Welcome to Lakeland Schools

Frequently Used Terms and Acronyms

Classification Categories

Student with a disability means a student with a disability, who has not attained the age of 21 prior to September 1st and who is entitled to attend public schools because of mental, physical or emotional reasons, has been identified as having a disability and who requires special services and programs approved by the department. The terms used in this definition are defined as follows:


A developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a student's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional disturbance as defined in paragraph (4) of this subdivision. A student who manifests the characteristics of autism after age 3 could be diagnosed as having autism if the criteria in this paragraph are otherwise satisfied.


A hearing impairment that is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.


A concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with deafness or students with blindness.

Emotional Disability

A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a student’s educational performance:

(i) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors

(ii) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers

(iii) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances

(iv) a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or

(v) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to students who are socially maladjusted unless it is determined that they have an emotional disability.

Hearing Impairment 

An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects the child's educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.

Learning Disability

A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which manifests itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, as determined in accordance with section 200.4(j) of this Part. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, of an intellectual disability, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.

Intellectual Disability

Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

Multiple Disabilities

Concomitant impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness, intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which cause such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.

Orthopedic Impairment

A severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, an absence of some member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputation, and fractures or burns which cause contractures).

Other Health-Impairment

Having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that is due to chronic or acute health problems, including but not limited to a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or Tourette syndrome, which adversely affects a student's educational performance.

Speech and Language Impairment

A communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a student's educational performance.

Traumatic Brain Injury

An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force or by certain medical conditions such as stroke, encephalitis, aneurysm, anoxia or brain tumors with resulting impairments that adversely affect educational performance. The term includes open or closed head injuries or brain injuries from certain medical conditions resulting in mild, moderate or severe impairments in one or more areas, including cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The term does not include injuries that are congenital or caused by birth trauma.

Visual Impairment including Blindness 

An impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

Frequently Used Acronyms




Applied Behavior Analysis


Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder


Academic Intervention Support


Adaptive Physical Education


Assistive Technology


Behavior Intervention Plan


Committee on Preschool Special Education


Committee on Special Education


Extended School Year


Free Appropriate Public Education


Functional Behavioral Assessment


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


Individualized Education Plan


Least Restrictive Environment


New York State Alternate Assessment


Other Health Impaired


Occupational Therapy


Physical Therapy


Prior Written Notice

Frequently Used Terms


Tools and procedures that give students with disabilities equal access to instruction and assessment. Accommodations are designed to level the playing field for students with disabilities, and are generally grouped into the following categories:

  • Presentation
  • Response
  • Timing/Scheduling
  • Setting

Accessible Educational Materials

These are textbooks and instructional materials that have been converted into a format that is accessible to a student who is unable to use standard printed materials. These formats include:

  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio
  • Digital text


Adapted Physical Education (APE)

A specialized physical education program of:

  • Developmental activities
  • Games
  • Sports

The CSE will recommend APE if your child cannot safely or successfully participate in the regular physical education program. APE teachers will adapt and modify a physical activity so that it is appropriate for the individual student.

Alternate Assessment

Alternate Assessment is used to evaluate the performance and progress of students with severe cognitive disabilities who are unable to take part in standard assessments, even with testing accommodations.

NY State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) is part of the annual NY State testing process for all eligible students in grades 3-8 and in high school. If your child's IEP specifies that s/he is eligible for alternate assessment, NYSAA will be used for State assessments in grades 3 through 12.

Annual Goals

Specific, measurable goals written on the IEP that describe what the student is expected to achieve in the disability-related area(s) over a one-year period.

Annual Review

After your child has received special education services, an IEP meeting is held at least once each year to review your child’s progress. This is called an "Annual Review". During the annual review the team will:

  • Discuss your child's progress toward his or her goals
  • Review the special education services provided
  • Determine services and goals for the following year



Processes  for  obtaining  information  from  tests  or  other  sources that are administered by the state and local school districts. Assessment also refers to the procedures used in determining a child’s eligibility for special education.

Assistive Technology (AT) Devices and Services

An Assistive Technology Device is any piece of equipment, product or system that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability. Examples include:

  • A communication device
  • FM unit
  • Computer access

An AT Service is any service that helps a child with a disability select, acquire, or use an AT device. Any AT devices or services your child requires will be specified on the IEP.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a disorder characterized by developmentally inappropriate behavior, including poor attention skills, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.  A person whose behavior is more inattentive than hyperactive is often referred to as having ADD. If the person’s behavior is more hyperactive-impulsive than it is inattentive or if the person has a combination of hyperactivity and inattentiveness, the person is often referred to as having ADHD.  The diagnosis of ADHD is a medical diagnosis and not an educational term. A doctor makes the determination of this diagnosis, often with input from parents and teachers. 

Audiological Assessment

A specialized hearing assessment conducted to determine whether or not a student has a significant hearing loss/impairment.


Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP)

A plan that is based on the results of a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) to address problem behavior. It includes:

  • The target behavior(s) and goal(s)
  • Positive behavioral interventions and strategies
  • Accommodations or modifications
  • How the plan will be monitored and updated if needed


Bilingual Assessment

An evaluation conducted in both English and a child’s home or native language.


Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential

  • Recognizes a student's mastery of the CDOS learning standards and the completion of a career preparation program. It is designed to provide students with IEPs an opportunity to develop the skills to succeed in work after high school.
  • Available to students with IEPs who participate in standard assessment.
  • May be awarded as an endorsement to a Regents diploma or local diploma, or as the student's sole exiting credential from high school.

Schools must provide students who earn only a CDOS written confirmation that they are eligible to return and earn a diploma until they reach age 21.


Case Manager

The case manager is the special education professional assigned to lead the implementation and coordination of a student’s IEP services and IEP meetings.  


Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

This disorder is characterized by difficulty understanding speech or auditory instructions in the presence of normal hearing sensitivity.  A child with this disorder has normal hearing, but cannot understand oral communication at the same level as other people his/her age.  


Classroom Observation

An observation of a student in his/her primary educational setting to see how the student learns and what behaviors they exhibit.



A term used for specially trained clinical professionals, such as a school psychologist or school social worker.


Commissioner’s Regulations

State Education Department regulations based on Federal and State education laws that specify the steps school districts must follow in the special education referral, evaluation, and placement process.


Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE)

The CPSE is responsible for coordinating the special education process for children ages 3 to 5. 


Committee on Special Education (CSE)

The CSE is responsible for coordinating the special education process for children ages 5 to 21.



The obligation of the school district to maintain the student’s special education records in a manner that ensures that only appropriate staff has access.



There are instances when you will be asked to provide your consent during the special education referral, evaluation, and placement process. Providing consent means that you:

  • Have been fully informed about the action for which you are giving consent
  • Understand and agree in writing to that action.

Consent is voluntary on your part and you may withdraw your consent at any time. Your withdrawal of consent does not undo an action that has occurred after you gave your consent and before you withdrew it.


Continuum of Services

The range of education programs and services to support educating children with disabilities in their least restrictive environment.


Counseling Services

Service provided by qualified social workers, psychologists, and other qualified personnel. Counseling is a related service.




Students who no longer need special education services are declassified by the CSE after a reevaluation.


Declassification Support Services

Students who no longer need special education services are declassified after a reevaluation. Students who have been declassified will not have an IEP, but may receive the following services to ease the transition to general education:

  • Instructional support
  • Instructional modifications
  • Related services

These services may continue for up to one year after the student has been declassified. In addition, the declassification IEP may list testing accommodations that must be provided to the student after s/he has been declassified. Students who are declassified in grades 8-12 may be eligible for Safety Net graduation options if his or her last IEP notes this. 


Disability Classification

Disability Classification refers to the type of disability that most impacts a student's educational performance. The CSE will determine the appropriate classification, and it will be memorialized on the student's IEP.


Due Process

Procedures that, by law, are used to ensure your child’s rights to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and your rights to be involved and have a full understanding of that process.



The process of collecting information about a student’s strengths and weaknesses to improve his or her educational program. The information collected through assessments, observations, and interviews will assist the team in determining the child’s present levels of functioning and educational needs.


Exit Summary

When a student with an IEP will no longer be eligible for special education — either because s/he will (a) graduate with a local or Regents endorsed diploma or (b) no longer be age-eligible — an "Exit Summary" will be provided. The Exit Summary will summarize the student's academic achievement and functional performance and will include recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting his or her postsecondary goals.


Extended School Year Services (ESY)

Extended school year services are special education program and services provided during July and August. They may be recommended for students with disabilities who require special education over the summer to prevent substantial regression.

Children with an IEP recommendation for ESY may either:

  • Receive the same program and services in July - August as in September – June; or
  • Receive less intense services in July – August.

If ESY services are recommended, the IEP will specify the program and services that will be provided in July and August.


Family  Educational  Rights  and  Privacy  Act  (FERPA): Federal  law  that  protects  the confidentiality of, and access, to education records. 


Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

Special education programs and related services that are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge to the parent.


Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)

When a student engages in problem behaviors that may interfere with his or her learning or the learning of others, or that place the student or others at risk of harm or injury, a Functional Behavioral Assessment may be conducted. A Functional Behavioral Assessment is a process that is used to identify:

  • The reasons for a behavior
  • The possible interventions to address it


Home Instruction

Home instruction is an educational service that is provided to students with disabilities who are unable to attend school due to a medical or psychological condition


Hospital Instruction

Hospital instruction is an educational service provided on a temporary basis to students who are hospitalized for medical conditions that prevent them from attending school.


Independent Educational Evaluation

A parent may request an independent assessment at district expense if s/he disagrees with an assessment conducted by the district. The request must be made in writing to the CSE. The district can either agree to pay for the independent assessment or will file a due process complaint to demonstrate that the assessment conducted was appropriate.


A parent may also pay for an assessment him/herself or obtain an assessment through insurance. If you acquire an independent assessment and would like it to be considered by your child's IEP team, be sure to provide it to district staff 5 days in advance of the IEP meeting.


Individualized Education Program (IEP)

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) documents a child’s eligibility for special education services and formalizes the plan to provide special education programs and services that are appropriate for the child’s unique needs. It contains specific information about a child and the education program designed to meet these needs, including:

  • A child’s current development and/or performance in school, and goals that can be reasonably accomplished in a school year;
  • Special education and related services (including counseling and speech, occupational, or physical therapy), paraprofessional support, assistive technology, behavior intervention, and modifications;
  • Participation with nondisabled children;
  • Date services will begin, how often they will be provided, where they will be provided, and for how long; and
  • Means of measuring a child’s progress.


Individualized Education Services Program (IESP)

If your child is or will attend a private school within the district or be homeschooled, and the CSE finds your child eligible for special education, the team will develop an Individualized Education Services Program (IESP) instead of an IEP. The IESP will describe the special education services and/or related services to be provided while your child attends the private school.  If the private school is outside the district, services may be sought from the district of location.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The IDEA is a Federal law that gives students with disabilities the right to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment from age 3 through the end of the school year in which the student turns 21 years old or graduates with a high school diploma.


Initial Referral

The initial referral is a request that begins the special education evaluation process to determine whether the student has a disability and requires special education services. The initial referral can be made by the student's parent, the principal of the student's school, or the chairperson of the student's CSE. To make an initial referral, the parent should submit a written request for evaluation to the student's school or CSE.



A person who speaks the parent’s preferred language/mode of communication or the child’s language and interprets meetings for the parent. 


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

The CSE seeks to recommend special education services that provide a student with a disability with a Free Appropriate Public Education in his or her least restrictive environment. This means that your child will be educated alongside his or her non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate.

Placement of students with disabilities in special classes, separate schools, or other removal from the general educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that even with the use of supplementary aids and services, education cannot be satisfactorily achieved. The least restrictive environment is therefore different for each child.


Limited Mobility

A student with limited mobility is one who utilizes a mobility device— such as a wheelchair, walker, crutches, or cane—to negotiate the environment, or any student who negotiates the school environment with difficulty and/or at a slower pace than his or her peers, whether it is due to muscle weakness, lack of endurance, or any other reason. Students with specific mobility impairments, whether physical or sensory, for whom the design of building may pose barriers, must be offered access to programs to the extent required by law.


Local Diploma

The local diploma is a high school diploma option available to students who are eligible for the Safety Net and will not meet or exceed the requirements for an advanced Regents or Regents diploma. The Safety Net provides additional flexibilities to support students with disabilities in earning a high school diploma. If a student uses the Safety Net options, they will earn a local diploma.


Management Needs

The IEP will indicate a student's management needs, which include the type and amount of environmental modifications, human resources, or material resources that are required to enable a student to benefit from instruction.


Manifestation Determination Review (MDR)

A Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) is a meeting between the parent and members of the school community. It is held when a student with a disability is subject to a disciplinary change of placement. A disciplinary change of placement occurs if a student is removed from his/her current educational program due to a superintendent's suspension, principal's suspension, and/or teacher removal:

  • For more than 10 consecutive school days; or
  • For more than 10 cumulative school days in a school year as a result of a pattern of removals.


The MDR will include a discussion of the student's disability, the behavior that led to the removal, and whether the the behavior was related to his/her disability or related to a failure to implement the student's IEP.



Modifications change the content and/or the instructional level of the curriculum. While accommodations are changes in formats or procedures, modifications change the difficulty level and/or quantity of the content being taught. Modifications are made for students with disabilities who are unable to comprehend all of the content an instructor is teaching. For example, assignments might be reduced in number and modified significantly for an elementary school student with cognitive impairments that limit his or her ability to understand the content in the general education class in which they are included.


Neurological Assessment

A neurological assessment is a specialized assessment that may be warranted when there is a suspected neurological disorder that may present through problems in daily functioning.


New York State Approved Non-Public School

These are privately operated schools that provide special education placements, which are New York State approved.


Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy is a related service designed to help a child maintain, improve, or restore adaptive and functional skills, including fine motor skills and oral motor skills in all educational activities.


Orientation and Mobility Services

These services are designed to improve a child’s understanding of spatial and environmental concepts and use of information they receive through the senses (sound, temperature, vibrations) for establishing, maintaining, and regaining orientation and line of travel. Orientation and mobility services are provided to students with visual impairments.



A paraprofessional is an aide who provides assistance to students, either to an entire class or to an individual student. Your child’s IEP may recommend the support of a paraprofessional in:

  • Behavior support
  • Health
  • Transportation
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Toileting


Parent Counseling and Training

Assisting parents in understanding the special needs of their child; providing parents with information about child development; and helping parents to acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to support the implementation of their child’s IEP. Parent counseling and training is a related service.


Parent Member

A parent member is a parent of a child with a disability in the school district who participates in IEP meetings and assists a parent of a child with a known or suspected disability in making educational decisions for his or her child. Parents have the right to request participation of the Parent Member at an IEP meeting, with 72 hours notice.


Physical Therapy 

Physical therapy services provided by a qualified physical therapist. Physical therapy is a related service.These services are to address needs which impact the 


Preferred Language

This is the language that a parent feels most comfortable speaking. This may or may not be the language regularly spoken at home


Present Level of Educational and Functional Performance

This term refers to the section of the IEP document where the IEP team describes: 

  • the child’s strengths
  • the child’s needs
  • the parent’s concerns, and
  • the child’s abilities relative to language arts and math standards.


The Present Levels of Educational and Functional Performance also includes a discussion of how the child’s disability affects his/her ability to participate in the general education curriculum and environment. 


Prior Written Notice

This is a notification sent by the school district to the parents(s). This notification will inform the parent(s) that the CSE is proposing to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, and/or educational placement of their child.


Psychiatric Assessment

This is a specialized assessment conducted by a psychiatrist when severe emotional and/or behavioral problems may be impacting success in school.



An evaluation conducted for a student with a disability who already receives special education services. A reevaluation will be conducted at least once every three years and upon request. A request for a reevaluation can be made by the student's parents, teacher, or school district. A reevaluation with not be conducted more than once a year unless the school and the parent agree otherwise


Regents Diploma

In New York State, there are three types of diploma: a local diploma, a Regents diploma, and an Advanced Regents diploma. There are specific examination and credit requirements to earn a Regents Diploma.


Related Services

Related services are services that may be required to assist a student with a disability to receive meaningful educational benefit. These may include counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language therapy, orientation and mobility services, and other support services


Requested Review Meeting (Special Review)

Upon request of the parent or school team, the CSE may review the child's IEP to determine if it continues to meet his or her needs.


Response to Intervention (RTI)

An instructional approach and preventative tool used by schools to ensure that all students have equal access to high-quality instruction that is matched to their needs.


Safety Net

The Safety Net allows students with disabilities to earn a Local Diploma by fulfilling alternative exam requirements. This option is available to students with IEPs, students with 504 plans specifying Safety Net eligibility, and students with disabilities who were declassified in grades 8-12 and recommended for  Safety Net eligibility. 


Short-Term Objectives or Benchmarks

Short-term objectives are the intermediate steps that must be learned in order to reach an annual goal. Benchmarks are major milestones that the student will demonstrate that lead to an annual goal. Short-term objectives or benchmarks will be written and memorialized on the IEP for any school-age student who participates in alternate assessment.


Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential

This non-diploma commencement credential is available to students with IEPs who participate in alternate assessment and have attended school for at least 12 years, excluding kindergarten. It must be accompanied by documentation of the student’s skills, strengths, and levels of independence in academic, career development and foundation skills needed for post-school living, learning and working.


A student who earns a SAC Credential as the sole exiting credential is eligible to remain in school until they receive a Regents or local diploma or through the end of the school year in which they turn 21 years of age.


Social History

An interview with parents concerning a student’s health, family, and school background, including social relationships that is used as part of a student’s evaluation.


Special Class

All students in a special class have IEPs that identify needs that cannot be met in a general education classroom. Special classes are taught by special education teachers, providing specialized instruction.

Specially Designed Instruction (SDI)

Specially designed instruction consists of adaptations to the content, methodology (pedagogical approaches to instruction), or the delivery of instruction to address the unique needs that result from the child’s disability. The purpose of specially designed instruction is to ensure the student has access to the general curriculum and is able to meet the educational standards of the school district that apply to all students.


Speech-Language Therapy

Speech-language therapy is a related service that helps to improve a child’s listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in academic and social situations throughout the school environment, with a focus on improving the child’s communication skills.


Supplementary Aids & Services

This term refers to services and supports provided in regular education classes and other settings to enable a child with a disability to meet their IEP goals while being educated with children who do not have disabilities. 


Surrogate Parents

To ensure the rights of the student are protected, in the following circumstances, a person may be appointed by the Department as a “surrogate parent” to act in the place of parents or guardians when no parent can be identified and nobody else (for example, foster parent, guardian) can serve in that role. Surrogate parents are not officers, employees or agents of the Department of Education or the State Education Department or any other agency involved in the education or care of the student.


Transition Services

For students with IEPs, “Transition” means planning for life after high school. Beginning when the student is age 14, the IEP team will discuss the student's goals, transition needs, and transition activities at each IEP meeting until the student graduates or until the end of the school year in which they turn 21. 


Transition focuses on improving students’ academic and functional achievement in many different settings, including education, employment, and independent living.

It is a student-centered process. That means that it addresses the unique strengths, needs, and preferences of each student.


Travel Training

Eligible students age 14 and above can receive travel training service. Travel training is instruction to enable students to develop an awareness of the environment in which they live and to learn the skills to move effectively and safely from place to place within that environment (e.g., in school, in the home, at work, and in the community).


Vocational Assessment

Students age 12 and those referred to special education for the first time that are age 12 and over receive a Level 1 Vocational Assessment that includes a review of school records, teacher assessments, and parent and student interviews to determine vocational skills aptitudes and interests. The Vocational Assessment is used when considering a student's transition needs, starting during the first IEP in effect during the school year in which the student turns 15. Transition needs should be updated in advance of, or at, each annual IEP meeting.