Eligibility for Special Education Services

  • Special Education provides students, parents/guardians and teachers with a host of helpful information. In this section, you will get a better understanding of the terminology associated with special education, including the different categories of exceptionalities.

  • Tennessee recognizes specific disability categories for the identification of students with disabilities. A student may become eligible for special education services if an evaluation determines the student meets the criteria for one or more of these disabilities. 
    Specific definitions and evaluation procedures can be found in the
    Tennessee Special Education Framework

Disability Categories

Commonly Used Acronyms in Special Education

  • 504: Refers to section 504 of ADA (504 Service Plan for students with disabilities not under IDEA)

    ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

    ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder

    ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder

    AT: Assistive Technology

    BIP: Behavior Intervention Plan (or Program)

    CD: Conduct Disorder

    DCS: Department of Children’s Services

    DHS: Department of Human Services

    DIDDS: Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    EOC:  End of Course (state high school TCAP exams)

    ELL: English Language Learner

    ESSA: Every Student Succeeds Act

    ESY: Extended School Year

    FAPE: Free and Appropriate Public Education

    FBA: Functional Behavior Assessment

    FERPA: Family Education Rights and Privacy Act

    IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Act

    IEA: Individualized Education Account

    IEE: Individualized Education Evaluation

    IEP: Individualized Education Plan

    IFSP: Individual Family Service Plan

    IQ: Intelligence Quotient

    LEA: Local Education Agency

    LRE: Least Restrictive Environment

    OCR: Office of Civil Rights

    OSEP: Office of Special Education Programs

    OT: Occupational Therapist

    PBIS: Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports 

    PT: Physical Therapist

    RTI: Response to Intervention

    RTI2: Response to Instruction and Intervention

    S-Team: Support Team

    SDOE: State Department of Education

    SEA: State Education Association

    SLP: Speech/Language Pathologist

    SLS: Speech/Language Specialist

    SLT: Speech Language Therapist (or Teacher)

    TCA: Tennessee Code Annotated

    TDOE: Tennessee DEpartment of Education

    TPP: Therapeutic Professional Partnership