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ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) – A philosophy that refers to the process of applying standard behavioral principles in a data driven and systematic fashion. Using this process in programming and intervention allows for a clear determination as to whether improvements and positive changes in behavior can be considered to be a result of the interventions applied. (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2006; HANDS in Autism®, 2013).

ABCs of behavior (or 3-term contingency: Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence) – Refers to the three components considered in identifying the function or motivation for behaviors targeted for intervention and impacting the likelihood of a given behavior occurring again:

Antecedent: An event, activity, or condition that exists or occurs immediately prior to an individual’s given behavior.

Behavior: Responses or actions of an individual (negative or positive) of interest to change and that are specifically both observable (i.e., can be seen) and measurable (i.e., can be counted).

Consequence: An event, activity, or condition that immediately follows an individual’s given behavior. (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2006; HANDS in Autism®, 2013).

Accommodation – An accommodation’s use is intended to reduce or eliminate the effects of a student’s disability without changing what is being taught or tested. A student may utilize an accommodation during testing if that accommodation is required and used routinely during classroom activities. Example: A student with a disability is allowed extra time on a test but still takes the same exam as the rest of the class. (Indiana Department of Education., 2009).

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) – Legislation passed in 1990 that prohibits the discrimination of individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in relation to employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. For full text of the law, visit (HANDS in Autism®, 2013; WrightsLaw, 2009).

ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) – A structured assessment consisting of standardized activities related to communication, social interaction, and play for observation of the occurrence or non-occurrence of behaviors and is often utilized as a gold standard tool to screen for a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (Lord, Rutter, DiLavore, & Risi, 2001).

Advocate – A person or agency knowledgeable in the field of special education who takes action to assist a parent, caregiver, or themselves (i.e., self-advocate) on behalf of an individual with special needs. (INSOURCE, 2009).

Ages & Stages Questionnaire – A developmental and social-emotional screening tool for children ages 0-6 years of age that provides information about a child’s developmental status across five areas: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal-social. (Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc., 2017).

Article 7 – Refers to Section 511, Article 7 of the Indiana Administrative Code which contains the State’s Special Education rules, including the protection of students in federally funded schools from discrimination on the basis of a disability. The most recent version, updated in 2014, is available at (HANDS in Autism®, 2013; Indiana Department of Education, 2017).

ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) – A neurodevelopmental disorder with symptoms that can vary widely (i.e., across a wide spectrum) but are typically characterized by challenges in social-communication, repetitive and/or restricted behaviors and interests as well as sensory sensitivities. For a full definition of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as identified by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), visit (American Psychiatric Association 2017; Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2016).

Assistive technology – Item or equipment that allows an individual with disabilities to increase, improve, or maintain abilities.  (INSOURCE, 2009).

Augmentative communication – A form of communication that is additional or an alternative means to allow an individual to effectively communicate their wants, needs, thoughts, and ideas..  (INSOURCE, 2009).

Autism Society of Indiana – Nonprofit organization in Indiana offering resources to connect, support, and empower individuals with ASD, their families, their providers, and their communities, statewide.

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BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) – An individual certified at the graduate level by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board to provide and supervise behavior-analytic services and interventions, such as behavioral assessments, data analysis, and treatment plans (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, 2017).

BDDS (Bureau of Developmental Disability Services) – State-level department within the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) whose mission is to provide person-centered services for individuals with developmental disabilities, inclusive of community supports and residential services.

Behavior therapy – A broad term referring to the general application of behavior principles and interventions. Behavior therapy is a term that can encompass multiple behavioral philosophies, methods, and treatments used to address behavioral deficits and excesses (HANDS in Autism®, 2013).

BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan) – A plan integrated into a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that describes a specific behavior or pattern of behavior that impedes the particular student’s learning and prescribes a plan to follow that will lead to improvement in student behavior by considering the following components: student motivation, setting the environment up for success, teaching skills that can serve as appropriate and effective alternatives, and applying consequences that will lead to reductions of undesired behavior (INSOURCE, 2009; Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

Brigance Screens – A screening tool used for children in pre-kindergarten through first grade that assesses a child’s language, science and math, and gross motor skill development in comparison with that of other examinees to predict school success and identify students who may benefit from the use of instructional adjustments and interventions (Brigance Early Childhood Screens, 2016).

BSP (Behavior Support Plan) – A specific plan outlining behaviors of concern and the strategies designated to assist in reducing the negative behaviors and receiving the needed supports and services within the community setting (Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services, 2011).

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Care coordination – The process of ensuring that an individual’s needs are being met. May include assisting in planning, implementing and/or scheduling services that ensure success in daily living needs (Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, 2014).

CARS (Child-Adult Resource Services) – Nonprofit organization in Indiana providing services for children, families, and adults to empower them with the skills necessary to live independently within their community and lead meaningful lives.

Case management – Includes the activities carried out by a case manager which may include but is not limited to coordination and assistance to families or individuals to gain access to appropriate services. May also be referred to as “service coordination” (INSOURCE, 2009).

CMHI (Children’s Mental Health Initiative) – A multi-agency initiative by the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) designed to improve access to necessary mental health services across systems and agencies within the State of Indiana. For additional information and eligibility requirements, visit (Indiana Department of Child Services, 2016).

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DCS (Department of Child Services) – State-level department whose mission is to protect children from abuse and neglect through programs such as protective services, foster care, child support, and juvenile justice initiatives.

DD (Developmental Disability) – A developmental disability is a physical or cognitive disability that occurs within the developmental period and lasts throughout the lifetime. It may include, but is not limited to, people with an intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, autism, severe seizure disorder, or a severe head injury (The Arc of Indiana, 2017)

DDRS (Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services) – State-level program within the Family and Social Services Administration whose mission is to develop, finance, and administer programs designed to provide social services to disabled individuals in need.

Department of Adult Protective Services – State-level program within the Family and Social Services Administration designed to provide intervention and protection to vulnerable adult populations.

Developmental monitoring/surveillance – A term referring to ongoing monitoring of a child’s development at child well-checks with a child’s physician. Developmental monitoring and screening allow a medical professional to assess if a child is meeting developmental milestones on time (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017).

Disability – Defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”) as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantially limiting effect on one or more of an individual’s major life activities. (, 2009; WrightsLaw, 2009 ).

DMHA (Division of Mental Health and Addiction) – State division within the Family and Social Services Administration that sets care standards for the provision of mental health and addiction services to Hoosiers.  DMHA certifies all community mental health centers and addiction treatment service providers, and operates six psychiatric hospitals.

Dual enrollment – A program allowing students to be enrolled in two separate educational institutions, such as a high school student taking college-level courses at a University for post-secondary credit (Indiana Department of Education, 2011).

Dual eligibility – A term used to describe the instance of an individual maintaining insurance benefits through both Medicare and Medicaid based on specific eligibility (typically income-based; Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2011).

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Echolalia – A common condition associated with autism spectrum disorder and related disorders involving the individual repeating words, phrases, or other noises recently or otherwise heard within their setting (National Institutes of Health, 2015).

Educational classification – Classification established by school personnel, involving a multidisciplinary team evaluation and case conference committee decision, based upon criteria outlined in the most recent diagnostic manual and state law, which requires that the symptoms result in a consistent and significant negative impact on academic achievement and/or functional performance. An individual eligible for an educational classification may or may not be similarly provided a medical diagnosis (HANDS in Autism®, 2013; Indiana Department of Education, 2016).

Emancipation – A legal process through which an individual under the age of 18 can become lawfully recognized as an independent adult and assume adult responsibilities (WrightsLaw, 2009).

Erskine Green Training Institute – Muncie-based training institute offering comprehensive vocational training curricula that provide individuals with disabilities valuable job skills, preparing them for employment in the hospitality, health care support, and food service industries.

ESY (Extended School Year) – The provision of educational and related services to a special education student for a specified period of time beyond the regular school calendar (INSOURCE, 2009; Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

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Family supports waiver – A program by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) Division of Disability and Rehabilitation Services (DDRS) that provides Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) to individuals with developmental disabilities so that they may access services within a community setting rather than residential care facilities. For more information on waiver eligibility and application, visit (Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services, 2016).

FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education) – A right guaranteed through IDEIA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act) that pertains to students with disabilities having access to a free and appropriate public education or access to education in public school that suits their individualized needs as represented by their IEP and is provided at no cost to the student or family (HANDS in Autism®, 2013; Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

FBA (Functional Behavior Assessment) – An assessment strategy conducted through the use of direct (e.g., observation) and indirect (e.g., surveys, interviews, record review) measures to document circumstances surrounding specified behaviors of concern and to determine the function or motivation for the behaviors such that an intervention plan addressing the reduction of negative behaviors and increase of alternative positive behaviors can be effectively developed and applied (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2006).

FSIQ (Full Scale Intelligence Quotient) – Based upon scoring of an intelligence scale developed to measure the complete intellectual ability of children from 6-16 years old (WISC-IV) and which considers and incorporates the scores of cognitive ability, verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed (Gomez, Vance, & Watson, 2016).

FSSA (Family and Social Services Administration) – State-level administration whose mission is to provide services, resources, and programming that meet individuals’ health and social service needs.


Group home – A residential option for eligible individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities that is an alternative to waiver placements; in Indiana, group homes are monitored by the State Department of Health (ISDH) and fall into nine different categories, depending upon the individual’s level of need: sheltered living; intensive training; child rearing; child rearing with special programs; basic developmental; developmental training; small behavior management residence for children; small extensive medical needs; and extensive support needs. For more information and exact definitions of these residence types, visit (Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services, 2017).

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Guardian – An individual who is legally entrusted with custody of the person or property of another individual incapable of managing his or her own affairs (The Arc of Indiana, 2017).

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HANDS in Autism – Interdisciplinary training and resource center (an auxiliary of the Indiana University School of Medicine) offering programming, didactic training on evidence-based practices, and hands-on learning and coaching experiences to build bridges of information and resources across community systems and relevant to those with ASD, related disabilities and the lifespan..

HCBS (Home and Community-Based Services) – Services that Medicaid recipients may access and receive in their own home or community settings, rather than in institutions or other isolated environments (Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services, 2016).

HIP (Healthy Indiana Plan) – A health insurance program offered by the State of Indiana that covers eligible individuals ages 19 to 64 based upon specific income requirements (State of Indiana, 2017).

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ID (Intellectual Disability) – A disability characterized by challenges with intellectual functioning (such as learning and reasoning) as well as adaptive functioning (including skills such as communication and daily living activities), the onset of which occurs prior to the age of 18 (American Psychiatric Association, 2017).

IDEIA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act) – Federal legislation overseeing special education for students with disabilities, which requires states to develop and offer multidisciplinary service to eligible children from birth to age 21 (United States Department of Education, 2017; Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

IEE (Independent Educational Evaluation) – An evaluation conducted by a qualified professional who is not employed by or affiliated with a student’s school to determine whether a student is eligible to receive an educational classification of autism spectrum disorder (or other disability) to access certain special education services. An independent evaluation may be requested if a parent disagrees with the results of a student’s educational evaluation as conducted by the school and or if mandated through due process or other legal means (INSOURCE, 2009; Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

IEP (Individualized Education Plan) –  A written educational plan for a student that outlines specific academic and functional (e.g., communication, social, leisure, self-regulation, etc.) goals and objectives to be achieved, identifies specific special education services that the school will provide for the student, and is reviewed at least once a year (or as needed) to determine what progress has been made and/or if any changes are needed (HANDS in Autism®, 2013; Indiana Department of Education, 2009; INSOURCE, 2009).

IEP due process – A hearing before an impartial hearing officer or administrative law judge to resolve disagreements between a parent and school related to the student’s IEP, eligibility, or service provision (WrightsLaw, 2009; Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

INAPSE (Indiana Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst) – Membership organization focused on promoting and expanding community employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities across the State of Indiana.

Inclusion – The practice of educating students with disabilities within general education classrooms and including them in general activities and within society as a whole (when appropriate or necessary, accommodations and modifications may be made based on an individual’s unique needs to promote this inclusion; INSOURCE, 2009).

INDATA (Indiana Assistive Technology Act) Helps individuals with disabilities, family members and service providers acquire knowledge and access to assistive technology through education and services.  Services include Information and Referral, Funding Assistance, Public Awareness, Device Demonstration, Device Loan and various Reuse Activities.

InSource – Parent organization dedicated to providing parents, families, individuals, and service providers with the necessary information and training to ensure effective services and education programs for individuals with disabilities across the state of Indiana.

Integration – The practice of placing students with special needs or disabilities within a general education classroom, with modifications or adaptations made to help the student fit into the classroom (Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

IRCA (Indiana Resource Center for Autism) – The state mandated and a statewide center within Indiana University’s Indiana Institute on Disability and Community that conducts professional development, consultations, research, product development and dissemination, and community outreach focused on lifespan supports for individuals  on the autism spectrum and their families. IRCA also maintains an active web and social networking presence via Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

ISP (Individualized Service Plan) – A plan similar to an IEP developed for a student with a disability attending a nonpublic school. An Individual Service Plan is similar to an IEP but does not contain all the required components of an IEP (Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

ISP (Individualized Support Plan) – A written plan based upon a Person Centered Planning process. The ISP is a plan that determines supports and strategies intended to support the individual in attaining short and long term life goals. The ISP’s short and long term outcomes accommodate for the financial and human resources offered to the individual from a paid provider, voluntary service, or both (Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, 2017).

ITP (Individualized Transition Plan) – An IEP that is developed and effective when a student enters 9th grade or becomes age 14, whichever occurs first. An ITP’s main focus is to develop and implement a plan that assists a student is successfully transitioning from high school to adulthood (Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

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Kiwanis AKTION Club – Nationwide branch of Kiwanis International focused on helping adults with disabilities develop the initiative and leadership skills to serve their communities.

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LRE (Least restrictive environment) – A federal requirement that individuals with disabilities receive services and supports, such as education, within an environment that does not unnecessarily restrict his or her life activities or opportunities to perform with non-disabled peers.  LRE is defined by the individual’s ability to more effectively achieve access to the curriculum; it is not defined by the placement (INSOURCE, 2009; Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

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Mainstreaming – The practice of placing students with special needs, based on their skills and abilities, into more inclusive general education classrooms and activities. (WrightsLaw, 2009; Indiana Department of Education, 2009)

Manifestation determination – A data review process in which an assigned case committee determines whether a student’s behavior is the result of a student’s disability (WrightsLaw, 2009; Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

Medical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder – Classification established by a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or physician, based upon criteria outlined in the DSM-5 and informed by the use of developmental screening tools, review of records, and input of a multidisciplinary team. A medical diagnosis may be followed by additional medical testing specific to parent and/or physician concerns.  It may be the same or differ from an educational classification of ASD in that it is informed by an assessment of the whole child across multiple contexts rather than solely the performance and abilities of the child within the school setting (HANDS in Autism®, 2013; Indiana Department of Education, 2016).

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OECOSL (Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning) – State-level division of the Family and Social Services Administration overseeing early care and education and out-of-school time programs to ensure they support children, families, and schools across Indiana.

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PCIT (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy) – Evidence-based treatment approach for children with emotional and behavioral disorders that focuses on relationship development and discipline training to improve interactions between the parent and child (PCIT International, 2016).   

PCP (Primary Care Physician) – Medical professional who provides principal and continuing care for an individual (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2015).

PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) – A communication method designed to improve an individual’s communication by using pictures to represent an exchange with another person as a means to expressively communicate interests and desires (HANDS in Autism®, 2013; Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc., 2013).

PETS (Pre-Employment Transition Services) -Services such as job and post-secondary education counseling, workplace readiness training, and work-based learning that are provided through state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies in accordance with Section 113 of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) (United States Department of Education, 2017).

POA (Power of Attorney) – Written authorization for one to act on behalf of another person in specified legal matters (WrightsLaw, 2009).  

Project SEARCH – National worksite-based program (administered in Indiana by FSSA) that provides employment and educational opportunities for young adults with disabilities transitioning from high school into the workforce.

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Reinforcement – Reinforcement is a consequence that, when applied, strengthens the chance that the behavior it follows will occur again in the future.  Different schedules of reinforcement can be utilized.  For example:

Continuous Reinforcement: An approach to positive or negative behavior reinforcement where reinforcement is provided after each occurrence of a certain behavior.
Intermittent Reinforcement: An approach to positive or negative behavior reinforcement where reinforcement is provided after some, but not all, occurrences of a certain behavior (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2006).

RBT (Registered Behavior Technician) – A paraprofessional who is responsible for implementing behavior-analytic services and programs for an individual only under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, 2017).

Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 (504) – Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against an individual with disabilities on the basis of disability. The legislation covers individuals who receive services from federally funded programs and institutions, such as schools and government agencies. Individuals who may not qualify for an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) may qualify for rights and services under Section 504 and have a 504 Plan. For the full text of the section, visit (HANDS in Autism®, 2013; Indiana Department of Education, 2009; INSOURCE, 2009).


Self-Advocates of IndianaA network of individuals with disabilities across the state that empowers individuals to advocate for inclusion and respect within their communities.

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SGL (Supervised Group Living) home – A state-licensed group residential facility for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, offered as an alternative to waiver residential placement options (Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services, 2016).

Sheltered workshop – An organization or environment that employs, trains and/or supervises individuals with disabilities within a highly restricted and limited work setting (Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, 2013).

SITE (Skills for Independence, Transition, and Employment) Program – 1-2 year college and community based transition program for students ages 18-22 with intellectual disabilities receiving their certificate of completion.  SITE stands for Skills for Independence, Transition and Employment, the primary focuses of the program.

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) – A federal initiative by the United States Department of Agriculture that provides nutrition assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families (United States Department of Agriculture, 2017).

SOC (Systems of Care) A community-based initiative by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) designed to improve access to mental health care across the state by facilitating collaboration across community networks to decrease barriers to service delivery, increase utilization of evidence-based practices, identify gaps in service delivery, and develop an comprehensive evaluation plan to fill identified gaps.

SSI (Supplemental Security Income) – An initiative by the Social Security Administration offering monthly benefits to eligible applicants, including individuals with disabilities, and may also guarantee eligibility for Medicaid and SNAP assistance (Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, 2013).              

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The Arc of Indiana – Indiana chapter of the Arc of the United States committed to empowering and supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help realize their goals of thriving within their community.

TOR (Teacher of Record) – A teacher, who is licensed in the area of a student’s disability, who is assigned the responsibility of development and oversight of all aspects of the student’s programming and education (INSOURCE, 2009; Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

TOS (Teacher of Services) – A teacher assigned to a student with a disability, who may not be licensed in the area of the student’s disability but may provide the daily service without being responsible for the overall programming and planning of services (but is responsible for the implementation). A TOS may also be the student’s TOR, or Teacher of Record (INSOURCE, 2009; Indiana Department of Education, 2009).

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VR (Vocational Rehabilitation Services) – Provides quality individualized services to enhance and support people with disabilities to prepare for, obtain or retain employment. The individual will work closely with a VR counselor throughout the process. Through active participation in their rehabilitation, people with disabilities achieve greater level of independence in their work place and living environments.

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WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) – Federal initiative by the United States Department of Labor designed to offer supports for youth and adults with significant barriers to employment, including disabilities, to access and gain high-quality employment. For full text of the law, visit (United States Department of Labor, 2017).

WIPA (Work Incentives Planning and Assistance) – Projects funded by the federal Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide information about employment options to individuals with disabilities so they may make informed choices to aid in their transition to employment (United States Social Security Administration, 2017).

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