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ECDC Glossary of Terms


Below are a few definitions to help you understand the most commonly used preschool special education acronyms.

8:1:2, 8:1:1, 12:1:1, 15:1

Ratios that describe a class size and makeup. The ratio is students with IEPs to teachers to teaching assistants/aides. 12 students, 1 teacher, 1 teacher aide.


A person assigned to a specific student as an aide to that child when the management needs of the student are significant enough that the safety of the child is of concern.


Section of the Education Law which regulates preschool programs. Preschool programs in New York State are approved to provide preschool services based on guidelines from section 4410 of the education law.


The effectiveness with which the child copes with the natural and social demands of the environment.

Age Equivalent

A type of test score that is calculated based on the age that an average person earns a given score within the tested population.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This is a federal law written to guarantee the rights of people with disabilities in America.

Annual Review

A time to reassess your childs current program at a CPSE meeting. The education and related service team may summarize progress or report on current evaluation results. Recommendations are made to continue, modifY, or terminate special education programs.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)

An intervention strategy which employs a process of systematic instruction to change/shape behaviors into a more desirable form. The interventionist must be trained in ABA to implement this technique.

Assistive Technology Device

Any item, piece of equipment, or product that has been purchased, modified, and/or customized to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a student with a disability. This does not include a medical device surgically implanted.


Refers to the evaluation of hearing and treatment as it relates to aural rehabilitation, auditory training, other hearing services, and the prevention of hearing loss. Service is provided by a certified audiologist.

Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP)

A plan that is based on results of a functional behavioral assessment and, at a minimum, includes a description of the problem behavior, global and specific hypothesis as to why the problem behavior occurs, and intervention strategies that include positive behavioral supports and services to address the behavior.


An area of child development that describes his/her ability to think, problem solve, know, and remember.

Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE)

A group of people from various disciplines responsible for developing an individualized education program for students with disabilities within the eligible age range for preschool. New York State regulates the mandatory members of this committee; however, it includes parents of the student.


Written acknowledgement that you are fully informed in your native language (or other mode of communication) of all information relevant to the activity for which consent is desired. It is your written agreement to the activity. Consent is given freely and may be withdrawn at any time.

Due Process

A process in which conflicts, disagreements, and complaints are made and resolved. May include these steps: independent educational evaluation, informal discussions with the district, filing a due process complaint, mediation, impartial due process hearing, hearing appeal.

Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC)

A state funded center designed to assist families and professionals working with children (birth-5) with, or suspected of having, a disability. ECDCs provide assistance to families and professionals in obtaining timely evaluations, securing services, improving transitions from early intervention to preschool, promoting great access to integrated special education settings, and improving preschool outcomes.

Early Intervention (E.I.)

A service provided to families with children birth to 3 years old requiring intervention to address a delay in functional areas of development as defmed in the regulations.

Early Intervention Official (E.I.O)

A person designated by the municipality you reside in to oversee the E.I. program.

Early Intervention Program (E.I.P.):

A program designed for the specific needs of your child and family who are eligible for E.I. services.

Extended School Year (ESY):

A program offered to eligible students to prevent substantial regression of mastered skills. ESY may also be referred to as "summer school."

Fine Motor Skills:

An area of a childs development of his/her ability to use and coordinate the small muscles of the body.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE):

A federal mandate stating that all students are entitled to a free (at no cost to parents) appropriate (able to meet educational needs) public (available to everyone) education (system to teach knowledge).

Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA):

The process of determining why a student engages in behaviors that impede learning and how the students behavior relates to the enviroment.


Description of the makeup of students receiving a related service. Group service occurs with two or more students.

Gross Motor Skills

An area of a childs development of his/her ability to use and coordinate the large muscles and the entire body.


Description of the makeup of students receiving a related service. Individual service will occur on a 1:1 basis with the related service provider.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Guarantees rights of parents on behalf of their children with qualifying disabilities. This act was passed in 1997 and reauthorized in 2004.

Individualized Education Program (IEP):

A legal document developed at a committee on special education meeting. It is the education plan for the child.

Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)

A legal document written for families with a child in the early intervention program which defines the services the child/family receives to treat the identified areas of need.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

Regulation from NYSED to regulate the provision of special education outside of regular education. Takes into consideration the nature and severity of the childs disability, how to provide the services to best meet the needs of the child, and the location of the childs home.

Motor Skills

An area of child development in his/her ability to move large muscles (gross motor) and small muscles (fine motor).


The involvement of two or more professionals from different disciplines.

New York State Department of Education (NYSED)

An agency within New York States government that is responsible for regulating the education of students from preschool and beyond. NYSED develops regulations and guidelines for school districts and service providers.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB):

A federal act intended to improve performance of schools by raising expectations for states, districts, and schools.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

A related service to treat fine motor skills and functioning within the childs environment. This service may be provided by an occupational therapist (OT) or a certified occupational therapist assistant (COTA).

Physical Therapy (PT)

A related service provided to treat needs in gross/large motor (e.g. stretching large muscles, posture, positioning, balance, walking, runoing, and/or trunk control etc.) provided by a physical therapist (PT) or physical therapist assistant (PTA).

Preschooler with a Disability

Term used to identify all preschool age students with an IEP. Eligibility criteria are defined by New York State as: 12 month delay in one functional area, or 33% delay in one functional area, or standard score 2 standard deviations below the mean in one functional area, or standard scores 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in two functional areas, or meeting the criteria for a diagnosis of certain disabilities with a high incidence of delay in areas of development.

Present Level of Performance (PLOP or PLP)

A part of the Individual Education Plan that identifies specific academic and nonacademic performance areas, as well as provides assessment information specific to the performance area, including strengths, needs and impact of disability, links to an appropriate goal, and areas of concern for parents.

Prior Written Notice

A written statement provided to the parents of a student with a disability before the school district proposes to or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the student or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the student.

Procedural Safeguards

A notice from NYSED provided at specific times (and upon request) explaining parents rights and responsibilities, as well as expectations of the school district in regards to their students special education.

Related Service

A supportive service provided to students with a disability when a need has been identified in that area. Including (but not limited to): speech language therapy, audiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, orientation and mobility.

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