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The Guide to Special Education in Maine



General Individual Educational Program (IEP) Terms
Special Education Services Terms
Supportive Services Terms



ADA Americans with Disabilities Act
ADD Attention Deficit Disorder
AIDS Auto Immune Defi ciency System
AT Assistive Technology
BIP Behavioral Intervention Plan
CARE Children At Risk Educationally
CDS Child Development Services
DHS Department of Human Services (Maine)
DBDS Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services
DOB Date of Birth
ECT Early Childhood Team
EHA Education for all Handicapped Children of Act 1975
ESY Extended School Year
FAPE Free Appropriate Public Education
FBA Functional Behavior Assessment
FERPA Family Education Rights & Privacy Act
FMI For More Information
IAP Individual Accommodations Plan
IASA Improving America's Schools Act
IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
IEE Independent Education Evaluation
IEP Individual Educational Program
IFSP Individual Family Service Program
IQ Intelligence Quotient
LEP Limited English Proficient
LD Learning Disability
LEARNS Local Education for All in Regular Neighborhood Schools
LREA Least Restrictive Educational Alternative
LRE Least Restrictive Environment
MEAs Maine Educational Assessments
MDOE Maine Department of Education
MRSA Maine Revised Statute Annotated
ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
MSER Maine State Education Regulations
N/A Not Applicable
NASDSE National Association of State Directors of Special Education
OCR Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education
OSERS Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services, US Department of Education
PE Physical Education
PET Pupil Evaluation Team
PSATs Pre-Scholastic Aptitude Test
SAU School Administrative Unit
SATs Scholastic Aptitude Test
SMPA Southern Maine Parent Awareness
SNOW Strengths, Needs, Opportunities And Worries
SPIN Special Needs Parent Information Network
SSDI Social Security Disability Income
SSI Supplement Security Income
STAT Student/Teacher Assistance Teams

United States of America


S Samples
SI Supplemental Information
SL Sample Letter
WS Worksheets


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There are many terms used to describe the services that your child may receive through special education. Some are very clear and describe exactly what the service is. Others may need more definition. The list that follows includes a sampling of the educational terms used at Pupil Evaluation Team (PET) meetings and in the development of an Individual Educational Program (IEP).

These terms are used throughout the PET process and in the development of an IEP. A comprehensive list can be found in Maine State Education Regulations (MSER), Chapter 101, Section 2, pages 3-9.

Educational Performance (2.7)
An Educational Performance includes academic areas (reading, math, communication, etc.), nonacademic areas (daily life activities, mobility, etc.), extracurricular activities, progress in meeting goals established for the general curriculum, and performance on state-wide and local assessments.

Instructional Time (2.13)
"Instructional Time" means the period in which the student is provided with an opportunity to participate in learning activities. It does not include lunch, recess or the time between classes, unless specified in the student's IEP.

Special Education Placement (2.21)
Special Education Placement means the instructional setting in which special education services are provided and is a physical location. A placement is neither a type of service nor a type of program.

Special Education Program (2.22)
A "Special Education Program" is a full or part time educational program designed to provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), as specificed in the student's IEP.


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A comprehensive list can be found in MSER Chapter 101, Section 5, pages 20-27.

Consultation Services (5.4)
Provided by qualified special education personnel to help regular education teachers modify or adapt their curriculum to serve students with disabilities and must be included in the student's Individual Educational Program (IEP).

Direct Instruction (5.5)
Instruction provided by an appropriately supervised special education professional or an appropriately supervised educational technician, consistent with the IEP.

Extended School Year (5.9)
The Pupil Evaluation Team (PET) determines the need for Extended School Year (ESY) services on an individual basis. The PET must determine whether or not the student may be at risk of losing skills they have already mastered over the summer and unable to recoup those skills within a reasonable period of time when school resumes in the fall.

  • Extended school year services must be made available if they are necessary for the student to receive Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and are provided at no cost to parents.
  • Extended school year services cannot be limited only to students with certain types of disabilities.

Graduation (5.11)
Graduation services may include a regular diploma, or the PET may decide to make "reasonable and appropriate adaptations of and accommodations to the state and local graduation requirements, to reflect the unique skills and abilities of the student," which may be in the form of a certificate or other document. These decisions are made when the student is between the ages of 15 and 20 inclusive, and the projected date of graduation must be written in the IEP. Parents should be aware that policies about graduation vary from school district to school district. Be sure to check with administrators about your local policy.


Monitoring Services (5.3)
Provided to students who have been transitioned into a regular education program and are limited to one year. The purpose of monitoring is to help the student transition into a less restrictive educational alternative. At the conclusion of the year of monitoring services, the student will either be discharged from special education, or eligibility will be continued and the student will receive special education services.

Physical Education (5.14)
The development of physical and motor fitness; fundamental motor skills and patterns; and skills in aquatics, dance and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports). It includes adapted physical education, movement education and motor development. If modifications are needed in the physical education program, a specially designed, adapted physical education program must be included in the IEP and the school must provide the services or make arrangements for it to be provided through other programs.

Speech and Language Services (5.10)
Provided by licensed professionals for students with communication disorders such as stuttering, impaired articulation, or language or voice impairments.

Transition Services (5.13)
To promote movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.

Tutorial Services (5.8)
Provided to students who are unable to participate in regular or special education classes, as determined by the PET. If the Tutorial Services are anticipated to last longer than 10 days, the PET shall convene to develop a new IEP.


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Please note that the term "supportive services" is federal language in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) '97 and in MSER Chapter 101. Parents and school personnel may be using the term "related services" interchangeably with "support services." A comprehensive list can be found in MSER Chapter 101, Section 6, pages 27-34.

Audiology Services (6.4)
Specific to students with hearing losses. This type of service can include assessment, provision of equipment for amplification (i.e. hearing aid), and rehabilitative activities designed to help the student communicate either with or without a hearing aid or other amplification device.

Modifications and Accommodations
It is important for you to become familiar with modifications, accommodations, adaptations, and positive supports in order to make sure that your child's program is provided in the Least Restrictive Educational Alternative (LREA). It is important to make modifications, adaptations and accommodations a part of a student's IEP. Simply reflecting them in the PET minutes does not make them legally binding. It is important to note who is responsible to carry out these functions (i.e.: Regular Education Teacher, Special Education Teacher, etc.)

Modification: A change in the regular education curriculum or program made for a student with a disability. A modification changes the expectations or standard results of the curriculum.

  • Student example:
    • A student receives a scaled down version of a test, as compared to the test given to other students in the same class.
    • A teacher provides a separate word bank sheet for the student to use in filling in the blanks during test taking.

Accommodation: student's program changes the format (way) in which something is delivered or received.

  • Student example:
  • A student would be allowed to submit a verbally taped response to a test, rather than a written response.
  • Teacher example:
  • A teacher would give a copy of class time lecture notes to the student to accompany the verbal lecture being given that day.

Orientation and Mobility Services (6.9)
Provided to students who are blind or visually impaired to enable them to move safely and systematically through their home, school and community.

Parent Counseling and Training (6.10)
Used to help parents understand their child's special needs and development. Parent Training can help you acquire the skills necessary to be involved in the development and implementation of your child's IEP.

Psychological Services (6.11)
Can include consultation, evaluation, behavior management, social skills training and/or psychotherapy.

  • Teacher example:

Recreation Services (6.12)
An assessment of leisure functions and can include therapeutic recreation services, recreation programs in schools and community agencies, and leisure education. It is included in the list of supportive services because children need to learn how to use their leisure time appropriately. Recreation therapy can improve social as well as physical skills. Recreation, leisure and play are vital to the student's sense of well being. Recreation Goals can help your child:

  • To learn lifetime leisure skills
  • To increase physical fitness
  • To develop social skills
  • To independently access leisure opportunities within the community

Rehabilitation Counseling (6.13)
Done by a counseling professional with a specific focus on disability, including career development, vocational rehabilitation, and employment preparation of people with disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors can provide valuable input during the process of transition planning as you begin to consider career options for your child.

School Health Services (6.14)
Medical services necessary for the student to attend school that do not require a physician's expertise within the school setting. This can include services provided by the school nurse, such as the administration of medication during the school day.

Social Work Services (6.15)
In schools include activities such as counseling with the child and family; working with the child and family in the school, home, and community; and identifying community resources needed by the student.

Special Education Equipment/Assistive Technology (6.16)

Assistive Technology Device
Includes any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. This can include a wide range of equipment such as wheelchairs, computers, adapted software, augmentative communication device, etc.

The key to obtaining needed assistive technology (AT) for your child is to show that they need the technology to benefit from special education in order to access, more appropriately, the general curriculum.

Assistive Technology Service
Any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device, including:

  • Evaluating the needs of a child with a disability including functional evaluations done in the child's customary environment
  • Purchasing, leasing or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities
  • Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, retaining, repairing, or replacing of assistive technology devices
  • Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices
  • Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child's family
  • Training or technical assistance for professionals (including those providing educational and rehabilitation services), employers or other persons who provide employment services or are substantially involved in the major life functions of children with disabilities.

Transportation (6.17)
A supportive service includes travel to and from school and between schools; travel in and around school buildings; and special equipment such as adapted buses, lifts, walkers, wheelchairs and ramps. Transportation services must be documented within the student's IEP. The PET must consider the LREA when considering transportation needs and determine any modifications and/or adaptations, including the employment of a transportation aide, and any adaptations needed to ensure appropriate and accessible transportation services. Transportation schedules may not result in shortened school days for the student. Parents are not required to pay any fees for transportation. If parents agree to transport the student, the school must reimburse for mileage and other expenses.

What Has Worked For Us, As Parent(s), And Our Children Regarding Modifications and Accommodations

"We try to review the modifications with our child every couple of weeks. Teachers and classes are continually changing; the modifications need to stay constant. The only way to ensure that they are happening is to check in with your child from time to time."

"Just before a PET, I sit down with my son and we go over each modification listed. We talk about if it works or not, what could make it work better and then write this out. We then bring our thoughts and suggestions to the PET meeting."

"I try to meet with teachers individually at the start of the school year and discuss classroom modifications. This helps to make sure we all have the same understanding of what will be done. I also check in from time to time. It’s an on-going, evolving process, throughout the entire school year."

"I always talk to the experts that help me the most, parents of kids around the same age with similar disabilities. I found out some PETs accept community-based activities like Karate and Adventure programs as Substitute Physical Education."


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