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Glossary of Terms


Accommodations:  Classroom-based modifications to support individuals with learning differences. Accommodations may include, among others, seating in the front row, one-on-one teaching, extra time on tests and extended deadlines on assignments.

 

ADHD:  According to the American Psychiatric Association, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by age-inappropriate levels of inattention, and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that arise prior to seven years of age. Specifically, ADHD is characterized by deficits in sustained attention or persistence, resistance to distraction, voluntary motor inhibition, and the regulation of activity level relative to same-aged peers. ADHD symptoms may also manifest in an array of behavioral features, including depression, anxiety, anger and mood swings.

 

Advocate:  One who actively supports another, perhaps by arguing for that person’s welfare.  See also “self-advocacy”

 

Affect:  Feeling or emotion.  Affect display is a facial, vocal or gestural behavior that indicates the emotion or feeling.

 

Aptitude:  An innate, learned or developed component of a competency to do a certain kind of work at a certain level. Aptitude reflects mental ability comprising many different measurable characteristics.

 

Assessment:  The process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs.   A diagnostic assessment measures an individual's current knowledge and skills for the purpose of identifying a suitable program of learning. There is also self-assessment:  which involves students assessing themselves.

 

Cognition:  Mental processes related to reasoning, perception, memory, attention, learning, intelligence, comprehension, inference, problem solving, decision-making, planning, action, and mental imagery.

 

Compensatory Strategies:   In the context of education, compensatory strategies are ways to support a person’s learning difficulties, in order to boost academic and personal achievement. This is based on the idea that academic skills can improve despite the existence of lifelong cognitive shortcomings. Depending on the individual’s needs, compensatory strategies can include the following:

  • Special seating assignments
  • Alternative or modified assignments
  • Modified testing procedures
  • Electronic spellers and dictionaries
  • Word processors
  • Audio books, talking calculators
  • Voice-to print or Text-to-speech software
  • Note-takers, Readers, Proofreaders

 

Decoding:  The process of transforming information from one format to another.  In linguistic terms, word decoding makes use of phonics to decipher print patterns and translate them into the sounds of language.

 

Educational Consultant:  An independent consultant who assists parents and students with educational planning. Educational Consultants are not employed by schools. Some consultants specialize in serving students with learning issues or behavioral and emotional difficulties, while others work exclusively in college or graduate planning. Beyond helping in school search processes, Educational Consultants are also known for helping families build strategies for meeting particular goals or meeting various demands. 

 

Educational Testing:   A method of assessing a child’s school-based skills and knowledge typically learned in a classroom setting. Results are assigned standard scores and percentile ranks, and are assigned age and grade equivalencies. Results are used to decide the level of instruction for which a student is prepared -- high scores typically suggest mastery of grade-level material, while low scores may suggest the need for remedial support services. In addition, educational test results are often compared to neuropsychological test results, with the aim of contrasting real-world performance with cognitive ability and potential.

 

Evaluation:  A systematic determination of a person’s skills and knowledge based upon valid and reliable results of a variety of assessments. A report of neuropsychological evaluation compares test scores of individuals to selected norms and to the individual’s other areas of performance, and relates assessment outcomes to individual goals.

 

Executive Function:  Activities associated with the frontal region of the brain, including decision making, planning and organizing information, as well as initiating and inhibiting actions and impulses. Executive function also plays a crucial role in attention and memory.

 

Expressive Language:  Refers to an individual’s vocabulary, recall of words and ability to produce complex sentences.

 

IDEA:  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a U.S. federal law that governs the ways in which states and public agencies deliver early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. It addresses the educational needs of disabled children from birth to the age of 21.

 

IEP:  An Individualized Education Program, or IEP, refers both to (a), the educational program provided to “learning disabled” children; and (b), the written document that describes that educational program.  These programs, mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), are designed to provide the child with learning difficulties with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that meets his or her unique educational needs.  An IEP is customized to the individual’s needs, as stipulated by the evaluation process.  It serves to aid teachers, counselors and other service providers in knowing how to best collaborate with the student.  Overall, an IEP describes how the student learns, how he applies that learning, and how he and any support personnel will collaborate to help the learning process.  See also IEP Links for Parents.

 

 

504 Plan:  The 504 Plan falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act and proposes to remove barriers and allow students with disabilities to participate freely. This is different than an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which falls under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and is more focused on providing educational/remedial services. 

     It is a legal document outlining a program of instructional services to assist students with special needs who are in a regular education setting. A student may be considered for a 504 plan if she has a physical disability or emotional condition, is recovering from a chemical dependency, or has a learning impairment, such as ADHD, that interferes with daily functioning,

i.e., caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working and learning. The student is typically referred by a teacher, parent, physician, or therapist..  A 504 plan meeting is then held, after which a plan for the student is developed and a date for review is set.

 

Intelligence:  There is no international consensus on the definition of “intelligence.”. The following definitions paint a partial picture:

  • The degree to which one can adapt to one’s environment and learn new adaptations.
  • The global capacity to profit from experience and to go beyond given information about the environment.
  • The capacity to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, understand ideas, employ language and learn.

 

I.Q.:  An index score achieved on intelligence tests that aim to quantify cognitive ability. Though an “intelligence quotient” is now directly computed as test score (i.e., Full-Scale IQ), a person’s IQ was originally obtained by dividing an individual's mental age by chronological age and then multiplying by 100.

 

Learning Disability: Weaver Center prefers Learning Differences: 

May refer to any one of a group of disorders that impact various academic, behavioral and social skills, such as the ability to listen, speak, write, spell, read, reason and organize information.

A learning difference does not reflect low intelligence. An individual with learning differences might experience difficulty achieving his or her intellectual potential because of a shortcoming in one or more of the ways the brain processes information.

 

Learning Style / Learning Modalities:  An individual’s particular method of acquiring and understanding information that enables him or her to learn best. Teachers are often encouraged to take steps to adapt their classrooms to best fit each student’s learning style. Examples of different learning styles include:

  • Auditory learning - occurs through the hearing of spoken word.
  • Kinesthetic learning - occurs through doing, touching and interacting.
  • Visual learning - occurs through images/graphics, demonstrations and body language.
  • Read/write learning - occurs through reading and writing.

 

Licensed Social Worker:  A mental health professional trained in the causes of and interventions for social problems. Often providing clinical services such as therapy and advocacy, social workers intervene at many levels, such as individual, family, group and community. The profession is concerned with promoting social justice, human rights, quality of life, and the development of individuals in their social contexts.

 

Multidisciplinary:  Involving many subjects or areas of expertise.  In the scope of education, this may be understood as involving teachers, psychologists, occupational therapists and/or members of other disciplines, in order to integrate varying perspectives and techniques to achieve a common goal. In school meetings, multidisciplinary teams are desirable because a child’s learning issues are considered too complex to be dealt with by the techniques of a single discipline.  Weaver Center has a multidisciplinary professional staff, including therapists, neuropsychologists, educational consultants, tutors, coaches and medical specialists.

 

Neuropsychological Testing:  A method of assessing learning style and aspects of cognition and identifying an individual’s strengths and extent of impairment to a specific ability.   In these assessments, an individual is administered clearly defined tasks that tap various skill sets, including visual motor skills, processing speed, attention (auditory, visual, sustaining, etc.), memory, and “executive” skills of planning and organizing complex information, as well as self-esteem.

 

Neuropsychologist:  A clinical neuropsychologist holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology (i.e., Ph.D., Psy.D., or M.D.), having completed additional postdoctoral training in neuropsychology. This field is concerned with the diagnostic assessment and treatment of patients with brain injury or neurocognitive deficits. Clinical neuropsychologists are often involved in conducting neuropsychological assessments, typically after some sort of brain injury or neurological impairment, or to gauge one’s style of learning.

 

Projective Testing or Social/Emotional evaluation:  A method of assessing elements of personality, such as self-esteem, apprehension, anger, ability to cope, depression, and others.  In these assessments, an individual is shown a standardized set of vague stimuli, to which he or she is asked to respond interpretively. The person’s response is assumed to uncover an inner experience of feelings, thoughts and associations that influence behavior and ways of adapting. Analyzing how an individual makes meaning out of things is important in assessing the impact of personality style on learning and relationships.

 

Psychiatrist:  A physician specializing in psychiatry and certified in treating mental illness, primarily by prescribing psychiatric medication. Some psychiatrists are trained to conduct various kinds of psychotherapy, but it is their medical training that distinguishes them from other mental health professionals.

 

Psychologist:  A person who practices psychology, the systematic investigation of the human mind, including behavior, cognition, and affect.  Psychologists in the U.S. have doctoral degrees and work in a number of different fields, including research, but are most well known for being clinical providers of mental health care and psychological assessment.  Goals tend to center around promoting a person’s well being and enhancing his or her adaptation to life’s demands.  Psychologists work with individuals, couples, families, children, older adults, small groups, and communities.

 

Self-advocacy:  Supporting oneself by taking control of one’s own well being, rather than totally relying on medical, therapeutic or scholastic systems.  Self-advocacy involves speaking up for oneself and having a say in how one’s own resources are utilized, even while being supported by others.  At Weaver Center, Self-Advocacy is taught through the SAM © program which increases and individual’s self-knowledge and builds self-confidence enabling the individual to ask for what is needed.

 

Skype:  Computer software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet.  Calls to other users of the Skype service are free, while calls to traditional landline phones or mobile phones can be made for a minimal fee.  Weaver Center clinicians use Skype with their clients and families for video conferencing, long-distance therapy, coaching and/or tutoring sessions, which are especially helpful to college students who want continued support while away at school.

 

System of Fair Exchange:  A behavior system designed for children and adolescents with AD/HD or Executive Function Disorder to reduce child and family stresses with regard to initiating less interesting tasks (homework, chores, etc.), transitioning from one activity to another, and stopping high interest activities.  The system helps develop social skills, family interaction skills, initiation, monitoring and task completion skills.  The child develops skills to become more independent and productive.

 

WISC-IV:  The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children is a cognitive test for children between the ages of 6 and 16. The WISC evaluates intelligence and provides an overall IQ score, calculated from scoring tests in four areas: Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Organization, Working Memory, and Processing Speed.  Comprehension, vocabulary and finding similarities are among the subtests in the WISC.  Evaluation can show discrepancies between intelligence and performance at school, and can also be used to assess cognitive development.  Results can indicate a child’s strengths and challenges, illuminating his or her unique learning style.


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