Reference Links



Ableism is a form of discrimination that favours able-bodied people. In other words, it does not favour people with disabilities. The suffix “ism” is by definition “to take sides with.” To take someone’s side suggests that there is another side that you do not support. Leah Smith from the Centre for Disability Rights states, “ableism is a set of beliefs or practices that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities and often rest on the assumption that disabled people need to be “fixed” in one way or another.”
Absence seizure
A subtle type of seizure that looks like staring or blinking.
Abstract Concepts
Understanding abstract concepts requires multi-layered cognitive ability including perception, interpretation, integration, and executive functioning (such as judgment, insight, initiation).
Behaviours that can be observed by others.
Active role
Actively participating in a routine or in a group.
Active Participation
When the student is included and has an active role.
Adapted Classroom Chair
Classroom chair with individualized adaptations for a student.
Adaptive Behaviours
Adaptive behaviour refers to a range of practical skills people use in their everyday lives. According to the definition, these are divided into three clusters: conceptual skills, social skills and practical skills.
Alerting Activities
Used when your student seems unfocused, overstimulated, hyperalert or feeling anxious. Generally, these activities involve firm pressure and slower movement.
Ankle Foot Orthosis
Used to maintain the position of the ankle joints for a standing position.
Aspiration pneumonia
A serious infection of the lungs caused by inhalation of food or drink into the lungs.
Evaluation of a student’s capacity or skill, either for baseline or to compare progress.
Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex.
Atonic seizure
A type of seizure where the body goes limp.
Auditory Sense
The ability to hear.


Backward Chaining
A way to teach a new skill or routine where a routine is broken down into small steps with the helper completing most of the task. The last stage is the step that your student helps to complete.
What we hold to be true.
Big Ideas
What students are expected to understand.


Calming Activities
Used when your student seems lethargic or not alert enough to pay attention. Generally, these activities involve faster movement.
Cerebral Palsy
An umbrella term that describes a variety of forms of non-progressive disordered movement caused by an injury or difference in the developing brain.
Choice is defined as the experience of autonomy in everything from small everyday matters to larger decisions that may define your student’s life.
Chronic pain
Pain lasting more than 6 months.
Supporting someone else to regulate through modeling your own regulated state.
The action of working with someone to produce or create something.
A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behaviours.
Community Presence
Presence is defined as the sharing of places and spaces. These shared places and spaces make up an individual’s community and essentially defines their lives.
Competence is defined as the ability to perform functional and meaningful activities with whatever level of support is required.
Complex Communication Needs
A broad term that describes people with severe speech, language, and communication impairments.
Conductive Hearing Loss
When sound waves cannot travel easily through the outer or middle ear.
Core Competencies
What students are expected to do under the three headings of thinking, communication, personal and social.
Core Words or Core Vocabulary
The spoken words used most frequently on a daily basis.
Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI)
Damage to the brain that impairs visual functioning.
Criterion Referenced Assessments
The process of evaluating learning against a set of predetermined criteria without comparing with the achievement of others.
A defined set of knowledge and skills that students are expected to learn.
A person who was categorized as custodial was considered incapable of learning.


Designation is an educational categorization of students into levels of support needs.
The changes that occur in a child from birth to the beginning of adulthood.
Diagnosis is defined as the act of identifying a disease from its signs and symptoms and as investigation or analysis of the cause or nature of a condition, situation, or problem.
Lower half of the body involvement.
An umbrella term describing movement that is involuntary and unco-ordinated.


People who were considered educable could be taught academic skills such as learning to read and write.
Essential Concept
The most important part of the big idea for a student to understand.
Essential Supports
Teaching strategies specific to a particular student.
Standards, rules or guidelines that we choose to live by.
Children with disabilities and complex needs were completely excluded from general education.


Physical and emotional sensations that manifest in a bodily way.


Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
A condition whereby acid from the stomach comes up into the esophagus and mouth.
Gastrostomy tube (G-Tube)
A tube placed through the abdomen into the stomach for feeding.
General Inclusion
Including everyone into all general education programs.
The ability to perform a skill across times, settings and with different people without the need to relearn the skill.
Generalized seizure
A type of seizure affecting the whole brain and the level of consciousness.
Gross Motor Function Classification System.


Hand Splint
Maintains the wrist, hand, and fingers in a position for optimal function.
One side of the body involvement.
Hip Dislocation
When the ball of the hip is sitting outside of the socket.
Hip Displacement
When the ball of the hip is not sitting well in the socket.
A USB computer switch interface.
High muscle tone, muscles appear stiff.
Low muscle tone, muscles appear loose and floppy.


An active process of inviting, involving, and informing with intention that provides students with opportunities for belonging and contribution.
The principle of informing is about ensuring that everyone supporting the student has the information they need to provide a meaningful school learning experience.
The placement of students with disabilities in general education classrooms for at least a portion of the school day.
Intellectual Functioning
Intellectual functioning refers to general mental capacity and abilities to learn, solve problems, and reason. One common way to measure intellectual functioning is by using an IQ test.
Intellectual/learning identity
Creative thinking, critical thinking.
A commitment piece of inclusion. It is where you agree to do whatever it takes to make your students’ school experience a meaningful and inclusive one.
Working between several disciplines.
The sense that recognizes internal signals such as hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, and the urge to go to the bathroom.
Intrinsic Reinforcement
When the positive “reward” is embedded in the activity, rather than provided by someone else.
Offering the promise of an attractive or enjoyable experience.
The inviting of a student with complex needs is the first step, but the work begins with involving the student in the general activities of the class while incorporating learning objectives from their IEPs.


A label is a slip (paper or cloth) attached to something to identify or describe it; a word or phrase that describes or names something or someone (Merriam-Webster online dictionary).
Levels of Participation
The four levels of participation are: Doing what everyone else is doing, Fringe participation, Watching and waiting, Doing something different.
Being able to communicate, to take in, and to share information in a wide variety of ways.


Children with disabilities and complex needs were placed in a mainstream school or classroom.
Manual wheelchair
Can be manually controlled by the student or another person.
Different disciplines working together with a student each providing input from their disciplinary expertise.
Muscle Tone
The resting tension of a muscle.
Myoclonic seizure
A type of seizure involving jerky body movements.


Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialist
Teaches skills and techniques for safer and more effective travel.
Heightened response to sensory input.


Partial seizure
A type of seizure involving only a part of the brain. These interfere with attention and alertness without affecting consciousness.
Person first language
Person first language describes what the person “has” not what the person “is” (Wikipedia). This approach emphasizes the individual—not the disability.
Personal Communication Dictionary
A document that allows teams to have a standardized response to a student’s communication attempts.
Personal Purposes
Personal awareness and responsibility, personal identity and culture.
The process of using the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and other subjects across the curriculum.
Refers to the physical location where education occurs for a student.
Planning Matrix
The four-step planning matrix is a simple and effective process to create meaningful skill building for students with complex needs. The matrix weaves IEP objectives into the context of daily routines while improving quality-of-life.
Power wheelchair
Motorized wheelchair controlled by the student.
An electrical device when used with a switch defines exactly how, and for how long, appliances will be turned on.
Anything that must be accomplished or acquired before something else can be done.
Presuming Competence
An understanding that the student is capable.
Primitive Reflexes
Involuntary early patterns of infant movement.
Processing Time
The silence or wait time (e.g.10+ seconds) intentionally provided for students to gather their thoughts and respond.
Prompting and fading
A strategy where various prompts are faded and eventually eliminated as the student exhibits progress.
The sense that recognizes where our body parts are in space.


Full body involvement.


Ready Position
Optimal body position which allows your student to use a full visual range, better attend to the work, and makes tasks like reaching and eating much easier.
A learned tool we use to manage our behaviours, feelings, thoughts, and energy self-regulation.
Replacement goals
Are student-specific for students on a modified grade-level curriculum.
Respect embraces two definitions. Respect is elicited by the qualities, abilities, and achievements of another. Also, respect is the regard you have for another person’s feelings, wishes, rights, and traditions .
Commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as that are done regularly or at specified intervals.


The age range of children normally attending school, from kindergarten to grade 12.
A sideways curve in the spine.
Children with disabilities and complex needs attended separate schools.
The process by which a person controls their own life.
Managing one’s behaviours, thoughts, feelings, and energy in response to ongoing demands independently without assistance or prompting.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
When there is a problem in the inner ear or with the nerve pathway that carries sound to the brain.
Sensory processing
When our brains interpret information from internal and external sources.
Sight Words
Sight words are common words like "it, the, and," that students are expected to learn to recognize without having to sound them out. These words may be called popcorn words because they "pop-up" so often in reading and writing activities.
SMART goals
A commonly used framework for the development of IEPs. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) is being redefined as Strength-based, Meaningful, Authentic, Responsive, and Triangulated in the context of the Inclusive & Competency-based IEP.
Social Purposes
Communication, social responsibility.
Resistance of a muscle to quick movement.
When used with a switch enables the student to make random selections.
Standardized Test
A test that compares a student’s score with normative values: how that student’s ability compares to their peers.
Supports the student in a standing position.
Temporarily inserting a tube in the mouth or airway to help clear mucus.
Supplemental goals
Student-specific goals for students who are not yet meeting grade-level expectations in literacy or numeracy.
An accessible tool which allows the student to use technology to activate electrical devices.
Taking different pieces or components of information and combining them into a new whole.


Task analysis
Task analysis is used to break complex tasks into a sequence of smaller steps or actions.
Teacher of students with visual impairments (TSVI)
Helps the educational team understand how vision impacts a student’s access to educational resources.
TEAM approach
Inclusion Outreach’s approach to developing meaningful IEP’s .
What goes through our mind, ideas, or cognitive states.
Tonic seizure
A type of seizure where the body goes stiff without jerking movements.
Tonic-clonic seizure
A mixed type with both stiffening and jerking movements.
Tube in the neck for breathing to bypass the mouth.
Trainable meant that the person could be taught basic life skills, such as dressing and personal hygiene.
Teams working across and beyond several disciplines.


Lowered response to sensory input.
Universal supports
Core programs and strategies provided to all students within a school to promote successful student outcomes and prevent school failure.


What is important to us.
A machine that assists breathing.
The sense that recognizes the position and movement of our head in space.
Visual acuity
Sharpness of vision.
Visual field
The area that can be seen in one glance without moving the head or eyes.
Visual impairment
When vision cannot be corrected to a level that allows vision to be easily used to gather information, plan movements, or gain feedback.


Supports the student to walk .


Zone of Proximal Development
Where the student is stretching their learning, but what they’re learning is not too big of a stretch.