Special Education Glossary

Learn more about Special Education

 including many of the terms and frequently asked questions you will hear during discussions on the topic.

What is FAPE?

FAPE means free and appropriate public education. It is special education and related services that are provided at public expense, meet state standards, are appropriate and are provided in conformity with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

What is Special Education?

Special education is specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability at no cost to the parent. You may wish to read about the federal regulations that govern special education.

What is IDEA 2004?

• IDEA 2004 is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004
• It's a law ensuring services to children with disabilities
• It governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services
• It requires schools to adopt research-based methods for teaching
• Its purpose is "to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate education that emphasizes special education related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living" and "to ensure that the rights of the children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected…" (20 U. S. C. § 1400 (d)(1))

What are the disabilities that are covered under IDEA 2004?

• Mental retardation
• Hearing impairment (including deafness)
• Speech or language impairments
• Visual impairments (including blindness)
• Serious emotional disturbance
• Orthopedic impairments
• Autism
• Traumatic brain injury
• Other health impairments
• Specific learning disabilities

Who is a "child with a disability"?

A child who needs special education or related services because of a disability covered under IDEA 2004

What is a manifestation determination?

The review of all relevant information in the child's file and information provided by the parent to determine if a child's negative behavior is caused by his/her disability, had a direct and substantial relationship to the disability or was a result of the school's failure to implement the Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Can I review my child's records?

Yes, a parent has the opportunity to inspect and review all education records with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child and the provision of FAPE

What happens to my child's education if he/she is suspended?

The child will continue to receive educational services, participate in general education curriculum and make progress on the IEP

What is No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act 2001?

The purpose of NCLB "is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments" (20 U. S. C. § 6301)

What is an Interim Alternative Educational Settings (IAES)?

• If the child physically possesses a dangerous weapon at school, knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs at school or inflicts serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, the school may place the child in an IAEP while continuing to provide a FAPE
• The suspension cannot be for more than 45 days