Glossary of Special Education Terms

Academic Assessment is a process undertaken by the classroom teacher to assist in determining the strengths and needs of a student. An academic assessment may consist of an examination of written school records, discussion with parents and appropriate school personnel, observation of the student and analysis of daily work samples. Board-wide and Provincial assessments (e.g. Balanced Literacy Assessment Measures; CAT-3; CCAT; EQAO) are important parts of academic assessment. Parents should be consulted but no written parental consent is necessary.

Articulation Disorders refer to difficulties in using the sound system of a language and are characterized by omissions, substitutions, distortions and addition of sounds in words. They may range in severity from mild misarticulation which is hardly noticeable to complete unintelligibility.

Assistive Devices Program (ADP) is intended to assist young people and their families with the significant cost of selected necessary devices designed to replace or enhance a weakened physical function. This program is operated by the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Audiological Assessment is an assessment performed by an audiologist regarding hearing loss and hearing problems.

Augmentative /Alternative Communication System (AAC) is a supplemental communication system which may use any combination of pictures, gestures, signing, or other forms of assistive technology for communication; user is generally nonvocal.

Behaviour Support Plan (BSP) is a written plan developed collaboratively by school personnel and the Child and Youth Care Worker, with consultation as appropriate by the Psychoeducational Consultant and family. The plan details the actions of both the school staff and student when particular behaviours occur.

Braille code is a tactile system for reading and writing, based on a cell composed of six raised dots.

CollaborativeTeam is a multidisciplinary group of Board level Special Education support staff that assists In-school teams in providing support to students with complex needs. The Collaborative Team consists of a School Social Worker, Speech and Language Pathologist, Psychoeducational Consultant or Psychologist, Special Education Liaison and Itinerant Child and Youth Care Worker.

Communication Disorder is impairment in the ability to receive, send, process, and comprehend concepts or verbal, nonverbal and graphic symbol systems. A communication disorder may be evident in the processes of hearing, language, and/or speech. A communication disorder may range in severity from mild to profound.

Conductive Hearing Loss is a hearing loss due to damage or obstruction in the outer and/or middle ear. It is generally of a temporary nature.

dB (decibel) is a logarithmic ration unit of sound used in audiological assessments to determine the degree of hearing loss.

Dysfluency (stuttering) refers to disruption in speech characterized by involuntary, audible or silent repetitions or prolongations of sounds, syllables or words.

Educational Assessment is a process undertaken by the Special Education teacher which complements the academic assessment. An educational assessment may consist of observation, informal and standardized individual or group tests. A written analysis of the information gathered assists school personnel in determining the strengths and needs of the student. Informed written parental consent is required.

In-School Team (Elementary) consists of the Principal, Classroom teacher, and Special Education teacher. Other school and system personnel may be included.

In-School Team (Secondary) consists of Principal or designate, Special Education Program Head, Guidance Counsellors and teacher(s). Other school and system personnel may be included.

Language Disorder is impaired comprehension and/or use of spoken, written and/or other symbol systems. The disorder may involve the form (phonology, morphology, syntax), content of language (semantics), and/or function of language in communication (pragmatics) in any combination.

Principal’s Report Written for an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) is a written summary of the student’s school history compiled by the Principal from school records and acquired data which complements the academic and educational assessments. This report is presently orally at the IPRC.

Psychoeducational Assessment/Intervention undertaken by the Psychoeducational Consultant or Psychologist may include standardized assessment of academic and cognitive abilities, learning styles and social/behavioural/adaptive functioning. The range of interventions may include classroom observations, review of student’s work and school records as well as interviews with the student, parents and appropriate school personnel

Safety Plan is a written plan developed collaboratively by school personnel and the Child and Youth Care Worker and family, with consultation as appropriate by members of the Collaborative Team. It details the safety considerations for the student/others in the school and outlines the steps to be taken by school staff in situations when the safety of the student/others in the school is compromised. See above re: Behaviour Support Plan.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss is a hearing loss due to damage to the inner ear and/or auditory nerve. It is generally of a permanent nature and amplification (i.e. hearing aids and FM system) is necessary.

Special Equipment Amount (SEA) is a type of specialized funding provided by the Ministry of Education to school boards to assist with the costs of equipment (computer/non-computer) that is essential to support students with special needs. The need for specific equipment must be determined by a qualified professional. Recommended equipment is meant to provide students with access to the Ontario Curriculum and/or to demonstrate learning.

Speech/Language Assessment is an assessment performed by a Speech and Language Pathologist. The assessment usually includes classroom observations, interviews with student, school personnel and parent(s) and both formal and informal testing.

Unilateral Hearing Loss is hearing loss in one ear and usually normal hearing sensitivity in the other.

Visual Efficiency is the degree or level to which the vision is used to obtain information effectively.