Adapted Physical Education (APE): physical education which has been adapted or modified, so that it is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for a person without a disability.

Federal law mandates that physical education be provided to students with disabilities and defines Physical Education as the development of:

  • physical and motor skills
  • fundamental motor skills and patterns (throwing, catching, walking, running, etc)
  • skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports)

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): the science in which procedures derived from the principles of behavior are systematically applied to improve socially significant behavior to a meaningful degree and to demonstrate experimentally that the procedures employed were responsible for the improvement of behavior.

  • As defined by: Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (1986). Applied Behavior Analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): a range of neurological disorders that most markedly involve some degree of difficulty with communication and interpersonal relationships. As the term "spectrum" indicates, there can be a wide range of effects. Specific diagnoses that fall on the autism spectrum include: Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger Syndrome. Rare autism spectrum disorders include Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.


Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA): an independent practitioner who also may work as an employee or independent contractor for an organization. The BCBA conducts descriptive and systematic (e.g., analogue) behavioral assessments, including functional analyses, and provides behavior analytic interpretations of the results. The BCBA designs and supervises behavior analytic interventions. The BCBA is able to effectively develop and implement appropriate assessment and intervention methods for use in unfamiliar situations and for a range of cases.


Discrete Trial Training (DTT): a specific teaching method used to maximize learning. The teaching strategy involves, breaking skills into the smallest steps, teaching each step of the skill intensively until mastered, providing much repetition, prompting the correct response and fading prompts as soon as possible, and using positive reinforcement procedures.


Evaluation Team Report (ETR): evaluation procedures used to determine whether a child has a disability and the nature and extent of the special education and related services that child needs. The evaluation must consist of several areas including:

  • Psychological (abilities such as IQ tests)
  • Academic (Math, Reading, Writing, etc…)
  • Vision (not only the eye chart but should include visual perception, processing, fields, etc…)
  • Fine motor (should include how they write, hold a pencil, use scissors, etc…)
  • Gross motor (should include how they walk, run, compete with other kids of similar age, etc…)
  • Auditory (should include a tone test as well as how they process the sounds they hear and how they discriminate sounds in a noisy environment)
  • Social-Emotional Status (how they get along with peers, teachers, etc…)
  • Communicative Status, also known as Speech and Language, (should include oral structures as well as how they use language such as semantics, morphology, pragmatics, etc…)
  • Functional Behavior Assessment (if behavior is a concern)
  • A blank ETR template can be found at:

Extinction: removal or termination of the positive reinforcer that maintains a behavior. Extinction is often used with differential reinforcement to increase appropriate behaviors while discouraging the use of inappropriate behaviors. Examples of reinforcing stimuli that may need to be removed include: attention, access to tangible items or escape from a demand/instruction.


Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA): the process of determining the cause (or "function") of behavior before developing an intervention. The process involves documenting the antecedent (what comes before the behavior), behavior, and consequence (what happens after the behavior) over a number of weeks; interviewing teachers, parents, and others who work with the child; and evaluating how the child's disability may affect behavior.


Individualized Education Program (IEP): a written statement of the educational program designed to meet a child's individual needs. The IEP is developed to set reasonable learning goals for the child and to state the services the school district will provide for the child to meet those goals. The IEP is developed by a team of individuals including the parent (s), the student (if appropriate), general education teacher, special education teacher, related services providers, and school administrators.

For a more comprehensive explanation of the required components of an IEP visit: or


Occupational Therapy (OT): occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.


Physical Therapy (PT): provides services to individuals to develop, maintain and restore movement and functional ability.

Problem behaviors: any behavior deemed inappropriate due to frequency, situation or location. Problem behaviors may include one or more of the following, however this list is not exhaustive.

  • Repetitive/Stereotypic Behaviors: (often referred to as self-stimulatory behaviors) any preoccupation with an action or vocalization that occur more than one time and do not fit the context of the current situation or conversation. Examples may include body rocking, hand flapping, and repetition of sounds, words or phrases as well as preoccupation with specific topics.
  • Ritualistic behaviors: a need for sameness that can include daily routines, transition from location to location, and/or play behaviors. Interruption of these behaviors may often result in additional problem behaviors.
  • Non-compliance: verbal or physical resistance/refusal to complete a given instruction.
  • Self-Injurious Behavior (SIB): Aggressions directed toward oneself. These may cause minimal to severe harm.


Reinforcement: the consequence (provided as part of the three-term contingency) that results in the increase of the desired behavior in the future under similar conditions. There are two types of reinforcement: positive (add something to the environment) & negative (remove/escape something in the environment).

Response to Intervention (RtI): assessments and interventions are used to maximize student achievement and reduce behavioral problems. With RTI, schools use data to identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-based interventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student's responsiveness, and identify students with learning disabilities or other disabilities.


Section 504/504 Plans: part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. It is a civil rights act and it applies to any individual with a disability and prohibits discrimination by any program or activity that receives federal funds. It requires that the needs of students with disabilities are met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met. Schools are required to provide appropriate, reasonable adaptations and modifications for individuals who have disabilities, have a record of disabilities, or are regarded as having disabilities that substantially affect a major life function such as physical or mental functioning.

A Section 504 Plan has accommodations, is developed by a 504 committee, and must be implemented by school staff. Accommodations may include (but not limited to) the following: highlighted text books, extended time on tests and assignments, enlarged print, positive reinforcements, behavior intervention plans, and visual aids.

Speech and Language Pathology (SLP): the treatment of speech and/or language disorders. A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.


I can't even think of words to describe our feelings about Jenny's progress from our first ABA session to today. Honestly, I can't really remember how bad her behaviors were unless I am reminded.   Continue Reading →

--Mary, Parent


I have the opportunity to work with amazing kids! The most effective (and sometimes only) way to support these kids as they reach their full potential is through a team [home and school] approach.   Continue Reading →

--Julie Payne, M.A., Intervention Specialist


Lindsay has always been dedicated and passionate. Her professionalism and knowledge made us feel very confident in the program right from the start.   Continue Reading →

--Ellen, parent