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Glossary of Terms


Accessible Educational Materials (AEM): Materials that are designed or converted in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format (print, digital, graphical, audio, video). IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) specifically focuses on accessible formats of print educational materials. In relation to IDEA, the term AEM refers to print educational materials that have been transformed into the specialized formats of Braille, large print, audio, or digital text.

Accommodations: Supports and services that allow learners access to the curriculum.

American Printing House (APH): American Printing House for the Blind provides accessible learning materials such as large print and braille material, braille labelers, braille toys/games, and tactile aids for learning.

Assistive Technology (AT): Identified in IDEA 2004 as "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 children with disabilities. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device."


B/VI: Blind/Visually Impaired

Blind: The medical definition for blind is the medical diagnosis of visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye. Blindness does not necessarily mean that there is no vision at all, many people who are blind can see light and shapes. Blindness can be temporary or permanent. Damage to any portion of the eye, the optic nerve, or the area of the brain responsible for vision can lead to blindness.

Braille: A tactile system of reading and writing made up of raised dot patterns for letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Braille may be either embossed (a permanent printed document) or refreshable (electronically generated and accessed via a braille display device).

Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI): Assists eligible people, beginning at age 14, with low vision and blindness by providing direct, personalized services to assist them in finding and retaining meaningful work and personal independence.


Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS): A professional that instructs individuals who are blind or visually impaired with safe and effective travel through their environment. They support learners at home, in schools, and in the community.

Closed-Circuit TV (CCTV): A desktop magnifying device helping users with low vision read text or images placed under the built-in camera.

Comprehensive evaluation: An assessment evaluating a student’s cognitive, emotional, social, physical, and academic development to determine whether the student is qualified to receive special education services. Specifically identifies a student’s strengths and needs.

County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (CBDD): Ohio’s county boards of developmental disabilities provide assessment, service planning, and coordination to adults and children with developmental disabilities, as well as oversight and assistance to service providers. Each County in Ohio has a County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI): A neurological condition related to the visual pathway making it difficult for a person to interpreting visual information. Cortical Visual Impairment refers to the visual pathways going from the eye to the visual cortex. Cerebral Visual Impairment can encompass other areas of the brain, and also lower parts of the brain like the cerebellum.


Deafblind: Any combination of documented hearing and vision loss, ranging from mild to profound hearing loss and low vision to total blindness; students who are deafblind should register with Ohio's Center for Deafblind Education census (

Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD): The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities is a statewide system that funds programs located in counties across Ohio. DODD supports people with disabilities who are eligible, birth through adulthood.


Early Intervention (EI): Programs for young children with special needs, from birth until three; early intervention services are authorized under IDEA Part C and may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or other appropriate interventions which are typically provided in the child's home or a community setting.

Educational Service Centers (ESC): The 52 educational service centers in Ohio provide school districts with professional development, technology support, planning, student service support, and administrative services to improve student learning, enhance the quality of instruction, and expand equal access to resources.

Evaluation Team Report (ETR): The documented results of a comprehensive evaluation, which consist of a student’s strengths and needs. Used for special education eligibility determination, and used to plan an Individualized Education Program.

Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) B/VI: The term expanded core curriculum (ECC) is used to define concepts and skills (compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes, orientation and mobility, social interaction skills and others) that often require direct specialized support for learners with visual impairments.


Functional Vision Assessment (FVA): An assessment, conducted by a teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI), to determine how a child uses their vision in everyday life. Based on the results, the TVI can make recommendations about ways to help your child learn to use his vision more effectively. Due to possible vision changes as the learner grows, it needs to be repeated periodically.


Individualized Education Program (IEP): A legal document which details a student’s special education program. It describes the student's strengths and needs, goals and objectives, placement, and measures of the student's progress toward achieving annual goals. Operates under part B of IDEA and addresses the needs of children ages three through twenty-one.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP): An action plan detailing the supports and services that early intervention provides to eligible young children with disabilities and their families. Operates under part C of IDEA and addresses the needs of children birth through age three.

Individualized Service Plan (ISP): An action plan detailing the supports and services that a county board of developmental disabilities will provide to eligible children and adults with disabilities.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): A federal law that details the educational rights and requirements applicable to students with disabilities.

Intervention Specialist (IS): A certified teacher that assist learners with special education and social emotional needs in the classroom. They collaborate with team members to provide and assess individual education programs for learners.


Learning Media Assessment (LMA): An assessment on the learning style, for a student who is visually imapired, on the way they use vision, touch, hearing, and other senses to gain information. The results will provide information on the appropriate literacy media or method for the learner. Modes or methods may include, braille, print, auditory strategies, objects, and pictures.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): Refers to a package of supports and services that include elements of a setting, materials, accommodations, and personnel. When those are in place, a learner is able to receive an appropriate education, designed to meet his or her educational needs, alongside peers without disabilities, to the maximum extent possible.

Low Vision: Vision loss that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical procedures, or with conventional eyeglasses.


Modification: Changes in what the learner is taught from the curriculum.

Mulit-Disciplinary Team: Involvement of two or more disciplines or professionals that provide integrated and coordinated services that include evaluation and assessment activities and development of an Individual Family Service Plan/Individual Education Program.


Occupational Therapist (OT): A professional who works with people to improve their fine-motor skills.

Office for Exceptional Children (OEC): Provides leadership, assistance, and oversight to school districts and other entities that provide differentiated instruction for students with disabilities and gifted students. Monitors and supports issues regarding compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Ohio Accessibility Manual: A comprehensive policy document providing information about the accessibility features of Ohio’s State Tests for grades 3-8 and high school in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The manual helps to define the specific accessibility features available for all students, students with disabilities, students who are English learners, and students who are English learners with disabilities.

OCALI: OCALI is a recognized global leader in creating and connecting resources and relationships to ensure that people with disabilities have the opportunity to live their best lives for their whole lives.

Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD): A statewide non-profit program that provides direct support to families and their children with disabilities. Well known for their Parent Mentor program.

Ohio Department of Education (ODE): A state agency that supports and manages school districts and education in Ohio.

Ohio’s Learning Standards: The standards explain the knowledge and skills students are learning in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. They Identify what students should know and be able to do.

Ohio’s Learning Standards – Extended (OLS-E): Commonly known as the extended standards. These standards help to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities are provided with multiple ways to learn and demonstrate knowledge. At the same time, the extended standards are designed to maintain the rigor and high expectations of Ohio’s Learning Standards.

Ophthalmologist: A physician specializing in the treatment of diseases of the eye.

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD): State agency which partners with Ohioans with disabilities to achieve quality employment, independence, and social security disability determination outcomes.

Optometrists: A healthcare professional who provides primary vision care ranging from vision testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes.

Orientation and Mobility (O&M): The ability to know where you are and where you want to go and to move safely, efficiently, and effectively from one place to another.


Parent Mentor: A professional who is a parent of a child with a disability specially trained to support and mentor other parents experiencing similar circumstances. They are employed through local education agencies and Educational Service Centers to help families and school districts by providing support, information, and training services.

Physical Therapist (PT): A professional who works with people to improve their gross motor skills.

Prior Written Notice: A document provided to the parents of a child with a suspected or confirmed disability within thirty days of the date of referral or change of placement.


Response to Intervention (RTI): A multi-tiered (or three-step process) approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs.


Screen Reader: A software program that allows a blind or visually impaired learner to read the text that is displayed on the computer screen through text to speech or a braille display.

Section 504: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is part of a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Section 504 regulations require a school district to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. A written 504 plan is developed to guide the provision of instructional services, including accommodations and modifications, designed to meet a student's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.

Service Support Administrator (SSA): A professional from your local board of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) working with your child and family to create and implement an Individual Service Plan (ISP).

Specially Designed Instruction (SDI): Teaching methods and strategies specific towards educating children with disabilities, to allow them to access the curriculum and meet the standards for his or her grade level. This is done by either adapting the content, adapting the methodology, or adapting the delivery of instruction. Specially designed instruction often involves multiple team members to provide access to the curriculum for children with disabilities.

Speech-to-Text: Software programs that converts spoken words into typewritten text.

State Support Team (SST): Local and regional Ohio educators with a history in school improvement, preschool, and special education. The Ohio Department of Education coordinates the 16 regional teams that support all areas of Ohio.


Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI): A certified teacher that provides direct instruction and/or consultative educational support to students who are blind/visually impaired. The TVI collaborates with the educational team to enhance the student’s learning by adapting activities and materials to the student’s abilities.

Text-to-Speech (TTS): A type of assistive technology that reads digital text aloud.

Transition: The time between two phases. This term is used in various situations. Early transition refers to the time when students are moving from home or early intervention services into the school system at age 3. The secondary transition is the time when a school age student moves from school to post school activities. A coordinated set of activities that may address, among others, the assessment, planning process, educational and community experiences for youth with disabilities as they turn age 14. It is also, the period of time when a student exits the school system and is no longer eligible for school-based services. The student enters the "real world" where he may qualify for adult services.

Transition Plan: A plan for a coordinated set of activities that will assist the student in a transition from one educational program to another or from school to postsecondary environments.

Transition Services: Transition services are defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) as a coordinated set of activities that are focused on improving the academic and functional achievement that are based on the individual child's needs. These services may be provided as special education or related services.


Visual Acuity: Refers to the clarity of vision. A visual acuity measurement of 20/70 means that a person with 20/70 vision who is 20 feet from an eye chart sees what a person with unimpaired (or 20/20) vision can see from 70 feet away.

Visual Functioning: A measure of how effectively a person can use his/her residual vision in completing tasks and orientation and mobility.

Visual Impairment: A condition of the eye or visual system that results in a reduced vision due to limited visual acuity or visual field that cannot be corrected using standard corrective lenses.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): A program that provides services and supports necessary to help individuals with disabilities attain and maintain employment.

IDEA Category Definitions as defined by the Ohio Operating Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities. Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent of fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this rule. Visual impairment including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

  1. The term “visual impairment” includes both partial sight and blindness.
  2. The term “visual impairment” does not include a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes, such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.