When I first started this journey, I swore that I wouldn’t do this! I swore that I would never be one of “those people.” Those people who speak in IEP and special education acronyms. Guess what? I am one. And let’s face it, acronyms exist for a reason. To say “individualized education plan” over and over is much more cumbersome than IEP. Or NOREP, that’s a long one. What’s a NOREP? Glad you asked!
Author’s note: A reminder that NOREP is a term we use here in PA. Other states refer to it as PWN (Prior Written Notice) or may have their own state specific term. It is the document that you get that seals the deal, when you agree or disagree to the IEP, placement and all the services.
For a long time, I thought of publishing a list of acronyms on here. Pattan puts one out and I have it. But they are also available online. Some of the sites I have seen list up to 3 pages of them! So what I decided to do, poll the parents in the Facebook group (come join us!) about what acronyms they find themselves using frequently. So no, I haven’t statistically or scientifically verified that these are the most commonly used special education acronyms, this is anecdotal. But there definitely was a pattern. So if I was going to recommend a list of special education acronyms that you should memorize, this would be the list. In this list of special education acronyms, I also have hyperlinked each one to a post explaining more about it. I wanted to keep the explanations brief on this list.
IEP and special education acronyms
- ABA–Applied Behavior Analysis, type of behavior modification, common misconception is that it is only for kids with autism–not true! Works well with many different populations.
- APS–Approved Private School, usually a more restrictive environment and/or an all special needs school, a placement option. Your state or county may use OOD for out of district placement.
- AT/AAC-Assistive Technology or Augmentative Alternative Communication, what is used for a child to better communicate-above and beyond just talking.
- BCBA-Board Certified Behavior Analys.
- BIP/PBSP/BSP– several different terms or acronyms are used to describe behavior plans, including Behavior Improvement Plan, Positive Behavior Support Plan, Behavior Support Plan, Behavior Plan.
- DIBELS-Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills, an early reading assessment.
- ER–Evaluation Report, your child only ever receives one ER report. Everything after the first one is an RR.
- ESY–Extended School Year, anything beyond the standard 6 hours a day, 180 days per year
- FAPE-Free and Appropriate Education, one of the main principles of special education.
- FBA–Functional Behavior Analysis or Assessment, a type of evaluation for children to develop the BIP/PBS.
- IEE–Independent Education Evaluation, aka independent eval; a common myth is that the district HAS TO provide you one, they don’t–you have to demonstrate need.
- LEA-Local Education Agency, at IEP meetings you should have one person designated to be the LEA and that make sure you request that the LEA has the ability to make placement and financial decisions.
- LRE–Least Restrictive Environment, another one of the 6 principles of special education
- NOREP–Notice of Recommended Educational Placement, a VERY IMPORTANT document, as this is what seals the deal as far as everything in the IEP and placement. Author’s note: A reminder that NOREP is a term we use here in PA. Other states refer to it as PWN (Prior Written Notice) or may have their own state specific term. It is the document that you get that seals the deal, when you agree or disagree to the IEP, placement and all the services.
- OCR–Office of Civil Rights
- OT-Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy, depending on context it’s being used.
- PLOP–Present Levels of Performance, a section of the IEP, near the front and I think it’s the most important part, since it drives the IEP services.
- PT-Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy.
- PTE–Permission to Evaluate form, what the school sends you to get your permission to evaluate your child, though they can do it without your consent.
- PWN–Prior Written Notice, it was recently written into IDEA in the 2004 reauthorization.
- RR-Re-evaluation report, timelines and process are the same for ERs and RRs.
- SD-school district.
- SDI–Specially Designed Instruction, the meat and potatoes of the IEP–what instructional strategies that are specific to your child’s special needs, in order to help them access and benefit from their FAPE.
- SLP-Speech and Language Pathologist, aka speech therapist.
- TVI-Teacher of Visually Impaired.
State Specific Special Education Acronyms
- IU-Intermediate Unit, these are unique to PA and we have 29 of them, they are the “intermediate unit” that is the link between the state department of education and the school district, provide special ed services
- ARD-this is unique to Texas, stands for Admission, Review, Dismissal
- PDE-Pennsylvania Department of Education
- LTF–Local Task Force, PA only, please join yours!
Free Printable IEP Acronym Guide
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