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IEP, 504, and Other Three-Character Terms

Some special needs kids are diagnosed at birth, while others develop their challenges when they get older. At some point, though, you’re probably faced with the responsibility of making sure your child gets the education they deserve in the least restrictive environment that accommodates their needs. This is where you start to learn a whole new language.


CSE – The Committee on Special Education. In our school district, this is the committee we have to meet with to arrange special education services for school-age children. This includes OT, PT, speech therapy…the list goes on.

CPSE – The Committee on Preschool Special Education. Like the CSE, but for preschoolers. (Okay, so this one’s four characters…)

IEPIndividualized Education Program. This is a document that is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Basically, if your child has special needs, an IEP is the legal document that will ensure that he or she gets what he or she needs in order to be successful in their educational goals. (TJ’s preschool IEP allowed him to receive physical and occupational therapy services.) Public schools are required to develop and follow an IEP for any student who meets state and federal special education guidelines. Your pediatrician or other health care provider can help you determine whether or not your child needs an IEP, but it is the school that will oversee the evaluation to determine your child’s eligibility.

504 – A 504 plan may be suitable for students who have disabilities but are not eligible for an IEP. The 504 plan is a legal document that falls under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If your child has special needs that don’t require special education services, you may want to talk to his or her school about a 504 plan. The 504 may make allowances for your child’s seat assignment, medication administration, time extensions and other test modifications, and more.

What other terms have you gotten to know when it comes to your child’s educational needs?

This post was originally published elsewhere first, but I wanted to share it on my own blog with you.

Christina Gleason (854 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I’m a relatively high-functioning Aspie who also lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. I am not ashamed to admit that I am in the care of a psychiatrist, who assures me that people in therapy are often better adjusted than “normal” people who are not, because at least we know what our issues are and are working on them. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including World of Warcraft and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead. I have started writing no fewer than five novels, and I hope to finish one of them...eventually.

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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Val September 17, 2012, 3:18 pm

    This is an incredible resource, I just shared it on my Facebook page. In a former life, I was a Special Education para-educator and then a middle school science teacher. While the services provided for students can be incredibly beneficial, the entirely new vocabulary can be overwhelming to parents. I remember telling one of my colleagues to stop speaking in acronyms at the meeting. Thank you again for providing this much needed resource for parents and guardians.

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