As you sit down at the parent-teacher conference, you think, “have I forgotten anything?” Your daughter’s homeroom teacher comes in and starts to share the latest MAP results and her progress in MTSS. You wonder, “am I in the right meeting?” This all sounds like a foreign language and you are already confused and feeling way behind as the teacher asks, “any questions so far?”
Teachers and administrators use lots of terms to describe programs, grade-level standards, and services. When attending meetings, there are a lot of acronyms and terms that educators use that may be confusing. Many times teachers forget to explain the terms and acronyms.
As a former educator, I am familiar with the terminology that teachers use at meetings. But, as a parent of a child with dyslexia, I have had to learn new terms and acronyms. Below are some of the most frequently used acronyms and terms used at parent-teacher conferences. This list will help give you a general understanding of what the terms mean.
- 504 Plan – A 504 plan is an individual education plan for a student. A student does not have to qualify for special education to receive these services.
- Accommodations – Accommodations include supports, services, and changes to remove barriers so that students may access the general education curriculum. For example, a student may receive extended time to complete an assignment to accommodate his or her rate and difficulty with reading.
- ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act
- AE – Age Equivalent
- AT – Refers to Assistive Technology. It can include products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning for students with disabilities. It may increase, maintain, and improve the functional capabilities of students. For example, a Livescribe Smartpen that records what you write and the audio that is being spoken in the classroom.
- BIP – Behavior Intervention Plan
- CA – Chronological Age
- DOE – Department of Education
- FAPE – Free Appropriate Public Education
- Fine Motor Skills – Skills that require small muscle movements (writing, eating, and cutting with scissors)
- Grade Equivalent – The average raw score for students in the same grade level.
- Gross Motor Skills – Skills that require large muscle movements (walking, jumping, and skipping).
- IEE – Independent Educational Evaluation
- IEP – An IEP (Individualized Education Program) is a personalized plan for a student who has qualified for special education services. A team of educators and parents develop the IEP document.
- LEA – An LEA (Local Education Agency) refers to the local school district.
- LRE – Least Restrictive Environment is a reference to teaching students in a setting that best meets his or her needs with a preference given to regular education settings as much as possible.
- MTSS – Multi-Tier System of Supports
- MULTISENSORY – Refers to instruction that uses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile approach to teaching reading. (Orton-Gillingham and Wilson both known for this method for dyslexic learners.)
- OCD – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- OHI – Other Health Impaired
- OT – Occupational Therapy
- PBIS – Positive Behavior Interventions and Support
- PT – Physical Therapy
- RTI – Response to Intervention
- SLP – Speech-Language Pathologist
- STO – Short Term Objectives
- SY – School Year
Remember to ask questions when terms come up that you are not familiar with how they are being used for your son or daughter or where you are confused with the terms in general. You can’t make the best decisions for your son or daughter’s education if you don’t understand what the teachers are talking about. There’s nothing wrong with asking for clarification.
Ready for the meeting,