Praxis 354 Sped Core Knowledge and Applications

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Last updated: May 28, 2019
Activity Reinforcers
also referred to as the Premack Principle, are a third group of reinforcers that teachers have found effective in the classroom. According to psychologist David Premack, more preferred activities can be used to reinforce less-preferred activities. According to the Premack principle, any higher-frequency behavior that is contingent on a lower-frequency behavior is likely to increase the rate of lower-frequency behavior. Thus the teacher would set up a situation in which students, when they complete the less-preferred activity are permitted to participate in a more preferred activity.

Supports or services provided to help a student access the curriculum and validly demonstrate learning.  Do not change scope, knowledge, demands, sequence or grade level. is a change that helps a student overcome or work around the disability.

Allowing a student who has trouble writing to give his answers orally is an example. This student is still expected to know the same material and answer the same questions as fully as the other students, but he doesn’t have to write his answers to show that he knows the information. 

Description:A disorder that affects an individual’s behavior;Characteristics:Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity
An instructional strategy used to introduce an activity such as a lesson, an assignment, a reading, or a multimedia presentation.; It presents a structured introduction to an activity.
An observation method consisting of a brief written account that describes the event after is has occurred.
A condition in which an individual refuses to maintain a healthy body weight.; Usually begins during early adolescence, between ages 13 and 18 years.
A systematic procedure that involves identifying and describing a behavior in observable terms; assessing the frequency of the behavior, the antecedent conditions, and the consequences following the behavior; developing an intervention(s) that is designed to change the behavior; observing; and recording data regarding the effectiveness of the intervention.

Educators must determine whether a child has a disability and, if so, whether the student needs special education and related services.; Special education teachers and other professionals conducting assessments must ensure that appropriate approaches are used.; Assessment approaches should be free from bias and discrimination and should be used;for the purposes for which they were intended.; Educators and other professionals involved in the assessment process are required to follow assessment stipulations outlined in IDEA.; If the student is eligible for special education services, teachers conduct additional assessments to determine the student’s educational needs.  The students IEP team uses the results of these assessments in planning the IEP.

A developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Alternative Teaching

  • Lead teacher and support teacher make decisions about the content and organization of the lesson.
  • Lead teacher and support teacher determine the appropriate structures for alternative remedial or enrichment lessons that would promote student learning.
  • Lead teacher conducts formal teaching.
  • Support teacher implements supplemental activities for the whole group, small groups or individuals before or after the formal lesson.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)(PL 101-336)1990

  • Prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector
  • Protects equal opportunity to employment and public services, accommodations, transportation and telecommunications
  • Defines disability to include people with AIDS

The formation of clear and distinct sounds in speech
Description:Inflammation of the bronchial tubes;Characteristics:Coughing and wheezing; decreased ability to run or jump; difficulty completing work or attending to tasks.
Authentic Assessment
Performance tasks that are completed in a real-life context.
are characterized by manic episodes in which the individual experiences an elated or irritable mood for at least a week or mixed episodes.; Frequently the individual also experiences a combination of elated or irritable and depressive episodes. Students may be truant or experience school failure during these periods.
is characterized by binge eating followed by behaviors that attempt to purge the body of food, such as excessive exercise or self-induced vomiting.
Bandura Social (Observational) Learning Theory
Theory: Children learn by observing others; this may be done through modeling or learning vicariously through others. Often leads to self-regulation.

Application: Students learn through the modeling of others. The Four Stages 1.    The teacher gains the students’ attention.2.    The teacher models a behavior or skill to the students.3.    The students reproduce or imitate the behavior or skill. Assessment occurs at this stage.

4.    The students are motivated to continue the behavior or skill through external or internal motivators.

Brown vs Board of Education1954

  • End to ‘separate but equal’ schools
  • Under the 14th Amendment it is unlawful to discriminate arbitrarily against any group of people
  • Basis for future rulings that children with handicaps cannot be excluded from school

Bruner Discovery Learning
Theory that students learn best by discovery; the learner is a problem solver who interacts with the environment testing hypotheses and developing generalizations.  The goal of education should be intellectual development, and that the science curriculum should foster the development of problem-solving skills through inquiry and discovery.


  • biological
    • genetics
    • biochemical and neuropsychological imbalances
    • temperament characterized by less adaptability to change and a more negative mood
  • educational
    • low teacher expectations
    • limited connections between the school and student family and community meetings
  • economic
  • familial
  • learning
  • psychological
    • difficulty in bonding and attachment disorders
  • societal
    • poverty
    • abuse
    • lack of caring adults
    • poor housing
    • overcrowding

Present challenges to teachers because they are persistent and difficult to manage. They include:

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  • acting out;
  • using inappropriate language;
  • displaying physical and verbal aggression; and
  • defying authority.


These students are at great risk of dropping out.

Their problems usually go unrecognized if they choose to sit in class and remain quiet.  Symptoms include:

  • low achievement;
  • low level of participation;
  • non-assertive behaviors;
  • problems with self;
  • rejection by peers; and
  • social withdrawal.

May be areas of strength for students.  For example, science activities that involve hands-on work with materials, tools, and laboratory equipment provide active ways to learn.  Social studies classes that involve projects with flexibility in demonstrating achievement provide students with important choices and control over their learning.  However, when students do not attend school they miss important information about how tasks should be performed or will be assessed.
Levels of achievement vary greatly in students.

  Some students excel in math, whereas others struggle.  For students to develop mathematical understandings, educators plan instructional sequences that build on information presented in prior lessons.  A student who is absent frequently or truant misses key information needed to grasp the major concepts and ideas.  Lack of consistent attention through the early grades results in significant academic deficits for high school students.

Most students develop expressive and listening skills naturally with little direct instruction.  However, students may often need instruction in using language in a functional way, according to a set of rules, or pragmatics.  They may have difficulty in using turn-taking skills in conversation, entering into a conversation, or interpreting the meaning of the speaker.
Students may vary greatly in their achievement levels.  Some may be proficient readers and others may have associated learning disabilities that interfere with reading achievement.

  Learning to read may add to the stress and frustration that the student is experiencing already.  Along with lack of achievement, the student may be absent or truant on a regular basis, thus further impeding progress.

CHARACTERISTICS OF STUDENTS WITH EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE (Early Signs of Emotional Disturbance in Preschool and Early Elementary Children)

  • Frequent crying or sulking
  • Actively resisting by physically or verbally defending a position of possessions
  • Displaying aggressive revenge by physically or verbally retaliating against another child or adult
  • Seeking out an adult for comfort to a degree beyond that of other children.

A method of organizing words and concepts hierarchically.
A learning strategy that helps to make abstract concepts concrete, make relationships between concepts explicit, promote learning, promote creation of knowledge, and promote use of knowledge.
a chronic condition consisting of behavior patterns that violate the basic rights of others or school rules and norms of the community.

  May be diagnosed in children 10 years of age or younger.  Children and youth with this diagnoses often initiate bullying and intimidating behavior.  They frequently are involved in fights and use weapons that can cause physical harm; they destroy the property of others and can be extremely cruel to people or animals; they frequently are absent from school for periods of time for no good reason; and show little concern and understanding for others.

A theory that views learning as a process in which students create new knowledge by building on their own past experiences and constructing knowledge as they interact with their teachers and peers.
Cedar Rapids vs Garret F1999
Under IDEA, students must be provided with the supplemental services they need to attend school at no extra cost to the parents
Childhood Dis-integrative Disorder
Age of Onset:After age 2 (and a period of typical early childhood development) but before age 10. Characteristics:Similar to Autism and usually associated with severe Mental Retardation.
Breaking skills or information into smaller, more manageable segments in order to help students in special education succeed. The term can often be found in Specially Designed Instruction (SDIs)as a way to adapt the curriculum in a Child’s IEP.

Cognitive Assessment
Measure intellectual ability.
Complementary Teaching

  • Lead teacher models organization of the content.
  • Lead teacher identifies skills and strategies needed for groups and individual students to complete the task of the lesson.
  • Support teacher assists.;
  • Lead teacher conducts formal teaching.;
  • Support teacher teaches components of lessons with small groups of individuals.


  • Support teacher provides content support to lead teacher’s lesson.


Criterion-Referenced Tests
Commercial tests that measure a student’s performance with respect to a specific content domain, such as self-help skills or knowledge of mathematical operations.
Curriculum-based Assessment (CBA)
An approach used for program planning and monitoring, this assessment approach consists of test items aligned with classroom curriculum that address specific areas of student knowledge or skills.

Curriculum-based Measurement (CBM)
An assessment approach that includes both assessing student knowledge;in specific;areas of the curriculum and graphing the results to make instructional decisions and implement interventions.
Accompanying hearing and visual impairments that, combined, produce severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that cannot be;accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or blindness.
A hearing impairment that is so severe that linguistic information cannot be processed through hearing, with or without amplification, adversely affecting the child’s educational performance.

The peer performance of certain group members determines the consequence received by the entire group. Example:Each time Sue earns 10 points for completing academic tasks, the entire class will be rewarded with 5 minutes of free time.
Children ages 3-9 (or any subset of that age range, including ages 3-5) may receive services under this category.  It is a delay in one or more of the following:

  • Physical development
  • Cognitive development
  • Communication development
  • Social or emotional development
  • Adaptive development

A method of conducting an observation in which the observer measures the length of time that an event or behavior occurs.
good education should have both a societal purpose and purpose for the individual student. The long-term matters, but so does the short-term quality of an educational experience. Educators are responsible, therefore, for providing students with experiences that are immediately valuable and which better enable the students to contribute to society.

Diabetes, Type I
Description:A chronic disorder that results from lack of insulin Characteristics:Faintness, headache, excessive hunger, nervousness, increased heart rate, cold hands and feet
Diabetes, Type II
Description:A chronic disorder that results from obesity and the decrease in the body’s sensitivity to insulin;Characteristics:Leads to a wide variety of long-term complications, including heart disease.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
This manual includes diagnostic categories with criteria to aid clinical judgement in classifying a wide range or disorders related to learning, behavior and mental health.
Diana vs. State Board of Education, CA1970
Filed on behalf of Mexican American children in Monterey County, California, alleged that the school system was inaccurately identifying Spanish-speaking children as mentally retarded on the basis of IQ tests administered in English.

The court ruled that non-English proficient children cannot be placed in Special Education on the basis of culturally biased tests or tests administered in English.

Differentiated Instruction
An inclusive approach for working with all students. Involves providing students with different avenues to acquiring content, to processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas. Developing teaching materials so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability.;
Doe vs Withers1993

  • When a teacher refused to provide oral testing, student failed the class and became athletically ineligible
  • Court awarded compensatory damages and punitive damages to the family
  • First time a teacher was held personally financially liable
  • Exemplifies general education teachers’ responsibilities to make good-faith efforts to provide IEP accommodations

A learning disability that affects writing abilities. It can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting and trouble putting thoughts on paper.  A student with disorders in written expression will benefit from specific accommodations in the learning environment, as well as additional practice learning the skills required to be an accomplished writer.It is a processing disorder in which difficulties can change throughout a lifetime.

However since writing is a developmental process -children learn the motor skills needed to write, while learning the thinking skills needed to communicate on paper – difficulties can also overlap.If a person has trouble in any of the areas below, additional help may be beneficial.

  • Tight, awkward pencil grip and body position
  • Illegible handwriting
  • Avoiding writing or drawing tasks
  • Tiring quickly while writing
  • Saying words out loud while writing
  • Unfinished or omitted words in sentences
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper
  • Difficulty with syntax structure and grammar
  • Large gap between written ideas and understanding demonstrated through speech.

A language-based disability in which the student has difficulties in understanding, reading, and expressing language.
A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, adversely affecting a child’s educational performance:

  1. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
  2. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
  3. Inappropriate behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances.
  4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

  5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

The term includes schizophrenia. Emotional disturbance does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

A method of conducting an observation in which a behavior or event is recorded each time it occurs.
Also known as research-based practices and scientifically based research.;Refers to a body of research that supports the effectiveness of teaching methods, strategies, therapies, supplemental aids, and services in the classroom.

;IDEA defines the term scientifically based research as ‘…research (that) involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs’

Ecological Perspective
Emphasizes the importance of interactions between the child and the child’s environment in emotional and behavioral disorders.
Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA)(PL 94-142)1975

  • Requires states to provide a free and appropriate education (FAPE) to children with disabilities ages 5-18
  • Parents must receive notification and procedural safeguards
  • Requires individualized assessments
  • Requires IEP
  • Provide necessary related services
  • Defined LRE as setting most like that of non-disabled students that also meets each child’s educational needs

Education of Handicapped Act Amendments(PL 99-457)1986

  • Requires states to extend FAPE to children (ages 3-5) with disabilities
  • Establishes early intervention programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities (ages birth-2 years)

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)1965

  • Supports many initiatives that help low-income families access high-quality education programs.
  • Includes provision for free and reduced lunches and additional teachers in disadvantaged communities.

  • Applies to children who need additional support to benefit from public school education programs.


Description:Discharge of abnormal electrical activity to one or more areas of the brain;Characteristics:Twitching of a body part, flushing, vomiting, olfactory hallucinations, a feeling of fear.; In generalized seizures, consciousness is lost.
Erikson;Personal ; Social (Psychosocial) Development
Theory: Children move through a series of stages as they develop. During each stage they encounter crises that need to be resolved. If not resolved, the children encounter difficulties later on.

Application:;Emphasizes the importance of children;s environments and the varying roles of teachers, parents, and peers. Teachers can have significant impact on how students feel about themselves.

Expressive Language
The language used to communicate with others.

gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.”

  • Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records.

    Schools may charge a fee for copies.

  • Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
  • Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
    • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
    • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
    • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
    • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
    • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
    • Accrediting organizations;
    • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
    • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
    • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.

ensures that no child or youth (3-21 years of age) will be excluded from an appropriate public education because of a disability, including students with profound disabilities, students with disruptive behaviors, and students with contagious diseases.;
A comprehensive and individualized strategy to:

  • Identify the purpose or function of a student’s behavior.

  • Develop and implement a plan to modify variable that maintain the problem behavior.
  • Teach appropriate replacement behaviors using positive interventions.


  1. Define the problem behavior
  2. Devise a plan to collect data
  3. Compare and analyze the data
  4. Formulate the hypothesis
  5. Develop and implement a behavior intervention plan (BIP)
  6. Monitor the plan


The ability to read phrases and sentences smoothly and quickly, while understanding them as expressions of complete ideas. Students with Learning Disabilities (LD) in Reading Comprehension and basic reading skills frequently have weaknesses in reading fluency. Typically, they do not process groups of words as meaningful phrases. They may also make decoding errors in reading which slow them down and prevent them from grasping the meaning of the sentence. As a result, they do not understand and remember meanings of passages. They may miss the larger meanings of chapters and books as well.

Formative Assessment
A procedure of gathering information on a regular basis to inform instruction and to monitor student progress.
A strategy that organizes information in a visual image.
Gardner Multiple Intelligences
Theory: An individual can have up to 8 separate intelligences, including linguistic, logical, mathematical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. Does not support traditional intelligence tests as they do not assess these separate abilities.Application: Know your students well enough to know their strengths in the above areas.

Use a variety of assignments, activities, and assessments so that students can develop their competence in any or all of the intelligences.

An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Include critical, logical, reflective, metacognitive, and creative thinking.

They are activated when individuals encounter unfamiliar problems, uncertainties, questions, or dilemmas. Successful applications of the skills result in explanations, decisions, performances, and products that are valid within the context of available knowledge and experience and that promote continued growth in these and other intellectual skills. Grounded in lower order skills such as discriminations, simple application and analysis, and cognitive strategies and are linked to prior knowledge of subject matter content. Appropriate teaching strategies and learning environments facilitate their growth as do student persistence, self-monitoring, and open-minded, flexible attitudes.

Description:A group of lifelong bleeding disorders;Characteristics:Fatigue, severe bleeding episodes
Honig vs Doe1988

  • Benefited individuals with emotional and/or behavioral disorders who have academic and social problems
  • Schools could not expel students for behaviors related to their disability


IDEA (Amendment)(PL 105-17)1997

  • Requires that students with disabilities continue to receive services, even if expelled
  • Students with disabilities who exhibit behavior management problems must have included in their IEP a proactive behavior management plan with positive behavior supports
  • Behavior manifestations are required within ten school days of any proposed change in placement for disciplinary reasons
  • Allows states to extend their use of ‘Developmentally Delayed’ category for students through age 9
  • Requires;states to assume greater responsibility for ensuring that students with disabilities have access to general education curriculum
  • Allows special ed staff working in mainstream to assist general ed students when needed
  • Requires the general education teacher to be a member of the IEP team
  • Requires students with disabilities to take part in statewide and district wide assessments
  • Requires consideration of special factors in the IEP

In this strategy, the same consequence is applied to individual group members;Example:Each student who finishes his or her homework during the allotted 15 minute homework drill will receive a coupon for a fast-food restaurant.


Each student with a disability must have a plan;that describes what the student can do, student’s strengths, and the student needs.  It also includes educational goals and how they will be measured.  A team develops this plan and members of the team include:

  • Parents;
  • general education teacher;
  • special education teacher;
  • a person who is qualified to provide or supervise specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities and is knowledgeable about the availability of resources and the general curriculum;
  • a person who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results;
  • other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate;
  • the student, if appropriate.

A method of conducting an observation that measures various degrees of behavior such as low, medium or high.
In this strategy, each student must reach a prescribed level of behavior before the entire group receives a consequence. Example:If each student meets his or her self-monitoring goal on Tuesday, the whole class can skip a homework assignment.

An observation method that measures whether a behavior occurs within prescribed time segments, such as a 30-second or 1-minute intervals.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)(PL 101-476)1990 

  • Renames and replaces EHA
  • Establishes ‘people first’ language
  • Extends special education services to include social work, assistive technology, and rehabilitation services
  • Extends provision for due process and confidentiality for students and parents
  • Adds two categories of disability; autism and TBI
  • Requires states to provide bilingual education programs for students with disabilities
  • Requires states to educate students with disabilities for transition to employment and to provide transition services
  • Requires that students have individualized transition programs by the age of 16
  • Provides more funding for projects to improve services to infants, toddlers, and young children with disabilities


Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA Reauthorization)(PL 108-446)2004

  • Allows districts to use Response to Intervention (RTI) in determining whether a child has a learning disability; No longer requires a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability to be eligible
  • Increases federal funds to provide early intervention services to students who do not need special education or related services
  • Raises standards for special education licensure

Inner Language
The use of language during thinking, planning, organizing, or other thought processes.
Kohlberg Moral Development
Theory: Children pass through 3 levels (6 stages) as they develop their moral reasoning. Stage I focuses on children following their self-interests, Stage II emphasizes the role of family & community, and Stage III is based on ethical principles.

While ages are not established, most children are in the early part of Level II by age 9-10 & fewer than 25% individuals reach Level III. Application: Young children may focus on their own needs, “As long as I don’t get caught, I’ll take the cookie.” Teachers should explain the importance/need of consequences.

As children mature, they take on the rules of the community. Teachers need to allow students to assist in making classroom rules & consequences.

An observation method that measures the amount of time that elapses between a request and the occurrence of a behavior or event.
 the requirement that schools must offer a variety of instructional settings to provide the most appropriate placement options for students with disabilities and from which these students can benefit.

  To the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities are educated with students who do not have disabilities.

Larry P. vs. Riles1984
California class-action case that focused on IQ testing of young black children, and argued that those children had been inappropriately placed in Educable Mentally Retarded (EMR) classrooms solely on the basis of an IQ score.

The case also argued that the IQ tests were culturally discriminatory against black children, as a disproportionate number of black children had been placed in EMR classrooms. The numbers were not representative of the general populations in those regions of California. The court held that IQ tests were culturally biased against black children and banned California school systems from using them when evaluating black children for special education, and required the use of a multi-faceted evaluation approach for them. The court went further by requiring record-keeping and data-collection systems so that schools could track the numbers of minority children in EMR classrooms and justify the presence of black children in those settings.Provides the legal precedent against cultural bias in testing.

Lau vs. Nichols1974
US Supreme Court ruled that the San Francisco Unified School District violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act when it failed to provide services to help Chinese-speaking students learn English. The Court stipulated that equal educational opportunity could not be achieved without special language programs.

As a result, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare subsequently issued remedies requiring that school offer bilingual, multilingual, or transitional bilingual education for eligible participants.

Lead Poisoning
Description:Caused by repeated inhalation, ingestion, or absorption through the skin of lead or lead compounds. Characteristics:Anemia, distractibility, hyperactivity, hyperirritability, impulsiveness, lethargy, listlessness.
Learned Helplessness
The belief that our own behavior does not influence what happens next, that is, behavior does not control outcomes or results.

For example, when a student believes that she is in charge of the outcome, she may think, “If I study hard for this test, I’ll get a good grade.” On the contrary, a learned helpless student thinks, “No matter how hard I study for this test, I’ll always get a bad grade.” This phenomenon relates to poor grades, underachievement, and behavior difficulties.

Students who experience repeated school failure, because of repeated academic failure, these students begin to doubt their own abilities, leading them to doubt that they can do anything to overcome their school difficulties. Consequently, they decrease their achievement efforts, particularly when faced with difficult materials, which leads to more school failure. This pattern of giving up when facing difficult tasks reinforces the child’s beliefs that he or she cannot overcome his or her academic difficulties.

Description:A malignant disease of the blood-making (hematopoietic) system of the body.

 Characteristics:Anemia, susceptibility to infection, bruising of the skin, often without any noticeable cause, increased incidence of nosebleeds.

MENTAL RETARDATION(Intellectual Disability)
A condition in which there is significant sub-average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.Mild: IQ 55-70Moderate: IQ 35-54Severe: IQ 20-34Profound: IQ less than 20
The act of a teacher or student serving as an example of a behavior that other students can emulate or learn from. Primarily used to demonstrate desirable behavior, but can be used to demonstrate negative behavior, as well.
Changes in the content and the performance expectations for what the student should learn. Scope, sequence, grade level and curriculum demands.

;a change in what is being taught to or expected from the student. Making an assignment easier so the student is not doing the same level of work as other students is an example.

related to a general medical condition include a persistent depressed mood or irritability that is due to the physiological effects of a general medical condition.

; It may accompany chronic or incurable diseases such as cancer, spinal cord injury, or AIDS.; For many individuals, thoughts of suicide may be present.; In contrast, substance-induced mood disorders are due to the physiological effects of drug abuse, a medication, or a toxin.; Characteristics of this type of mood disorder depend on the nature of the substance and when it was used.

Forces that initiate, direct, and sustain individual or group behavior in order to satisfy a need or attain a goal.

  • Attention-motivated;
  • Escape-motivated;
  • Access/control-motivated;
  • Sensory/stimulation-motivated


Concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments.

Maslow;Hierarchy of needs
;;;;;;;;;; Behavioral Approach: Students receive incentives such as grades, recognition, and rewards. Those students with extrinsic motivation may react more favorably to these motivators.;;;;;;;;;; Humanistic Approach: Students; deficiency needs must be met before their growth needs can be addressed. ;;;;;;;;;; Motivation can be influenced by family, peers, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and gender.;
Involves learning how to learn and think.
MillsvsBoard of Education of the District of Columbia1972

  • Extended that right for special education to children with all disabilities
  • Similar to PARC case in that state required district to provide ‘adequate alternative education services’ as well as ‘prior hearing and periodic review of the child’s status, progress and adequacy of any educational alternative’
  • Courts required schools to describe curricula, objectives, teacher qualifications and supplemental services needed (these areas would later be influential during the drafting of EHA)

Multiple Sclerosis
Most students have mild and manageable symptoms, a small percentage experience symptoms that have a significant impact on their daily lives, including school. Symptoms can change from week to week.

Vision — Blurry or double vision may impact reading, writing or attention.Learning and memory — can affect brain function, attention span and thinking abilities, such as the ability to reason and process and remember information may be impacted. This is particularly true for younger children who develop active symptoms before they master educational building blocks, such as mathematics and grammar. These children may be at risk for performing poorly compared with kids who master these subjects before they develop active symptoms.Writing — acute attacks or lingering symptoms can cause numbness, weakness, fatigue, poor posture or coordination difficulties, all of which can affect handwriting.Socialization — can make socializing difficult.

  Children may withdraw from peers because they feel different, depressed or embarrassed, or because of physical symptoms such as fatigue. In general, children with more obvious physical symptoms are more likely to have trouble with socialization.

Muscular Dystrophy
A group of inherited disorders that involve muscle weakness and loss of muscle tissue, which get worse over time. They may occur in childhood or adulthood.

Designed to improve student achievement, placed renewed emphasis on key provisions, including:

  • early childhood education and the development of language skills and prereading skills;
  • assessments that align with state academic cpntent and achievement standards;
  • ongoing assessments each year in Grades 3-8 and at least once during Grades 10-12; and
  • detailed report cards to parents concerning their child’s progress.

Description:Inflammation of the kidney associated with infection.;Characteristics:Decreased ability of the kidneys to remove waste efficiently.
No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)2001

  • Increases school, district and state accountability for all students, including those from minority populations and those with special needs
  • Provides that states can be more flexible with federal funds;if standards of accountability are met
  • Offers school choice for students enrolled in failing schools
  • Implements early reading interventions


a student must show a recurrent pattern of negative, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior toward authority figures for a period of at least 6 months.; In the classroom, a teacher may observe behavior such as resisting directions, unwillingness to compromise with others, and stubbornness that is not age-appropriate.; Students may be argumentative and defiant and use verbal aggression.
impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments;from other;causes, such as amputations and fractures or burns that cause contractures.

Limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the education environment.; These impairments are due to chronic or acute health problems, such as asthma, ADD, ADHD, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, or sickle cell anemia, and adversely affect a child’s educational performance.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions).  Repetitive behaviors (hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning) are ofter performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away.  Performing these so called ‘rituals’ however, provides only temporary relief and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.
Defined as practice of a skill beyond 100% accuracy or beyond successful performance. 
are teacher developed questions or informal test items that provide a quick estimate of a specific detail.  Typically admistered when a teacher meets individually with a student to assess achievement or diagnose areas of weakness in content areas.

ensure that the rights of parents and children are protected during the assessment process and the delivery of services.  These procedures are sometimes referred to as due process which also guarantees parents or personnel in schools or agencies the right to an impartial hearing conducted by a hearing officer when disagreements occur.  Either a parent or school personnel can request a hearing if differences cannot be resolved informally.

Parallel Teaching

  • Lead teacher and support teacher collaboratively organize the lesson content.
  • Lead teacher and support teacher identify strategies needed for groups and individual students
  • Lead teacher and support teacher divide the students into two groups.
  • Lead teacher and support teacher independently deliver the lesson plan to each of the groups.
  • Lead teacher and support teacher facilitate learning in their group.

Pennsylvannia Association for Retarded Children (PARC)vsCommonwealth of Pennsylvannia1971

  • Students with mental retardation cannot be excluded from schools
  • All students must be provided with a free public program of education and training

Pervasive Developmental Disorder, NOS
Age of Onset:Later age onset than autism (often used for atypical autism because of later age onset of atypical symptoms). Characteristics:Similar to autism
The smallest unit of sound that has meaning in a language.
Phonemic Awareness
The ability to segment and manipulate speech sounds.

Knowledge of how specific spoken sounds relate to particular written letters
Phonological Awareness
Increasing ability to understand and identify the individual sounds that make up a word.
Piaget   Cognitive Development
Theory: Children move through a set series of stages as they develop their cognitive abilities. Throughout these stages they learn by interacting with their environment. This interaction often results in disequilibrium and requires that they adapt their schemes in response to their environment through the processes of assimilation & accommodation.

Application: Children interact with their environment, thereby constructing their own knowledge of the world. This is the basis for constructivism. Provide developmentally appropriate lessons that include hands-on activities whenever possible and activate their prior knowledge. Remember that children move through all stages, but develop at different rates. 

Focuses on how people use language, signs, and gestures in social situations.
Psychotic Disorders
An umbrella term used to refer to severe mental disorders that cause abnormal thinking and perceptions.

  Two of the main symptoms are delusions and hallucinations.  Delusions are false beliefs, such as thinking that someone is plotting against you. Hallucinations are false perceptions, such as hearing, seeing, or feeling something that is not there.

  Schizophrenia is one type of psychotic disorder

An assessment scale that identifies the component(s) of performance and the various levels of achievement.
An observation method that involves writing a description of events as they occur.
Receptive Language
Understanding the language used by others.
Response Cost
attempts to reduce behavior through withdrawal of specific amounts of reinforcers contingent upon the behavior’s occurrence, most often used with a token economy system.Guidelines for implementation:;;should be implemented immediately after target behavior occurs;;should be applied consistently;;learner should not be allowed to accumulate neg. points;;ratio of points earned to points lost must be controlled.;;subtraction of reinforcers should not be punitive or personalized.

;;appropriate behavior should be praised frequently.;Needs to be tied to the occurrence of a specific, observable behavior.

Response to Intervention (RTI)
A child’s response to each intervention, is carefully monitored and progress, or lack of, is documented.
Rett Syndrome
Age of Onset:Onset by age 4 after a period of typical early childhood development. Characteristics:Stereotyped hand movements, lack of coordination, severe impairment in expressive language development, usually associated with mental retardation.
Rheumatic Fever
Description:Inflammatory disease that develops after an infection and can involve the heart, brain, joints, or skin.

 Characteristics:Fever, joint pain or swelling, skin rash, or cardiac problems such as shortness of breath or chest pain.

requires a school district to provide a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to each qualified person with a disability who is in the school district’s jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the person’s disability.
Breaking down a larger task, response, or behavior into its components so that a student can complete one component at a time.

Events that affect the physical or emotional state of an individual at any given time.
A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, either spoken or written, which may be manifested in an impaired ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.  The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

  It does not apply to children who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantages.

A communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects the child’s educational performance.
Teaching strategies that support students as they acquire knowledge and skills.; As learners take more responsibility for their learning, the structures, supports and scaffolds can be faded and learners can work independently.; In order to be effective, it should be:

  • relevant and related to the task, response, or behavior that the student is asked to do;
  • provided when needed; and
  • diminished or faded over time.


one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations
Shared Teaching

  • Lead teacher and support teacher make decisions about the content and organization of the lesson.

  • Lead teacher and support teacher teach simultaneously to whole class.
  • Both lead and support teacher conducts formal teaching.


Sickle Cell Anemia
Description:Abnormal shape of red blood cells, which decrease oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.;Characteristics:Anemia and decreased ability to participate in physical activity during a sickle cell crisis; periods of intense pain.
Skinner;;;Operant Conditioning
Theory: Children;s learning is influenced by consequences that follow a given behavior. Strengthen behaviors through positive ; negative reinforcements. Reduce behaviors using punishments.Application: Reinforcers must be carefully selected; what works for one student will not work for another.

Praise should be specific. Use punishment sparingly.;

Spina Bifida
A birth defect that occurs when the bones of the spine (vertebrae) do not form properly around part of the baby;s spinal cord. It can affect how the skin on the back looks.

And in severe cases, it can make walking or daily activities hard to do without help. Most children who have the disease do not have problems from it.Characteristics:;;;;;; Average IQs, often with significantly higher verbal than nonverbal skills resulting in greater reading and spelling skills and much lower math skills.;;;;;;Poor perceptual-motor (non-verbal) abilities that affect their eye-hand coordination, which can create problems with handwriting and other motor activities;;;;;;The higher that the lesion is on spinal cord is affected, the greater the possibility that intelligence and motor skills will be lower.; More severe hydrocephalus is associated with lower intelligence scores.;;;;;;Students may have problems with memory, comprehension, attention, impulsivity, sequencing, organization and reasoning.

Standardized assessment that assesses the intellectual ability of children 6-16 years of age.;
Station Teaching

  • Lead teacher and support teacher segment the lesson content.

  • Lead teacher and support teacher divide the number of stations they are responsible for.
  • Both teachers plan and organize their station activities with attention to possible group differences.
  • Lead teacher and support teacher segment learning to small groups or individual at the stations they design.

Summative Assessment
Assessment that takes place at the end of the unit or marking period to show student growth and progress.
Involves not following rules for the correct arrangement of word sequence.
An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

  The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgement, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech.  The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

 a strategy designed to provide students with “food for thought” on a given topic enabling them to formulate individual ideas and share these ideas with another student.
Token Reinforcers
 are things such as points, gold stars or chips that can be earned and have a reinforcing effect by pairing them with other reinforcers.

Teachers have found the use of tokens very effective in managing student learning and classroom behavior. The use of a point system is especially effective in helping students learn how to manage their behavior, as well contributing their success as science learners. Many teachers set up their grading system using a point system, e.g. points can be earned for homework, laboratory assignments, projects, quizzes, and tests.

Tourette Syndrome
Description:A Neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. Characteristics:Tics may vary in type, frequency, location, and severity.

  The average age of onset is between 7 and 10 years with worst symptoms in the early teens and improvement occurring in the late teens and continuing into adulthood.

A process that enables children and youth with disabilities to move easily, efficiently, and successfully from one school grade to another and from school to work and the community.  Key points include preschool to early elementary grades, elementary school to middle or junior high school, middle or junior high school to high school, and high school to work, post secondary education and the community.
Transition Services
A coordinated set of activities for a student designed with an outcome-oriented process, that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and community participation.
Trisomy 21
The failure of one pair of parental chromosomes to separate at conception.  Causes Down Syndrome.

A diagram usually made up of two or more overlapping circles.  Can be used to show similarities and differences between events, people, situations, ideas, and concepts.
An impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects the child’s educational performance.; The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales
Standardized assessment used to identify adaptive and maladaptive behaviors.
Vocational Rehabilitation Act, Section 504(PL 93-112)1973

  • Civil Rights law which prohibits discrimination against individuals (adults ; students) with disabilities in federally funded programs (ie: public schools)
  • Defines ‘handicapped person’ and ‘appropriate education’
  • A student, with a documented disability, not found eligible to receive special education services can receive specific types of assistance. These students include those with health problems (ie: asthma, extreme allergies, ADD/ADHD)


VygotskyCognitive Development
Theory: Children learn signs (language, thinking, problem solving) through interaction with others in their culture.

It is when children are helped by others when they are working within their zone of proximal development that they develop cognitively. Children eventually learn to self-regulate or think ; solve problems without others; help. Private or self-speech is a part of this development.Application: Teachers must teach within a child;s zone of proximal development (that level just beyond a child;s current level of understanding) using scaffolding (modeling, think alouds, questions, etc.) to provide the needed support to assist the child in his/her development. Encourage oral communication within the classroom and provide opportunities for children to learn from one another.

Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children
Standardized test used to assess intellectual ability of children 6-16 years of age.
Woodcock-Johnson;Psycho-educational Battery
A co-normed set of tests for measuring general intellectual ability, specific cognitive abilities, oral language, and academic achievement.
Concept-development software
Helps students with cognitive disabilities to expand their ideas.
Voice-recognition software
Allows an individual to use a computer by speaking into a microphone. This decreases a students need to use fine motor skills.;
Communication software
Helps the user exchange information.; It is necessary with communication boards and visual displays.
Text-reading software
Used to read text aloud.

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