Glossary of Special Needs Terms for Southeast Georgia

School Bus & Children

Access Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities: 

The special education program for high school students with disabilities who are significantly cognitively disabled and are in Mild, Moderate or Severe and Profound classes.


Students require a significantly modified, integrated curriculum based on functional life skills instead of the general education curriculum with/without support. They earn Carnegie Units/Access credits which along with other requirements lead to a regular education diploma.


A change in instruction or setting that enables students to demonstrate their abilities in the classroom or an assessment/test setting. Accommodations are designed to provide equity, not advantage, for students with disabilities. Accommodations include assistive technology as well as alterations to presentation, response, scheduling, or settings. When used appropriately, they reduce or even eliminate the effects of a student’s disability but do not reduce or lower the standards or expectations for content. Accommodations that are allowed and appropriate for assessments do not invalidate assessment results.

Adapted Physical Education (AdPE): 

AdPE is physical education that has been modified so that students with disabilities who are unable to participate in regular PE can participate in a modified or adapted PE.


Alternative Teaching: 

A co-teaching model used in a class when several students need specialized instruction. One teacher takes responsibility for the large group while the other teacher works with the smaller group.


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA):

ABA is a scientifically designed teaching method that utilizes rewards to teach specific behaviors and skills and reduce unwanted behaviors.


Asperger’s Syndrome (AS): A neurological disorder which is noted as a mild form of Autism Spectrum Disorder that is characterized by differences in responses to sensory stimuli, impaired language or communication, and persistent difficulty in understanding social situations. Although individuals with AS usually have average or above average intelligence, they may also have learning disabilities in specific areas and difficulties in turn taking or perspective taking.


Assistive Technology (AT): 

The systematic application of technology, engineering methodologies, or scientific principles to meet the needs of, and address the barriers confronted by persons with developmental disabilities in areas including education, employment, supported employment, transportation, independent living, and other community living arrangements.


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 students with disabilities. Low and high technology devices may be purchased, constructed or modified to meet the student’s needs. Examples of commonly used devices are a pencil grip, Boardmaker, specialized software, or low or high voice output devices.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): 

A condition in which a child exhibits signs of developmentally inappropriate hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. These characteristics are usually present before the age of 7. ADHD is similar to “Attention Deficit Disorder” except emphasis is place on the hyperactivity. The appropriate terms are ADHD-predominately inattentive type or ADHD- predominately hyperactivity type. There is no longer an ADD diagnosis.


Autism (AU): 

A developmental disability caused by a physical disorder of the brain appearing during the first three years of life. Symptoms include disturbances in physical, social and language skills; lack of eye contact; abnormal responses to sensations; and abnormal ways of relating to people, objects and events; unusually high or low activity levels; insistence that the environment and routine remain unchanged; little imaginative play, and repetitive movements such as rocking and spinning, head banging, and hand twisting.


Autism Small Group Class: 

Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder demonstrate deficits in the areas of communication and socialization. They may require a setting in which the principles and procedures of Applied Behavior Analysis are utilized. The classroom environment should be equipped with minimal visual and auditory distractions, boundaries clearly defined, schedules displayed, transition cues utilized, workstations labeled and organized, and student specific data should be evident. Students participate in direct instruction, discrete trial instruction, functional skill instruction, independent work, or natural environment teaching.


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): 

Students with ASD exhibit evidence of delay, arrests or inconsistencies in developmental rates and sequences in motor, sensory, social cognitive or communication skills. Difficulties may also exist in social interaction and participation, and the use of verbal/nonverbal language, especially for social communication and lack of eye contact. Unconventional, unusual, or repetitive responses to sensory stimuli may also be evident. The student may display stress over changes and/or engagement in repetitive activities.