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Frequently used educational terms: learning and attention problems

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By Jan Baumel, M.S.

Primary Language: Language the child first learned, or the language that's spoken in the home

Procedural Safeguards: Legal requirements that ensure parents and kids will be treated fairly and equally in the decision-making process about special education

Pupil Records: Personal information about the child that is kept by the school system and is available for review by legal guardians and others directly involved in her education

Referral: Written request for assessment to see if the student is a "child with a disability" who needs special education and related services to benefit from her general education program

Resiliency: Ability to pursue personal goals and bounce back from challenges

Resource Specialist Program (RSP): Students receiving special education instruction can be "pulled out" of the regular education classroom for special assistance during specific periods of the day or week and are taught by credentialed resource specialists

Retention: The practice of having a student repeat a certain grade level (year) in school; also called "grade retention"

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act: Federal civil rights law requiring school programs and buildings to be accessible to children with disabilities; protects from discrimination

Self-Advocacy: Child's ability to explain specific learning needs and seek necessary assistance or accommodations

Special Day Class (SDC): Students in Special Day Classes (SDC) are enrolled in self-contained special education classes. They are assigned to these classes by their IEP eligibility and receive support from the Special Day Class teacher and the support staff.

Special Education: Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of eligible kids whose educational needs can't be met through modification of the regular instructional program; provides for a range of options for services, such as pull-out programs, special day classes; available to kids enrolled in public schools

Transition: Process of preparing kids to function in future environments and emphasizing movement from one educational program to another, such as from elementary school to middle school, or from school to work

Visual Processing: Among kids with normal sight, the ability to interpret visual information.

Jan Baumel, M.S., Licensed Educational Psychologist, spent 35 years in education as a teacher, school psychologist, and special education administrator before joining Schwab Learning. Today she is a consultant to local school districts and university field supervisor for student teachers.

Comments from readers

"I sure wish I knew about you and the services 5 years ago!!!!"
"Thank you! Going for a job interview in a couple hours and this was a wonderful recap of terminology and current practices used in Spec Ed."
"Want some additional information, answers to questions, or support? Please consider joining and posting them at the 'Learning and Attention Difficulties' group found here at GS to receive to receive practical suggestions from parents who have faced similar challenges:"
"Good Morning: I love your Web Site! Do you have any information or recommendations on public and/or private High Schools that are doing a great job helping students who have IEP's, and that need help with Math and or Language Arts? We have a daughter in the 10th grade. She does well in school and with extracurricular activities, but needs a little help. We find ourselves having to locate other options and don't know where to look. We have applied to other public shcools with a better reputation for students needing resorce help, via the permit process. We seem to run into the same problem..they either donot accept Permit Students that require Spec Ed. support, because they have to save their dollars for students that live in their district, or if they do accept Permit Students (Spec. Ed.) if you get accepted, they tell you that they cannot guarantee that your student will be able to continue through to graduation. Who wants to have their student at a school for possiblly one year! We appreciate any help that you can provide. Warmest Regards Mrs. C. "