• Definitions and Commonly Used Terms

    Terms defined in this section include:

    • Special Education
    • Continuum of Services
    • Least Restrictive Environment
    • IEP
    • Annual Review 
    • Test Accommodations
    • Sub-Committee
    • 504 and 504 Accomodation Plan
    • Related Service Provider

    What is special education?

    Special education means specially designed individualized or group instruction or special services or programs and special transportation, provided at no cost to the parent, to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.

    1. Such instruction includes but is not limited to that conducted in classrooms, homes, hospitals, institutions and in other settings.
    2. Such instruction includes specially designed instruction in physical education, including adapted physical education.

    Specially-designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible student, the content, methodology or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs that result from the student's disability; and to ensure access of the student to the general curriculum, so that he or she can meet the educational standards that apply to all students.

    What special education services and programs are included in NYS' continuum of services?

    The continuum of special education services for school-age students with disabilities is an array of services to meet an individual students' needs that includes:

    • consultant teacher services
    • resource room services;
    • related services;
    • integrated co-teaching services; and
    • special class. 

    What is meant by least restrictive environment?

    Children with disabilities must be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate based on their individual needs.  The CSE must determine that a student cannot be educated even with supports before changing the student's placement to a more restrictive setting (outside of general education).
    What is an IEP?

    An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the guiding document when working with a child with a disability. An IEP must include present levels of performance, educational needs (including how the disability affects the student's participation in the general education curriculum), student's placement, goals and objectives for the school year, specific programs and services to be provided, program modification and test accommodations (if needed), evaluation procedures to monitor student's progress, and projected date of review of the IEP.
    Who sees the IEP?

    The special education teacher has a copy of each student's IEP.  General education teachers, special area teachers, related service providers, nurses, bus drivers and other support staff responsible for implementation of the IEP must have ACCESS to the document through the special education teacher.
    What happens if the student's IEP needs to be changed?

    Either the student's teacher or parent may refer the student back to the CSE for review of the IEP at any time.

    What is an Annual Review?

    An annual review is a yearly review of a student’s program. It is usually a CSE meeting with the child’s classroom teacher, parent, related service personnel and other professionals that work with the student. Sometimes the CSE includes the student as well. The CSE meets to determine if the student’s program is effective, this is where services can be added or deleted or changed in a student’s program.

    What are test accommodations and how are they implemented?

    Test accommodations are changes in typical testing procedures or a format that enables students with disabilities to participate in state and district testing programs.  The CSE determines if a student’s disability needs to be accommodated during testing and indicates the accommodations on the student's IEP.  Some examples of accommodations include: extended time, administering test in a separate location, directions clarified, and others.

    What is a sub-committee?

    A sub-committee is an extension of the full CSE.  It must include a district representative (chair), the child’s teacher (special education and regular education), and the child’s parents.  It may include related service providers and others who have pertinent information.  The subcommittee is authorized to make IEP revisions, conduct annual reviews, and review triennial evaluation results.

    What is '504'?

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was originally developed to prohibit discrimination against persons with a disability in any program receiving federal assistance.  Public and private schools that receive federal funds are required to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.

    What is a '504 Accommodation Plan'?

    The written plan may include classroom and test accommodations, as well as related aids and services (such as speech, counseling, etc.).  The intent is for school and classroom modification to the extent that the student is not being discriminated against due to his/her impairment.  Accommodations may be offered, “As needed.”

    What is a Related Service Provider?

    A related service provider is the person who provides a particular service; a Speech Language Pathologist, an Occupational Therapist or a Physical Therapist are all examples of related service providers.

    What is a Consultant Teacher?

    A consultant teacher is a special education service; this service is usually a push in service in the classroom as opposed to resource room which is a special education service typically provided in a separate or pull out into the resource room.