Are you a parent feeling overwhelmed by some of the terms used at your child’s IEP meeting?

There are a lot of terms and acronyms in Special Education. From SLD to LRE, if your child is just being evaluated or frequently qualified for services, you may have left a few meetings with a feeling of confusion. As educators, we sometimes forget that parents do not already know all of the acronyms and language used within the world of special education. Sorry for that parents. Understanding Special Education terminology is crucial, however, as it can help parents to more effectively advocate for their child’s needs.

This quick list breaks down 20 essential special education terms and can help empower you, the parent, to actively participate in your child’s educational journey. From the main one, “Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)” to assistive technology, this reference aims to simplify the complexities of special education, offering insights that will empower you to collaborate effectively with educators and support your child’s unique learning needs.

Should you be worried when your child’s teacher or school team recommend assessment for an IEP?

Simply put, no. It’s essential to understand that qualifying for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is not a cause for worry; rather, it’s a positive step towards ensuring your child receives the support they need to thrive in their education journey. An IEP is a tailored plan designed to address your child’s unique learning needs, providing a roadmap for academic success and personal growth.

By qualifying for an IEP, your child gains access to specialized resources, accommodations, and strategies that cater to their individual strengths and challenges. This personalized approach enhances their learning experience, fostering an environment where they can reach their full potential. Remember, an IEP is a collaborative effort involving parents, educators, and specialists, ensuring that everyone is working together to support your child. You have a voice!

Instead of worry, view the IEP as a valuable tool that empowers you to actively engage in your child’s education. It opens doors to a network of professionals dedicated to your child’s success. Embrace the journey, celebrate their uniqueness, and take comfort in knowing that the IEP is a positive step towards unlocking a brighter future for your child. And remember, the goal of an IEP team is always LRE… just take a look at #14.

Here’s 20 Special Education Terms:

  1. IEP (Individualized Education Program): A personalized plan outlining educational goals for a child with special needs.
  2. Inclusion: The practice of integrating students with disabilities into general education classrooms.
  3. IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act): Federal legislation ensuring rights and services for students with disabilities.
  4. 504 Plan: A plan outlining accommodations for students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
  5. Assistive Technology: Tools and devices that support students with disabilities in their learning.
  6. Transition Plan: A plan preparing students with disabilities for life beyond school.
  7. Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP): A professional addressing speech and language disorders.
  8. Occupational Therapy (OT): Therapy focusing on fine motor skills and daily living activities.
  9. Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP): A plan addressing challenging behaviors through strategies and support.
  10. Paraprofessional: A trained assistant supporting students and teachers in the classroom.
  11. Special Education Advocate: A professional assisting parents in navigating the special education system.
  12. IEP Meeting: A collaborative session involving parents, teachers, and specialists to discuss and update the child’s IEP.
  13. Mainstreaming: Integrating students with special needs into regular classes for specific subjects.
  14. Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): Placing students in educational settings with the fewest restrictions.
  15. Related Services: Additional services such as transportation, counseling, and physical therapy.
  16. IEP Goals: Specific, measurable objectives outlined in the Individualized Education Program.
  17. Developmental Delay: A lag in a child’s physical, cognitive, or emotional development.
  18. Early Intervention: Support and services provided to infants and toddlers with developmental delays.
  19. IEP Team: A collaborative group, including parents, educators, and specialists, involved in creating and implementing the IEP.
  20. FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education): The right of students with disabilities to receive education tailored to their individual needs at no cost.

Do you need a little support with navigating the waters of Special Education?

Hi parents! My name is Suzy and I have been a school psychologist for the past 17 years! I have helped many families in my role as a school psychologist at my schools understand their child’s disability and know how they can support their child at home, and special education team at school.

I have worked with children and families from a wide range of ages and disabilities and have conducted over 1000 psycho-educational evaluations. I have attended even more IEP meetings than that! If you would like some support with starting the processing of getting an IEP for your child or are struggling to understand some of the jargon, process, reports, and/or documents, I would like to help. Click HERE to be directed to my Parent Support page to learn more about how I can support parents outside of my schools.