Glossary of Terms

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Glossary of Terms
General education

A standard curriculum adopted by the state or local school district for all children from preschool to high school; the setting where this instruction routinely takes place. 

Gross motor

Functions which require large muscle movements. For example, walking or jumping would require gross motor movement

Heterogeneous grouping

An educational practice in which students of diverse abilities are placed within the same instructional groups. This practice is usually helpful in the integration of children with disabilities. 

Home/Hospital Teaching

Provided to students who are unable to attend school due to a certified physical or emotional condition. It is provided to the student to continue academic work and remain current with classroom instruction while absent from school.

Homogeneous grouping

An educational practice in which students of similar abilities are placed within the same instructional groups. This practice usually serves as a barrier to the integration of children with disabilities. 


The process of finding and identifying children needing special education services.

Inclusion Program

An education program in which a child receives special education services that meet his/her educational needs to the maximum extent possible within the regular education setting that the child would attend if he/she did not have a disability.

Independent Evaluation

An evaluation, such as psychological or educational testing usually arranged and paid for by parents. Team members must consider - although they may not necessarily agree with - the results of a private evaluation as long as the evaluator meets certain school criteria, such as specific licensing requirements. Under certain circumstances, the school system may agree to pay for an independent evaluation.

Individualized Education Program Meeting

Any of the meetings held throughout the special education process such as screening, determining eligibility for special education, developing an IEP, conducting an annual review, etc.

Individualized Educational Program (IEP)

A written document, reviewed annually, including a child's current level of performance and needs, long term goals and short term objectives, which describes the special education services (including related services, and supplementary aids and services) that will be provided for a child who qualifies. The IEP should also include the date services are to begin, the criteria for evaluation of progress toward each short term objective (to be documented at least quarterly) and the extent to which the child will participate in academic and non-academic general education programs.

Individualized Educational Program (IEP) Team or Committee

Starting with the initial referral, all phases of the special education process take place under the supervision of the IEP Team which is made up of school staff, the student's parent(s), and when appropriate, the student.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)

A written plan for infants and toddlers under 3 years of age, describing a child' s developmental levels, family information, early intervention services that the child will be receiving including when and where the services will be provided, and naming the service coordinator assigned to the child and his/her family. Note: By 24 months of age the IFSP should include a Transition Plan of steps to be taken to make a smooth transition at 3 years old when the child will no longer be eligible for services in the early intervention system.

Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)

A plan which outlines the services needed to reach an employment goal, how the services to be provided will be evaluated, and the approximate time expected when employment will occur.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

A federal law which was reauthorized in 1997 that guarantees that all children with disabilities are provided with a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE), and that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected.

Infants and toddlers

Children not yet three years of age. 

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. 

Instructional placement

Phrase used to describe the situation in which a child spends at least half of his/her school day in special education.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

A measure obtained from psychological testing that indicates a child's potential for learning.

Interfering behavior

A child's behavior that gets in the way of his or her ability to access curriculum and/or participate in the classroom. 


Action taken to correct, remediate, or prevent identified or potential educational, medical, or developmental problems.