Parentpals.com Special Education Dictionary

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Dictionary
DICTIONARY INDEX
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V

 

SECTION A
 

abduction
moving the limbs away from the body


abberation
deviation from normal

activities of daily living (ADL)
Everyday skills the person needs to learn to function: eating, dressing, bathing, hygiene skills, communication skills

acute
sudden onset and lasts a short period of time


adaptive development
How a child compares to other children the same age in regards to such things as motor development, speech and language skills, daily living skills etc.

ADA-Americans With Disabilities Act
a civil rights law passed in 1990 that does not allow discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, public service, and public accomodations

adaptive behavior
the individuals ability to act appropriately in social situations and to take care of their personal needs

adaptive physical education
physical education programs specified to meet the needs of special education students

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) (ADD)
student exhibits poor attention, distractibility, impulsitivity, and hyperactivity


adduction
moving the limbs toward the midline of the body

age norms
the average performance of an individual in various age groups

adventitious
acquired after birth, accidental


advocate
a person who helps take action for someone else who is not able to

affect
an observable emotion; anger, sadness, happiness

age appropriate
within the child's chronological age

air -bone gap
decibel difference between the air-conduction thresholds and the bone-conductive thresholds in one ear (usually 10 or more means there is a conductive problem)

akinesia
reduced voluntary movement


amblyopia
the child does not use her eyesight in one eye (lazy eye)

ambulatory
the ability to move around without assistive devices

amendment
a change made in a law

American sign language (ASL) (Ameslan)
most common sign language for deaf adults in North America. It has its own grammer.

amplifier
part of a hearing aid that increases the intensity or loudenss

amputaion
absence of a limb

anencephaly
absence of cerebral tissue

anomaly
irregular structure or function

anopthalmos
no eyeball

anoxia
a lack of oxygen to tissues which causes cell death or damage

annual goals
yearly goals documented in the Individualized Education Plan

antagonist
muscles resisting actions of others

anterior fonanel
the "soft spot" on the top of the head that usually closes over by 18 months.

anxiety
A feeling of panic which may cause palpitations sweating, and increased pulse rate


anxiety disorders
fear about people and places

anti-convulsants
medications to control seizures

APGAR score
score given to a newborn to identify infants at risk - coloring (appearance), heart rate, (pulse) muscle tone (activity), breathing (respiration), and response to stimuli (grimace) are assessed.

apnea
short stoppage of breathing

appeal
request, usually written to make a change in a decision

appropriate
the most suitable situation possible

apraxia
difficulty controlling voluntary muscular movements with usually no motor or sensory impairment

articulation disorders
difficulty with the production of speech sounds

aspiration
food or liquid entering the airway (trachea) below the level of the true vocal cords

aspiration pneumonia
inflammation to the lungs usually caused by food or liquid entering them

assessment testing and evaluation
used to decide if a person qualifies for special education services (may include social, psychological and education evaluations)


assessment team
a team of people such as the psychologist, speech pathologist, teacher, etc. who test the child

assistive technology
technology used to help a person with disabilities

asthma
a breathing disorder

astigmatism
blurred visuion caused by uneven curvature of lens or cornea

asymmetrical
one side of the body is different from the other

ataxic
poor balance

athetoid
unwanted jerky repetitive movements

at risk
children who may or may not develop problems in their development that will affect their learning process

atrophy
degeneration of the muscles

audiogram
the written results in a graph form of a hearing test measured in decibels (loudness) for each frequency (pitch)

audiologist
a specialist that tests and remediates hearing problems

auditory brainstem respnse (ABR)
A hearing test usually used with babies or other hard to test patients. The patient is usually asleep or lying very still. Electrodes measure resting brain waves and when sound is made. Also specific medical problems that may affect the persons hearing such as tumors may be discovered.

auditory discrimination
the ability to detect differences in sounds

auditory training
learning to optimize residual hearing by focusing on sounds in the persons environment

augmentative communication
special devices that provide an alternative for spoken language


A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION B


baseline

the current level the child is functioning at before instruction


bilateral
affects both sides of the body

binocular vision
the use of two eyes to see a single image

braille
a pattern of raised dots that are felt with fingers to help the blind read

 

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION C


categorization
the ability to sort objects by function, color, size, group, etc.

cause and effect
the ability to understand that a specific actions can make something happen

cataract
loss of vision due to a cloudy lens

central nervous system
the nerves that travel along the spinal cord to and from the brain

cerebral palsy
a disorder of the central nervous system which affects muscle movement

cleft palate
an opening in the roof of the mouth

congenital
present at birth

closed caption decoder
a device that makes captions appear on a television

closed captioning
the deaf/hearing impaired are able to watch the tv program, movie, or video by reading words printed out on the screen

cognitive
difficulty in learning in the areas of reasoning,comprehension and judgment

compulsion
a repetitive act that an individual can not consciously control

conductive hearing loss
a temporary or permanent hearing loss which occurs when something interferes with the passage of sound to the inner ear

confabulation
a person replaces memory loss by a fantasy

congenital
a condition that is present at birth

counseling
advice given by a professional

criterion referenced test
child is evaluated according to own performance, not in comparison to others

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION D


defense mechanism

ways an individual protects himself from emotions that are too uncomfortable

decibel
the intensity level of sound, loudness level

deficit
a level of performance lower than expected for a child

delusion
the person has an irrational belief that is associated with paranoia

depth perception
what the person is able to visually perceive at different distances

developmental disability
a condition that prevents a child from developing normally and often results in mental retardation or autism

developmental history
a record of the childs growth in areas such as walking, learning and talking.

developmental tests
tests that compare a child's development to others the same age

developmentally delayed
a child who acquires skills after the expected age

diagnosis
the problem identified after an evaluation

disability
a physical or mental problem that prevents someone from functioning at a normal rate

down's syndrome
a child born with chromosomal abnormalities which often results in mental retardation

due process
a procedure to help protect the rights of children with disabilities

dyscalculia
a learning disability in which a child is unable to do math problems

dysfluency
a break in the smooth flow of speech,stuttering

dysgraphia
a learning disability which impairs the childs ability to write

dyslexia
learning disability which impairs the child's reading ability

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION E


early intervention services
identifying and treating children before the age of 3

echolalia
the child echos what ever is spoken

eligible
qualifies for services

electroencephalogram (EEG)
it measures the output of the brain

epilepsy
a brain disorder characterized by seizures or convulsions

equilibrium
balance

etiology
the cause

evaluation
a process used to determine if a child qualifies for special education services

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION F

field of vision
the area a person can see around them without moving their eyes or head

fetal alchohol syncrome (FAS)
child may be born with low birth weight, severe retardation and physical problems due to mother drinking alcohol while pregnant

fine motor
hand and finger small muscle movement

finger spelling
hand shapes of the alphabet, a way for the deaf/hearing impaired to spell

free appropriate public education
a requirement that all school-aged children despite having a disability, be provided services in the public school system

frequency
It is measured in hertz - hz- the number of times a sound wave vibrates in a second



A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION G


gait pattern
walking pattern

grandmal seizure
severe epileptic seizure which often resuls in a loss of consciousness

gross motor
coordinated movements of all body parts

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION H


handicap
a physical or mental problem that prevents someone from functioning at a normal rate

hemiplegia
paralysis on one side of the body

hertz
hz, the pitch of a sound, the number of vibrations per second

homebound instruction
a teacher provided to students unable to attend school

hydrocephalus
enlargement of the head resulting from excess cerebral spinal fluid in the brain

hyperactivity
excessive motor activity or restlessness

hyperopia
farsightedness-difficulty seeing near objects

hypertonicity

increased muscle tone

hypotonicity
decreased muscle tone


A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION I


inclusion
disabled children receive services in their home school and are placed in the same classroom with non-handicapped children

Individualized Education Program (IEP)
a yearly education plan written by teachers, therapists, psychologists, etc. and the child's parents for school age children with disabilities

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
an education plan written by teachers, therapists, psychologists, etc. and the child's parents for a child birth through 2 years old with disabilities

interdisciplinary team
various individuals from different disciplines that assess children's needs (speech therapist, occupational therapist, nurse, psychologist, etc.)

interpreter
a person who helps with the communication between the deaf/ hard of hearing community and the hearing community

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION J


juvenile diabetes
excessive sugar in the child's blood and urine which could cause visual impairments, coma, limb amputation, and death if untreated

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION K




A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION L


language impairment
difficulty understanding and/or using language

learning disability
a child with average or above average potential has difficulty learning in one or more areas (such as reading or math) and exhibits a severe discrepancy between their ability and achievement

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
an educational setting which gives students with disabilities a place to learn to the best of their ability and also have contact with children without disabilities

legally blind
a visual field which is not greater than 20 degrees or visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye after correction

light perception
ability to detect presence or absence of light

light projection
ability to tell where light is coming from

low vision
impaired vision but individual is able to read print with or without magnification devices


A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION M


mainstreaming
some or all of the child's day is spent in a regular classroom

mental age
the level of intellectual functioning based on the average for children of the same chronological age

mental retardation
the child's intellectual level is measured below the average range usually below 70 on IQ tests

microcephaly
development of a small head with retardation usually occuring

motor development
the ability to move effectively within the environment

muscle tone
the amount of tension in the muscles at rest

multidisciplinary
a team of specialists such as a speech and language pathologist, psychologist, occupational therapist, used to help determine the students needs

multiple sclerosis
degeneration of the central nervous system due to a progressive deterioration of the protective sheath surrounding the nerves

myopia
nearsightedness-blurred vision with distant objects harder to see than near objects

muscular dystrophy
destroys muscle tissue which leads to a progressive deterioration of the body

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION N


native language
the child's primary language

neologisms
a child makes up words that only have meaning to them

neonatal
period between onset of labor and several months after birth

norm referenced tests
a child's performance is compared to others the same age

nystagmus
jerking of the eyes that can't be controlled

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION O


object permanence
the child is aware that an object still exists even when it is taken away

obsessions
a thought or action that a person does over and over again

occupational therapist
a therapist that focuses on daily living skills, sensory integration, and fine motor skills

opthalmologist
a medical doctor that deals with diseases and conditions of the eye

optometrist
examines eyes and prescribes corrective lenses

orientation and mobility specialist
a certified teacher specializing in teaching the visually impaired to travel safely and efficiently

otitis media
middle ear infection

otolaryngologist
an ear, nose and throat doctor

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION P


panic attack
symptoms of anxiety with no medical cause such as dizziness, palpitations, nausea etc.

paralysis
complete or partial loss of feeling or movement

paranoia
the person is extremely suspicious of others

paraplegia
the lower half of the body is paralyzed

partially sighted
individuals have sufficient vision to read print

peripheral vision
what the person sees outside of their field of vision by moving their eyes, not their head

perinatal
the period of time at or immediately following birth

perseveration
repeating an activity to an extreme that it interferes with other activities

petit mal seizures
a mild form of epilepsy with mementary lapse of consciousness

phobia
an irrational fear of something

physical therapist
provides evaluation and treatment of physical disabilities to help the person improve the use of bones, muscles, joints, and nerves through exercise and massage

placement
the program that the team of specialists and parent decide is the most appropriate for the student

policy/policies
rules and regulations; as related to early intervention and special education programs, the rules that a state or local school system has for providing services for and educating its students with special needs

postnatal
period of time after birth

prenatal
period of time before birth

private agency
a non-public agency that uses public funds to provide services for some children


private therapist
a professional outside of the public school system or agency

prosthesis
artificial device that replaces a missing body part

psychologist
a specialist in the field of psychology

psychosis
person has difficulty differentiating between fantasy and reality

public agency
supported by public funds and provides services to the public

Public Law (P.L.) 94-142 (now called IDEA-Individuals with Education Act)
a law passed in 1975 that requires public schools to provide a free and appropriate public education to school-aged children ages 3-21 regardless of disability

Public Law (P.L.) 102-119, passed in 1991
an amendment to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to provide funds for states to serve infants and toddlers (ages birth through 2 years) with disabilities

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION Q


quadriplegia
all limbs are paralyzed

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION R


range of motion
the amount a person is able to move their joints and limbs

receptive language
the understanding of spoken and written communication as well as gestures

related services
Other support services that a child with disabilities requires such as transportation, occupational, physical and speech pathology services, interpreters, and medical services ect.

residual hearing
the amount of hearing that is left after a person has a hearing loss

residual vision
the amount of vision that is left after the person has a loss of vision

resource room
a room that serves the children's needs to learn specific skills within the least restrictive environment for part of the day

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION S


seizure
a temporary burst of abnormal electrical activity in the brain

self contained class
a classroom specifically for special education students

sensorineural hearing loss
a hearing impairment that is usally permanent results when the inner ear or nerves which carry the sound waves to the brain are damaged

service coordinator
coordinator of an infant's or toddler's early intervention program

sign language
using gestures instead of spoken words to communicate

signed English
sign language that follows English syntax and grammar

spasticity
tense contracted muscles usually seen in people with cerebral palsy

special education programs/services
programs and services for children over 3 years old with special needs at no cost to families

special needs
- a child who has disabilities or who is at risk of developing disabilities that may require special education services

speech/language pathologist
a person qualified who improves and/or corrects communication problems

spina bifida
child is born with an open vertebrae in the spinal column

stuttering
disturbance in the fluency of speech

strabismus
crossed eyes

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION T


tactile defensiveness
child overreacts or avoids any kind of touch

tremor
consistent and uncontrolled movments usually seen in people with cerebral palsy

total communication
educating deaf students with a combination of speech and sign language

TTY/TTD
telephone service for the deaf/hearing impaired

tunnel vision
the visually impaired person has the feeling of looking through a tunnel

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION U




A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 

SECTION V-Z


vision specialist
a certified teacher who specializes in meeting the needs of children with visual impairment

visual discrimination
ability to detect differences in objects, forms, letters or words

visual acuity
how well a person perceives an object or letter from 20 feet

visual impairment
eyesight which cannot be corrected to normal

visual memory
the ability to remember visual stimuli by significant features on a short and long term basis

vocal abuse
screaming, yelling or overuse of the vocal folds

A
B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
 



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