Special Education Vocab

Words often associated with this branch of education.

#1. IEP

Individualized Education Program. What it sounds like; written document given to eligible students who need special services because of a disability.

#2. Resource Room

Separate room where students are given help, assistance, or rest during he school day whenever he or she has needs.

#3. Collaborator

Joint educator working with another teacher to ensure students get the right resources and education.

#4. Inclusion

Rejection against allowing special needs students to be separated from regular education students.

#5. Autism

Mental condition that includes difficulty in communicating and creating relationships with others. Present from early childhood.

#6. Intellectual Disability

Disability defined by limitations in both intellectual functioning and behavior.

#7. Dysgraphia

A specific learning disability that affects a person’s handwriting ability and fine motor skills.

#8. Adaptation

The action of becoming used to the environment and atmosphere around you.

#9. Assistive Technology

Technology found in a special needs classroom or home to aid in communicating, learning, creating, and anything else a student may need help in.


  • ADD- Condition, usually in children, marked by inattentiveness, dreaminess, and passivity.
  • ADHD- Disorder that includes difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior and hyperactivity.

#11. Behavioral Disordered (BD)

Most common reason students need special education. Condition where people, even adults, have inappropriate feelings during situations that may stand in the way of their education.

#12. FMD

Terminology used to describe Functional Mental Disability. A deficit or delay in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior.

#13. Emotional Disturbance

Condition that adversely affects a child's educational performance.

#14. Hearing Impaired

Hearing loss that prevents a person from totally receiving sounds through the ear.

#15. Visual Impairment

Visual loss that prevents a person from totally receiving sight through the eyes.

#16. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

When an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction; usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body.

#17. Down Syndrome

Intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities caused by a congenital disorder found in a chromosome defect.

#18. Dyslexia

Specific learning disability that affects reading and related language-based processing skills; can affect reading fluency, decoding, reading comprehension, recall, writing, spelling, and sometimes speech.

#19. Dyscalculia

Specific learning disability that affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts.

#20. Dyspraxia

A disorder that is characterized by difficulty in muscle control, which causes problems with movement and coordination, language and speech, and can affect learning.