ADHD coach: A professional who works with individuals with ADHD to set goals, utilize strategies, and evaluate progress in managing their disability.
Albinism: A genetic birth defect that is manifested in the child having little or no pigmentation in his skin or eyes as well as vision problems.
Amniocentesis: A prenatal test for genetic and chromosomal birth defects that is done by removing a small amount of amniotic fluid.
Amplification: A hearing aid, FM auditory trainer, or cochlear implant.
Anencephaly: A neural tube defect in which the brain does not form.
Annual review: The meeting held once a year to look at a child’s progress on IEP goals and to create a new IEP for the upcoming year.
Anxiety disorder: An emotional disorder of extreme stress in everyday situations.
Asperger syndrome: An autism spectrum disorder that impacts communication and social skills. A child with Asperger syndrome is typically considered to have normal intelligence.
Assistive device: Any equipment used to perform a daily task, such as a cane or walker.
Assistive technology: Technology used for communication (such as a communication board) or to manage a disability (such as an electronic speller used to manage a learning disability).
Astigmatism: The condition of an irregularly shaped lens or cornea (often incorrectly called “stigmatism”).
Attention deficit disorder (ADD): A condition manifested by the inability to maintain focus on everyday tasks, particularly listening to a speaker or completing a chore or a classroom assignment.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A condition manifested by the inability to maintain focus and excessive movement (inability to sit still).
Audiologist: A professional who tests hearing acuity and auditory processing.
Autism: A disorder involving difficulty with communication and social interaction. A child who is autistic may exhibit repetitive actions (such as flapping of hands or arms).
Autism spectrum disorders(ASD): A series of disorders including autism, pervasive development disorder, and Asperger syndrome.
Background noise: The environmental sounds of a place. In the classroom, background noise might consist of students talking, chairs moving, the rattle of paper, and sounds of the heating and cooling system.
Behavior chart: A personal chart for tracking (and later rewarding) desired behaviors. A behavior chart may be marked with tallies or with stickers.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The government agency that monitors and disseminates information on the prevention and treatment of diseases and disabilities.
Central auditory processing disorder (CAPD): The inability to understand what is heard (such as differences in the beginning sounds of two words or a series of directions).
Central nervous system: The brain and spinal column.
Cerebral palsy: A condition of damage to the motor control centers of the brain, which may result in difficulty with movement, communication, or thinking skills.
Character trait: A behavior pattern (positive or negative). Respect, responsibility, and perseverance are examples of positive character traits.
Cleft palate: An abnormal opening in the upper palate of the mouth.
Cochlear implant: An electronic hearing device that is surgically implanted in the ear. The cochlear implant sends sound to the nerves in the cochlea.
Cognitive: Referring to thinking skills.
Cystic fibrosis: An inherited disease that affects the healthy functioning of the lungs and digestive system.
Developmental delay: An unusual lag in one or more skills of early childhood (communication, movement, behavior, or thinking).
Developmental milestone: The age when most children begin to do a particular skill (such as sitting or saying single words).
Developmental therapy: The education of the infant or young child in communication, thinking, and motor skills.
Disability: A special need resulting from a birth defect, injury, or disease.
Down syndrome: A genetic disability (cognitive and motor) caused by an extra 21st chromosome.
Dwarfism: The condition of being abnormally short (in many cases this is a genetic disorder).
Dyscalcula: A learning disability that affects the ability to understand numbers or to remember and understand math processes.
Dysgraphia: A learning disability that affects writing.
Dyslexia: A learning disability that affects reading.
Early intervention: Therapy and education for infants and toddlers.
Fluctuating hearing loss: A hearing loss that comes and goes due to fluid in the ear.
FM auditory trainer: A hearing device that amplifies the speaker’s voice and minimizes background noise in the room.
Galactosemia: A condition caused by the inability to digest galactose (from the lactose found in milk products).
Genetic counseling: Information for prospective parents with a higher risk of having a baby with a birth defect. The risk can be evidenced in family medical history or recognized because of certain conditions of one or both parents.
Genetics: An individual’s inheritance of traits, conditions, or disease.
Guide dog: A dog specially trained in leading the blind through safe walking conditions.
Hemophilia: A bleeding or clotting disorder that is inherited or brought on by another illness.
Huntington disease: An inherited neurological disorder that affects movement and results in death.
Inclusion classroom: A regular education classroom that is made up of typically developing students and those with special needs.
Individualized Education Program (IEP): The document that outlines the education plan (goals and services) for students with special needs.
Individualized family service plan (IFSP): The document that outlines the education and therapy plan for babies and toddlers birth to age three with special needs. Emphasis is placed on the family’s goals for the child.
Intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded (ICF/MR): An institutional living arrangement for the mentally retarded that includes services such as therapy.
Juvenile arthritis: A condition involving swelling of the joints, which may be temporary or permanent.
Learning disability: A neurological disorder that results in difficulty with reading, writing, and math (including processing and memory).
Legally blind: Having visual acuity of 20/200 or less.
Low vision: Visual acuity less than 20/70 that does not fall in the range of legal blindness.
Marfan syndrome: An inherited condition that affects the connective tissues of the body.
Medicaid: Low-cost (co-pay) health insurance for low-income and some individuals with disabilities.
Meltdown: Emotional upset (including crying and anger) caused by feeling overwhelmed.
Middle ear: An internal part of the ear that can become inflamed and fill with fluid as a result of infection.
Mobility training: Instruction in the safe movement around an area for individuals with low vision or blindness.
Multiple impairments: The condition of having more than one special need, such as being deaf-blind or having ADHD and a physical disability.
Neural tube defect (NTD): A birth defect that involves incomplete formation of the spinal column (spina bifida) or lack of formation of the brain (anencephaly).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): An anxiety disorder that is manifested by fixation on a particular thought and repeating certain behaviors. A common OCD behavior is washing and rewashing the hands.
Occupational therapy (OT): Treatment through exercise and prescriptive activities for using the hands to accomplish daily tasks (writing, buttoning, pulling a zipper).
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD): A behavior disorder characterized by resistance to direction or authority.
Orthopedic disability: A disability that involves the physical structure (bone and muscle) and movement of the body.
Pervasive development disorder (PDD): A behavior disorder involving communication and social interaction. Some repetitive behaviors are related to PDD. PDD is the overall term used to describe a number of disorders on the autism spectrum.
Physical therapy (PT): Exercises and prescriptive activities involving the large muscles used for sitting, standing, and walking.
Preferential seating: Sitting in a place to allow easy sight, hearing, or focus during classroom instruction.
Preferred activity: An activity that a child enjoys doing. Often a preferred activity is used as a reward for completing work or staying on task for a period of time.
Premature baby: A baby born before the thirty-seventh week of gestation.
Residual sight: The functional sight of an individual with low vision or blindness.
Respite care: Temporary care of a child with a disability to allow a physical, mental, and emotional break.
Selective mutism: A communication disorder in which an individual is able and willing to talk in some environments (at home, with friends), but is unwilling to talk in others.
Sensory integration dysfunction: The inability to tolerate or process input from the senses.
Speech milestones: The age when most children demonstrate a particular speech skill (saying particular sounds, saying words in isolation, or using words and phrases to communicate wants and needs).
Spina bifida: A neural tube defect in which the spinal column is not fully enclosed.
Strabismus: A condition in which one eye may point at an angle (wandering eye), or the eyes may point inward (cross-eyed).
Tactile defensivenes: An extreme aversion to the sensation of touch. It may be evidenced by an intolerance of clothing tags or of eating foods with certain textures.
Token reward: A small item or trinket used to reward desired behavior or completion of a task.
Ultrasound: A prenatal screening used to assess the size of the fetus and certain birth defects.
Unilateral hearing loss: A hearing loss involving only one ear.
Vision screening: An initial assessment of visual acuity. A child who fails a vision screening will be referred for a full vision test.
504 plan: The document that outlines needed accommodations for a child with special needs who does not require the direct special education services of an IEP.