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The ABC’s and Acronyms of Special Education

I thought that I left the world of acronyms when I retired from the military! Little did I know that special education has a language of its own. I have had translate for my husband in almost of our special education meetings. It can feel like everyone is speaking a foreign language in the room. This list will help you understand special education meetings in the future. This list doesn’t include every acronym, but it’s a great start of some of the most commonly used acronyms. I recommend printing this out to use as a reference tool in meetings. It's also useful to use when filling out any formal paperwork involving your child’s IEP.

Why are there SOOO Many Acronyms?

Almost everything is abbreviated in special education. It does get easier, but it can make the entire process so much more stressful. When in doubt, ask what the word or acronym means. Speak up and ask for an explanation to help you better understand what your child’s IEP or 504 plan entails. Take notes and keep track of everything. That’s why it’s so important to make an IEP binder and keep every document in the binder.

504                  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

ABA                 Applied Behavior Analysis

ADA                 Americans with Disabilities Act

ADD                 Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD              Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

APE                  Adapted Physical Education

APR                 Annual Performance Report

ASD                 Autism Spectrum Disorder

ASL                  American Sign Language

AT                    Assistive Technology

BD                   Behavioral Disorder

BIP                   Behavior Intervention Plan

BOE                 Board of Education

CBI                   Community Based Instruction

CI                     Cognitive Impairment (can be mild, moderate, or severe)

CP                    Cerebral Palsy

DB                   Deaf Blindness

DD                   Developmental Disability

DOE                 Department of Education

EC                    Early Childhood

ECDD               Early Childhood Developmental Delay

ECSE                Early Childhood Special Education

FAPE                Free Appropriate Public Education

FBA                 Functional Behavioral Assessment

ID                     Intellectual Disability

IDEA                Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IEP                   Individualized Education Plan

LD                    Learning Disability

LEA                  Local Education Agency

LRE                  Least Restrictive Environment

MDE                Multidisciplinary Evaluation

MDR                Manifestation Determination Review

MDT                Multidisciplinary Team

NCLB               No Child Left Behind

NEA                 National Education Association

OCD                 Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCR                 Office of Civil Rights

ODD                 Oppositional Defiant Disorder

OHI                  Other Health Impairment

OI                    Orthopedic Impairment

OSE                 Office of Special Education

OT                   Occupational Therapy
PCA                  Personal Care Attendant

PD                    Physical Disability

PIP                   Program Improvement Plan

PLAAFP            Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance

PLEP/PLP         Present Levels of Performance

PP                    Paraprofessional

PT                    Physical Therapist

RS                    Related Services

RTI                   Response to Intervention

SDI                   Speech Language Impairment

SEA                  State Educational Agency

SEP                  Special Education Plan

SLD                  Specific Learning Disability

TBI                   Traumatic Brain Injury

VI                     Visual Impairment

VR                   Vocational Rehabilitation

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