Academic Learning Time

The period during which an instructional activity correlates with a student’s readiness to learn, and results in actual learning.


Within the context of this document, accessibility is the extent to which a student can gain access to print materials in a way that meets his or her needs at the time the materials are needed.

Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

AIM are specialized formats of curricular content. These textbook or other core instructional materials may be rendered in braille, audio, digital, or enlarged print format.

Accessible Media Producer (AMP)

AMPs are companies or agencies that create fully-accessible specialized, student-ready formats, including braille, enlarged print, audio, and digital formats.

ACCESS Program

A program under the direction of PDE, in which school districts who provide medical related services to Medicaid-eligible students with disabilities as part of the students’ IEPs are reimbursed for a portion of their expenditures. For more information, contact your intermediate unit or


Accommodations are adaptations to a task that do not change what is assessed and do not alter the difficulty level of the math- or reading-related components. Each accommodation is based on the specific needs of the student. Occasionally, an accommodation is implemented on a group basis.

Act 126

A state law that allows for comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment information to be provided to the Juvenile Probation Office (JPO) and Office of Children and Youth (OCY) if certain conditions exist. Informed consent or a good cause court order must be provided, along with a court order showing adjudicated or alleged adjudicated status, to access this information. This act facilitates collaborative planning for families at risk of losing their children permanently, and overrides strict drug and alcohol confidentiality laws when invoked.

Act 212

The Early Intervention Services System Act of 1990 that provides for early intervention services for eligible young children in Pennsylvania.

Act to Provide Books for the Adult Blind

An Act to Provide Books for the Adult Blind is Public Law 89-522, often referred to as Pratt-Smoot Act of 1931. it established the Division for the Blind of the Library of Congress (now known as the National Library Service or NLS).

Adaptive Keyboards

These are alternative keyboards that allow students who experience difficulty with conventional keyboard configurations to use computers. These products are available in different sizes and layouts. They can often be purchased with a key guard to prevent accidental key activation.

Adaptive Pointing Devices

Adapted mice, track balls, and joysticks represent input devices that require two actions: cursor movement and a click. Some products use a separate switch to act as the click to prevent accidental activation. In some products, a pause can be used in place of a click. Additional input devices include the use of a camera to track the user’s eye movements or to track a specific target. Touch screens can also replace the mouse for cursor control.


meeting requirements; sufficient or suitable

Administrator's Actions

The administrator’s actions are descriptions of the actions (cues) performed by the assessor for each task as they administer the PASA.

Age of Beginners

The minimum age established by the school district for admission to the district’s first grade.


A goal line based on expected rate of progress that is created by drawing a line from the baseline to the target.

Allocated Time

The total time in the school day or school year.

Alphabetic Principle/Phonics

The basic concept that letters represent segments of speech. Students are taught letter names, the relationships between letters and sounds, an understanding that these relationships are systematic and predictable, and the use of these relationships to read and write words.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)

AACs are any device, system or method that improves the ability of a student with communication impairment to communicate effectively.

Alternative Augmentative Communication

Any device, system, or method that improves the ability of a student with communication impairment to communicate effectively.

American Printing House for the Blind (APH)

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is a nonprofit organization that creates educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are visually impaired.

American Sign Language (ASL)

A visual-gestural language produced on the hands, face, and body. It is not derived from spoken language and it differs from English in vocabulary, grammar, and inflection. Non-manual markers, such as use of space, facial expression, body movement, body posture, directionality, and rate of sign, contribute to the meaning of the message. ASL is used in the United States and in some parts of Canada.

American Sign Language Interpretation

the process of a third party (interpreter)facilitating communication between persons who are hearing and persons who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing an interpretation of communication while working between spoken English and American Sign Language.


Any event that precedes a behavior (e.g., teacher tells the student to do his or her work).


Childhood or developmental aphasia is a disorder characterized by difficulty learning language in the absence of a cognitive deficit, sensory and physical deficits, severe emotional disturbances, environmental factors, or brain damage.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

The science and discipline devoted to understanding and improving human behavior by applying basic behavioral principles to learning and teaching.


Verbal apraxia is a motor speech disorder characterized by difficulty with sequencing and organizing motor or muscle movements, specifically for the production of speech. It may also be described as the impaired ability to motor-plan. Muscle weakness is not associated with apraxia. Apraxia is different from a traditional articulation problem.


The movement of mouth, lips, tongue, and voice mechanism to produce speech sounds. Poor articulation may be due to the improper movement of lips, tongue, or other articulators. Articulation also refers to the clarity of sounds in speech.


Collecting and analyzing information to make judgments about the learning progress of individuals or groups; also, techniques, devices, or instruments used to collect evidence, ranging from formal and standardized to criterion referenced to alternative to informal. Another word for test. Under No Child Left Behind, tests are aligned with academic standards. Beginning in the 2002-03 school year, schools were required to administer tests in each of three grade spans: grades 3-5, grades 6-9, and grades 10-12 in all schools. Beginning in the 2005-06 school year, tests must be administered every year in grades 3 through 8 in math and reading. Beginning in the 2007-08 school year, science achievement will also be tested.

Assessment Anchors

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) developed the Assessment Anchors for grades 3 through 8 and 11. Assessment Anchors focus, or anchor, the Pennsylvania Academic Standards into more manageable units. The Assessment Anchors include eligible content, which identifies how deeply teachers must cover given content for mastery and success on the PSSA.

Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS)

A curriculum-based assessment, tracking system, and curriculum guide that is based on the analysis of verbal behavior. A scope of skills to assess and teach students who have severe communication and other important skill deficits.

Assistive Listening Devices

_any and all types of devices that increase the sound and aid in the understanding of speech. These devices may include personal hearing aids, frequency modulation (FM) systems, induction loop systems, infrared, special inputs for telephone or television and amplified alarms and signals.

Assistive Technology (AT)

Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of students with disabilities.

Assistive Technology Expo

The Assistive Technology Expo is an annual PaTTAN-sponsored event that is held at various locations throughout Pennsylvania, usually in late fall. At the Expo, there is a wide variety of assistive technology on display, and manufacturers provide presentations and answer questions about their equipment.


Assistive Technology

AT Interventions

This refers to the use of assistive technology to provide access to reading, writing, and other instructional areas.

AT or Assistive Technology

Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of students with disabilities.


This is a graph used to designate the student’s response to sound. Symbols are used to plot an individual’s ability to hear pitch and loudness of tones and environmental sounds, and to comprehend spoken language.


The identification of students who are deaf and hard of hearing, and the delivery of services provided by an audiologist.


the act or sense of hearing.

Auditory/Oral Mode of Communication

the development of speech and verbal language through the maximized use of residual hearing. An Auditory/Oral approach allows for visual cues, typically speechreading. An Auditory/Verbal approach focuses specifically on residual hearing and would not encourage relying upon visual cues.

Augmentative Communication

Non-speech techniques used to supplement or augment a student’s oral speech, which allows them to use and develop their language. These may include natural gestures, sign language, photographs and other kinds of pictures, spelling out words on alphabet displays, as well as electronic speech generating devices.

Aural Reading

The gathering of information from audioᅠaccessed materials and books.

Authorized Entities

Authorized entities are nonprofit organizations or governmental agencies that have a primary mission to provide specialized services relating to training, education, or adaptive reading or information access needs of blind or other persons with disabilities. Under an exemption to copyright law, authorized entities do not require permission from publishers to create materials in specialized formats. The PaTTAN AIM Center is an authorized entity. Examples of federally funded authorized entities are Bookshare, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D), and American Printing House for the Blind (APH).

Authorized User (AU)

An AU is a person(s) who is authorized to access NIMAS (National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard) files from the NIMAC (National Instructional Materials Access Center). Authorized users can directly download NIMAS file sets or assign NIMAS file sets for download by an accessible media producer (AMP) for conversion into specialized formats.