Welcome to the wonderful world of special education.

As in all government funded and regulated endeavors, there are a TON of acronyms.  In order to help new parents feel less overwhelmed, I’ve prepared this list of the most commonly used ones here as a sort of cheat sheet.  Most will be in alphabetical order, but I’ve group the special ed labels in one section.


ARD Admission, Review & Dismissal


What Texas Education Agency calls the IEP process, committee & meeting.
BIP Behavior Intervention Plan For students with behavior issues (autism, ADHD, etc.), the BIP lists the behavior goals.  A BIP cannot/should not be developed without an FBA
ECI Early Childhood Intervention A part of IDEA that covers services for children with disabilities from 0-3.
FAPE Free and Appropriate Education The key right that IDEA gives to students.  Any time the school puts the student in a program that doesn’t work or denies services to a child with a disability, it is considered denial of FAPE.
FBA Functional Behavior Assessment This is the evaluation that gives the information for the BIP.  While there is no definition of what an FBA is, the purpose is to determine what the function of the behavior is.  An FBA should NEVER done sitting at the IEP/ARD committee table.  It should ideally be done by a BCBA
FIE Full Individual Evaluation The evaluation is the first step in the sped process.  Every area of a suspected disability is supposed to be evaluated, but schools usually miss areas unless the parents specifically ask.
IDEA Individual with Disabilities Education Act This is the federal law that governs special ed services.
IEE Independent Educational Evaluation If the parents disagree with the results of the FIE, they can request the school pay for an evaluator who doesn’t work for the district to do an evaluation.
IEP Individual Education Plan


There is an IEP Committee &

IEP meeting of that Committee

This is the name of the contract between parent and the school that details what goals the student will achieve, and what services and supports the school will provide.
LSSP Licensed Specialist in School Psychology This is a master’s level psychologist used specifically in Texas.  They are only allowed to practice in schools.
OT Occupational Therapist A master’s level professional who provides occupational therapy to children with sensory issues, handwriting issues, trouble navigating the school, etc.
PPCD Pre-school program for children with disabilities Elementary school based programs for children ages 3-5.  It is intended to be the next step for children with disabilities as they age out of ECI services.
SLP Speech Language Pathologist A master’s level professional who provide speech services to children with articulation, communication or pragmatic issues
SLP-A Speech Language Pathology Assistant A bachelor’s level speech professional who provide basic speech services like articulation to children with those needs.  They require supervision by SLPs.
Sped Special Education


AI Auditory Impairment (also called Hearing impairment) One of the 13 sped labels –covers a wide range of hearing loss.  In Texas there is an AI supplement that covers additional services to be considered.
ASD Autism Spectrum Disorders One of the 13 sped labels.  Please note that even though the medical definition of autism changed in 2013, the educational definition did not.  Do not allow a school to use DSM-V criteria to determine whether you child qualifies for services under the label of autism because they are not allowed to medically diagnosis children.  In Texas there is an autism supplement covering services to be considered.
DB Deaf-blindness One of the 13 sped labels
D Deafness One of the 13 sped labels
ED Emotional Disturbance One of the 13 sped labels.  Please note that a child canNOT carry the label of ASD and ED.   The school must choose one or the other.  Can be the category for children with ADHD and severe behavior issues.
ID Intellectual Disability One of the 13 sped labels.  Used to be primarily determined by IQ.  IQ lower than 70 was considered ID.  Now looking more at adaptive behavior issues and delays in skills that allow independence.  Children with Down’s are often served under this category.
MI Multiply Impairments One of the 13 sped labels.  Refers to children with mobility, cognitive, and other issues.
OI Orthopedic Impairment One of the 13 sped labels.  Children with CP can often be served under this category.
OHI Other Health Impairment One of the 13 sped labels.  Covers a wide variety of health issues.  ADHD without the severe opposition behaviors is usually placed in this category.
SI Speech Impairment One of the 13 sped labels.  Covers anything from articulation issues to children who don’t use language to communicate.
SLD Specific Learning Disability One of the 13 sped labels.   This covers a wide range of specific issues that impacts a child’s ability to read, write, or do math.  Can include:  dyslexia (yes, DYSLEXIA is a condition served by sped); dysgraphia; dyscalculia; auditory processing disorder, etc.
TBI Traumatic Brain Injury One of the 13 sped labels.  Covers a wide variety of conditions from stroke, head injury, etc.
VI Visual Impairment including Blindness One of the 13 sped labels.  Covers any trouble taking in visual information.  In Texas there is a VI supplement that covers services to be considered.



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