Welcome to Fredericksburg City Public Schools!
“Excellence in Education”

This page list definitions to key Special Education terms:

ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW- A voluntary, informal mediation process permitting presentation of differences between parents and school staff members to an appointed committee composed of staff members not directly involved with the student.

ANNUAL REVIEW A scheduled meeting of school staff members and parents to develop, review, and revise a student’s IEP goals and objectives and to determine the appropriateness of new or continued services.

BASE SCHOOL- The school serving the local home address.

CASE MANAGER- Staff member responsible for collecting, monitoring, and processing information pertaining to an individual student.

CHILD FIND- A public school program that locates and identifies children and young adults from two through 21 years of age who may be in need of special education and related services.

CHILD WITH A DISABILITY- Those children evaluated and identified, in accordance with regulations governing special education, as having retardation, hearing impairments, speech or language impairments, autism, visual impairments, emotional disabilities, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments, severe disabilities, multiple disabilities, developmental delays, or specific learning disabilities and who, because of these disabilities, need special education and related services.

COMMUNITY SERVICES BOARD- The local government agency that provides services to adults with retardation and mental illness to help them become as self-supporting as possible.

CONTINUUM OF SERVICES- Refers to the range of service delivery options offered to eligible students.

COUNSELING SERVICES- A service related to a student’s IEP defined as a short-term structured intervention with specific aims and objectives to promote that student’s social, emotional, and academic growth within the school environment.

DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATIVE SERVICES- The agency of the Virginia government that offers assistance to persons with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities so that they may become as self-supporting as possible.

DUE PROCESS- A set of procedures set up by law that provides a mechanism for the resolution of disagreements between parents and the school district staff members.

DUE PROCESS HEARING- A formal procedure used to resolve conflicts between parents and school districts over the provision of special education services (see impartial hearing).

EARLY INTERVENTION- Specialized services provided to infants and toddlers who are at risk for, or showing signs of, developmental delay.


ELIGIBILITY COMMITTEE- A committee of professional staff members and the parent that considers the individual needs of a student and determines whether the student is eligible for special education and related services. Eligibility committees meet at the student’s school.

EVALUATION- The process of collecting and analyzing psychological, medical, sociocultural, and educational information for a child so that the eligibility committee can determine if the student is eligible for special education services and area(s) of eligibility. Eligibility committees consider information presented by parent(s) and school staff members as well as information that the parent(s) have obtained from private practitioners.

Educational Assessment- A written report describing current educational performance and identifying precise instructional needs in academic skills, language performance, and functional areas. This report includes academic testing results, the classroom teacher narrative, and classroom observation information

Medical Assessment- A written report from a licensed physician indicating general medical history and any medical or health problems that may impede educational progress.

Psychological Assessment- A written report from an approved psychologist based on the use of a battery of appropriate assessments that may include individual intelligence test(s) and psycho-educational tests.

Sociocultural Assessment- A written report describing developmental history and adaptive behavior at home and at school. A social worker or visiting teacher completes this evaluation. Other evaluation reports that may include speech and language, occupational therapy, etc., when appropriate.

FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education)- A statutory requirement that children and youth with disabilities receive a public education appropriate to their needs, at no cost to their families.

GENERAL EDUCATION­ – Direct participation in a general education class or activity planned and conducted by general education staff members (e.g., includes activities such as lunch or job training in which a student is participating with general education peers).

IDEA- (See Individuals With Disabilities Education Act)

IDENTIFICATION- Recognition on the part of a parent, teacher, or other person that a child may have special learning needs.

IEP (Individualized Education Prograrn)- A written plan for every student receiving special education services that contains information such as the student’s special learning needs and the specific special education services required by the student.

IEP TEAM- A group consisting of parents, a special education teacher, a gerneral education teacher, the student (when appropriate), a representative of the school system qualified to provide or supervise special education services, and others as requested who meet at a conference to develop the IEP.

IMPARTIAL HEARING- A formal procedure used to resolve conflicts between parents and school districts over the provision of special education services (see due process hearing).

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA)- The federal law that mandates that a free and appropriate public education be available to all school-age children with disabilities. It is also known as Public Law 105-17.

LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT (LRE)- The setting determined by the IEP team that gives the child as much time as possible in general education settings and activities while meeting the child’s learning and physical needs. It also means that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of a child with disabilities from the general education environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

LOCAL EDUCATION AGENCY (LEA)- The public school system (e.g., Fairfax County Public Schools).

LOCAL SCREENING COMMITTEE- A committee established in all schools to identify the needs of pupils experiencing academic difficulties. A local screening committee normally includes the teacher, the principal, the team leader, the school psychologist, the social worker, the appropriate resource teacher, and the staff member initiating the referral. Parents may also attend.

MEDIATION- A process in which a neutral person facilitates communication between two parties and, without deciding the issues or imposing a solution on the parties, enables them to understand and resolve their dispute.

MEDICAL EVALUATION- (see evaluation)

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY- A service related to a student’s IEP that emphasizes remediation of or compensation for perceptual, sensory, visual-motor, fine-motor, and self-care deficits.

PARENT- A parent, a guardian, or a person acting as a parent in the absence of a parental guardian. The term “parent” also means a surrogate parent appointed pursuant to Virginia regulations.

PHYSICAL THERAPY- A service related to a student’s IEP that emphasizes remediation of or compensation for mobility, gait, muscle strength, and postural deficits.

PROCESSING DISORDER- A deficit in the ability to differentiate, give meaning to, and/or appropriately respond to symbols, objects, and/or events in the environment.

PROGRAM OF STUDIES (POS)- The basic instructional program for Fairfax County Public Schools. It includes a series of documents containing the instructional objectives for all subjects in kindergarten through grade 12, instructional activities, catalogs of instructional materials, and tests measuring student achievement of selected objectives (available for review in local schools according to grade level).


PUBLIC LAW 105-17- The federal law that mandates that a free and appropriate public education be available to all school-age children with disabilities. It is also known as the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

REEVALUATION- A review by the IEP team that is required every three years or more often if necessary. It determines if updated information used to decide continuing eligibility for special education is needed and the types of information needed to determine the individual needs of the student.

REFERRAL- Informing a school or agency that a student may have special learning needs. A referral can be made by a parent, a teacher, or any staff member who has worked with the student. Children do not have to be in school to be referred.

RELATED SERVICES- Support services designated in a student’s IEP that are required to help a child benefit from educational resources.


SPECIAL EDUCATION- Specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parent, to meet the unique needs of a child with disabilities, including classroom instruction, instruction in physical education, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions. The term also includes speech therapy or any other related service and vocational education if they consist of specially designed instruction at no cost to the parent.

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs)- The outline of the basic knowledge and skills that Virginia children will be taught in grades K- 12 in the four essential academic subjects of English, math, science, and social studies.

STATE EDUCATION AGENCY (SEA)- The state agency responsible for the implementation of school programs (e.g., Virginia Department of Education).

TRANSITION PLANNING GUIDE- A written plan designed to help plan for the student’s transition from school to life in the community. It includes career interests and goals; interpersonal, social, self-advocacy, and independent living skills; courses and resources to meet goals; and final link for students completing school. A transition plan becomes part of a students IEP during 8th grade or when the student is 14, whichever comes first.

Comments? Questions? Click the email link below…

a href=”http://www.cityschools.com/cityschools/centraloffice/php/contact_form1.html?previous=/cityschools/centraloffice/php/disp_staffdir.php&recipient=rladmirau%40cityschools.com”>Ralph Ladmirault, Director of Student Services

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