Decoding Disability and Special Education Acronyms
The disability community is full of acronyms used in order to abbreviate names or phrases. You will frequently see these abbreviations on IEP or 504 plans and other educational materials, on medical records, developmental evaluations, marketing pamphlets, and in articles and other research materials.
Below is a comprehensive list of special education and disability-related acronyms to help you research and and comprehend all of the materials that relate to your loved one and their specific needs:
AAC | Alternative Augmentative Communication ABA | Applied Behavioral Analysis ABC | Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence ADA | Americans with Disabilities Act ADD/ADHD | Attention Deficit/Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADLs | Activities of Daily Living ADR | Alternative Dispute Resolution AIM | Accessible Instructional Materials APE | Adaptive Physical Education APR | Annual Performance Report ARD | Admission, Review, and Dismissal Committee ARRA | American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ASD | Autism Spectrum Disorders ASL | American Sign Language AT | Assistive Technology ATA | Assistive Technology Act AYP | Adequate Yearly Progress
BD | Behavioral Disorder BIE | Bureau of Indian Education BIP | Behavioral Intervention Plan BOE | Board of Education
CAP | Client Assistance Program CAP | Corrective Action Plan CAPD | Central Auditory Processing Disorder CAPTA | Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act CBA | Curriculum Based Assessment CC | Closed Captioning CCSS | Common Core State Standards CDA | Child Development Associate CDC | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CEC | Council for Exceptional Children CF | Cystic Fibrosis CFR | Code of Federal Regulations CHIP | Children’s Health Insurance Program CIFMS | Continuous Improvement and Focused Monitoring System COP | Community of Practice CP | Cerebral Palsy CSHCN | Children with Special Health Care Needs CSPD | Comprehensive System of Personnel Development CST | Child Study Team DB | Deaf-Blind DD | Developmental Delay DD Act | Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act DIBELS | Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy DoDDS | Department of Defense Dependent Schools DS | Down Syndrome DSM | Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association
EBP | Evidence-based Practice ECE | Early Childhood Education ECSE | Early Childhood Special Education ED | Emotional Disturbance ED | U.S. Department of Education EDGAR | Education Department General Administrative Regulations EHA | Education of the Handicapped Act (now IDEA) EHDI | Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program EI | Early Intervention EIS | Early Intervening Services ELL | English Language Learner EMH | Educable Mentally Handicapped ** EMR | Educable Mentally Retarded ** EPSDT |Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment ERIC | Education Resources Information Center ESD | Extended School Day ESEA | Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now called ESSA) ESL | English as a Second Language ESSA | Every Student Succeeds Act ESY or EYS | Extended School Year or Extended Year Services FAPE | Free Appropriate Public Education FAS | Fetal Alcohol Syndrome FBA | Functional Behavioral Assessment FC | Facilitated Communication FEOG | Full Educational Opportunity Goal FERPA | Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act FOIA | Freedom of Information Act GE | General Education GPRA | Government Performance and Results Act GT | Gifted and Talented HI | Hearing Impaired HO | Hearing Officer HoH | Hard of Hearing HOUSSE | High Objective Uniform State Standards of Evaluation [Editor’s Note, January 2016:The definitions and requirements associated with the term “highly qualified teachers” have been deleted from both general and special education legislation as of December 2015. You may still hear this term, if states themselves continue the standards they set under the No Child Left Behind Act.] HQT | Highly Qualified Teacher [Editor’s Note, January 2016:The definitions and requirements associated with the term “highly qualified teachers” have been deleted from both general and special education legislation as of December 2015. You may still hear this term, but it will soon be a relic left over from past legislation.] IA | Instructional Assistant IAES | Interim Alternative Educational Setting ID | Intellectual Disabilities IDEA | Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IEE | Independent Educational Evaluation IEP | Individualized Education Program IES | Institute of Education Sciences IFSP | Individualized Family Service Plan IHE | Institution of Higher Education ITCA | Infants and Toddlers Coordinators Association ITP | Individualized Transition Plan
LD | Learning Disability LEA | Local Education Agency LEP | Limited English Proficiency LRE | Least Restrictive Environment MD | Muscular Dystrophy MD or MH | Multiple Disabilities or Multiply Handicapped MDR | Manifestation Determination Review MMR | Mildly Mentally Retarded ** Mod MR | Moderately Mentally Retarded ** MOU | Memorandum of Understanding MR | Mental Retardation ** MTSS | Multi-Tiered System of Supports NASDSE | National Association of State Directors of Special Education NCLB | No Child Left Behind Act (Elementary and Secondary Education Act, reauthorized in 2015 as ESSA, Every Student Succeeds Act) NIH | National Institutes of Health NIMAS | National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard NIMH | National Institute of Mental Health NPRM | Notice of Proposed Rule Making OCD | Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder OCR | Office for Civil Rights ODD | Oppositional Defiant Disorder OHI | Other Health Impairment OI | Orthopedic Impairment O & M | Orientation and Mobility Services OSEP | Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education OT | Occupational Therapy P&A | Protection & Advocacy PALS | Peer-Assisted Learning System PARCC | Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers PASS | Plan for Achieving Self-Support PBS or PBIS | Positive Behavioral (Interventions and) Supports PCA | Personal Care Attendant PD | Physical Disability PDD | Pervasive Developmental Disorder (the term is no longer used; as of 2013, it’s included under the umbrella category of autism spectrum disorder) PEI | Spanish acronym for the Individualized Education Program (Plan Educativo Individualizado) Perkins Act | Carl Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act PII | Personally Identifiable Information PLEP or PLP | Present Level(s) of Educational Performance or Present Level(s) of Performance PP | Paraprofessional PS | Preschool PT | Physical Therapy PTAC | Parent Technical Assistance Center PTI | Parent Training and Information Center RDA | Results-Driven Accountability RFP | Request for Proposals RS | Related Services RTI | Response to Intervention RTTT | Race to the Top Fund § | This symbol means “Section” as in “§ 300.7 Child with a disability” in the IDEA regulations SAS | Supplementary Aids and Services SB | Spina Bifida SCHIP | State Children’s Health Insurance Program SE | Special Education SEA | State Education Agency SEAC | Special Education Advisory Committee Section 504 | Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act SED | Serious Emotional Disturbance SEPAC | Special Education Parent Advisory Council SI | Sensory Integration SIG | State Improvement Grant SIMR | State-Identified Measurable Results for Children with Disabilities SIP | State Implementation Plan SLD | Specific Learning Disability SLI | Speech/Language Impairment SLP | Speech/Language Pathologist SPOA | Specific Power of Attorney SPP | State Performance Plan SSDI | Social Security Disability Income SSI | Supplemental Security Income SSIP | State Systemic Improvement Plan SST | Student Study Team TA&D | Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) TANF | Temporary Assistance to Needy Families TBI | Traumatic Brain Injury TDD | Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf TMH | Trainable Mentally Handicapped ** TMR | Trainable Mentally Retarded ** TS | Tourette Syndrome T-TA | Training and Technical Assistance TTY | Teletypewriter (phone system for the deaf) TWWIIA | Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act VI | Visual Impairment Voc Ed | Vocational Education VR | Vocational Rehabilitation WIC | Women, Infants and Children (Special Supplemental Food Program) WWC | What Works Clearinghouse
**Editorial note** Until October 2010, IDEA used the term “mental retardation.” In October 2010, Rosa’s Law was signed into law by President Obama. Rosa’s Law changed the term to be used in future to “intellectual disability.” The definition of the term itself did not change, only the use of “intellectual disability” instead of “mental retardation.”
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