These are some helpful terms to guide parents, teachers and therapists with regard to special education and speech-language therapy programs at Warner Elementary.
Admissions and Release Committee (ARC)
††††††††††† An ARC is a group of people who work with a student to determine what services a student needs in order to access the general curriculum.† This team is comprised of (but not limited to) the studentís parents, regular education teacher, special educator, therapists (if student has therapies), and a school administrator (meeting coordinator/liaison).† Each student identified with a disability must have a meeting every year to discuss progress and develop a new Individual Education Program (IEP).† Evaluations are completed at least every three years or as requested by parent (or ARC members if need arises).† An ARC can come together anytime an issue related to special education services arises with a student and any ARC member can request a meeting.† Initial ARCs come together to conduct initial evaluations and determine if student are eligible for special education services.††
Referral (for special education evaluation)
††††††††††† When a student is suspected of having a disability, the studentís classroom teacher makes a request for a support team meeting, and the student goes through our schoolís support team process.† If screening results warrant, or if intervention strategies suggested by the support team are unsuccessful, then a referral for special education evaluation is initiated.† The regular education teacher is provided with referral forms to complete and return to the schoolís social worker or guidance counselor.† After all information is completed, the forms are sent to Central Office where the chairperson for our meetings contacts and schedules a meeting with the studentís parents and teachers.† At this meeting, our concerns are discussed with the parents and permission to evaluate is obtained.† After all involved parties conduct the evaluation (within 60 days), another meeting is scheduled to discuss evaluation results, provide recommendations, develop an IEP (if student qualifies), and obtain parental permission for services.
Individual Education Program (IEP)
††††††††††† An IEP is a yearly plan written for a student that carries the weight of federal and state law.† It is a plan of action for a given student based on their academic, social, communication, physical, vocational, recreational, or cognitive needs.† It provides written goals and objectives that serve as a guide for the regular educator and special educator to implement in hopes of raising that studentís level of performance to a level that is commensurate with same-aged peers.†† It provides in writing who, where, when, and how special education and regular education services will be provided for that student.† The IEP document is developed at a studentís ARC meeting by everyone that works with that student.†
Specially Designed Instruction /Specifically Designed Instruction (SDI)
††††††††††† This term is found on the IEP and is an outline of the modifications, equipment and prompting methods the special educator will use to help the student reach the intended objective.† These are strategies that everyone who works with the student should use to help the student meet the objective.† Some terms associated with SDI might include:† verbal prompting, paraphrasing, scribing, repetitive instruction, increased response time, cue cards, physical prompts, graphic organizers, checklists, direct instruction, and shortened assignments.
††††††††††† These are strategies and materials that are used to help a student with an IEP meet objectives or participate in the classroom environment.† Specially designed instruction items can also be included in this section to ensure the student receives the benefit of the modification.†† Modifications are the changes that are made to a lesson or activity to allow the student with a disability to complete it successfully.† These strategies, environmental changes and equipment should be used by the student in the regular classroom on a daily basis.† Modifications can be items, such as dictionaries or thesauri; equipment such as computers, Alpha-smarts, Franklin spellers or voice-output devices; specially constructed items, such as cue cards, communication booklets or checklists; or environmental considerations, such as small group or individual setting; or actions that teachers/special educators use to help meet goals, such as paraphrasing, scribing, reading, redirecting, periodic breaks or reinforcement schedules.††† Modifications depend on the needs of each student and are usually located on the back page of the IEP.†
Please note:† in order for a student to have modifications during standardized testing (CATS), the special educator AND regular educator must use these strategies throughout the year with the student.† For standardized testing purposes, only the modifications listed on the IEP can be used in the test setting.† For daily instructional purposes, a teacher is limited only by their imagination as to what modifications and strategies to use with a given student to help them succeed.
Learning Disability (LD)
††††††††††† A learning disability is a discrepancy between the studentís Intelligence and their Achievement on standardized tests.† The school psychologist evaluates and looks for scores on standardized measures of intelligence the average or above average range, and scores on standardized measures of achievement significantly lower.†† A learning disability can occur in reading fluency, reading comprehension, math reasoning, math computation and writing skills.††
Please Note:† Many times, when students donít qualify in this area,†† These are the students who should have remedial services in place for the areas of concern identified.† While the student is struggling, it is not due to a handicapping condition.
Mild Mental Disability (MMD)
††††††††††† A mild mental disability is determined when a student scores at least two standard deviations below the mean or average score on standardized tests of intelligence.† Most standardized measures of intelligence have a mean or average of 100, with a deviation of 15.† This would mean that the student has a score of 70 to 55 on standardized measures of intelligence.† These students may have difficulty with all academic areas, comprehending higher level material, and reasoning skills.
Functional Mental Disability (FMD)
††††††††††† A functional mental disability occurs when the scores on standardized measures of intelligence fall at 55 or below.† Usually these students have extreme difficulty in all areas of functioning.†
Multiple Disability (MD)
††††††††††† A multiple disability is a disability in two or more areas, such as MMD and Communication, or FMD and Other Heath Impaired (OHI).
Developmental Delay (DD)
††††††††††† A developmental delay is an identified disability in two or more areas with onset prior to age 9.† This disability can be in any combination of developmental areas such as physical, communication, cognitive, social, academic, vocational, or recreational functioning.† A student entering elementary with this disability label is expected to improve given early intervention.† Students with developmental delays must be re-evaluated prior to the age of 9, as this is the cut-off age for the developmental delay label.
††††††††††† Autism is defined as a severe disorder of social interaction, communication and restrictive repetitive responses.† Autism mainly manifests itself as a severe language disorder, where the student does not verbally respond to social communication attempts and has difficulty with comprehension of verbal and written communication. †There is a lack of understanding of the rules of communication and social pragmatic skills are impaired.† The intelligence levels of students with this label are uncertain, due to the lack of ability to respond appropriately.† Many students with Autism can read, but have difficulty comprehending material.† Many students with autism have difficulty with variations in their daily routines and can be upset by stimuli that are not bothersome to most people.†† Hypersensitivity to external stimuli, perseveration of activities and routines, repetitive/echolalic speech are some characteristics that may be observed.†
††††††††††† Autism is one disorder in a group of disorders called Pervasive Developmental Disorders or (PDD).† Some professionals use these labels interchangeably; however, under the PDD umbrella include other autistic related disorders such as Rettís, Aspergerís or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
Other Health Impaired (OHI)
††††††††††† The OHI label can refer to a student who has some type of health impairment that prohibits them from accessing the general curriculum at a level comparable to peers.† Included in this label may be students with Cerebral Palsy, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Arthrogrycopsis, or any variety of physically impairing disorders.
Speech-Language Impairment/Communication Disorder
A speech or language impairment occurs when a student has difficulty producing speech or difficulty with comprehension or expression of language in the classroom setting.† There are four main areas of speech-language impairments:† speech sound production/articulation, fluency, voice and oral language.† For additional information on each disorder, refer to the appropriate vocabulary reference.
Speech Sound Disorder/Articulation Disorder
A speech sound production disorder is indicated when the student has difficulty being understood by others in the classroom setting.† Any student you have difficulty understanding should be referred for screening.† Any student eight years old or older that has speech sound errors should be screened by a speech-language pathologist.† The most common errors are /r, s, l /.† Some difficulties with understanding a studentís speech may† †be due to physical structures of the oral area.† Advancements in orthodontics make early identification very important, as the specialists can work on remediation of abnormalities at an early age.
Fluency Disorder / Stuttering Disorder
A fluency disorder is indicated when a student has difficulty with speaking fluently across settings.† You may hear part-word repetitions (Ba-Ba-Baby), whole word repetitions (I, I, I went to the store), sound repetitions (w-w-w-when), or long hesitations or pauses.† To be disabling, these would occur at 10 times per 100 words spoken.† You may also see struggle behaviors, such as facial grimaces, jerks or abnormal movements during a moment of stuttering.† Sometimes children who stutter refrain from speaking except when spoken to, and may be hesitant to elaborate during classroom conversations and discussions. Fluency disorders may cause some emotional difficulty for the student.† Early identification and remediation are imperative to the studentís future success academically and socially.† There are many strategies that teachers can use to help students speak more fluently in the classroom and reduce stuttering behaviors.† Please see the speech-language pathologist for more information.
Language Impairment / Expressive-Receptive Language Disorder
A language disorder occurs when a student has difficulty understanding what has been said to them (receptive language) and/or has difficulty expressing their thoughts and ideas (expressive language).† In the school setting, language disorders occur when students have difficulty understanding verbal directions, comprehending material presented orally, and participating in classroom discussions.† Generally these students have weak and limited vocabulary skills, poor sentence structure and grammar when they speak.†† These students usually provide one-word answers or simple sentences, without usage of complex sentences and conjunctions.† They often have difficulty remembering peopleís names, and use similar names interchangeably (e.g.; Mrs. Addington & Mrs. Appling). These students usually donít volunteer to answer questions, have difficulty with higher level language understanding (such as jokes, verbal absurdities, and slang expressions).†
Difficulties in oral language directly impact written language ability.† Usually, students with oral language impairments have difficulties with generating topics for conversation, sequencing and memory skills, spelling/understanding the sound system of language, reading comprehension, and concept development.† Since most classroom material is presented orally, these students will struggle academically.† For more information on identifying students with potential disorders in this area, please refer to reference documents in the toolkit.
A voice disorder occurs when a student does not produce a voice that sounds appropriate for their age and gender.† The most common voice disorder in children is vocal nodules, or small, callus-like bumps on the vocal cords caused by excessive yelling and shouting.† Other disorders include disorders of pitch (sounds too high or too low for age and gender); nasality (sounds either too nasal or sounds like the child has a cold); quality (too hoarse or breathy); or breathing (produces too much air or too little air when speaking).† Disorders of the voice may be caused by a medical condition.† It is imperative that any child who has an abnormal voice for more than 2-3 weeks be referred to the speech-language pathologist for screening, so a timely referral to a physician can be made.
††††††††††† The resource setting is a location outside of the regular classroom where the student identified with special education needs receives specially designed instruction.† The special educatorís classroom or therapistís classroom is considered a resource room.† A resource setting is used when the student is distracted by the regular classroom, instruction differs from that which is occurring in the classroom, or the studentís behaviors distract others in the instructional setting.
††††††††††† Collaboration occurs when specially designed instruction is conducted in the classroom and teachers, special educators and aides work to meet the studentís needs during daily activities.† It includes putting modifications in place for daily use in the classroom setting, consulting between special educators and classroom teachers to help them make modifications when the special educator is not present, and co-teaching in the classroom, with both regular and special educator taking on instructional roles.† Collaborative settings work when the special educator is able to work with the student on their IEP objectives within context of the ongoing activity.†† Collaboration is more successful when the skill to be worked on is close to those of peers.† A collaborative setting may not be warranted if the skill to be worked on is markedly different from those of peers or when student is distracted and not participating in the regular classroom setting.†