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Special Education Resources

Prince George’s County Public Schools Department of Special Education is committed to supporting families and caregivers during these difficult times of distance learning and school closures. While schools, programs, and educators will vary in how they deliver instruction and resources for distance learning aligned to the PGCPS Reopening Plan, parents and caregivers can support their students in many ways. We acknowledge that at-home learning does require changing some family and student routines. Therefore, we have developed this special education section of this guide to provide guidance and strategies to help with preparing for this upcoming school year. The Department continues to be committed to providing a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). FAPE must be provided consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those individuals providing education services to these students. 

Individualized Education Programs (IEP) Virtual Meetings

IEP meetings (initial, annual, and reevaluation) will be scheduled and held virtually with parent permission in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) timelines and procedures. 

  • Parents will continue to receive a notification ten (10) days before the scheduled IEP meeting. You may be offered the option of a telephone meeting if you do not have access to a device or have an email address. Parents will continue to receive three IEP meeting notices to participate in the IEP meeting.

  • Parents will continue to receive all documents to be discussed in the IEP meeting five business days before the meeting. Parents will be required to opt-in to receive information regarding the IEP and related meetings by email. Please ensure your child’s case manager has your most current email address.  You may also request the documents be sent by US Mail. 

  • The IEP meeting will continue to follow the procedures as identified in IDEA. If you have any concerns or require any special accommodations, please let your child’s case manager know before the meeting.

  • Parent consent and signatures will be requested electronically, or you may schedule an appointment to go to the school to sign all related IEP documents.  

Preparing for your child’s IEP meeting

As you prepare for your virtual IEP meeting, keep in mind the following:

  • Be prepared to start on time, end on time.
  • Find  a quiet space without distractions
  • Keep yourself on mute until it is your turn to speak
  • Remind non-participating family members not to interrupt during the meeting
  • Dress appropriately 
  • Be mindful of your camera placement
  • Have all documents you plan on sharing ready to share
  • Write down any questions that you may have before the meeting
  • Take notes and ask follow-up  questions as needed
  • Test out your technology before the start of your meeting

Requesting an Interpreter for an IEP meeting

Let your child’s case manager know before the meeting that you will require an interpreter. Please make this request in advance so that one will be available at the scheduled date and time of your meeting. Interpreting services are available in Spanish, French, American Sign Language (ASL), and multiple other languages. Although there is not a required time-frame for the request, the best practice is to notify the team at least five to seven (5-7) days before to make sure that your request has been processed. 

IEP Amendment Process for Changes Due to Distance Learning

PGCPS is committed to providing each student with a disability the special education and related services identified in the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) that was developed according to the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (34 CFR §§ 300.101 and 300.201 (IDEA), and 34 CFR § 104.33 (Section 504) to the greatest extent possible. This includes the provision of supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and accommodations required to meet the student’s individual goals. 

  • The  IEP team will review your child’s current IEP to determine if the IEP services can be implemented remotely. Some students’ IEPs can be implemented as written. Changing the delivery mode from face-to-face instruction to virtual instruction may not always require a change to the IEP. 
  • If a change is recommended, your child’s case manager will contact you to discuss how the IEP can be implemented. This discussion will include how the school will communicate with your family during distance learning. 
  • If the IEP team believes that the IEP needs to be amended, your input and agreement will be required.  After the amendments have been made, the team will provide you with a copy of the Amendment/Notification document,  which will list all of the amendments and reasons for them. The case manager will confirm with you how you will receive the documents and obtain your signature.  This amendment will not require a meeting. 
  • If you disagree with the amendments that were proposed by the IEP team members, a virtual meeting will be held to revise the IEP and to develop goals that can be met through remote delivery of specially designed instruction (SDI). This amendment will require an IEP team meeting.
  • If you are unable to participate in the IEP amendment meeting, then the IEP team must implement the services that are listed on the IEP.  These services should be those that can be reasonably provided in a virtual environment, and which do not change your child’s program or placement. This process will remain in effect until a meeting can be held to address the concerns and amend the IEP if needed.

Prince George's County IEP amendment process aligns to the Maryland State Department of Education Continuity of Learning Provisions for Students with Disabilities during the Extended School Closure due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Flowchart available here:

Maryland State Department of Education Continuity of Learning Provisions for Students with Disabilities Flowchart 10-15-20.pdf

Educational and Cognitive Assessment

Cognitive, educational, or related services assessments and evaluations will be scheduled and conducted virtually (with parent permission) or face-to-face by appointment if a student is unable to take assessments virtually during distance learning. If PGCPS moves to a hybrid model, assessments will be conducted face-to-face with students. 

  • During this period of distance learning, most assessments will be conducted virtually. The type of assessments needing to be conducted will be discussed during your child’s IEP meeting. You will be asked to sign and provide permission for the assessments to be completed.  Providers will discuss assessment procedures ahead of time with individual families. 
  • If your child is assessed virtually, it will be important for you to consider the following in preparing for the assessment:
  • test the computer equipment and ensuring it is working properly;
  • create a comfortable, distraction-free location for your child to be evaluated (a place where your child can sit comfortably with their feet on a stable surface such as the floor or a stack of books; good lighting to see their face and body, including hands;  space to perform gross motor activities for movement breaks; no background noise, such as a pet, sibling or T.V.);
  • confirm with the evaluator the materials that might be required to conduct or prepare for the evaluation. If specific items are needed, you  will receive a list of common household items that may be used during the assessment;
  • ensure that your child is well-rested at the time; of the assessment;
  • ensure that your child is available at the selected time of the assessment; and
  • Ensure phones and other potential distractors before the start of the assessment are removed or silenced.

Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) implementation

Your child’s classroom teacher(s) will communicate with you about how your child’s specially designed instruction will be delivered in the virtual classroom. Specially designed instruction (SDI) is the teaching that is provided to students with disabilities who receive services that are documented on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

SDI is the “special” in special education. The goal of SDI is to ensure that your child has increased access to the general education curriculum that is received by their non- disabled peers. SDI practices are implemented by the adults involved in your child’s education. 

It is the process by which educators make adjustments to the presentation of content, methods, and/or their system of instructional delivery to address the unique needs of a student to help them master IEP goals and objectives. 

Unlike differentiated instruction, SDI supports the unique needs that are specifically related to your child’s disability. It is an addition to differentiated instruction.

Implementation of  Interventions

During the 2020-2021 school year, select Department of Special Education interventions will be available to all students with disabilities.  Intervention instruction has been modified to be aligned to the PGCPS Distance Learning Plan. Students who have interventions in reading and/or mathematics will continue to receive his/her intervention to meet his/her needs, as identified in his or her IEP.  

  • Elementary School: your child’s special education teacher and general education teacher will collaborate to ensure your child is receiving their intervention(s) during the independent practice time allotments:

    •  Reading Interventions: Monday through Friday 

    •  Mathematics: during iReady Mathematics small group on Wednesdays, with independent practice twice a week during the independent practice time allotments.

  • Middle School: 

    • Reading Interventions: your child will have their reading interventions implemented during Read 180, Reading Enrichment or  Academic Resource classes within his/her schedule. 

    • Mathematics interventions: Your child will have their mathematics interventions implemented during Academic Resource, with the teacher lead small group instruction on Wednesdays.   

  • High School:

    • Reading Interventions: your child will have their reading interventions implemented during Read 180, Reading Enrichment, or  Academic Resource classes within his/her schedule.  

    • Mathematics Interventions: Your child will have their mathematics interventions implemented during Academic Resource, with teacher-led small group instruction on Wednesdays.   

  • You are encouraged to collaborate with your child’s special education teacher to understand the intervention he or she will receive and to determine how you can best support monitoring his/her work during independent practice.

Special Education Programs and Services

Provision of therapy or educational services: 

  • Services may include direct services (push-in services during a content lesson or pull out services in an individual/small group session) or consultative services (with school staff and/or parent support).  Direct services will be scheduled in concert with school team members and the parent(s). Services will be delivered in conjunction with the IEP as written, to include approved amendments when applicable.

  • If direct services cannot be provided during distance learning, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will consider the impact of the change in service on the student’s ability to progress.  If the team suspects an impact, the IEP team will convene an IEP meeting, once school reopens with face-to-face instruction, to discuss the educational impact of any service(s) not provided. If the IEP team determines that there is an educational impact, then recovery services will be discussed with the parent.

  • Delivery of services will be most effective when staff, parents(s), and therapist(s) exercise flexibility regarding scheduling and grouping of students for instruction and therapeutic intervention. Collaboration is key. 

  • We ask parents to ensure to the extent possible that the virtual therapy/testing space is free of distractions such as pets, siblings, televisions, toys, etc. 

  • Due to extremely tight windows for scheduling, we encourage parents to maintain open lines of communication (via mutually agreed upon means) regarding cancellation of sessions or meeting attendance.

  • PGCPS will continue to follow the protocol established by Maryland State Department of Education related to addressing scheduled sessions missed as a result of student absence, provider absence, and absence of availability of instructional opportunities to all students in the district.

Related Services include: 

  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy 
  • Audiology
  • Orientation and Mobility Services

Support Programs include: 

  • Vision Services
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Instructional Services
  • Adapted Physical Education
  • Assistive Technology
  • Bilingual Assessment Team

For parents of deaf or hard of hearing students:

  • Parents should ensure that students are using their amplification and connection devices (hearing aid, CI, Baha, cable connections to computers) at home, especially during instruction and assessments.

  • Parents of younger children will need to conduct daily amplification device checks to ensure they are working properly.  Older children can conduct the check themselves, with parent monitoring to ensure this is completed. 

  • DHOH team members will be available to assist families in understanding and using accessibility features in the various instructional platforms. 

For parents of students with visual impairments: 

  • Please ensure that students are using technology devices with accessibility settings set for their child’s individual needs. Vision Program team members will be available to assist families in understanding and using accessibility features on devices and in the various instructional platforms. 

For parents of students with physical disabilities:

  • Parents should ensure that students are in an appropriate position for learning. Physical therapists will provide feedback to parents, so their student is in an optimal position to participate in instructional activities.

  • Decisions regarding adaptive equipment will be made in consultation with each student’s physical therapist and IEP Team.

Provision of Counseling Services

Counseling services will be provided to students, as documented in IEPs. Parent permission will be required to provide counseling services in an online environmen

Provision of Speech-Language and Occupational Therapy Services

Speech-Language and Occupational Therapists (OT) will work collaboratively with members of your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team to assess, diagnose and treat speech and language and occupational disorders within the educational setting. The provision of these services will allow the student to have access to the general education curriculum and to participate in all aspects of school life.
Providers will use online platforms to engage your child in a variety of tasks. Virtual service providers will do the same job as the onsite therapists: administer assessments and write evaluations, prepare IEPs and goals, serve as case managers, attend IEP meetings, track and report on student progress and provide intervention services.
The length, content, and frequency of online therapy sessions are individualized in accordance with each child's IEP and can be delivered one-to one-, in small groups as well as full classroom settings.
Online therapy is not new to PGCPS. Two years ago, PGCPS began a relationship with Dotcom Therapy to provide services to our students. Please click on the link below and listen to administrators, providers, teachers, parents, and students discuss their experiences with online intervention


Accessing Technology or Equipment for Your Child

The Department of Special Education will provide individualized materials based on specific special education programs: Autism, Community Referenced Instruction (CRI), Infants and Toddlers, Preschool Special Education, Regional, and Transition. Beginning the week of August 24 - 27, 2020, times will be designated by the school for material distribution to parents and students for identified materials for home use by grade level and programs.

Special Education Nonpublic Programs 

  • The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has given each nonpublic school the autonomy to establish specific plans within the guidelines outlined in the jurisdiction/county in which the school is located. 

  • PGCPS is committed to equitable services, and access for all students served in public and nonpublic schools. PGCPS will provide students who participate in virtual learning with access to technological resources to support instructional programming. 

  • PGCPS encourages each parent and/or guardian to request a copy of the reopening plans from the nonpublic school that their student attends.


The diagram describes the supports that are available to parents for resolving disagreements regarding a student's early intervention or special education program and related services.

Parents are members of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team that assist in the decision-making process regarding their student’s educational placement.  Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that parents understand and are able to participate in group decisions related to the educational placement of their students. The district shall ensure access to an interpreter for parents who are deaf and hard of hearing, or whose native language is not English. Please contact your child’s teacher/case manager, IEP Chairperson, or principal/school administrator to address your concerns.

The Family Support Center is available to help parents resolve concerns and answer questions that they may have regarding their child’s special education program. In addition, direct assistance may be provided by the Special Education Instructional Specialist, Non-Public Specialist, and Compliance staff at (301) 618-8355;  Call today, we are here to help you.

Mediation is a process that may be used to resolve disagreements between the parents of a child with a disability and PGCPS. An employee of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) who is qualified and trained in effective mediation techniques conducts the mediation. Mediation is at no cost to the parent or school district. We encourage parents to participate in mediation. Contact OAH at (410) 229-4294 or via mail 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley, Maryland 21031.

If an individual or an organization believes PGCPS has violated a federal or state law pertaining to special education, or regulation concerning an early intervention or special education requirement, or that PGCPS has not implemented a Due Process hearing decision; those individuals and organizations have the right to file a State Complaint with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). Contact MSDE at (410) 767-0100.

A parent or PGCPS may file a Due Process Complaint on any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, early intervention services, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a child. Contact the Due Process and Mediation Office at (301) 618-8300

Department of Special Education Contact List: Who To Call When?

The Department of Special Education has created a document of who to contact when you have a concern. You should always try to address concerns with your child’s IEP team first. If you have questions or concerns that have not been addressed, please use the document below to identify a contact person.

Click here for the Contact List: Who to Call

Helpful  Distance Learning Resources for Families

  • Child Mind Institute: 

Articles:  Managing Problem Behavior

  • Conscious Discipline: free resources to support behavior


  • Family Support Center’s Virtual Workshop Series: includes information about distance learning tips, tips for virtual IEP meetings, Specially Designed Instruction, tips for caregivers, and more! 


  • International Dyslexia Association

Research, fact sheets, webinars, and resources for families of children with dyslexia.


  • 2020 The Parent’s Guide to Google Classroom (PowerPoint Presentation)

Link: Google Classroom PowerPoint

A Parents' Guide: Navigating Special Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic- NEW

Articles: A Parent’s Guide to Virtual Learning

  • NPR (National Public Radio) -They have developed a comic strip to share with children on the Coronavirus.


  • PACER Center: The PACER center is a resource for families of students with disabilities. They provide workshops, resources, and tip sheets on a variety of disability topics.


Article: Distance Learning Activities During COVID-19 to Help Transition-age Youth on an IEP Prepare for Adulthood

  • Respect Ability: Resource Guide to assist parents of children with disabilities during distance learning.

Link to the guide: Resource Guide for Distance Learning -Respect Ability

  • Teach from Anywhere: This website offers a ton of information that ranges from how to use technology platforms to how to access additional digital learning tools to support your child during distance learning.


  • Guardian's Guide to Tools for Children with Disabilities during Distance Learning

  • An organization that is dedicated to equity and advocacy for people who learn differently.


  • Virtual Field Trip: Take your family on a virtual field trip. Click the link, and you will be on your way to a virtual adventure. Enjoy!

Website:30 Virtual Field Trips with Links

Early Childhood Resources

  • Kids Books: A variety of children’s picture books read aloud.

  • Birth to Five Watch Me Thrive: Their resources help families celebrate developmental milestones, identify possible delays and concerns early, and enhance children’s development.   

  • CDC Developmental Milestones:  Track your child's developmental progress by looking for important milestones using an interactive, illustrated checklist, milestone photos, and videos.

  • CDC Learn the Signs Act Early: This CDC resource for parents to help them track how their child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves from birth through age five. It also helps parents act early by learning what to do if they have concerns about their children’s development.

  • Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL)—Family Tools: CSEFEL focuses on promoting children’s social, emotional development, and school readiness. Free Parent Training Modules teach families how to support their child’s social and emotional development.

 Social-Emotional Supports

         Social-emotional supports are central to helping students cope with crises and maintain engagement in their virtual academic demands. These resources may help students to proactively manage their anxiety, fear, and stress. Please note that these are just resources, and if your child is experiencing mental health issues, you should reach out to a professional for assistance. Click directly on the link to access the resource of your choice.

Mental Health Supports

Resources on COVID and Grief

Helpful Resources for Related Services

Speech-Language (click on the desired article for more information)

Physical Therapy

  • Positioning for Virtual Learning

  • Physical Activity for Elementary Age Students

Tips for Supporting Your Child with Disabilities During Distance Learning

As your child is getting ready to engage in distance learning for the upcoming school year, families are encouraged to support their child in planning for learning at home. As you develop your plan for supporting your child with completing assignments and staying on task, think about:

  • The key tasks that need to be accomplished
  • Where the task occurs
  • The order of the steps needed to complete the task
  • How you will communicate your assistance
  • How your child will have “a voice” in developing the plan
  • What supports will you need to accomplish the task

Families Get Ready for School Checklist

  • Create a workspace where your child will participate in school
    • Minimal distractions
    • Reduced clutter
    • Near an outlet
    • Good lighting 
    • Seating that fits body size
    • Place school materials near the workspace.
  • Post the class schedule, including when school starts.
  • Be sure your internet Wifi is reliable.
  • Have available your school-issued electronic device for participating in distance learning
  • Have access to the electronic link(s) for class
  • Know your child’s computer log-in information and practice logging in
  • Create a calendar for school assignments due dates, etc. 
  • Know your child’s teacher’s name, office hours and contact information 
  • Know expectations for grades, class behavior, class participation
  • Know how you will manage time for staying on schedule (e.g., prepare/retrieve lunches, identify activities during breaks, gather materials for independent work time)
  • Post the PGCPS school year calendar
  • Know who to contact for help if needed
  • Develop a plan for keeping your child engaged (on task and completing assignments)
    • What time of the day, or during what tasks might your child have difficulty with paying attention or being organized?
    • Does your child respond best when information is presented verbally? Visually? Through movement? Through touch?
    • What incentives does your child enjoy?
    • What type of movement breaks/brief hands-on activities does your child enjoy?
    • What is the best position for your child to stay alert- sitting, standing, lying on the floor?
    • When might you try using a timer to encourage on-task behavior?
    • Where might you place a schedule and/or checklist as a visual reminder for expected behaviors or tasks to complete?
    • How often will you review your plan?
    • With whom will you review your plan?

Addressing a Child’s Behavioral Concerns During Distance Learning

Before Instruction

  • Create a quiet and clutter-free learning environment 

  • Be prepared (e.g., test the technology, have materials and supplies ready)

  • Review the schedule for the day or specific time block with your child (e.g., order, duration)

  • Review rules and expectations - use visuals and social narratives (e.g., social story 1social story 2)

  • Use visuals and schedules (e.g., pictures, checklists) to support rules and expectations.

    • The use of visuals and schedules are essential for your child to understand the daily routine and expectations.

During Instruction

  • Be in close proximity to your child or plan frequent check-ins. 

  • Have visuals available and reference them to support your child with remaining on task (e.g., First/Then, timer)

  • Build-in movement breaks based on your child’s needs

    • Do not force your child to push through the lesson if they are having difficulties.  

  • Provide frequent reinforcement by letting your child know that he/she is doing a “good job” (e.g., pats on the back, thumbs up, smiles)

After Instruction

Provide reinforcement by letting your child know what he/she did “right” during instruction (i.e., behavior-specific praise)

  • Make sure they get whatever “reward” they earned for following the rules and meeting expectations - if you “promised them”

  • Reflect on the barriers and challenges that occurred during the instruction and have a plan for the next session 

    • Debrief with family and teacher(s) to see how best to support future lessons

  • Take a DEEP BREATH! 


Students with disabilities have their own specially designed instruction incorporated into their IEPs. The following are some examples of IEP accommodations and supplementary aids. Your child may require similar or additional supports that may provide greater access to the general education curriculum. Review your child’s IEP

  • Extended time

  • Text to speech

  • Paraphrasing of directions and information

  • Break down assignments into smaller units

  • Cue cards with problem-solving strategies,

  • definitions, examples, models, flow chart, process steps

  • Modified tests/assignments

  • Graph paper; Graphic organizers

  • Calculator

  • Study guides; Copies of notes written on the board

Where can I Learn more about SDI?

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms





Applied Behavior Analysis

Analisis de comportamiento aplicado


Attention Deficit Disorder

Trastorno por Déficit de Atención


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Trastorno por Déficit de Atención con Hiperactividad


Age Equivalent



Adapted Physical Education

Educación física con adaptaciones


Autism Spectrum Disorders

Desórdenes del espectro autista


American Sign Language



Assistive Technology

Tecnología Asistida


Behavior Intervention Plan

Plan de Intervención del Compartamiento


Early Childhood Center



Emotional Disability

Trastorno emocional


English Language Learner 

Estudiante del idioma inglés


Extended School Year Services

Año escolar extendido


Free and Appropriate Public Education

Educación pública gratis apropiada


Functional Behavior Assessment

Evaluación del comportamiento funcional


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 

Ley de Derechos y Privacidad Educativa Familiar


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Ley de Responsabilidad y Portabilidad de Seguro Médico de 1996


Intellectual Disability



Individuals with Disabilities Act

Ley de Educación para Individuos con Discapacidades


Independent Educational Evaluation

Evaluación Educativa Independiente


Individualized Education Program

Programa Educativo Individualizado


Individualized Family Service Plan

Plan Individualizado de Servicios a la Familia


Intelligence Quotient

Cociente intelectual


Learning Disability

Discapacidad del aprendizaje


Least restrictive Environment

Ambiente menos restrictivo


Maryland State Department of Education



No Child Left Behind

Ley Federal de Ningún Niño se Queda Atrás de 2001


Other Health Impaired

Otra discapacidad de la salud

O & M

Orientation and Mobility

Servicios de orientación y movilidad


Occupational Therapy

Terapia ocupacional


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Apoyo de Comportamiento Positivo


Physical Therapy

Terapia física


Prior Written Notice

Aviso previo escrito


Response to Intervention

Respuesta a la intervención


Specially Designed Instruction



Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee



Specific Learning Disability

Discapacidad de aprendizaje específica


Speech Language Pathologist

Patólogo del habla y lenguaje


Transitioning Youth


Special Education and Related Terms

504—Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of people with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funding. Children with disabilities who do not qualify for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may receive supports, services, and accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Accessibility: a barrier-free environment that allows maximum participation by individuals with disabilities.

Accommodation: a change in how a student accesses and demonstrates learning, but it does not substantially change the instructional content.

Activities of Daily Living - Activities that help make a student independent in areas such as self-care, dressing, eating and toileting.

Adaptive Behavior: the extent to which an individual can adjust to and apply new skills to new environments, tasks, objects, and people.

Anecdotal Report: an objective, descriptive procedure for recording and analyzing observations of a child’s behavior.

Advocate: an individual who represents or speaks on behalf of another person’s interests (as in a parent with his/her child).

Antecedent: something that comes before, precedes, or causes a behavior.

Annual Goals: a required component of an IEP. Measurable annual goals are goals that are written for an individual student to identify what the IEP team has determined the student can reasonably be expected to accomplish within one year. 

Annual Review: an evaluation, conducted at least one time per year, for each child with a disability for the purposes of recommending the continuation, modification, or termination of the special education program.

Adaptive Physical Education (APE): – physical education that has been adapted or modified to address the individualized needs of children with disabilities, by adapting the curriculum, task, equipment, and/or environment to enable all students to participate in, and benefit from, physical education.

Antecedent: An environmental condition or stimulus change existing or occurring before the behavior of interest.

Applied Behavior Analysis: is the science in which the principles of the analysis of behavior are applied systematically to improve socially significant behavior, and experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for behavior change.

Assessments: gathering information to find out what students know and can do and to show teachers and school areas where they need to improve (can include both formal and informal testing).

Assistive Technology (AT): Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Public schools are required to consider the assistive technology needs of students with disabilities.

Behavior: changes that last over time appear in different settings, environments, and with different people. 

Behavioral contract: Another term for a contingency contract

Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP): a plan of positive behavioral interventions in the IEP of a child whose behaviors interfere with his/her learning or that of others; based on data gathered through a functional behavioral assessment.

Child Find the responsibility of the school district to locate, identify, and evaluate children with disabilities in their jurisdiction.

Chronological Age (CA): age of a person in terms of years and months.

Cognitive: cognitive is a term that describes the process people use for remembering, reasoning, understanding, and using judgment.

Consequence: A stimulus change that follows a behavior of interest.

Differentiation: a way of thinking about and planning to meet the diverse needs of students based on their characteristics; teachers differentiate content, process, and product according to students' readiness, interest, and learning profiles through a range of instructional and management strategies.

Disability: a substantially limiting physical or mental impairment that affects basic life activities such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, caring for oneself, learning, or working

Due Process: a process for resolving a dispute between the family and the child and family service agency related to the delivery of early intervention services. In special education, due process refers to a process for resolving a dispute between the family and the public school related to the identification, evaluation, or placement of a child with disabilities.

Eligibility: the process of qualifying for a service under one of the federally defined disability categories, an IEP meeting that considers that qualification.

Extended School Year services (ESY): ESY services are individualized services provided during the summer when the benefits your child gained during the school year would be substantially jeopardized if he did not receive services beyond the regular school year.

Evaluation: to examine, judge, and analyze the data collected through the assessment process

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): a federal law that protects the privacy and transfer of student education records. 

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): an individualized educational program that is designed to meet the child’s unique needs and from which the child receives educational benefit. 

Functional Behaviors: behaviors (basic skills, such as meal-time skills) the child has mastered, or needs to master, to get along as independently as possible in society.

FBA (functional behavior assessment): a systematic data-collection procedure conducted by the IEP Team, exploring the functions or reasons for students' interfering behaviors.

IEP TEAM: the team of people who make all special education decisions about a child, including eligibility for special education, testing, development of IEP,  as well as the determination of placement and reviews. The parent is a member of the team. Whenever appropriate, the student is also a member of the team.

Inclusion: the idea or philosophy related to students with disabilities participating and being educated in the general education classroom/program to the extent possible.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): the federal law that provides the legal authority for early intervention and special education services for children birth to age 21. Part B outlines services for children ages three to 21. Part C outlines services for children birth to age three

Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP): the written document that defines the early intervention services provided to the child and family. The program is designed to meet the needs of the child and the family and is based on family-identified priorities.

Informed consent: signed parental agreement to an action proposed by the district after the parent is provided full information in a way he or she can understand.

Interfering behavior: a child's behavior that gets in the way of his or her ability to access the curriculum and participate in the classroom

Intervention: action is taken to correct, remediate, or prevent identified or potential educational, medical, or developmental problems.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): the placement that is as close as possible to the general education environment. This is the educational setting that permits a child to receive the most educational benefit while participating in a regular educational environment to the maximum extent appropriate. LRE is a requirement under the IDEA.

Limited English Proficiency (LEP):  children whose primary language is other than English

Manifestation determination: a process as a result of disciplinary actions that constitute a change of placement whereby the IEP Team considers the relationship between the student's disability and the conduct in question and may adjust the disciplinary action, as well as the student's IEP, accordingly.

Modification: changes to curriculum demand or assessment criteria such that the curriculum demand or assessment criteria are altered.

Negative reinforcement: when the frequency of the behavior increases because past responses have resulted in the withdrawal or termination of a stimulus

No Child Left Behind (NCLB): reauthorized in 2001, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the principal federal law affecting education from kindergarten through high school for children “at risk.” The NCLB provides opportunities for children to learn and progress.

Parent: a natural, adoptive, surrogate or foster parent; a guardian or individual acting in place of a natural or adoptive parent with whom the child lives or who is legally responsible for the child's welfare; a required member of the IEP team.

Positive reinforcement: Occurs when behavior is followed immediately by the presentation of a stimulus that decreases the future frequency of the behavior in similar conditions.

Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLOP): a statement in the IEP of the child's current baseline of strengths and needs as measured by formal and informal evaluations.

Prior Written Notice: required written notice to parents when the school proposes to initiate or change, or refuses to initiate or change, the identifications, evaluation, or educational placement of the child.

Procedural safeguards: rights regarding the special education of students who are either identified with a disability or suspected of having a disability; a booklet containing certain aspects of these rights required to be provided to parents once each year, as well as upon referral for special education, filing of a complaint, or upon parent request.

Prompting: the procedure of providing antecedents that evoke a target behavior


Punisher: A stimulus change that decreases the future frequency of a behavior that immediately precedes it.

Referral: a written request for evaluation or eligibility for special education and related services.

Reinforcement: This occurs when a stimulus change immediately follows a response and increases the future frequency of that type of behavior in similar conditions.


Reinforcer: A stimulus change that increases the future frequency of a behavior that immediately precedes it.

Related services: services that are developmental, corrective, and other services required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education.

Supplementary aids and services: supports that are provided in the classroom, extracurricular, and nonacademic settings to allow a student with a disability to be educated with his nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate; when possible, these supports should be scientifically based.

Transition services: a coordinated set of activities including special education and related services and community participation as listed in the IEP that facilitate the student's move to postsecondary options; may include vocational assessment, career exploration, and vocational education.