Terms A-C

ACCOMMODATION: Generally, an adaptation or modification that enables a student with a disability to participate in educational programming.

ACHIEVEMENT TEST: A test that measures what a student has learned in school.

ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR: A sort of "practical intelligence." It is usually measured by scales that identify how well a person manages within his or her own environment.

ADVOCATE: An individual, either a parent or professional with special knowledge or training concerning the problems of children with disabilities, who represents parents and children in due process hearings and other nonjudicial proceedings seeking enforcement of the education rights of students with a disability.

Having to do with emotions, feelings or attitudes.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITES ACT OF 1990 (ADA): Legislation enacted to prohibit discrimination based on disability.

AMPLIFICATION DEVICE: Any device that increases the volume of sound.

ANNUAL GOAL: A general statement of the intention to overcome a deficit in a specific area. It is based on a need identified through an evaluation process.

APHASIA: A receptive (taking in information) language disorder or, more commonly, expressive (speaking/writing) language disorder in children who do not demonstrate the ability to acquire meaningful spoken language usually resulting from damage or disease to the brain.

APPEAL: Procedure in which a party seeks to reverse or modify a judgment or final order of a lower court or administrative agency, usually on grounds that lower court misinterpreted or misapplied the law, rather than on the grounds that it made an incorrect finding of fact.

ARTICULATION: The production of distinct language sounds by the vocal chords.

ASSESSMENT: Specific features used to gather information and can include formal and informal tests; student records; work products; and observations of students in the classroom, other school environments, and the community.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY DEVICE: Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

ATTENTION-DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD): A psychiatric classification used to describe individuals who exhibit poor attention, distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

ATTENTION SPAN: The extent to which a person can purposely focus his attention on things or activities.

AUDIOLOGY: Related service; includes identification, determination of hearing loss, and referral for habilitation of hearing.

AUDITORY DISCRIMINATION: The ability to identify the differences between sounds.

Corresponds to “auditorily handicapped” and further corresponds to the Federal eligibility categories of deafness or hearing impairment. “Auditorily impaired” means an inability to hear within normal limits due to physical impairment or dysfunction of auditory mechanisms characterized by “i or ii” below. An audiological evaluation by a specialist qualified in the field of audiology and a speech and language evaluation by a certified speech-language specialist are required.
  • “Deafness” – The auditory impairment is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification and the student’s educational performance is adversely affected.
  • “Hearing impairment” – An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating which adversely affects the student’s educational performance.
AUTISM (AI): Means a pervasive developmental disability which significantly impacts verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. Onset is generally evident before age three. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routine, unusual responses to sensory experiences and lack of responsiveness to others. The term does not apply if the student’s adverse educational performance is due to emotional disturbance as defined in the New Jersey Administrative Code Title 6A, Chapter 14. A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three may be classified as autistic if the criteria in this paragraph are met. An assessment by a certified speech-language specialist and an assessment by a physician trained in neurodevelopmental assessment are required.

BASELINE DATA: Data that reflects the level and frequency of behavior prior to beginning an intervention.

BASIC SKILLS: Skills in subjects like reading, writing, spelling, and mathematics.

BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION PLAN: Integrating strategies for teaching and maintaining adaptive behavior and reducing or eliminating problem behaviors.

BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION: The shaping of behavior through a planned method of principles of learning in a controlled learning environment to minimize or eliminate negative behavior and emphasize and reinforce positive behavior.

CATEGORICAL PLACEMENT: Special education programs in which students are grouped on the basis of their IDEA eligibility category.

CEREBRAL PALSY: Nerve and muscle dysfunction resulting from a defect, injury or disease of the tissues of the central nervous system which alters a person’s movement or motor functions.

Requirement that states ensure that all children with disabilities are identified, located and evaluated, and determine which children are receiving special education and related services.

CHRONOLOGICAL AGE (CA): Age determined in years and months by birth date at a specific time such as time of the evaluation or grade placement.

COGNITION: The understanding of information in the brain: involves mental activities such as paying attention, perceiving, learning, making decisions, problem solving and memory.

COGNITIVE: A term which refers to reasoning or intellectual capacity.

COGNITIVE IMPAIRED: Corresponds to “mentally retarded” and means a disability that is characterized by significantly below average general cognitive functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior; manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a student’s educational performance and is characterized by one of the following:
  • “Mild cognitive impairment” corresponds to “educable” and means a level of cognitive development and adaptive behavior in home, school and community settings that are mildly below age expectations with respect to all of the following:
  • the quality and rate of learning;
  • the use of symbols for the interpretation of information and the solution of problems; and
  • performance on an individually administered test of intelligence that falls within a range of two to three standard deviations below the mean.
  • “Moderate cognitive impairment” corresponds to “trainable” and means a level of cognitive development and adaptive behavior that is moderately below age expectations with respect to the following:
  • the ability to use symbols in the solution of problems of low complexity;
  • the ability to function socially without direct and close supervision in home, school and community settings; and
  • performance on an individually administered test of intelligence that falls three standard deviations or more below the mean.
  • “Severe cognitive impairment” corresponds to “eligible for day training” and means a level of functioning severely below age expectations whereby in a consistent basis the student is incapable of giving evidence of understanding and responding in a positive manner to simple directions expressed in the child’s primary mode of communication and cannot in some manner express basic wants and needs.
COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION: A series of tests and observations; formal and informal, conducted for the purpose of determining eligibility for special education and related services, and for determining the current level of educational performance.

COMMUNICATION IMPAIRED: Corresponds to “communication handicapped” and means a language disorder in the areas of morphology, syntax, semantics and/or pragmatics/discourse which adversely affects a student’s education performance and is not due primarily to an auditory impairment. The problem shall be demonstrated through functional assessment of language in other than a testing situation and performance below 1.5 standard deviations, or the 10th percentile on at least two standardized language tests, where such tests are appropriate one of which shall be a comprehensive test of both receptive and expressive language. When the area of suspected disability is language, assessment by a certified speech-language specialist and assessment to establish the educational impact are required. The speech-language specialist shall be considered a child study team member.
  • When it is determined that the student meets the eligibility criteria according to the definition above, but requires instruction by a speech-language specialist only, the student shall be classified as eligible for speech-language services.
  • When the area of suspected disability is a disorder of articulation, voice or fluency, the student shall be evaluated according to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3(g) and, if eligible, classified as eligible for speech-language services according to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.6(a).
CONCRETE THINKING: Understanding of language which is limited specifically to an object, person or occurrence, connected with an inability to generalize beyond specific object or circumstance being thought about or perceived: considered lower level of thinking when compared to abstract thinking.

A repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms are violated through observable behavior.

Existing at birth.

CONSENT: A written agreement to carry out an activity after being fully informed in one’s native language of all information related to the activity.

The range of placements in which students with a disability may receive some or all of their individualized education program (IEP); these range from least restrictive to more restrictive: regular classroom, regular classroom with resource room, regular classroom with special class (self-contained), full-time special class, day school, residential treatment facility, and homebound instruction.

COUNSELING SERVICES: Related service; includes services provided by social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, or other qualified personnel.

Determine whether a student has mastered a particular skill. They compare a student to a standard of master. Criterion referenced tests assess how well a student performs on a test of a particular skill. They help determine a student’s educational needs and special education programming and placement.

CUMULATIVE FILE: General file maintained by the school; parent has right to inspect the file and have copies of any information contained in it.

CUMULATIVE RECORD: The complete record of a student’s educational experience over time that is kept by the school attended. General file maintained by the school; parent has right to inspect the file and have copies of any information contained in it.

CURRICULUM: Series of courses offered and/or required in a school. The curriculum for students with a disability detailing what students should learn, when they should learn it and how they should be taught is part of the IEP.

CURRICULUM-BASED ASSESSMENT: A methodology of increasing importance in special education in which a child's progress in the curriculum is measured at frequent intervals.