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Alphabet Soup: Explaining the Acronyms and Terms

September 24, 2023

As the parent of a special needs student you are likely quite familiar with the flood of acronyms out there, both in verbal and written forms of communication. You want to be on top of your game so you may actively participate in planning your child’s educational program, but sometimes you can feel like you’re drowning in alphabet soup!

We understand that meetings and paperwork can be overwhelming enough, without being hijacked by confusing acronyms. To arm you with the knowledge you need we have provided a list of some commonly used acronyms you may encounter during the planning and placement process.

PPT: Planning and Placement Team. A group of individuals including the child's parents, and school professionals who determine the educational needs of the child and develop the Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Individualized Education Program. A written education program for a child with disabilities created by a team of professionals and the parents, to be reviewed at least annually. It describes the child's learning needs and required services and supports.

Least Restrictive Environment. The requirement that students with disabilities be placed in general education classrooms to the maximum extent possible.

Extended School Year. Special education and related services stated in the student's IEP may be provided beyond the normal school year and at no cost to parents. This is often thought of as summer school, but it can include other programs.

504 Plan
: A plan or agreement with the school that includes the accommodations, supports and services necessary for a student with a disability to access their education. Children will have either a 504 or IEP plan, but it is rare to have both at the same time.

Elea serves special needs families by providing innovative tools and personalized support. Our mission is to make it easier for you to connect with services your family needs. Be sure to visit us regularly for helpful new information and resources.