Accommodations – Changes in curriculum or instruction that do not substantially modify the requirements of the class or alter the content standards or benchmarks. Accommodations are determined by the IEP team and are documented in the student IEP.

Achievement Test – Test that measures competency in a particular area of knowledge or skill; measures mastery or acquisition of skills.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Federal law requiring accommodations for people with disabilities in the community and workplace.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – A developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before the age of three, that adversely affects an individual’s educational performance. Other characteristics associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. Children with ASD vary widely in abilities, intelligence, and behaviors.

Behavior Disorder (BD) – A disability with one or more behavioral characteristics that are: 1) exhibited at either a much higher or much lower rate than is appropriate for one’s age; 2) documented as occurring over an extensive period of time in different environmental settings within the school and community; and 3) interfering consistently with the student’s educational performance and is not the result of intellectual, sensory, cultural or health factors that have not received appropriate attention.

Continuum of Services – The range of supports and services that must be provided by a school district that allows students with disabilities to be provided a free appropriate public education.

Due Process – A procedure guaranteed by federal law, for resolving disputes regarding special education services.

Early Intervention Program – Special education and related services provided to children from birth to age 5.

Eligibility:‌ ‌‌To‌ ‌be‌ ‌eligible‌ ‌for‌ ‌special‌ ‌education,‌ ‌a‌ ‌student‌ ‌must‌ ‌have‌ ‌an‌ ‌identified‌ ‌disability,‌ ‌as‌ ‌outlined‌ ‌and‌ ‌defined‌ ‌in‌ ‌specific‌ categories,‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌Utah‌ ‌Special‌ ‌Education‌ ‌Rules;‌ ‌the‌ ‌disability‌ ‌must‌ ‌adversely‌ ‌affect‌ ‌the‌ ‌student’s‌ ‌educational‌ ‌performance, and the‌ ‌student‌ ‌must‌ ‌require‌ ‌special‌ ‌education‌ ‌and/or‌ ‌related‌ ‌services.‌
Evaluation: Information the IEP team uses to determine eligibility and/or services for special education. Contains both formal and informal assessments.

Exiting/Graduation Options:

Regular High School Diploma: Awarded when a student completes all of the LEA’s requirements for graduation. Ends FAPE.
Alternative High School Diploma: Issued by an LEA or an adult education system, not an individual high school. Ends FAPE.
Alternate High School Diploma: Awarded to students with significant cognitive disabilities who participate in Utah’s Alternate Assessment and complete all requirements for the alternate high school diploma. Does not end FAPE.
Certificate of Completion: Awarded to students who complete 4 years of high school, but who do not meet the requirements for a regular high school diploma. Does not end FAPE.
Career Development Credential:  Career-focused, work experience credential available to students on an IEP or Section 504 Plan. Does not end FAPE.

Extended School Year Services (ESY) – Special education and related services provided to a qualified student with disabilities beyond the normal school year, in accordance with the student’s Individual Education Plan and at no cost to the parent of the child. The need for Extended Services is determined by the student’s IEP team.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) Free, appropriate public education, or FAPE, means special education and related services that are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge.

Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) – A process of attempting to understand the purpose, motivation, and correlates of problem behavior. The result of the process is the development of appropriate behavior support and management plan.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)IDEA is an acronym for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, our nation’s special education law.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) – The annually written record of an eligible individual’s special education and related services. The IEP describes the unique educational needs of the student and the manner in which those educational needs will be met.

IEP Team Members: Parents of the student, or the student if over age 18; LEA (definition below); special education teacher; regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment); someone who can interpret test results, and other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student, invited at the discretion of the parent, adult student, or the school.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) – A written plan for providing early intervention services to an eligible individual and to the individual’s family.

LEA: Local Education Agency. Someone who is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities; is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum, and is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency. Generally, a principal or their agent, or someone from the school district.

Learning Disability (LD) – A disability in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. This includes conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, and developmental aphasia. The term does not apply to individuals who have learning problems that are primarily the result of physical or mental disabilities, behavior disorders, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantages.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) – A federal mandate that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled.

Modification – Changes in curriculum or instruction that substantially change the requirements of the class or substantially alter the content standards or benchmarks.

Notice of Meeting: A document that includes the purpose, time, location, and who will attend a student’s IEP meeting, including any team members’ excusal requests.

Occupational Therapy (OT) – A special education related service which is usually focused on the development of a student’s fine motor skills and/or the identification of adapted ways of accomplishing activities of daily living when a student’s disabilities preclude doing those tasks in typical ways (e.g. modifying clothing so a person without arms can dress himself/herself).

Physical Therapist (PT) – A licensed health professional who applies principles, methods and procedures for analyzing motor or sensorimotor functions to determine the educational significance of the identified areas including areas such as mobility and positioning in order to provide planning, coordination, and the implementation of strategies for eligible individuals.

Procedural Safeguards: The laws and regulations of IDEA that protect the rights of children with disabilities and their families, particularly regarding access to FAPE.

Progress Reports: Report on the student’s progress toward their IEP goals and must contain a description of how the child’s progress toward meeting the goals will be measured, and when periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals will be provided.

Related Services: Transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.

School Psychologist – A trained professional who assists in the identification of needs regarding behavioral, social, emotional, educational and vocational functioning of individuals; analyzes and integrates information, and consults with school personnel and parents regarding planning, implementing and evaluating individuals and families.

School Social Worker – A trained professional who supports the educational program of individuals by assisting in identification and assessment of the individual’s educational needs including social, emotional, behavioral and adaptive needs; provides intervention services including individual, group, parent and family counseling; provides consultation and planning; serves as a liaison among home, school and community.

Severely Disabled – Individuals with any severe disability including those who profoundly multiply disabled.

Special Education (SPED): Specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and instruction in physical education.

Specially Designed Instruction: Adapting as appropriate the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of a child that result from the child’s disability and to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum (standards).

Speech-language Pathologist (SLP) – A trained professional who analyzes speech and language comprehension and production to determine communication competencies and provides intervention strategies and services related to speech and language development as well as disorders of language, voice, articulation, and fluency.

Supplementary Aids and Services: Aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings, to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.

Transition Services: A coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. It is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences, and interests, and includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation.

UPIPS: Utah Special Education Program Improvement Planning System. System of monitoring special education compliance throughout the state. The focus is on improving academic and social outcomes for students through special education.

UPC: Utah Parent Center. Utah’s Parent Training and Information Center is responsible for supporting families in understanding the special education process.

USBE: Utah State Board of Education. Responsible for providing technical assistance and supports to the Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in the state of Utah.

Utah Special Education Rules: A document produced by USBE that outlines special education rules for students and parents under IDEA. The document can be found here:

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) – Federal program that provides transition supports for eligible students who receive special education services in high school. Referral to Vocational Rehabilitation is determined by the IEP team during the student’s junior year in high school. For more information contact your child’s special education teacher or guidance counselor.