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Academic Achievement Record (AAR)
The official and permanent record of the student’s academic performance in high school; also known as a transcript.

Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS)
The annual report on the performance of students in each school and district in Texas. This report has multiple indicators including graduation and attendance rates disaggregated by ethnicity, special education, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient, at-risk, and bilingual/English as a second language. Additionally, the report has information on school and district staff and programs.  The Academic Excellence Indicator System was available from 2003-2004 through 2011-2012.  For performance reports beginning 2012-2013, see the Texas Academic Performance Report.

Accelerated Reading Instruction
Intensified, research-based reading instruction that addresses the student’s reading needs as determined by results of K-2 reading instruments.

Access to the General Curriculum (AGC)
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, children with disabilities must have the opportunity to learn and be tested on the same curriculum as that provided to students without disabilities.  By using a range of instructional strategies based on the varied strengths and needs of students, teachers ensure that students work towards grade level content standards.  AGC is the goal of all Texas schools.

Changes to materials or procedures that enable students with disabilities or English language learners to participate meaningfully in learning and testing. It is important to keep in mind that while some accommodations may be appropriate for instructional use, they may not be appropriate or allowable on a statewide assessment.

Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee
A committee composed of a child's parent, the child, when appropriate, and school personnel who are involved with the child. The ARD committee determines a child's eligibility to receive special education services and develops the individualized education program (IEP) of the child. The ARD committee is the IEP team defined in federal law.

Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Meeting
A meeting to annually review a student’s special education program that includes an update of the student’s progress, a review of the current individualized education program (IEP), and development of a new IEP for the upcoming year.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities that are like those provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

Annual Goals
Describes what a student with a disability can reasonably be expected to accomplish in the special education program within a twelve-month period. It is a skill and/or knowledge that can be measured and mastered based on given criteria. The academic annual goal is related to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills at the student’s enrolled grade level.

The ongoing evaluation used by appropriately qualified personnel throughout the period of a child’s eligibility to identify the child’s unique needs and strengths, the family’s concerns, priorities, and resources and the supports and services necessary to enhance developmental needs of the child, and the nature and extent of intervention services needed by the child and the family in order to address the determinations.

Assistive Technology Device (ATD)
Any item, piece of equipment, or product, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. Some children need ATDs to enable them to participate in activities with children who do not have disabilities.

Assistive Technology Service
Any service that directly assists the child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device, and includes the evaluation of the needs of the child.

At-risk students include the following:  students who were not advanced from one grade level to the next for one or more school years; students in grades 7–12 who did not maintain an average equivalent to 70 on a scale of 100 in two or more subjects in the foundation curriculum during a semester in the preceding or current school year or are not maintaining such an average in two or more subjects in the foundation curriculum in the current semester; students who did not perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument administered to the student and have not in the previous or current school year subsequently performed on that instrument or another appropriate instrument at a level equal to at least 110 percent of the level of satisfactory performance on that instrument; students in prekindergarten, kindergarten, or grade 1, 2, or 3 who did not perform satisfactorily on a readiness test or assessment instrument administered during the current school year; limited English proficient students; recovered dropouts; pre- and post-adjudicated students; homeless students; pregnant or parenting students; and/or students who previously resided or currently reside in a residential placement facility in the district.

State-licensed health care professionals who use technology, creative problem solving, and social skills to identify and treat hearing, balance, tinnitus, and other auditory disorders. 

Auditory Impairment (AI)
Deafness or hearing impairment is considered an auditory impairment.  Deafness is a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects the child’s educational performance.  A hearing impairment is an impairment, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects the child’s educational performance but is not included under the definition of deafness.

Autism (AU)
The developmental disability that significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, and adversely affects a child’ s educational performance.








Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
A written plan developed as part of the individualized education program to address behavioral concerns affecting the student’s educational progress. It is based on a functional behavioral assessment of the problem behaviors, identifies events that predict these behaviors, includes positive interventions to change behaviors, and includes methods of evaluation.

A form of media for obtaining literacy for people who use their tactile sense as the primary means of gathering information.

Engaging in written or verbal expression or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, or in a vehicle operated by the district that will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or of damage to the student's property or is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.








Career and Technical Education (CTE)
The programs dedicated to preparing young people to manage the dual roles of family member and wage earner. CTE programs enable students to gain entry-level employment in a high-skill, high-wage job and/or to continue their education.

Career and Technical Education for the Disabled (CTED)
For a student to be enrolled in a CTED course, an admission, review, and dismissal committee must determine that services available through a regular career and technical education course are insufficient for the student to make satisfactory progress and that the specialized services the student needs can only be provided in the specialized, self-contained CTED classroom.

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS)
A COMS is required to conduct an orientation and mobility evaluation for initial eligibility of a student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act category of visual impairment and to be a member of the multidisciplinary team in assisting with reevaluations.  A COMS provides services that enable students who are visually impaired to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within the home, school and community environments, and in addition support development of social, sensory, daily living, and recreation/leisure skills. 

Child Find
Refers to state-developed policies and procedures which ensure that all children with disabilities residing in Texas, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, who are in need of special education and related services are identified, located, and evaluated.

Child with a Disability
A child with an intellectual disability, hearing impairments including deafness, speech or language impairments, visual impairments including blindness, serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities who needs special education and related services.  The term is used appropriately except when referring to services and activities for students aged 18 and older.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
The codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation. Each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and issued on a quarterly basis.

Communication Disorder
An impairment in the ability to receive, send, process and comprehend concepts or verbal, nonverbal and graphic symbol systems. It includes stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, and voice impairment.

Community Resource Coordination Group (CRCG)
An interagency group comprised of public and private child-service providers who meet on a regular basis to review service needs and provide limited case management services for students who have multiple personal and family needs. These needs which adversely affect their ability to benefit from the educational program are best met through interagency coordination.

Compensatory Education
Defined in law as programs and/or services designed to supplement the regular education program for students identified as at risk of dropping out of school. The purpose is to increase academic achievement and reduce the dropout rate of these students.

Written action taken to notify the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and a school district that special education regulations are not being followed by the school district.  A complaint must include the name and address of student, the violation that occurred, and offer a possible resolution to the complaint.  It must be sent to both TEA and the school district superintendent.

Written informed parental consent is required before the local educational agency (LEA) evaluates a child for special education services for the first time, provides special education services for the first time, and reevaluates the child to determine the continued eligibility for special education services. Informed parental consent need not be obtained prior to reevaluation if the LEA can demonstrate it has taken reasonable measures to obtain such consent and the child's parent has failed to respond. Written consent is also needed before the LEA can release personally identifiable information from a child's education records, with certain exceptions as provided in federal law including when releasing to other school officials with a legitimate educational interest and to another LEA because the child intends to or has enrolled in the LEA. Consent is voluntary and may be withdrawn at any time.








The combination of hearing and visual impairments, which cause such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that the student cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or solely for children with blindness.

A qualified examiner who primarily serves as a member of a multidisciplinary team and works closely with parents, teachers, and other school personnel in using a wide variety of instruments to assess and diagnose learning problems and evaluate academic skills of students.

Differentiated Instruction
A process used to recognize the varying background knowledge, readiness, language, learning preferences, and interests of a student. The intent of differentiated instruction is to maximize each student’s growth and individual success.

Disciplinary Action
The investigation, adjudication, or imposition of sanctions by an educational agency or institution with respect to an infraction or violation of the internal rules of conduct applicable to students of the agency or institution.

Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP)
Each school district shall provide a DAEP that: is provided in a setting other than a student's regular classroom; is located on or off of a regular school campus; provides for the students who are assigned to the DAEP to be separated from students who are not assigned to the program; focuses on English language arts, mathematics, science, history, and self-discipline; provides for students' educational and behavioral needs; and provides supervision and counseling.

To permit access to or the release, transfer, or other communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records by any means including oral, written, or electronic means to any party except the party identified as the party that provided or created the record.

Dual Enrollment
When the parent of the child with a disability enrolls the child in both a public and a private school.

Due Process
A formal legal process that is similar to a civil court hearing used to solve disagreements concerning the identification, evaluation, educational placement or the provision of a free appropriate public education to a child with a disability. An impartial hearing officer, similar to a judge, provided by the Texas Education Agency conducts the hearing, hears evidence from all parties, and makes a legally binding decision.

A brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics are difficulty with phonological processing, spelling, and/or rapid visual/verbal responding.








Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)
Programs and services which are provided to infants and toddlers with developmental delays from birth through age two administered under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Early Intervening Services (EIS)
Support services for students not identified with a disability but who need additional academic and behavioral support to succeed in the general education classroom.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
The 1965 law that emphasized equal educational access and high accountability standards with state-administered federal funds.  In 2002, ESEA was reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  In December 2015, ESEA was reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act, replacing NCLB.

The determination that a student is a “child with a disability” as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and as a result of the disability, the child needs special education services to benefit from education.

Emotional Disturbance (ED)
A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance: an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; and/or a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

Employability Skills
Skills that are directly related to the preparation of young adults for employment including general skills necessary to obtain or retain employment.

End of Course (EOC)
The assessments that measure the student's academic performance in core high school courses and become part of the graduation requirements. The EOC assessments for lower-level courses must include questions to determine readiness for advanced coursework. The assessments for higher-level courses must include a series of special purpose questions to measure college readiness and the need for developmental coursework in higher education.

English as a Second Language (ESL)
A program of techniques, methodology and special curriculum designed to teach English language learner students English language skills, which may include listening, speaking, reading, writing, study skills, content vocabulary, and cultural orientation. ESL instruction is usually in English with little use of native language.

English Language Learner (ELL)
A child whose native language is a language other than English or who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant and who has difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language.

Equal Access
The opportunity for a qualified person with a disability to participate in or benefit from educational aid, benefits, or services that is equal to what is available to a nondisabled person.

The collection of information to determine whether a child is a child with a disability, and to determine the educational needs of the child. The team who collects or reviews evaluation data, referred to as the multidisciplinary team, must use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information, including information provided by the parent. An evaluation may include giving individual tests, observing the student, looking at educational records, and talking with the student, teachers and parents.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
A law signed on December 10, 2015, amending and reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  Four key points of the ESSA are college- and career-ready standards, focused support and attention for the lowest-performing five percent of schools, expanding preschool opportunity, and support for local innovation and investing in what works.

Extended School Year Services (ESY)
An individualized educational program for children with disabilities that is provided beyond the regular school year. The need for ESY services must be determined on an individual basis by the child's admission, review, and dismissal committee from formal and/or informal evaluations provided by the local educational agency or the parents. A child is eligible for ESY services when the child has exhibited or reasonably may be expected to exhibit severe or substantial regression in one or more critical skill areas that cannot be recouped within a reasonable period of time.

Extent Practicable
Services and supports should be based on peer-reviewed research to the extent that it is possible given the availability of peer-reviewed research.








Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
A federal law (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive federal funds. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student reaching the age of 18 or when the student attends a school beyond the high school level.

Foster Parent
A person who provides foster care services in the foster home. Foster care means 24-hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the state agency has placement and care responsibility. This includes but is not limited to placement in foster family homes, foster homes of relatives, group homes, emergency shelters, residential facilities, childcare institutions, and pre-adoptive homes.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Special education and related services that have been provided at public expense under public supervision and direction and without charge, meets the standards of the Texas Education Agency, includes an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the state involved, and are provided in conforming with the individualized education program.

How often the child with a disability receives a service, as in the number of times per day or week. If the service is less than daily then the conditions for the provision of services must be clearly specified within the admission, review, and dismissal documents using a weekly reference; e.g., one hour per week, 30 minutes every two weeks. Frequency for Early Childhood Intervention is the number of days or sessions that a service will be provided within a specific period of time.

Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE)
A comprehensive evaluation that consists of data gathered from multiple sources for each student being considered for special education and related services. It is a part of the district's overall general education referral or screening system. Prior to referral, students experiencing difficulty in the general classroom are to be considered for all support services available to all students, such as tutorial, remedial, compensatory, response to scientific, research-based intervention, and other academic or behavior support services.

Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)
A systematic process for describing problem behavior and identifying the environmental factors and surrounding events associated with problem behavior. The team that works closely with the child exhibiting problem behavior observes the behavior and identifies and defines its problematic characteristics, identifies which actions or events precede and follow the behavior, and determines how often the behavior occurs.

Functionally Blind
The child with a visual impairment is functionally blind if, based on the functional vision evaluation and the learning media assessment, the child will use tactual media which includes braille as a primary tool for learning to be able to communicate in both reading and writing at the same level of proficiency as other children of comparable ability.








Gifted and Talented (GT)
Students who exhibit evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.

A person who has been appointed to be the legal caretaker of a child through formal proceedings in accordance with law or stands in the place of a parent to a child whether by accepting responsibility for the child’s welfare or by a court order.

A legal process that removes rights and privileges from a person aged 18 and older who is considered incapacitated under state law. The process involves the court system and an attorney. Unless parents have gained guardianship of their child with a disability or made other legal arrangements, all rights including signing and agreeing to the individualized education program will be transferred to the student upon turning 18.








Hard of Hearing
See Auditory Impairment

Hearing Officer
An impartial person appointed by the Texas Education Agency in charge of a due process hearing. The hearing officer cannot be an employee of any agency involved in the education or care of the child who is the subject of the hearing and cannot have any personal or professional interest that would conflict with his or her objectivity in the hearing. The hearing officer must possess the necessary knowledge and skill necessary to serve as a hearing officer. The hearing officer issues a written decision based upon the evidence and witnesses presented at the hearing.

Highly Qualified Teacher (HQ)
Teachers who teach core subject academic areas to meet specific competency and educational requirements and who meet these requirements are considered highly qualified. Teachers are required to be highly qualified if they are the teacher of record providing direct instruction to students in any core academic subject area. Highly qualified teachers must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, be fully certified to teach in Texas, and demonstrate competency in their core academic subject area.

Home School
In Texas, children may be home-schooled in lieu of attending traditional public school. Under the Texas Education Code, home schools must be run in a bona fide manner with a written curriculum that covers the basics of math, reading, spelling, grammar, and good citizenship. The Texas Education Agency does not regulate, index, monitor, approve, or register the programs available to parents who choose to home school, nor does the state of Texas award diplomas to students that are home schooled.

An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and who has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised public or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.








IEP Facilitation
A method of alternative dispute resolution that involves the use of a trained facilitator to assist an admission, review, and dismissal committee in developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a student with a disability.

Immigrant Student
Individuals, aged 3 through 21, who were not born in any state, and have not been attending one or more schools in any one or more states for more than three full academic years.

The process of integrating children with disabilities into the academic and social activities of regular schools and general education classrooms.

Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)
An evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the local educational agency (LEA) responsible for the education of the child being evaluated. A parent has a right to request an IEE at public expense when the parent disagrees with an evaluation conducted or obtained by the LEA. The IEE must meet the same criteria the LEA uses for its own evaluations. The LEA does not have to pay for the IEE if it can show at a due process hearing that the LEA's evaluation is appropriate or if it can show that the IEE does not meet the LEA's criteria. The parent always has the right to get an IEE at the parent's expense. Regardless of who pays for it, the admission, review, and dismissal committee must consider any IEE that meets its criteria.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)
A written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed and revised by the admission, review, and dismissal committee, of which parents are active members. The IEP includes the student's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, participation in state and district-wide assessments, transition services, annual goals, special factors, special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, extended school year services, and least restrictive environment. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is now aligned with the important principles of No Child Left Behind in promoting accountability for results, enhancing the role of parents and improving student achievement through instructional approaches that are based on scientific research.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
A comprehensive, written plan developed by a multidisciplinary team, including the parents, that provides a description of the appropriate transition services for the infant or toddler.  For a child from birth through two years of age with a visual impairment and/or an auditory impairment, an IFSP meeting must be held in place of an admission, review, and dismissal committee meeting.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The federal law that provides assistance to states for the education of children with disabilities is the IDEA. This law gives every child with a disability the right to a public education at no cost to the family. Part C of the IDEA requires services to begin at birth and extends until the child turns three. Early Childhood Intervention programs deliver Part C services. Part B of the IDEA requires services for children from ages 3 through 21. Most children receiving Part B services are in public schools.

Informed Consent
When the parent has been fully informed of all information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought in his or her native language or through another mode of communication. The parent understands and agrees in writing to the carrying out of the activity for which consent is sought, and the consent describes that activity and lists any records that will be released and to whom. The parent understands that the granting of consent is voluntary on the part of the parent and may be revoked at any time. If a parent revokes consent, that revocation is not retroactive and it does not negate an action that has occurred after the consent was given and before the consent was revoked.

Instructional Setting/Arrangement
The educational placement for the child with a disability and the decision for determining the instructional arrangement/setting must be based on the child’s individualized education program. The admission, review, and dismissal committee determines the appropriate instructional setting/arrangement. The local educational agency must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs for special education and related services.

Intellectual Disability (ID)
A student with an ID is one who has been determined to have significantly sub-average intellectual functioning as measured by a standardized, individually administered test of cognitive ability in which the overall test score is at least two standard deviations below the mean when taking into consideration the standard error of measurement of the test and concurrently exhibits deficits in at least two of the following areas of adaptive behavior: communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health, and safety.

Intensive Program of Instruction
Instructional practices adapted to respond to the complex needs of students not meeting standard on state assessments in grades 3 through 12. Difficulties meeting state assessment standards in any academic subject area may or may not be related to the student’s area of disability.

Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES)
An appropriate setting determined by the child’s admission, review, and dismissal committee in which the child is placed for no more than 45 school days. This setting enables the child to continue to receive educational services and participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the individualized education program.







Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP)
This program was designed to provide an educational setting for students who are mandatorily expelled from school per the Texas Education Code or students discretionarily expelled according to the local school districts’ student codes of conduct.  A JJAEP is mandated to operate by statute in counties with a population of 125,000 or greater. Each program is governed and controlled by a locally negotiated memorandum of understanding between the local juvenile board and each school district within the county.







Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC)
All school districts that are required to provide bilingual education and/or English as a second language programs must establish and operate an LPAC. The LPAC is charged with reviewing all pertinent information on all identified limited English proficient students upon their initial enrollment and at the end of each school year. Districts are required to have on file policy and procedures for the selection, appointment, and training of members of the LPAC. The committee must adhere to the provisions, monitor student progress, determine appropriate instructional interventions, make assessment decisions on an individual student basis, function as a committee to make assessment decisions, and maintain appropriate documentation.

Learning Media Assessment (LMA)
An evaluation conducted by a teacher of the visually impaired  to determine the most appropriate literacy media, print or braille, or a combination, for the student with a visual impairment.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled.  Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP)
An individual who has completed a supervised school psychology internship of which 600 hours are in the school setting, is licensed or certified in school psychology by the state in which the individuals works, or in the absence of such state licensure or certification, possesses national certification by the National School Psychology Certification Board.

Limited Alertness
A heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment.

Limited English Proficient (LEP)
A student whose primary language is other than English and whose English language skills are such that the student has difficulty performing ordinary class work in English.

Local Educational Agency (LEA)
A public board of education or other public authority legally constituted within a State for either administrative control or direction of, or to perform a service function for, public elementary schools or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a State, or for a combination of school districts or counties that is recognized in a State as an administrative agency for its public elementary schools or secondary schools. Public school districts, open enrollment charter schools, and regional education service centers are specific examples of LEAs.








Manifestation Determination Review (MDR)
A meeting held within 10 days of a behavior infraction causing a student to be removed from current placement. The meeting would determine whether the cause of the behavior is due to the child’s disability, whether the district has sufficiently addressed the issue, and whether an alternate placement may be appropriate for the child.

An option available to be used for resolving disagreements about a child's identification, evaluation, educational placement and the provision of a free appropriate public education. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will automatically offer mediation services to the parent and local educational agency (LEA) when a due process hearing is requested. When both the parent and the LEA agree to participate, the TEA will provide a trained mediator to conduct the mediation. Mediation may not be used to delay or deny a parent a due process hearing or any other procedural safeguards.

Medically Fragile
A serious ongoing illness or a chronic condition for a child with a disability that lasts or is anticipated to last at least 12 or more months, or has required at least one month of hospitalization, and requires daily, ongoing medical treatments and monitoring by appropriately trained personnel which may include parents or other family members. The child also requires the routine use of a medical device or of assistive technology to compensate for the loss of usefulness of a body function needed to participate in activities of daily living and lives with ongoing threat to continued well-being.

Migratory Child, Migrant
When a student within the ages of 3 to 21 or the student's parent, spouse, or guardian is a migratory agricultural, dairy, or fisher worker, and who in the preceding 36 months in order to obtain or accompany such parent, spouse, or guardian in order to obtain temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing work has moved from one school district to another or resides in a school district of more than 15,000 square miles and migrates a distance of 20 miles or more to a temporary residence to engage in a fishing activity.

A modification is an adjustment to an assignment or a test that changes the standard or what the test or assignment measures. It is a practice or procedure that changes the nature of the task or target skill.

Modified Content
Modifying content material requires structural, cognitive changes in the level of the material.  Modifications change “what” is learned and therefore changes the content of the grade-specific curriculum.

Modified Curriculum
Any reduction of the amount or complexity of the required Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.

The involvement of two or more separate disciplines or professions and may include one individual who is qualified in more than one discipline or profession.

Multiple Disabilities
A student with multiple disabilities is one who has a combination of disabilities and who meets all of the following conditions: the student's disability is expected to continue indefinitely and the disabilities severely impair performance in two or more of the following areas: psychomotor skills, self-care skills, communication, social and emotional development, or cognition.








Native Language
The language normally used by an individual or in the case of a child, the language normally used by the parents of the child.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
NCLB reauthorized the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Act.  NCLB was replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act in December 2015.

Noncategorical Early Childhood (NCEC)
A condition of developmental delay where a child between the ages of three through five has been identified as having an intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, a specific learning disability, or autism.

Notice of Procedural Safeguards
The written document that contains a full explanation of parental rights as guaranteed under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, written in the native language of the parents and written in an easily understandable manner. A copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards is available to the parents of the child with a disability and must be given to the parents only one time a year, except that a copy also must be given to the parents upon initial referral or parental request for evaluation, upon the first occurrence of the filing of a due process hearing, and upon request by a parent.








Occupational Therapy (OT)
A related service that emphasizes the acquisition of or compensation for functional performance skills that may be needed by children with disabilities during their educational experience. Examples are fine motor skills which include small, finely coordinated hand movements; visual perceptual skills which include the ability to understand and interpret what is seen; visual motor skills which include the ability to coordinate visual and motor skills, and/or self-care skills which include feeding, dressing, hygiene, and toileting skills for increasing independence in necessary life skills.

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
OSEP is dedicated to improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts.

Orientation and Mobility (O&M)
Related services provided to blind or visually impaired children by qualified personnel to enable those students to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within their environments in school, home, and community. In the state of Texas, O&M instruction must be provided by a certified orientation and mobility specialist who is certified by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.

Orthopedic Impairment
An physical impairment which adversely affects a child’s educational performance and is caused by a congenital anomaly, a disease such as poliomyelitis or bone tuberculosis, or impairments from other causes such as cerebral palsy, amputations, fractures, or burns that cause contractures.

Other Health Impairment (OHI)
Having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, which may include asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and/or Tourette syndrome; and adversely affects a child's education performance.

A physician trained in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders relating to the ear involving hearing, sensory systems, and/or related structures.








Refers to a biological or adoptive parent, a foster parent, a legal guardian, a properly appointed surrogate parent, or other person as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act who has legal authority to make educational decisions for a child with a disability or who is suspected of having a disability.

Peer-Reviewed Research
A type of research that is reviewed by qualified and independent reviewers to ensure that the quality of the information meets the standard of the field before the research is published.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)/Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)
A group of disorders characterized by delays in the development of socialization and communication skills. Symptoms may include problems with using and understanding language, difficulty relating to people, objects, and events, unusual play with toys and other objects, difficulty with changes in routine or familiar surroundings, and repetitive body movements or behavior patterns.

Physical Therapy (PT)
A related service provided to qualifying children with disabilities that focuses on the child’s ability to move as independently as possible and may include exercises designed to develop strength and endurance, range of motion and flexibility.

The location of the instructional arrangements/settings based on the individual needs and individualized education program of an eligible child receiving special education services.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
An approach to school discipline practices that addresses challenging behaviors through prevention-based interventions and positive behavior strategies that are not harmful or demeaning to the student.

The time frame after high school, and refers to students who have completed the requirements for a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD)
The public school program for young children with disabilities, ages 3 through 5. These services may be provided in a variety of settings. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, preschool programs for children with disabilities should be delivered in the least restrictive environment.

Present Levels / Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP)
PLAAFP for the school-aged student summarizes the current strengths and needs of the student in both academic and functional performance areas. It must include how the student’s disability affects the student’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum, regardless of the setting in which the student currently receives services. Additionally, it may describe the current instructional level of the student compared to the grade level Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and, if the student is below grade level, the PLAAFP also may describe the prerequisite skills the student needs in order to achieve grade-level proficiency.

PLAAFP for the preschool student summarizes the current levels of present performance related to the student’s developmental domains, functional performance, and pre-academic skills. It must include how the student’s disability affects the student’s participation in appropriate activities. Additionally, it may describe the student’s current developmental levels compared to the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines or district-adopted prekindergarten curriculum.

Prior Written Notice (PWN)
A notice that must be given to the parents of the child whenever the local educational agency proposes to initiate or change or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child. Texas defines a reasonable time for providing such notice as five school days.

Public Information Act (PIA)
Originally known as the Texas Open Records Act, the PIA was approved by the Legislature in 1973. This act gives an individual the right to access government records and an officer for public information and the officer's agent may not ask why you want them. All government information is presumed to be available to the public. Certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of the information. Governmental bodies must promptly release requested information that is not confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision, or information for which an exception to disclosure has not been sought.








Qualified Personnel
An individual who is qualified through state certification, licensing, registration, or other comparable requirements to conduct evaluations or assessments or provide early intervention services.








Any information recorded in any way including but not limited to handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm and microfiche.

Records Retention Schedule
A document issued by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under authority of the subchapter on the Preservation and Management of Local Government Records in the Texas Government Code, establishing mandatory retention periods for local government needs. The retention schedule indicates the minimum length of time listed records series must be retained by a state agency before destruction or archival preservation.

A student evaluation that is conducted by the local educational agency (LEA) to determine the educational or related service needs of the child after a previous evaluation. If the child's parents or teacher request a reevaluation, it must occur not more frequently than once a year unless the parent and the LEA agree otherwise, and at least once every three years unless the parent and the LEA agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary.

A referral to special education may be considered for children experiencing difficulty in the general classroom after providing all support services available to all students, such as tutorials, remedial options, compensatory support, and other services.

Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD)
Any student who has a hearing impairment that severely impairs processing linguistic information through hearing, even with a recommended amplification, and which adversely affects educational performance must be eligible for consideration for the RDSPD, subject to the recommendations of the student’s admission, review, and dismissal committee.

The loss of learned skills usually after breaks in instruction such as summer vacation. The amount of instruction students need to recover or recoup their abilities may be longer than other students, and additional instruction may be needed to catch up.

Related Disorders
The term includes disorders similar to or related to dyslexia, such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability.

Related Services
A wide array of developmental, corrective, and other supportive services that are required to assist the child to benefit from special education. Related services do not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, the optimization of that device’s functioning (mapping), maintenance of that device, or the replacement of that device. Special education and related services are based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable. This means there is reliable evidence to demonstrate that the program or services are effective in meeting the needs of the child. Peer-reviewed research ensures that the quality of the research meets the established standard of the field. Peer-reviewed research may apply to academic, as well as nonacademic areas, such as behavioral interventions. Related services include, but are not limited to assistive technology, audiology services, counseling services, interpreting services, medical services, music therapy, occupational therapy, orientation and mobility services, parent counseling and training, physical therapy, psychological services, recreation, rehabilitation counseling services, school health services, social work services in school, speech-language therapy, and transportation.

Research-Based Strategies
Systematic and objective procedures resulting in and based on valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs.

Residential Facility (RF)
A facility that provides 24 hour custody or care of students who reside in the facility for detention, treatment, foster care, or any noneducational purpose. A residential facility does not include traditional foster homes licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Response to Intervention (RtI)
A process addressing the needs of all students through a continuum of services which provide high quality instruction and scientific, research-based, tiered intervention strategies aligned with individual student need; frequent monitoring of student progress to make results-based academic or behavioral decisions; data-based school improvement; and the application of student response data to important educational decisions such as those regarding placement, intervention, curriculum, instructional goals and methodologies.

The use of physical force or a mechanical device to significantly restrict the free movement of all or a portion of a child’s body. A school employee, volunteer, or independent contractor may use restraint only in an emergency and with limitations.

Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED)
Must take place as part of an initial evaluation or as part of a reevaluation. It is conducted by the members of the admission, review, and dismissal committee including the parent, but it does not have to take place in a meeting. Members review existing evaluation data about the child, including information provided by the parent, to determine the scope of the evaluation.

When a parent withdraws consent for the continued provision of special education and related services, the school is no longer required to make a free and appropriate public education available to the child. The child's individualized education program will no longer be in effect, and the child will be treated as a general education student.








Scientifically-Based Research
Research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs.

A behavior management technique in which a student is confined in a locked box, locked closet, or locked room that is designed solely to seclude a person and contains less than 50 square feet of space.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
A federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Under Section 504, a free appropriate public education consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.

Services Plan
A written statement that describes the special education and related services the local educational agency will provide to the parentally-placed private school child with a disability who has been designated to receive services, including the location of the services and any transportation necessary.

Short-Term Objectives/Benchmarks
The intermediate steps of progress toward mastering the annual goal. They provide a means to monitor a student’s progress toward reaching the related annual goal. Benchmarks or short-term objectives are required to be included in the individualized education program (IEP) of a child who takes an alternate assessment aligned to alternate achievement standards; however, they may be included in any student’s IEP.

Sign Language
A form of manual communication in which hands, limbs, head, facial expression and body language are used to communicate a visual-spatial language without sound.

Special Education (SpEd)
Specially-designed instruction at no cost to parents to meet the unique needs of the child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings, and includes instruction in physical education.

Special Factors
Includes assistive technology, behavior, blind or visually impaired, communication needs, limited English proficiency, autism, deaf or hard of hearing.

Specially-Designed Instruction
Instruction adapted, as appropriate, to the needs of the eligible child under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which may include the content, methodology or delivery of instruction; addressing the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability; and ensuring access of the child to the general curriculum so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the local educational agency that apply to all children.

Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)
The state certified professional responsible for the diagnosis, prognosis, prescription, and remediation of speech, language, and swallowing disorders. A speech language pathologist evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulty speaking, listening, reading, writing, or swallowing. The overall objective of speech language pathology services is to optimize individuals’ ability to communicate and swallow, thereby improving quality of life.

Speech or Language Impairment
A communication disorder or a voice impairment that adversely affects the child's educational performance.

State Board of Education (SBOE)
An elected 15-member board along with the commissioner of education who oversee the public education system of Texas in accordance with the Texas Education Code. Establishing policy and providing leadership for the Texas public school system are the responsibilities of the State Board of Education. By adopting policies and setting standards for educational programs, the Board provides the direction necessary to enable Texas public schools to prepare today’s schoolchildren for a successful future.

Student Success Initiative (SSI)
The SSI grade advancement requirements apply to students enrolled in grades 5 and 8 who take the state assessment in reading and mathematics at grades 5 and 8. The goal of the SSI is to ensure that all students receive the instruction and support they need to be academically successful in reading and mathematics.

Summary of Performance (SOP)
A review of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance which must include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child’s post-secondary goals.

Supplementary Aids and Services
Includes aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes or other education-related settings to enable children with disabilities to be educated with non-disabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.

Supports for Personnel
Training provided for educators who work primarily outside the area of special education, and who do not possess the knowledge and skills necessary to implement the individualized educational program developed for the child with a disability. The training must be based on scientifically-based research to the extent practicable.

Surrogate Parent
When the parents of a child with a disability are not known or cannot be located, or when the child is a ward of the state, the local educational agency (LEA) must assign an individual to act as a surrogate or substitute parent for that child. The surrogate parent works to ensure the rights of the child are protected. The surrogate parent cannot be an employee of the Texas Education Agency, the LEA, or any agency that is involved with the education or care of the child.








Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI)
A TVI can also be called a teacher of the visually impaired or VI teacher, and is typically a licensed special education teacher who has received certification and specialized training in meeting the educational needs of students who are blind or have visual impairments ages birth to 21.

Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR)
The TAPR provides a wide range of information on the performance of students in each school and district in Texas every year. Performance information is disaggregated by student groups, including ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The report also provides extensive information on school and district staff, programs, and student demographics.

Texas Administrative Code (TAC)
A compilation of all state agency rules in Texas. These rules are collected and published by the Office of the Secretary of State. Each title represents a subject category, and related agencies are assigned to the appropriate title. The State Board of Education and commissioner of education rules are codified in the TAC under Title 19, Education, Part 2, Texas Education Agency.

Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
As of September 1, 2016, programs and services previously administered or delivered by the former Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) have been transferred by the Texas Legislature to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHS).

Texas Education Agency (TEA)
The state department of education or state educational agency which is responsible for the public education of all students in Texas. The TEA works with local school districts to ensure that all public education laws, rules, and regulations are followed.

Texas Education Code (TEC)
A set of the state statutes/laws governing public education in Texas. It applies to all educational institutions supported in whole or in part by state tax funds unless specifically excluded by the code. The TEC directs the goals and framework of public education in Texas and is established by the Texas Legislature.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
The required curriculum for each grade level used in the Texas public schools. The TEKS are the state standards for what students should know and be able to do.  It is the general curriculum referred to in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The TEKS are available at the Texas Education Agency website at

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHS)
An organization that offers a broad array of services to meet the needs of people with disabilities, whether it is providing options to a family whose child was just diagnosed with disability, helping find independent housing, working with community partners to create jobs, or finding someone to provide services to keep people out of institutions.

Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD)
A fully accredited program under rules and guidelines of the Texas Education Agency offering high school diplomas, workforce certifications, and GED certificates. Students in the education programs are instructed in core curricular courses and a wide array of vocational and elective courses. According to state and federal guidelines, the division provides English as a second language programming for eligible students as well as special education and related services to children with disabilities.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
A special public school in the continuum of statewide placements for students who have a visual impairment. It is also a statewide resource to parents of these children and professionals who serve them. Students ages 6 through 21 who are blind, deafblind, or visually impaired including those with additional disabilities are eligible for consideration for services at the TSBVI.

Texas School for the Deaf (TSD)
A special public school for students who are deaf and hard of hearing and serves as a resource center on deafness for students, parents, professionals, and others.

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)
An organization that provides vocational rehabilitation services for youth and students with physical or cognitive disabilities, including blindness or visual impairments. TWC supported programs encourage students to participate in science, technology, engineering and math programs in order to promote pursuit of careers and educations in these in-demand fields.

Transfer of Equipment
The process by which the local educational agency that has purchased an assistive technology device may sell, lease, or loan the device for the continuing use by the child or adult student with a disability changing the school of attendance in the district or leaving the district.

Transition Services
A coordinated set of activities for the child with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child's movement from school to post-school activities or home-to-school for the child in early childhood.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. TBI applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, and problem-solving, along with sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.








Visual Impairment (VI)
Impairment in vision that even with correction adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. A licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist determines the child has a progressive medical condition that will result in no vision or a serious visual loss after correction.








Written Statement of Disagreement
An admission, review, and dismissal committee member who disagrees with the individualized education program (IEP) is entitled, but is not required, to write a statement regarding the basis for the disagreement. The written statement of the basis for the disagreement must be included in the IEP.

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