Acronyms & Glossary




Tools and procedures that provide equal access to instruction and assessment for students with disabilities. designed to "level the playing field" for students with disabilities, accommodations are generally grouped into the following categories:

  • Presentation (e.g., repeating directions, reading aloud, using larger bubbles on answer sheets, etc.);
  • Response (e.g., marking answers in book, using reference aids, pointing, using a computer, etc.);
  • Timing/Scheduling (e.g., extended time, frequent breaks, etc.);
  • Setting (e.g., study carrel, special lighting, separate room, etc.).

Adapted Physical Education (APE)

A specialized physical education program for children with disabilities who may not safely or successfully participate in the regular physical education program.

Adoptive Parents

Adults who have been granted responsibility for a child through legal adoptive proceedings that relinquish or terminate the rights of birth parents.

Alternate Learning Center

An educational setting other than the student's current placement at which the student will receive special education services.

Alternate Placement

A temporary placement provided for students recommended for bilingual classes but for whom a bilingual teacher/class is not available. A bilingual paraprofessional may be assigned to work with the student in class with a monolingual teacher who has been trained in English as a Second Language approaches and methodology.

Alternative Services (also known as intervention/prevention services)

Services provided to general education students who are having difficulty in school. These services are an alternative to special education for students who are not classified as disabled or prior to a referral for a special education evaluation. Alternatives to special education may include reading and math remediation programs, guidance services and speech and language therapy that are provided within the school prior to referral for a special education evaluation.

Annual Goals

Goals written on the IEP that describe what the child is expected to achieve in the disability related area(s) over a one-year period. Annual Review: A review of a disabled student's special education services and progress that is completed at least once each school year by the student's teacher(s) at an IEP Team meeting. Changes in special education services may or may not be recommended at this time.


A process that begins each spring to determine a student's movement from elementary to middle or from middle to high school within the same program.


The process of collecting information about a student's strengths and weaknesses to improve his or her educational program. The information collected through tests, observations and interviews will assist the team in determining the child's levels of functioning and educational needs.

Assessment Authorization

A letter to parents that informs them of their right to obtain an independent evaluation for their child by a non-Department of Education independent provider at Department of Education expense.

Assistive Technology Devices and Services

An Assistive Technology Device is any piece of equipment, product or system that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability (e.g., a communication device, FM unit, computer access). An Assistive Technology Service is any service that directly helps a child with a disability select, acquire or use an assistive technology device. Any assistive technology or services your child requires must be listed in his or her IEP. If you think your child needs assistive technology, you may request an assistive technology evaluation.

Audiological Evaluation

A specialized hearing assessment conducted to determine whether or not a student has a significant hearing loss. Authorization to Attend Letter: A notice sent to parents after they have consented to special education services indicating the date on which the student will begin to receive the recommended special education services.


A developmental disability, significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects educational performance.

Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines and unusual responses to sensory experiences.

The term does not apply if a student's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional disturbance. A student who manifests the characteristics of autism after age 3 could be diagnosed as having autism if the above criteria are otherwise satisfied.


Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)

A plan to address problem behavior that includes, as appropriate, positive behavioral interventions, strategies and supports, program modifications and supplementary aids and services that may be required to address the problem behavior.

Bilingual Evaluation

An evaluation conducted in both English and a child's preferred language by professionals who understand both languages. The evaluation may be conducted by a Department of Education bilingual evaluator, an evaluator employed by an agency under contract to the Department of Education, a non-Department of Education independent evaluator or a monolingual evaluator with an interpreter.

Bilingual Instruction

Instruction in two languages (English and the child's other-than-English language) provided to English language learners who are either non-English speaking and beginning to acquire English or who are beginning to perform at more advanced levels of English but are not at the level of native English-speaking students.


Child Find

Ongoing activities undertaken by states and local school districts to locate, identify and evaluate all children residing in the city who are suspected of having disabilities so that a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) can be made available to all eligible children, including all children in public, private and parochial schools.

Class Size

The maximum number of students permitted in the recommended services and/or class. This is indicated in the IEP.


This term is taken from New York State law and refers to types of disabilities.

Classroom Observation

The process of observing a student during the school day in the classroom and other school settings to see how learning occurs and what behaviors are exhibited.


Another term used for a Department of Education assessment professional, such as a school psychologist or school social worker.

Commissioner's Regulations

State Education Department guidelines based on Federal and State education laws that specify, among other things, the steps school districts must follow in the special education referral, evaluation and placement process.

Committee on Special Education (CSE) Office

The "CSE Office" has historically referred to the Committee on Special Education Office and the teams that are housed in that Office, as well as other IEP Teams. Currently, the "Committee on Special Education Office" and "IEP Teams" are referred to separately. IEP Teams are located both at schools and in the Committee on Special Education Office, and they may be composed as either a Full Committee or a Subcommittee. The IEP Teams located at the Committee on Special Education Office and directed by the Chairperson are responsible for several groups of students.

These teams are responsible for all students 5 to 21 years of age who attend a school within the geographic boundaries of the districts that is a:

  • Private school
  • Parochial school
  • Charter school
  • State approved non-public school

The IEP Teams located at a Committee on Special Education Office are also responsible for students who reside within the geographic boundaries of the districts that are served by the Committee on Special Education Office and who are:

  • Students attending non-public schools outside New York City and New York State;
  • Students who receive home or hospital instruction as their placement on their IEP (please note that this does not include students on temporary home instruction, as these students are expected to return to their prior school);
  • Students who are being home-schooled; and
  • Students who are non-attending.
Click here to see the contact list for area CSE Offices.


The obligation of the Department of Education to maintain the student's special education records in a manner that assures that only appropriate staff has access to the student's IEP and records.


Consent must be "informed," which requires more than obtaining a parental signature. The following steps are taken for informed consent to be obtained:

  • You must be fully informed, in your preferred language or other mode of communication, of all information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought. Also, you must be notified of the records of your child that will be released and to whom they will be released. This includes providing you with information about what testing will be completed, if any, and where the testing will take place;
  • You must understand and agree in writing to the activity for which consent is sought; and
  • You must be made aware that the consent on your part is voluntary and may be revoked at any time. However, if you revoke consent, understand that revocation is not retroactive, meaning that it does not negate an action that has occurred after you gave consent and before the consent was revoked.


The range of education services in the Department of Education to support educating children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.


These services are designed to improve social and emotional functioning in the areas of appropriate school behavior, discipline, self-control, conflict resolution if your child is experiencing difficulty interacting appropriately with adults or peers, withdrawal or acting out, low self-esteem or poor coping skills that significantly interfere with learning. If your child requires services from a particular provider (e.g., guidance counselor, school psychologist or social worker), it must be outlined in the IEP.

CSE Office Record or CSE Office File

All of the student's referral, evaluation and placement materials including due-process notices, IEPs and school reports.

Curriculum Accommodations

Accommodations change how a student accesses information and demonstrates that he/she has learned the information. They may include the use of audiotapes instead of books, large-print books, Braille materials, use of a calculator for math or use of a word processor instead of handwriting.

Curriculum Modifications

Modifications change the way the curriculum is delivered and the instructional level, but the subject matter itself remains the same. Examples of modifications include redesigning the size or focus of the assignment.



A student with both hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with deafness or students with blindness.


A student with a hearing impairment that is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects the student's educational performance.


An IEP Team determination that a student no longer needs special education services.

Declassification Support Services

Services to support a decertified student to make the transition back to general education classes with no special education services. Declassification services may be provided for up to one year from the date of decertification and may include instructional supports and modifications, speech and language services, counseling services, etc.

Deferred Placement

During the IEP Team meeting, discussion will include a decision as to whether or not the recommended special education services should begin immediately. It may not be in a student's best interests to immediately implement the recommended special education services. This is referred to as a "deferred" placement and requires consent from the parent.

Due Process

The provision in law that guarantees and protects the rights of parents, students and the Department during the referral, evaluation and placement process.

Due Process Complaint

Also called a Request for an Impartial Hearing, this is a written complaint filed by a parent or a school district involving any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement or provision of a free, appropriate, public education to a student with a disability. This may result in an Impartial Hearing.

Due Process Hearing (Impartial Hearing)

A legal proceeding before an Impartial Hearing Officer who is not an employee of the New York City Department of Education. Both the parents and the school district present arguments, witnesses, if any, and evidence.


Emotional Disturbance

A student who exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects the student'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 generally pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression;
  • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

The term "emotional disturbance" includes schizophrenia. It does not apply to students who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

English Language Learner (ELL) (formerly students with limited English proficiency)

A student who speaks a language other than English at home and scores below a state designated level of proficiency in English upon entering the New York City public school system.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

A teaching approach and methodology used by trained English-speaking teachers for ELLs who are acquiring English-language skills.


Final Notice of Recommendation

A placement letter to parents indicating the special education services recommended and where the services will be provided. Parents are asked to consent to or acknowledge the placement.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

Special education and related services that are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge to the parent.

Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA):

A problem-solving process for addressing student problem behavior. FBA relies on a variety of techniques and strategies to identify the reasons for a specific behavior and to help IEP Teams select interventions that directly address the problem behavior.


General Education Curriculum

The body of knowledge and range of skills that all students, including students with disabilities, are expected to master.


Health Services

A type of related services provided to students who are identified as having medical and/or health needs that require the assistance of a nurse or health paraprofessional during the school day. Examples of this service may be feeding, ambulation, suctioning or catheterization.

Hearing Education Services

Services designed to provide instruction in speech, reading, auditory training and language development to enhance the growth of receptive/expressive communication skills.

Hearing Impairment

An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects the student's educational performance but is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.

High School Diploma

Given to students who have successfully completed either Regents exams or competency tests and course credit requirements as prescribed by regulation.

Home Instruction as a program recommendation on the student's IEP

Home instruction may be recommended by the relevant IEP Team for students with disabilities who have a medical or psychological illness which prevents the student from attending a public or private facility for an extended period of time (i.e., one year or longer).

Home Language Identification Survey (HLIS)

A parent questionnaire to determine whether or not a language other than English is spoken in the student's home.

Hospital Instruction

An educational service provided on a temporary basis to students who are hospitalized for medical conditions that prevent them from attending school.


IEP Diploma

The IEP diploma certifies that a student has completed IEP goals. IEP diplomas are not accepted for admission to college or enrollment in military service. Students who are participating in alternate assessment and are expecting to achieve an IEP diploma should discuss transition plans including post-graduation and career training during their IEP Team meeting. Students receiving IEP diplomas are entitled to remain in school until the end of the school year in which they turn 21 and may pursue Advanced Regents, Regents, Local, Careers and Technical Education (CTE or GED diplomas.)

Independent Evaluation

An assessment conducted by an individual not employed by the Department of Education. This evaluation will be paid for by the Department of Education only if the Department of Education's evaluation is determined by an Impartial Hearing Officer to be inappropriate or the DOE agrees to pay for an independent evaluation. This is not the same as an evaluation that a parent pays for on his or her own or through insurance ("private evaluation").

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

The IEP documents your child's eligibility for special education services and formalizes the school system's plan to provide special education services that are appropriate for his or her unique needs. It contains specific information about your child and the education program designed to meet these needs, including:

  • Your child's current performance in school and goals that can be reasonably accomplished in a school year;
  • Special education and related services, including counseling; speech, occupational or physical therapy; paraprofessional support; assistive technology; behavior intervention and modifications;
  • Participation with non-disabled children and/or mainstreaming opportunities;
  • Participation in state and citywide tests, promotion criteria and diploma objectives;
  • Date services will begin, how often they will be provided, where they will be provided and for how long;
  • Means of measuring your child's progress.

Individualized Supports

Examples of supports include rephrasing of questions and instructions, additional time to move between classes, special seating arrangements, testing accommodations such as questions being read or re-read aloud, additional time, etc., curricular aids such as highlighted reading materials, main idea summaries, organizational aids, pre-written notes or study guides.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA)

A Federal law that gives students with disabilities the right to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment from age 3 to the year the student turns 21 years or graduates with a high school diploma.


A person who speaks the parent's preferred language/mode of communication or the child's language and interprets meetings for the parent and/or assessments for the student.


Language Assessment Battery-Revised (LAB-R)

A test given to determine a student's level of proficiency in English and need for bilingual ESL instructional services.

Learning Disability (LD)

Learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which manifests itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities; of mental retardation; of emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

"Least Restrictive Environment" means that placement of students with disabilities in special classes, separate schools or other removal from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that even with the use of supplementary aids and services, education cannot be satisfactorily achieved. 

Click here for more information on Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

Limited Mobility

Students who have specific mobility impairments, whether physical or sensory, for whom the design of buildings may pose barriers and who, therefore, must be offered access to programs to the extent required by law.



Children who are identified as having an educational disability and receiving special class services full-time or for the majority of the school day must have access to general education classes and services to the maximum extent appropriate.

Mainstreaming is the placement of a child who is in a full-time special class or in a special class for the majority of the school day into a general education classroom with age-appropriate peers for the areas of instruction in which the child's disability does not impact on his or her ability to participate. A child may be mainstreamed in academic classes such as math, language arts, science or social studies or a non-academic program such as music or art.

Management Needs

The amount of adult supervision and any necessary environmental modifications required to meet a student's needs. This must be indicated in the IEP.


A person who assists students on the special education bus while riding to and from school.


A confidential, voluntary process that allows parties to resolve disputes without a formal due process hearing. An impartial mediator helps the parties to express their views and positions and to understand the other's views and positions. The mediator's role is to facilitate discussion and help parties reach an agreement, not to recommend solutions or take positions or sides. If parties reach agreement, that agreement is binding and may not be appealed.

Medical Examination

A doctor's report on a student's physical and medical condition that is taken into consideration during the IEP Team meeting.

Mental Retardation

A student with significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects that student's educational performance.


Describes a change in the curriculum. While accommodations are changes in formats or procedures that enable students to participate readily rather than be limited by disabilities, modifications are more extensive changes of both difficulty level and/or content quantity. Modifications are made for students with disabilities who are unable to comprehend all of the content an instructor is teaching. For example, assignments might be reduced in number and modified significantly for an elementary school student with cognitive impairments that limit his or her ability to understand the content in the general education class in which they are included.

Multidisciplinary Evaluation

The complete assessment of students by the evaluation team to determine if the student is disabled and requires special education services. This is also called a Multidisciplinary Assessment.

Multiple Disabilities

A student with concurrent impairments (such as mental retardation–blindness, mental retardation– orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes educational needs that cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.


Neurological Evaluation

A specialized assessment conducted by a neurologist to determine if the student exhibits signs of a brain dysfunction that may affect learning.

New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT)

The NYSESLAT is taken by English Language Learners (ELLs) in kindergarten through grade 12 who have been placed in ESL, bilingual or Dual Language classes. They will continue to receive ESL and bilingual services until their scores on the NYSESLAT indicate that they have gained sufficient proficiency in English to fully participate in an English-only program.


A student who is not classified as having a disability and receives no special education services.

New York State Approved Non-Public School

A school that provides a publicly funded special education program and that is not part of the New York City Department of Education.

Non-Public School Eligibility Notice (P-1R)

When a Final Notice of Recommendation for a special class has not been offered to a student on or before the 60th school day from the date of consent for initial referrals or from the 60th school day of receipt of referral for previously identified students, the Department is obligated to provide the parents with a letter (P1-R) on the 60th day that entitles the student to placement in a State approved non-public school at public expense.

If, however, there is documented parental delay (e.g., the parent refuses to consent to initial evaluations, the student moves out of New York City, the principal and parent agree to withdraw the referral, the referral is withdrawn by the referring party or the parent requests an independent evaluation that is completed beyond the compliance timeline), the Department may refrain from sending the P1-R to the parent for a period of time beyond the original 60th school day equal to that attributable to the period of substantial parental delay.

Notice of Referral

A letter sent to parents in their preferred language, if known, no more than five days after the receipt of a referral.


Office of Student Enrollment (OSE)

The central Office of Student Enrollment facilitates student placement, enrollment, zoning and choice programs on a citywide basis for all grade levels. OSE is also responsible for placing public school students in collaborative team teaching and special education classes once they have been recommended for these services and the student cannot be served in his or her current school.

Occupational Therapy

This will help your child maintain, improve or restore adaptive and functional skills, including fine motor skills and oral motor skills in all educational activities.

Orientation and Mobility Services

These services are designed to improve your child's understanding of spatial and environmental concepts and use of information he or she receives through the senses (e.g., sound, temperature, vibrations) for establishing, maintaining and regaining orientation and line of travel. They are provided to students with visual impairments.

Orthopedic Impairment

A severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputation and fractures or burns which cause contractures).

Other Health Impairment

A student with limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that is due to chronic or acute health problems, including but not limited to a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or Tourette syndrome, which adversely affects that student's educational performance

Other Support Services

Related services provided to students who require developmental or corrective assistance to be maintained in their current educational programs.



A person who provides assistance (e.g., behavior management, health services, transportation or toileting, awaiting placement services, alternate placement services, or sign-language interpretation) either to the entire class or an individual or group of students.

Parent Counseling and Training

If you, the parent, need some help understanding the special needs of your child, Parent Counseling and Training can provide you with information about your child's development. Parent Counseling and Training is typically provided as part of the program if your child is in special classes with staffing ratios of 8:1:1, 6:1:1 and 12:1:4. These are not adult counseling services and are not intended to meet your personal or educational needs.

Parent Member

A parent of a child with a disability in the school district who participates in IEP Team meetings and assists a parent of a child with a known or suspected disability in making educational decisions for his or her child. Parents have the right to decline participation of the Parent Member at IEP Team meetings.


When a party requests an Impartial Hearing or participates in mediation, pendency, a "stay-put" provision, allows the student to remain in his or her "last-agreed-upon placement" until the Impartial Hearing process (including all appeals) is complete, unless the parent and the IEP Team agree in writing to an alternative.

Persons in Parental Relationship

A person in parental relationship to the child, as defined in New York Education Law, including a father or mother (by birth or adoption), a stepfather, a stepmother, a legally appointed guardian or a custodian. A custodian is someone who has assumed the charge and care of a child because the parents or guardian have died, are imprisoned, are mentally ill, have been committed to an institution, or have abandoned or deserted the child or are living outside the state or their whereabouts are unknown.

Pursuant to Title 15-A of the General Obligations Law, which allows parents to voluntarily designate someone else to make educational decisions for their child, a person may be designated as a person in parental relation. The designation must be in writing and can be for no longer than six months at a time. If the designation is for longer than 30 days, it must be notarized and signed by the designee as well as the parent.

The person acting in parental relationship is called on by the IEP Team for involvement and consultation throughout the special education process. If the birth parents return to the student's life at any time and assume parental responsibility, the IEP Team involves them in the decision-making process and no longer recognizes the other parenting relationships that existed prior to the parent's return.

Physical Therapy

Uses activities to maintain, improve or restore your child's functioning, including gross motor development, ambulation, balance and coordination in various settings, including but not limited to the classroom, gym, bathroom, playground, staircase and transitions between classes.

Preferred Language

The language that a parent feels most comfortable speaking. This may or may not be the language regularly spoken at home.

Psychiatric Evaluation

A specialized assessment conducted by a psychiatrist to determine a student's ability to relate to the environment and the level to which emotional problems interfere with learning.

Psychological Evaluation

An assessment conducted by a licensed psychologist to measure a student's strengths and weaknesses in overall learning abilities and how he/she relates to other children and adults.



A determination of the provision of special education services made at an IEP Team meeting.


An updated evaluation(s) for a student with a disability. A request for this can be made by the student's teacher, parent or school district. Additionally, students with disabilities must be reevaluated once every three years, except when the district and parent agree in writing that a reevaluation is not necessary. A reevaluation may not be conducted more than once a year unless the school and the parent agree otherwise.


A referral begins the evaluation and placement process to determine whether the student has a disability and requires special education services.

Regular Education

See General Education curriculum.

Related Services

Services that may be given to special education students to help support and assist their participation in their school program. These services must be recommended on the IEP and are provided either individually or in groups of no more than five. Services include: counseling, school health services, hearing education services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/ language therapy, vision education services, orientation and mobility services and "other support" services.

Related Services Authorization (RSA)

An RSA is an authorization letter given to parents that allows them to obtain the services of a non- Department of Education independent provider of specific related services at Department of Education expense when the Department of Education has been unable to provide these services for the student within the required timelines.

Requested Review

An IEP Team meeting to review the child's IEP to determine if it continues to meet his or her needs. This review may be requested at any time by a parent, a teacher or other school staff member.

Resolution Session

A mandatory meeting that the school district must convene within 15 days of receiving the parents' due process complaint. The resolution session includes parents, members of the IEP Team relevant to the complaint and a representative of the school district who has decision-making authority.

Right to Visit a Class

Parents have the right to visit the school where their child will receive special education services. The parent may be shown a class that is an example of the program the student is recommended to receive.


School Health Services

A school nurse or paraprofessional provides services that are designed to address your child's specific health needs, as documented by his or her physician, to ensure a safe educational environment.

Social History

An interview with parents concerning a student's health, family and school background, including social relationships, that is used as part of a student's evaluation.

Special Class

Special Class Services are services provided for children with disabilities in a self-contained classroom. They serve children whose needs cannot be met within the general education classroom, even with the use of supplementary aids and services. In self-contained special classes, students must be grouped by similarity of educational needs. Classes may contain students with the same disability or with different disabilities as long as they have similar levels of academic and learning characteristics, levels of social development, levels of physical development and management needs.

Special classes offer different levels of staffing intensity depending upon the student's academic and/or management needs.

Specially Designed Instruction

Ways that special education professionals adapt the content, methodology (approaches to teaching certain grade-level content), or the delivery of instruction to address the unique needs that result from the child's disability. Specially designed instruction should also ensure that the eligible child has access to the general curriculum so that he or she can meet the educational standards of the school district that apply to all children.

Speech or Language Impairment

A student with a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment or a voice impairment that adversely affects that student's educational performance.

Speech/Language Therapy

These services help in the way your child understands sounds and language (called auditory processing), with articulation or phonological skills, comprehension, use of syntax, pragmatics, voice production and fluency.

Surrogate Parents

To ensure the rights of the student are protected, in the following circumstances, a person may be appointed by the Department as a "surrogate parent" to act in the place of parents or guardians:

  • No parent can be identified;
  • After reasonable efforts, the Department cannot discover the whereabouts of the parent;
  • The student is an unaccompanied homeless youth as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act;
  • The student is a Ward of the State and does not have a parent who meets the definition of parent. A Ward of the State is a child or youth under the age of 21 who has been placed or remanded through a juvenile delinquency, PINS or child protective proceeding; is in the custody of the Commissioner of Social Services or the Office of Children and Family Services; or is a destitute child not being cared for in his or her home.

Surrogate parents are not officers, employees or agents of the Department of Education or the State Education Department or any other agency involved in the education or care of the student.


Toilet Training

Toilet Training is a short-term instructional service to help prepare your child for independence in toileting. It is provided by a paraprofessional who schedules, instructs and assists the student.

Transition Services

A coordinated set of activities that:

  • Improves the academic and functional skills of the student in order to facilitate the student's movement from school to post-school activities such as post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation;
  • Is based on the individual student's needs, taking into account his or her strengths, preferences and interests, and includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives and, when appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.

Transitional Support Services

Transitional support services, such as consultation and/or training, may be provided to staff (generally for 30 days) who work with children with disabilities as they move into less restrictive settings. Although transitional support services are provided to teachers, the benefit extends to the child with a disability.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A student with an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force or by certain medical conditions such as stroke, encephalitis, aneurysm, and anoxia or brain tumors with resulting impairments that adversely affect that student's educational performance.

The term includes open or closed head injuries or brain injuries from certain medical conditions resulting in mild, moderate or severe impairments in one or more areas, including cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing and speech.

The term does not include injuries that are congenital or caused by birth trauma.

Travel Training

A service that teaches high school-aged students to travel to and from school or to and from the work-study site safely and independently.

Twelve-Month School Year Services (also known as extended school year services)

Twelve-Month School Year Services are provided to students with severe disabilities who require the continuity of education in order to prevent substantial regression in their developmental levels during July and August. This must be recommended by the IEP Team and indicated on the IEP. Parents must consent to extended school year services.


Vision Education Services

These services are designed to provide instruction for your child if he or she is visually impaired. They utilize Braille, Nemeth Code, large print, optical and non-optical low-vision devices and other skills necessary to attain academic, social, vocational and life adjustment skills, literacy and acquisition of information using tactile, visual and auditory strategies.

Visual Impairment

An impairment in vision including blindness that, even with correction, adversely affects that student's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

Vocational Assessment

Tests for junior and senior high school students to measure their interest and abilities in job-related areas. This assessment helps the IEP Team, the parent and the student to plan for the student's transition from school to post-school activities, including future career and job possibilities.



Opportunities for secondary students to participate in educational, vocational and work related experiences in preparation for the adult world.