Text Size

Our new report shows the continued systemic use of restraint and seclusion in BC schools. Read more.

From December 1-3, we're celebrating the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Film festivals will be held in 5 locations across BC. Stay tuned for details!

Watch our 60th Anniversary video that honours and remembers the civil rights history of people with intellectual disabilities in BC. Read more about our history here.

Inclusive Education Glossary

For a more extensive Glossary of Special Education Terms see the Teaching to Diversity Website of the BC Teacher’s Federation at:http://bctf.ca/issues/resources.aspx?id=10572

Adaptations – refers to changes made to a students program of instruction that enable them to be successful. These changes do not impact the learning outcomes or the standards of assessment in the subject area. Also adapted

Administrative Fairness – is comprised of the following principles:

  • the right to be treated with respect and dignity
  • the right to speak on your own behalf or to have an advocate speak for or with you
  • the right to be heard
  • the right to participate in decisions that affect you
  • the right to receive clear, complete and appropriate reasons for a decision
  • the right to obtain all information that led to the initial decision or is being considered in an appeal
  • the right to an impartial review of a decision that affects you, a review that is accessible, flexible, timely and easy to use
  • the right to an appeal procedure that has a built-in mechanism to protect against retribution

Assessment – a systematic process of gathering information. It is designed to identify a student’s strengths and needs. This process should result in identification and implementation of appropriate educational strategies. Assessments may be formal, informal, standardized or norm-referenced.

Case Manager – coordinates a student’s educational program- generally this is the person who creates the written copy of the IEP and monitors its progress

Children with Special Needs – are children who require extra support for their physical, intellectual, emotional, communicative, behavioural or social development.

Child Care – includes registered and licensed child care.

Developmental Disabilities – A developmental disability is a lifelong condition that means a person grows and develops differently and more slowly than others. Individuals with a developmental disability may have difficulty learning and processing information, understanding abstract concepts, or adapting to some of the demands of daily life. This disability varies greatly between individuals and may or may not be accompanied by other physical conditions.

Early Childhood Education Programs – includes registered or licensed child care and pre-school programs.

Inclusive Education – means ensuring that all students are educated with their peers, have equitable access to learning and achievement, and are welcomed, valued and supported in the public school system. Inclusion promotes participation, friendship and interaction.

Individual Education Plan (IEP) – is an individualized plan for a student that includes learning goals, support services required by the student and a description of any of the adapted materials, instructional or assessment methods required by the student to attain the learning goals.

IEP Team – a team appointed to by the school based team to plan an IEP for a student. In some schools this team may have most of the same members as the school based team. Ideally parents and where appropriate students are also members of the IEP team. Membership of team members depends on the need of the individual student. The principal is responsible for ensuring the IEP is developed. The team includes the classroom teacher, teaching assistants, learning assistants and resource teachers and may include other community or district specialists. A Case Manager is usually appointed- this person will coordinate and record the IEP planning and monitor its progress.

Integration – is the strategy or process to achieve inclusion; placing students with special needs into regular classrooms and providing the required supports to enable students to learn in classrooms with a same age peer group- this does not mean they must have the same leaning outcomes or goals but they have the same learning environment.

MAPS – (Making Action Plans- previously McGill Action Planning System) are a person-centered-planning tool.

Microboards – operate as small non-profit societies offering customized supports and services to the one person they support. See Vela Microboards in the Organization Resources section for information.

Mainstreaming – term used during the early period of moving away from segregated education it refers to placing special needs students in regular classes with their typical peers – replaced by the term integration.

Modifications – changes made to a student’s learning program that is significantly different from prescribed learning outcomes for the subject area reflecting the needs of an individual student, incorporated into an IEP - also modified

PATH – (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) is a person-centered-planning tool- see Chapter 4.

Parent – includes:

• the guardian of the student or child,

• the person legally entitled to custody of the student or child, or

• the person who usually has the care of the student or child.

Parent Advisory Council (PAC) – the PAC is the legislated parent representation at the school level advising on any matter relevant to the school. The PAC is intended to represent the collective view of parents of children in the school. As a result of recent changes to the School Act, parent advisory councils are now responsible for electing parent representatives to school planning councils. They also work with school principals to promote effective two-way communication between the school, the parent community and School Planning Councils. Each district also has a District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC).

Provincial Integration Support Program (PISP) – is an outreach service mandated to assist schools throughout British Columbia in meeting the educational needs of students with multiple/severe disabilities.

Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders (POPARD) – an outreach service accessible in all school districts. A team comprised of specialists who provide training, workshops and consultation

Provincial Resource Programs (PRP) – PRP provide a variety of supplemental resources and are intended to assist districts to meet the extraordinary special educational needs of students. These programs provide specific services for students with special needs throughout the province, either on an outreach basis or at a provincial centre. Example include SET BC, POPARD and PISP.

School age –A student between the age of 5 by December 31 of the current calendar year and 19 on or after July 1 of the current school year- defined in the BC School Act.

School Based Team – is a collaborative, consultative body that assists classroom teachers and helps plan for special needs students (See Chapter 2 for further discussion)

School Planning Council – is a legislated advisory body. The major responsibility of a school planning council is to consult the school community in developing, monitoring and reviewing school plans for student achievement. Each SPC has five members including:

• the school principal

• one teacher

• three parents (elected from the parent advisory council).

Self Advocate – many people with developmental disabilities who are speaking up for their own rights call themselves self advocates.

Severe Learning Disability (SLD) – a high incidence learning disability that the Ministry of Education no longer provides targeted funding for which has meant that accessing support services has become more difficult- see Chapter 4 for a recent Human Right Ruling addressing this group of learners.

Special Education Technology – BC (SET BC) – SET BC is a Provincial Resource Program established to assist schools by supporting educational programs through the use of technology. These services are primarily available to students with a physical disability; and/or visual impairment. Services provided by the SET-BC program include: assistance with the assessment of the students’ abilities and needs for technology; assistance in program planning and transition planning, where technology is used to support learning outcomes; equipment loans and technical support of loan equipment; and in-service and workshops to train teachers and other staff in the use of the equipment. The eligibility criteria for these programs are disability-based rather than needs-based excluding some children from accessing these important resources. http://www.setbc.org

Student’s IEP Team – includes student, parents, teachers, administrative and support personnel and representatives of districts/community agencies.

Supported Child Care – a Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) funded program to provide a range of consulting and support services to children with special needs in regular child care settings.

Therapy Services – includes speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing support, behavioural intervention and any other specialized therapy required by the student.


ACL – Association for Community Living

BCACL – BC Association for Community Living

IEP – Individual Education Plan

FSI – Family Support Institute

MAPS – Making Action Plans

PATH – Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope

PISP – The Provincial Integration Support Program

POPARD –Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders

PRP – Provincial Resource Programs

SET BC – Special Education Technology – BC

SLD – Severe Learning Disability