abstract thinking the ability to think in terms of ideas
accommodations adjustments or adaptations supplied to satisfy a need generated by an individual's disability
achievement test a test of reading, mathematics, and/or language skills.   The test provides scores based on grade level equivalents.  Each year the "average child will gain one year's (1.0) growth on an achievement test.
alternate assessment an evaluation using methods other than those applied to the majority of students in a class to assess a particular student's knowledge.
anosognosia the virtual inability to reflect on the nature and seriousness of one's own problems.
Asperger's syndrome (AS) a severe developmental disorder characterized by major difficulties in social interaction and restricted and unusual patterns of interest and behavior.
assistive technology (AT) under PL 92-142 (IDEA), schools are responsible for providing and maintaining computers and/or other assistive technology (AT) devices and services, if such services are included in the student's IEP.  Assistive technology, as expounded in PL 100-407, the Assistive Technology Act, for students with learning disabilities can include, but is not limited to, computers, taped-books, calculators, and electronic date books.
attention deficit disorder (ADD) a neurological-based condition in which the individual has difficulty directing or maintaining attention to everyday tasks such as learning and functioning.
autism a neurological condition characterized by severe language difficulties and a tendency to withdraw from external stimulation.
Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) a written plan for a child whose behavior significantly interferes with his learning and/or the other students' opportunity to learn, which specifically addresses those behaviors which interfere with learning.  This plan must include a functional analysis of the child's behavior, as well as nonpunitive means for the child to acquire more acceptable replacement behaviors.
bilateral integration the harmonious working relationship between the two sides of the body.
body image the mental representation an individual has of his own body, derived from internal sensation, postural changes, contact with outside objects and people, emotional experiences and fantasies.
CAMS Compensations, accommodations, modifications and strategies.
closure coming up with a "whole" conclusion by assimilating all the "parts" of a concept or situation.
compensations counterbalancing variations; using an equivalent alternative means to work around areas of disability
comprehension understanding
coordination the unified action of muscle groups in performing complex movements
corpus callosum wide band of neural fibers interconnecting the two cerebral hemispheres
crystallized intelligence storehouse of general information/knowledge; overlearned skills; rote "old" learning; information based on past learning
deficit a deficiency relating to a lack of skill or ability
development the interaction between maturational processes and environmental influences
directionality the projection of laterality (which developed within oneself) to outside oneself
discrimination the ability to differentiate between two or more sensory stimuli
DSM IV Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition
dysgraphia a specific disability in which handwriting is tremendously difficult
diskinesia an impairment of voluntary movement resulting in fragmented or incomplete movements; poor coordination
dyssemia difficulty in using and understanding nonverbal signs and signals; a nonverbal communication deficit
echolalia repetition of exact words spoken by another person, used in place of original speech
etiology source or origin of a syndrome or disease
eye-hand coordination the integration of visual and tactile systems which enables the hand to be used as a tool of the visual processes
fine motor the use of small muscle groups for specific tasks such as handwriting
finger agnosia inability to interpret sensory impressions with fingers
fluid intelligence practical, hands-on intelligence; how well a person "thinks on his or her feet"; how quickly and how competently a person processes and utilizes the information at his or her disposal
full inclusion a placement in which a special education student receives instruction within the regular classroom setting for the entire school day
gestalt perception deriving meaning from the "whole picture," without breaking it down into parts; "putting it all together"' a holistic view
hard signs refer to unequivocal, medically documented signs of brain damage, such as brain surgery, cerebral bleeding, hemiplegia, brain tumor or penetrating head injury (see also soft signs)
hyperlexia a syndrome which interferes with speech, language, and social interaction.  It may be accompanied by unusual or "different" behaviors.  Children exhibit an intense fascination with letters, numbers, patterns, logos, et5x., and a very precocious ability to read, spell, write and/or compute from as early as 18 months to before the age of five.
inclusive schooling educating all children, with and without disabilities, together in heterogeneous classrooms. Materials are adapted, modified and changed to accommodate the needs of individual students.  Inclusive schooling allows disabled students to exercise their basic right to be educated in the same educational environment as their peers.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) the specific educational plan and strategies designed for a student who qualifies for special education services under PL 92-142 (IDEA).   The IEP contains written annual goals and short-term instructional objectives tailored for the individual student, as well as standards by which these goals will be accomplished.  Modifications and accommodations needed by  the child in order to be successful in an inclusive setting are documented in her IEP.  Good IEPs are always driven by the child's needs.  They define the kinds of support the child will need and list the services the school staff will need to provide in order for these goals to be achieved.
Individualized Transition Program (ITP) the specific transition plan and strategies required for a student who is 16 years of age or older, who qualifies for special education services under PL 92-142 (IDEA).  The ITP contains a plan for the successful transition of the student from school to work, additional training or higher education and community living.
impairment a neurological blockage or barrier to expected development
integration see full inclusion
intervention the therapeutic and/or educational methods employed to aid a child once a disability has been diagnosed
Intervention-Based Multifactored Evaluation a collaborative, problem-solving process which focuses upon concerns which affect the learner's education progress within a learning environment
kinesthesis the sensory knowledge and awareness of the body and body parts in space; includes awareness of balance and motion
laterality the internal awareness an individual has of the two sides of his body
least restrictive environment a term from PL92-142 (IDEA) requiring that, to the greatest extent possible, students with disabilities must be educated with their non-disabled peers
left hemisphere the area of the brain which is specialized for processing verbal or language-based information.  This includes the  rote memory, linguistic, symbolic, linear and analytical functions of the individual.
low incidence disability a severely disabling condition with an expected incidence rate of less than one percent of the total statewide enrollment for kindergarten through grade twelve
mainstreaming placing students with special needs in regular classroom settings with support services
midline the imaginary line from the tip of the head to the feet, which separates the body into halves
modality a sensory mode utilized by an individual to receive and/or acquire information (i.e. auditory, visual, tactile, kinesthetic)
nonverbal learning disorders (NLD) a neurological condition believed to result from damage  to the white matter connections in the right-hemisphere, which are important for intermodal integration. Three major categories of dysfunction present themselves:  

1. motoric (lack of coordination, severe balance problems, and difficulties with fine graphomotor skills)

2.  visual-spatial-organizational (lack of image, poor visual recall, faulty spatial receptions,and difficulties with spatial relations)

3. social (lack of ability to comprehend nonverbal communication, difficulties adjusting to transitions and novel situations, and deficits in social judgement and social interaction).

occupational therapy activity intended to promote specific physical and /or sensory skills a child lacks
parallel activity an alternate assignment given to a student, in which the outcome achieves the same goal, but the methods and materials used to reach that outcome may be different
perception the mental interpretation of sensation receives from stimuli
perceptual-motor the functioning of the perceptual and motor processes together
perseveration the continued repetition of words or motions after the point where they no longer serve a useful purpose
pragmatics the relation between signs or linguistic expressions and their users
previewing presenting the student with materials to familiarize him with the subject matter before class instruction or a test
prosody the variations of emphases and intonation in speech
psycho-motor the relationship between the brain and the muscles
right hemisphere the area of the brain which is specialized for processing non-verbal or performance-based information.  This includes the visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative, and gestalt(holistic) processing functions of an individual
sensory integration the brain's ability to take in and synthesize multi-modality experiences perceived by the senses(vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, motion, and temperature)
Sensory Integration Therapy (SIT) developed by Dr. Jean Ayres, an occupational therapy treatment program consisting of exercises which encourage the individual to use as many nerve-cell connections as possible
sensory-motor the relationship between sensation and movement
social imperception difficulty  interpreting social situations; inability to read facial expressions, tone of voice, body language,or other cues
soft signs refer to minimal behavioral deviations in a child, reported by a neurologist, where traditional neurological examination shows no hard signs of brain  damage or dysfunction.  These indications, such as neuromuscular clumsiness, involuntary twitching movements in the hands, and poor directional sense, are strongly suggestive of abnormal functioning of the central nervous system.
speech and language therapy treatment of speech and language disorders, not limited to articulation problems, and including pragmatic language
strategies careful plans or methods employed towards a goal
support services speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive physical education, etc.
supportive teaching making accommodations and modifications which allow a special education student to experience success in a regular classroom
syndrome a set of symptoms occurring together
tactile having to do with touch
tactile-kinesthetic relating to the sense of touch and the feeling of movement; touching  and doing
visual discrimination visual adeptness at perceiving likenesses and differences in geometrical figures, symbols, pictures, and words
visualization the ability to picture, relate, and manipulate visions within one's mind
visual-motor the relationship between visual input and motoric output, as in copying text
visual-motor integration the coordination of visual information with motor processes
visual-perception how an individual interprets the things he sees
Williams Syndrome (WS) a developmental disorder affecting connective tissue and the central nervous system.  Characteristics of this disorder include heart disease, dysmorphic facial features, and poor visual-motor integration.
WISC-III Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (third edition).  Five subtests make up the verbal scale, and five subtests make up the performance scale.  The WISC-III provides three IQs: verbal, performance ,and full -scale.
white matter long myelinated fibers in the brain
504 plan Section 504 of PL 93-112 ( the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) defines a disabled individual as anyone who experiences a "mental, psychological, or physiologic disorder which interferes with [that] individual's civil right to one or more major life activities." If a student has a disabling condition which interferes with his ability to learn or perform up to his ability in school, the school district must draw up a plan of appropriate CAMS to be implemented for this student.  All special education students covered under PL 92-142 (IDEA) are automatically  covered under Section 504 of PL 93-112.   An IEP can serve in place of a 504 plan.