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primary           Special Education Procedures Manual


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Administrative designee

A person appointed by a school principal as his or her representative to serve on an individualized education program team.


The administration of standardized diagnostic test instruments, structured interviews, and focused observations of a student in a teaching and learning environment.  

The ongoing procedures that qualified personnel use to identify the infant or toddler's unique strengths and needs.

Also refers to statewide and district-wide tests that provide specific information about a student's academic progress in an established curriculum.

Assistive technology device

Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.

Assistive technology service

Services that directly assist a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device.  

Attention deficit disorder (ADD)

See attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD)

Also called attention deficit disorder.  A general term used to describe a syndrome of behaviors whose main features are inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity. AD/HD is now divided into three types:

Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP)

A written document that sets out the problem behavior and an acceptable replacement behavior. It also contains:

The IEP team reviews the effectiveness of the behavior intervention plan regularly and changes the IEP as appropriate.

California Achievement Test, Sixth Edition (CAT/6)

A test of basic skills given to students in grades 2 through 8 covering reading/language, spelling, and mathematics.

California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA)

An alternate assessment developed for use with students with moderate and severe disabilities who are unable to participate in more traditional assessment testing.

California English Language Development Test (CELDT)

A standards-based test of English reading, writing, speaking, listening used to identify and monitor English learners, grades K-12.

California Standards Test (CST)

A test designed to measure how well students are meeting the State Content Standards.

Case manager

A resource specialist, resource teacher, psychologist, nurse or other special education staff person assigned to coordinate the referral, assessment, IEP development and review, and reassessment processes, as appropriate, for an individual student.

Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

A committee made up in the majority of parents and guardians, including parents of individuals with exceptional needs, which advises the local education agency (LEA), for example, the local public school district, regarding the development, revision and evaluation of special education programs.

Designated instruction and services (DIS)

The instruction and services specified in an individualized education program as necessary for a student to benefit educationally from his or her instructional program.

Differential standards

Modifications in the standards of proficiency in basic skills adopted for students with individualized education programs whose IEP teams determine that they have not demonstrated evidence of the ability to attain the district's regular proficiency standards with appropriate educational and support services.

Due diligence

Due process

In general, the term refers to the right to fairness and equality under the law enjoyed by each citizen and guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. In the matter of special education, the term refers to the fact that legally specified principles must be respected and procedures followed to ensure that each child eligible for special education is treated in a manner that guarantees his or her right to equal educational opportunities. The term also is used to describe the steps and procedures parents and other persons may follow when they believe public schools have not acted to ensure a special education student's rights.

English language learner

An individual whose primary language is other than English and who lacks competence in the English language.


A system of assessment procedures, test results and interpretation of observations and findings that includes IEP team decision-making.  The IEP team determines whether a student has a disability and is eligible for and requires special education services to benefit from the instruction in the general curriculum

For infants and toddlers, evaluation means the description of the procedures used by qualified personnel to determine an infant's or a toddlers' present level of development.

Extended school year services (ESY)

Special education and related services in excess of those provided during the regular academic year to individuals with unique needs.

Free and appropriate public education, right to (FAPE)

The right that every school-age student with disabilities has to an education that meets his or her individual needs, whether in a public school setting or in a private school at public expense, if a public program is not available or appropriate.

Golden State examinations (GSE):  

An end-of-course exam covering 13 courses in English language arts, mathematics, science, history-social science, foreign language, grades 7-12.


Opportunities for students with disabilities to attend their neighborhood schools and participate full-time in regular classroom programs with their age-group peers. Inclusive education is not a program, but an evolutionary process in which the needs of the individual students are addressed by general and special education staff that help provide the necessary supports to meet the students' needs.

Individual Transition Plan (ITP)

The portion of a student's IEP that specifies goals for the student's transition to work and independent living and describes the services needed to help the student make the transition. An ITP is required for all students who have reached age 16 and may be developed, when appropriate, for students of age 14 or younger.

Individualized Education Program (IEP

 A written statement, based on appropriate assessment and developed by an individualized education program (IEP) team, that describes a practical plan for instruction of and delivery of services to a child with exceptional needs.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)

An individualized education plan for individuals with exceptional needs younger than three years.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The federal law that supports special education and related service programming for children and youth with disabilities. Formerly the Education for the Handicapped Act.

Informed consent

 Capable, deliberate and voluntary agreement to, or concurrence in, a course of action based on possession of information.

Initial Evaluation

The overall decision making in regard to eligibility for special educations.  Specific test results are combined with an analysis of the student's learning process over an extended period of instruction.

Least restrictive environment (LRE)

A learning environment for students with exceptional needs that best meets the individual student's needs while promoting maximum interaction with the general school population in a manner appropriate to the needs of the student and his or her nondisabled peers.

Licensed children's institution (LCI)

 A residential facility licensed by the state, or other public agency having delegated authority by contract with the state to license, to provide nonmedical care to children, including, but not limited to, individuals with exceptional needs.

Limited-English proficient (LEP)

Please see English language learner.

Local Plan for Special Education

Plan, developed by staff and community, describing services to be provided to students with exceptional needs in accordance with the provisions of SB 1345. All district and county offices of education receiving funding must develop a comprehensive plan and submit it to the State Department of Education for approval.

Low Incidence Disability

A severe disabling condition with an expected incidence rate of less than one percent of the total statewide enrollment in Kindergarten through grade 12.  Hearing impairments, vision impairments, severe orthopedic impairments or any combination thereof are considered to be low incidence disabilities.  For the purposes of this definition in CA Education Code, vision impairments do not include disabilities with the function of vision, which results in visual perceptual or visual motor dysfunction.


The practice of allowing students from a classroom segregated according to disability to participate in some specific activities within the regular education program.


A problem-solving activity whereby a third party assists the parties to a dispute in resolving the problem.

Mental retardation

Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a child's educational performance.


Changes made in a student's curriculum or in the way instruction is given to assist the student to overcome learning problems.

Native Language

The language normally used by the parents of the English-learning child.  Tests and other evaluative procedures should be administered using the child's native language or other mode of communication, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.


Under federal and state laws, in the matter of a child's education, a parent is:

Parent does not include the state or any political subdivision of government.


An evaluation that is conducted every three years (triennially) to determine whether the student continues to have a disability and to examine his/her educational needs and present levels of performance.

The due date for a three-year reevaluation is three calendar years from the date of the IEP meeting for the initial evaluation or the date of the last reevaluation or sooner if requested by the parent/guardian or teacher.

For infants and toddlers, periodic progress reviews are performed annually and semiannually.

Screening tests

Tests that are generally related to the early discover of developmental or sensory impairments that are known to impede learning in all individuals.  (e.g. vision, hearing, language or motor skills)


Section 504

A section of P. L. 93-112, The Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Act provides a comprehensive plan for providing rehabilitation services to all individuals, regardless of the severity of their disability. Section 504 of the Act provides for civil rights enforcement. It assures that children with disabilities not suffer discrimination in any program receiving federal funding.

Special day class

Classes for students with intensive educational needs that make it impossible for them to participate in the regular school programs for the majority of the school day.

Special education local planning area (SELPA)

The service area covered by a local plan for special education developed by a single school district, a number of districts working together under contractual agreement, or a county office of education.

Special education

A set of education programs and/or services specially designed to meet the unique needs of students with exceptional needs for whom individualized education programs have been developed.

Standardized Testing and Reporting Program (STAR):

California’s statewide testing and accountability system which is designed to measure how well students are learning academic skill

Student study team

A multidisciplinary team established at each school site to intervene on behalf of students who are experiencing learning difficulties.

Surrogate Parent

A surrogate parent represents an individual with exceptional needs in matters relating to identification, assessment, instructional planning and development, educational placement, reviewing and revising the IEP and in other matters relating to the provision of a free appropriate education to the student.  This representation includes the provision of written consent to the IEP including nonemergency medical services, mental health treatment services, and occupational or physical therapy services.  The surrogate parent may sign any consent relating to IEP purposes.  

Surrogate parent

A person selected by the local school district to act as the parent after determination that the child's actual parents cannot be located or after the child has been made a ward of the court and the court has removed the parent's right to make educational decisions for the child.  


A standardized series of questions, tasks or problem situations designed to determine a student's knowledge or to examine a student's learning processes according to established performance standards

Transdisciplinary team.

The group of professionals from various disciplines, agencies and parents who share their expertise and services to serve individuals with exceptional needs younger than three years of age and their families.