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Glossary for Transition

Accommodations are changes in how a student in public education accesses information and demonstrates learning. Accommodations do not substantially change the instructional level, content, or performance criteria. The changes are made in order to provide a student with equal access to learning and equal opportunity to show what he or she knows and can do. Accommodations can include changes in the following:
  • presentation and/or response format and procedures
  • instructional strategies
  • time/scheduling
  • environment
  • equipment
  • architecture
A regional agency that is responsible for ensuring that a school or college meets minimum set of standards.
A test published by American College Testing which measures a student's aptitude in mathematical and verbal comprehension and problem solving. Some four-year colleges require students to take this test and submit their test scores when they apply for admission. Some colleges accept this test or the SAT. Most students take the ACT or SAT during their junior or senior year of high school. For additional information, see
ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) gives civil rights protections to people with disabilities. The ADA guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.
Assistive Technology
Assistive Technology (AT) is a common term used for assistive and adaptive devices for people with disabilities. An assistive technology devise is any item used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of an individual with a disability. The devices can provide more freedom and control in your life.
Associates Degree
The associate degree is a two-year degree that prepares a student to enter the workforce or continue to earn a bachelor's four year degree. Associate degrees are usually part of a community college system.
Baccalaureate Degree - B.A. or B.S.
More commonly called bachelors degree. Four years of academic study in a specific field. Also know as Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.
The campus is the physical place of the university or college. It includes to all the buildings, fields, arenas, auditoriums and property owned by the college.
Certificate Programs
A certificate program is a series of courses that is designed to educate and train people in specific skill areas. The programs are usually shorter in length and are not degrees. They are offered at community and technical colleges.
The College Level Examination Program is an exam program allowing students to "test" out of a college course and still receive credit for the course. Each college has different rules about the courses and how many course credits a student can earn by CLEP
Credit Hour
Credit hours are the hours assigned to each class including time in the classroom, lab and in some cases, the time expected outside class.
Dean's List
The dean's list is a listing of students who have achieved at least a 3.5 GPA (Grade Point Average).
Disability Support Services
Disability Support Services (DSS): College support and advocacy services for students with disabilities. This service may have a different name depending on the individual college. To receive these services, a person with a disability must place a request with the DSS office and provide documentation regarding the disability.
An elective is class or course that is not required, but can be used as credits for a college degree.
Programs that people must apply for and meet the standards to qualify to receive services. A person is determined to be eligible based on the program standards such as household size, income, assets, background etc.
Government programs that target groups of people to receive benefits. Benefits are granted to anyone who meets the criteria.
FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): A form completed by all students applying for financial assistance in order to determine eligibility for financial aid. This form is available from your high school career center or guidance counselor, or from any college financial aid office. For more information, see
General Practitioner
Also called family doctor or primary care doctor. General practitioners are usually for people in need of general health care. They are the traditional family doctors and provide general medical care for their patients. When general practitioners encounter conditions of a more serious nature, they refer the patient to a specialist or a healthcare facility where the patient will receive more specialized care and treatment.
IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education and Amendments Act
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): A federal law outlining the responsibilities of public schools (K-12) to provide a free, appropriate, public education to children and youth with disabilities.
IEP Team
Your IEP team includes the people who help you achieve your dreams and goals. Each person brings information and ideas that can help you succeed. Some people must be included on your team to comply with IDEA. You are the center of this team. You need to state your preferences, interests, plans and goals. Who must be included on your team?
  • You
  • Your parents or guardians
  • Special education teacher
  • Your regular education teacher(s)
  • Local Education Agency (LEA) representative (usually principal or vice-principal)
  • With your or your parents consent, agencies who might provide or pay for any services

You may also wish to include the following:

  • A friend or peer
  • School support staff (interpreter, instructional aide, job coach)
  • Related service providers – if you receive these services (speech therapy, physical or occupational therapy, counseling)
A major is a student's primary area of study in a technical school, college or university.
Modifications are changes in what a student is expected to learn in K-12 education. The changes are made to provide a student the opportunities to participate meaningfully and productively along with other students in classroom and school learning experiences. Modifications include changes in the following:
  • instructional level
  • content
  • performance criteria
Pediatricians manage the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their patients. This includes well-child check-ups to illness or accidents. Generally, pediatricians focus on babies, children, adolescents, and young adults from birth to age 21.
Post-Secondary Education
Education and training that happens after high school. This includes community colleges, technical colleges, and universities.
A prerequisite is a requirement that students must meet before enrolling in some courses in school.
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) that measures a student's aptitude in mathematical and verbal comprehension and problem solving. Many four-year colleges require students to take this test and submit the resulting scores when they apply for admission. Some colleges accept this test or the ACT. Most students take the SAT or the ACT during their junior or senior year of high school. For more information, see
Section 504
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: The purpose of this civil rights statute is to prevent discrimination against persons with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Section 504 guarantees certain rights to people with disabilities including the right to participation in the programs or services offered.
A self-advocate is someone who speaks clearly and positively about his or her needs. To be an effective self-advocate, a student with a disability must understand his or her particular disability, how it impacts learning, and be able to describe the disability and how it relates to his or her needs.
Special Education
Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability. The instruction is at no charge to the parents, except those fees that are charged to all students.
Specialist – Medical
A physician/doctor whose practice is limited to a specific area of medicine or surgery, such as an orthopedist specializes in bones and muscles, or a dermatologist specializes in skin.
A syllabus is a paper that describes the policies for a class. It contains information about attendance, grading, the required text, the professor's office hours and phone numbers and other important information about the class.
A formal list of all the courses a student has taken with the grades earned in each course. A college will require a high school transcript when a student applies for admission to the college.
Transition Services
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004); PL 108-446), transition services refer to a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that
  1. is designed to be a results-oriented process, focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child' movement from school to post school activities, including postsecondary education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;
  2. is based on the individual child's needs, taking into account the child's strengths, preferences, and interests; and
  3. includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment, and other post-school adult living objectives, and (when appropriate) acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
Transition is the change or movement that happens between phases of life. For example moving from elementary school to junior high school, high school to adult life and moving from an apartment to owning your home. Preparing for these changes may help them go more smoothly
Work Incentives
Programs offered by agencies such as, Social Security, Medicaid, or the housing authority, etc., to support individuals who want to go to work. These special encouragements are called Work Incentives.
Work Study Program
Part of the financial aid package that allows students to work part-time on campus during the school year to earn money for college.