Glossary of Terms

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Glossary of Terms
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

Procedures to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their parents according to the provisions in the IDEA.

Protection and Advocacy Agency (P&A)

A state agency that provides legal and advocacy assistance to individuals with disabilities and their families. Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC) is the P&A agency in Maryland.


The process of requesting a screening to determine if a child should be evaluated to find out if there is a need for special education services


The amount of loss of skills a child experiences over an instructional break (primarily summer vacation) and the amount of time it takes him/her to recover the lost skills. Standards for when regression and recoupment concerns require summer school are developed in case law and in state and federal policy letters. 

Related Services

Services (which are written in the IEP) that must be provided for a child who qualifies for special education in order to benefit from his/her educational program, for example, transportation, speech, occupational or physical therapy, psychological services, audiology, etc.

Residential Placement

A highly restrictive special education placement requiring 24 hours of special education intervention every day.

Resource placement

A special education placement for less than half a child's school day. Such a classroom is usually called a "resource room." 

Respite care

A service provided to the families of children who require extraordinary forms of care so that the family can take vacations, handle business affairs, and have some relief from the duties of caring for the child


The process of administering global methods to determine if the child has a suspected disability and whether the child should have evaluations to determine if he qualifies for special education services and/or related services. 

Section 504

A civil rights law from The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits any agency that receives federal money from discriminating against an individual on the basis of disability. The law requires "reasonable accommodation" of a disability, and Section 504 may be used to access special education services that a student may not necessarily qualify for under the IDEA.

Service Coordinator

Also called a Case Manager, the individual selected by an early intervention team and named in the IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) to coordinate early intervention services and integrate the family into the process.

Short Term Objectives

Specific, measurable steps written in the IEP and implemented to assist in achieving annual goals. Student progress in meeting the objectives should be reviewed, and progress documented and shared with parents at least as frequently as parents of nondisabled students.

Special Education

Specifically designed instruction, related services, and supplementary aids and services provided for a child determined to have an educational disability under the IDEA in order to meet the student's unique educational needs.

Speech Therapy (ST)

A planned program provided by a Speech and Language Therapist/Pathologist (SLP) to correct or improve problems with communication, language and/or voice disorders.

Standardized Tests

Tests where the administration, scoring, and interpretations are set or prescribed and must be strictly followed; scores resulting from these tests are based on a normed population and compare students to their same-age peers.

State Education Agency (SEA)

Responsible for monitoring local education agencies and for making sure that they follow state and federal laws. In Maryland the SEA is the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

Student with Disabilities

Students who have been evaluated in accordance with County procedures and identified as having temporary or long-term special educational needs arising from: cognitive factors, emotional factors, physical factors or any combination of these. Their ability to meet general education objectives is impaired to a degree whereby    the services available in the general education program are inadequate in preparing them to achieve their educational potential. 

Supplementary Aides 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.