestions for appropriate interventions and the length of time for the interventions to be implemented are discussed. An additional CMIT meeting might be needed to discuss further interventions before referral to Special Education. After the review of written documentation of the student’s response to the interventions (RTI)

  • ECI-Early Childhood/Infant Programs or Early Childhood Intervention

    Please see IDEA website for the full definition. 

  • ECSE- Early Childhood Special Education

    Provides educational and support services for children ages three to five with identified delays in one or more of the five developmental areas. These developmental areas are: motor, social/emotional, self-help, communication, and pre-academic. Students are eligible for services on their third birthday, regardless of when the birthday falls within the school year. (previously known as PPCD - Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities)


  • ESY - Extended School Year

    Individualized instructional programs provided beyond the regular school year for eligible students with disabilities under IDEA.

    The definition is from TEA website

  • FAPE - Free and Appropriate Public Education

    Under the IDEA, FAPE is a statutory term. (2) It is defined to include special education and related services that

    (1) are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;
    (2) meet the standards of the State educational agency (SEA), including IDEA Part B requirements;
    (3) include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and
    (4) are provided in conformity with an IEP that meets the requirements of 34 CFR §§300.320 through 300.324.

    Further, each child with a disability is entitled to receive FAPE in the least restrictive environment (LRE). (3)

    Footnote 2: 20 U.S.C. 1401(9) and 34 CFR §300.17.
    Footnote 3: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(5) and 34 CFR §§300.114-300.117

    The definition was taken from this link and can be found under #4 How is FAPE defined in the IDEA?

  • FBA- Functional Behavior Assessment

    Below is from the Technical Assistance: Behavior Supports and Guidance for Students with Disabilities 

    Even when strong prevention systems are in place for all students, some will require more specialized intervention planning. In some situations, it is helpful or even required to conduct an FBA, which is an evaluation that assists in determining the reason for, or “function,” of a student’s behavior. An FBA can help an admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee identify the educational needs of a student with a disability and develop positive behavior supports and effective programming to meet those needs. In other words, the FBA drives the development of a strong BIP. FBAs typically consist of indirect data collection methods, such as rating scales, record reviews, and interviews, as well as data collected through direct observation of the student’s behavior.

    An FBA can help the ARD committee answer questions related to behaviors that interfere with learning, including:

    • What variables in the environment make the behavior more or less likely to occur?

    • Why does the student engage in the interfering behavior?

    • What reinforces the interfering behavior?

    • What replacement behaviors can be taught to the student?

    • What positive interventions can help decrease the interfering behavior and increase the desired behavior?

  • FERPA- Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act

    A federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Parents have a right of access to their children's education records. When a student turns 18 or enters college, the rights under FERPA transfer to the student.

    The definition is from TEA

  • FIE - Full Individual Evaluation

    This assessment is conducted by trained professionals to determine if a student has a disability and, if so, the nature and extent of the resulting need for special education and related services. 

  • IDEA - Individual with Disabilities Education Act (PL 94-142)

    Refer to this link for more information and a definition of IDEA. 

    Below is the definition for TEA

    A law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

  • IEE - Independent Educational Evaluation

    Refer to this link that navigates you to the IDEA websites for more information about Independent Educational Evaluation. 

  • IEP - Individual Education Plan

    Individualized education program or IEP means a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with §§300.320 through 300.324.

    The above definition can be found on the IDEA websites

  • LEA - Local Educational Agency

    A public school district, open-enrollment charter school or regional education service center

    The definition can be found on TEA website.

  • LRE - Least Restrictive Environment

    Refer to this link for more information regarding LRE on the IDEA website. 

  • LSSP - Licensed Specialist in School Psychology

    See this link for more information about LSSP's 

  • PLAAFP - Present Levels of Academic Achievement & Functional Performance

    Refer to this link that connects you to the Texas Project FIRST website where there is a definition of PLAAFP.

  • RTI - Response to Intervention

    The practice of meeting the academic and behavioral needs of all students through high-quality instruction and scientific research-based tiered interventions, frequent monitoring of student progress, and application of student response data.

    The above definition is from TEA website

  • SBOE - State Board of Education

    A state board comprising 15 elected members from districts throughout the state that establishes policy and provides leadership for the Texas public school system. The board sets curriculum standards, determines passing scores for state-mandated assessment tests, and oversees the investment of the Permanent School Fund.

    The above definition was found on the TEA website

  • SLP- Speech Language Pathologist

    A Speech-Language Pathologist is a licensed, certified health professional who: evaluates, plans intervention programs and provides remediation through therapy for communication disorders.

    PISD Speech Services

  • TEA - Texas Education Agency

    The Texas agency that provides leadership, guidance, and resources to help schools meet the educational needs of all students. Located in Austin, Texas, TEA is the administrative unit for primary and secondary public education. Under the leadership of the commissioner of education, the agency manages the textbook adoption process, oversees development of the statewide curriculum, administers the statewide assessment program, administers a data collection system on public school students, staff and finances, rates school districts under the statewide accountability system, operates research and information programs, monitors for compliance with federal guidelines and serves as a fiscal agent for the distribution of state and federal funds.

    The above definition can be found on the TEA website

  • TEKS - Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

    State educational standards for what students should know and be able to do from prekindergarten through high school.

    The above definition can be found on the TEA website

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