Special education is working with children who have special needs because they are above or below the average of the population. For example, these children may have:
- physical disabilities
- learning disabilities
- development disorders
- behavioral disorders
- emotional disorders
- special gifts and talents
It is common for special education practitioners and families to use acronyms and initialisms to "shorthand" their communication.
Acronyms (the words that are made up of the initial letters of a a series of words and then pronounced as a new word) are often used in special education to represent various laws and processes used in special education evaluation and program development.
- CAP Client Assistance Program
- EDGAR Education Department General Administrative Regulations
- ERIC Educational Resources Information Center
- GATE Gifted and Talented Education
- HIPAA Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act
- IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- PASS Plan for Achieving Self-Support
- WIC Women, Infants and Children ( a Special Supplemental Food Program)
Initialisms (an acronym that is pronounced using the individual names of the letters rather than as a word) are used for special education to represent various laws, abilities and processes. As with acronyms, initialisms are also frequently used in the evaluation process.
- ADA Americans with Disabilities Act: This is a law passed in 1990 to provide enforceable guidelines and actions when working with a disabled American.
- ADD Attention Deficit Disorder: A child who has this neurobiological disorder will have difficulties with self-control and in paying attention. He or she will also exhibit inappropriate behavior at times.
- ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A child with this disorder will have the same problems as one with ADD, but is also hyperactive.
- AU Autism: This disability is developmental in nature and affects the way the child interacts with his or her environment verbally and non-verbally.
- BD Behavior Disorders: This covers inappropriate behaviors and difficulties with social interactions that interfere with learning.
- CC Closed Captioning: This refers to the text that is added to the bottom of the television screen to duplicate the audio.
- CCSS Common Core State Standards: These academic standards are established in math and English literacy to show what a student should accomplish at each grade level.
- CD Cognitive Delay: A child with cognitive delay is performing intellectually below the norm which impacts his or her education.
- CP Cerebral Palsy: A child with CP has loss of control over bodily movement. It is caused by abnormal brain development or injury.
- DD Developmental Disability: This means the child acquires skills slower than his or her peers.
- DS Down Syndrome: DS is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of a third copy of a specific chromosome.
- ED Emotional Disturbance: An emotionally disturbed child has trouble with learning, social interactions, and exhibiting appropriate behavior. He or she is often depressed and fearful.
- FAS Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: FAS includes physical and mental defects that develop in a fetus after high levels of alcohol consumption by the mother.
- GT Gifted and Talented: This is a child whose abilities are above average intellectually.
- HI Hearing Impaired: Hearing impaired means partial or total hearing loss.
- LD Learning Disability: A LD is a disorder of one or more of the psychological processes that are needed to speak, write, listen, do mathematical calculations, etc.
- ODD Oppositional Defiant Disorder: The ODD child is strong-willed, defiant and anti-social.
- OHI Other Health Impaired: This covers health problems that affect the child’s school performance.
- OI Orthopedic Impairment: Any orthopedic impairment that impedes a child’s education.
- PDD Pervasive Development Disorder: A few disorders under this category are autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
- TBI Traumatic Brain Injury: This is injury to the brain that results in mental, physical, or behavioral changes.
- VI Visual Impairment: This is visual impairment that affects school performance.
There are several initialisms for special education that are used in the paperwork involved in the assessment and placement of children with special needs. For example:
- APR Annual Performance Report: This as a yearly report that covers the student’s progress that is sent to the U.S. Department of Education for monitoring purposes.
- AYP Adequate Yearly Progress: These are standards established by state education departments covering the amount of progress a student should make in a given year.
- BIP Behavioral Intervention Plan: This is an individual plan to help modify a student’s behavior that is positive in nature.
- EI Early Intervention: These are services geared to children who show a risk or signs of development delay who are age three or below.
- IEE Individual Education Evaluation: This is an independent evaluation of a student’s abilities, conducted by a non-school employee.
- IEP Individual Education Program: This is a plan tailored to the student’s needs according to his or her abilities. It lists the goals, timelines, and services that will be administered among other things. It is usually developed by a committee of teachers and other professionals.
- LRE Least Restrictive Environment: This means that the special needs student will be put in a classroom environment with the least amount of restrictions according to the student’s needs.
- PLEP Present Levels of Educational Performance: This is a statement of the student’s current level of functioning and includes his or her academic strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. It is part of the IEP.
These are the commonly-used acronyms and initialisms for special education. A medical or educational professional can be an excellent source of explanation for acronyms or initialisms which are more specific or more specialized.