Terms and Acronyms

For your reference, we have provided a brief list of commonly used terms and acronyms below.
For a more comprehensive list, please visit the glossary on PaTTAN’s website.



ADA Americans with Disabilities Act
Advocate Need definition
Assistive Technology Device A piece of equipment or product which is used to increase, maintain or improve the way a child with a disability interacts and communicates with the world around them
Assistive Technology Services Services to help a child with a disability use an assistive technology device. These services include evaluating the needs of the child; providing the device; and then training the child, the child’s family and the professionals who work with that child in the use of the device.
Child with Disability A child evaluated as having: mental retardation, a hearing impairment including deafness, a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment including blindness, emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, another health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities. And who, as a result of the disability, needs special education and related services.
Due Process The procedures that parents can use to disagree with the decisions of school district officials concerning special education. The parent is informed of this right by written notice, which describes the options of a pre-hearing conference, a formal hearing, and appeals.
Evaluation The process used to determine if a child has a disability and if special education is needed. The evaluation looks at how the child learns, the kinds of instruction that would be successful and the kinds of instruction that have been tried and have not resulted in success.
Evaluation Report (ER) The report that is compiled and written by the evaluation team (which includes parents) following an evaluation. It contains all of the information gathered from the team members, including the results of assessment. From the report, the evaluation team determines the student’s eligibility and need for special education programs.
Evaluation Team A team of educators, other professional individuals, and the child’s parents that reviews all formal testing of a child and all other evaluation material. The evaluation team must issue a written report stating if the child is a child with a disability who needs special education and making suggestions about the programs and services needed.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) A program of education and related services for a child with a disability that is designed to meet the child’s special education needs and which allows the child to make meaningful progress in the educational setting. It is provided without charge to parents.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) The plan written by the IEP team (including parents) that specifically describes the programs and services necessary for a free appropriate public education for the child with a disability
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA or IDEA 97) The federal law that governs the provision of special education services and the rights of parents of a child with a disability
LRE Least Restrictive Environment
MA Medical Assistance
MAWA Mutually Agreed Upon Written Arrangement
MD Multiple Disabilities
MR Mental Retardation
Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) The form issued to parents to inform them of the placement recommended by the IEP team
Parent IDEA 2004, which went into effect July 1, 2005 defines Parent as a natural, adoptive, or foster parent of a child (unless a foster parent is prohibited by law from serving as a parent); a guardian (but not the State if the child is a ward of the State; an individual acting in the place of a natural or adoptive parent (including a grandparent, stepparent, or other relative) with whom the child lives, or an individual who is legally responsible for the child’s welfare; or a surrogate parent)
PaTTAN Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (www.pattan.net)
PT Physical Therapy
PVAAS Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System
RAD Reactive Attachment Disorder
RAST Regional Assessment and Support Team
Related Services Services necessary to provide specially designed instruction to ensure the child benefits from the special education programs. Examples are special transportation, counseling, school health services and physical therapy.
RR Reevaluation Report
Special Education An educational program individually designed to meet the unique education needs for a child with a disability. A special education professional is directly involved as either a consultant or a provider of services.
Specially Designed Instruction Adapting the content, methods or delivery of the instruction as is appropriate based on the unique needs of the child with a disability
TDD Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf
Transition Services Specific planning in school that helps to prepare students with disabilities to participate more effectively in higher education or job training, community participation, independent living, continuing and adult education, and employment when they leave school
TTY Teletypewriter