Glossary of Terms

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Glossary of Terms
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

Refers to the concept that children with disabilities should be educated to the maximum extent possible with children who are not disabled while meeting all their learning needs and physical requirements; the type of setting is stipulated in a child's IEP; LRE is an individual determination, where what is right for one student is not necessarily right for another. 

Local School System (LSS)

Formerly called the Local Education Agency (LEA), the local school district.


The placement or a student with a disability into a general education classroom or any nonacademic stetting (such as physical education, lunch, etc.) for any part of the school day. 

Manifestation determination

A process as a result of disciplinary actions that constitutes a change of placement whereby the MDT 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. 

Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program (MITP)

A statewide system of early intervention for eligible children age birth to 3 years old and their families.

Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)

See State Education Agency (SEA).

Meaningful progress

Improvement in student performance individually determined to be sufficient to indicate that FAPE is being provided. 


The process of having a trained person, a mediator, try to help parents and the school system reach an agreement about a child's special education program and services.


Changes to curriculum demand or assessment criteria such that the curriculum demand or assessment criteria are altered. 


Describes a team approach involving specialists in more than one area. To get a complete picture of a child's needs, for example, he/she might be evaluated by a special educator, a (SLP) speech-language pathologist and an (OT) occupational therapist.

Multidisciplinary team (MDT)

A group including parents and professionals with different areas of expertise who come together for the purpose of looking at an individual child's educational program. 

Multiple intelligences

Educational theory put forth by psychologist, Howard Gardner, which suggests that an array of different kinds of "intelligence" exists in human beings including: Verbal-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalistic

No Child Left Behind

A United Statesfederal law that aims to increase the standards of accountability for states, school districts, and schools, as well as provide parents more flexibility in choosing which schools their children will attend. 

Non-public Placement

Parents may choose to apply for their child with disabilities to attend a private school but still access some special education services from the local public school system through the IEP process. Or, if an appropriate public placement as determined by the IEP Team cannot be provided, the school system must place and pay for a child to attend an appropriate program in a private school.

Occupational therapy

A special education related service which is usually focused upon the development of a student's fine motor skills and/or the identification of adapted ways of accomplishing activities of daily living when a student's disabilities preclude doing those tasks in typical ways (e.g. modifying clothing so a person without arms can dress himself/herself). 


A natural, adoptive, 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 MDT team

Partners for Success

Resource Centers for Parents, Families, and Schools: formerly called Parent Information Training Centers (PITC's), a partnership between the Maryland State Department of Education and the local school systems establishing resource centers that provide parents and professionals with information, consultation, referral, training and advocacy support regarding special education services.

Physical Therapy (PT)

Services provided by a physical therapist (PT) to address needs in areas of gross motor development such as strength, flexibility, motion and endurance.


Determined after the IEP has been completed (and often mistakenly referred to only as the class or school facility where a student in special education goes to be educated); placement encompasses all aspects of the individualized program for a student with disabilities including: general and special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, the general educator(s), special educator, therapists, specialists and other components of the special education program. The classrooms and the school where the student is educated are just part of the placement for a student with disabilities.

Positive Behavioral Supports

Interventions intended to reduce an inappropriate behavior and teach a student alternative ways to communicate needs.