The systematic sequencing of prompted content, materials, tasks, and teacher and peer support to optimize learning. Scaffolding is a process in which students are given support until they can apply new skills and strategies independently.


Scanning is an indirect access method used with communication devices or computer access. Choices are highlighted systematically and the student uses a switch to make selections as the highlighter moves from symbol to symbol.

School Health Services

Services provided by a qualified school nurse or other qualified person.

School-wide Effective Behavior Support (SWEBS)

A school-wide system of reinforcement, teaching school rules and routines, and effective teaching principles that provide strategies to increase academic learning time, rule following, and to decrease negative behaviors throughout the whole school.


A lateral curvature of the spine.

Scorable Task Components

Scorable Task Components are the specific reading or mathematics skills assessed within each task.


A brief assessment process used to determine if more extensive assessment should be completed.

Screen Readers

Academic screen readers were specifically designed for students with reading and writing difficulties, especially dyslexia. Generally, they provide speech synthesis, text entry, spell check, word prediction, highlighting and note taking capabilities. Screen readers may also be used to provide computer access for visual impairment.

Section 302

Refers to the Mental Health Procedures Act (MHPA) regarding emergency evaluation and treatment without consent for observed behavior (within the last 30 days) constituting a clear and present danger to the individual and/or others. A petition must be filed, and if hospitalization occurs, it must not exceed five days without an extension (303) hearing. Further extensions may be approved using sections 304 and 305 of the MHPA.


An uncontrolled abnormal electrical signal in the brain; also called convulsion.


The ability of a student to effectively communicate or assert interests, desires, needs, and rights, as well as to explain his or her disability and its effects on learning and other life activities.

Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder

Refers to a difficulty with language meaning and language use difficulties.


The study of the meaning of language, including meaning at the word, sentence, and conversational level.

Sensory diet or sensory strategies

A proactive sensory strategy that is embedded into a daily routine and is designed specifically to help calm, organize and alert the student so that they can benefit from instruction.

Sensory integration

A neurological process that allows us to process and organize sensory information and be able to respond to it appropriately.

Sensory integration therapy

A therapeutic intervention that uses graded sensory experiences to improve how a person uses sensory information for daily functioning.

Service Coordinator

The person acting as a single point of contact between the early intervention system and the family of an eligible infant or toddler. The person serves as the coordinator of the initial and ongoing assessment and evaluation, the development and review of the IFSP, the monitoring of service delivery, and the linkages to community resources.


A process through which we gradually modify the student’s existing behavior to what we want it to be. Less accurate responses are accepted in the beginning, but the requirement for more accuracy increases with each response and is reinforced.

Short Term Loan

PaTTAN‘s program for loaning assistive technology devices and materials for evaluation

Signed English

a system that was devised as a semantic representation of English for children between the ages of 1 and 6 years of age. ASL signs are used in English word order with 14 sign markers being added to represent a portion of the inflectional system of English.

Sign Language Interpreter

A sign language interpreter conveys information presented by a hearing person in spoken English to a deaf person in sign language format, and conveys information presented by a deaf or hard of hearing person in sign language to a hearing person in spoken English format.

Sign Supported Communication

The use of speech and natural gestures to convey information to others, and relies upon the use of residual hearing, speech reading ability, and natural gestures to receive information from others.

Single Point of Contact (SPOC)

The Bureau of Special Education’s contact person for intermediate units or geographic regions, assigned to handle compliance, special education plan, and compliance management.

Single Switch Access

A switch adapter that allows the student to use one or more switches to activate specially designed software or products.

Slate and Stylus

A portable device for writing Braille by hand, consisting of a metal template with a series of Braille cells (the slate) and the implement used to press Braille dots into the paper (the stylus).

Social stories

A story written to describe social situations in terms of relevant social cues. The story defines appropriate responses, teaches routines and academics, and addresses a variety of behaviors.

Social Work Services

Includes a range of activities that address problems in a student’s living situation (home, school, and community) that affect the student’s adjustment in school.

Sound Field System

an environmental amplification system that utilizes a portable speaker system or a loudspeaker on one or more walls and/or ceiling. This type of system ensures that the speech signal is evenly distributed throughout the classroom with the end goal of improving the signal to noise ratio for each student in the room.

Special Education Paraeducator Standards for Practice: Competency Assessment Checklist

A checklist used by supervisors of paraeducators to document competence and the mastery of skills and knowledge required for the Credential of Competency for Special Education Paraeducators offered by the Bureau of Special Education.

Special Education Plan

The Pennsylvania Department of Education must ensure the appropriateness of special education programs in districts and intermediate units.ᅠThe Special Education Plan outlines programs and services and identifies the plan for a Comprehensive System of Professional Development for the next three years.

Specialized Formats/Alternate Formats

Under the Copyright Act as Amended, specialized formats are defined as braille, enlarged print, audio, digital text.


The physical production of the sounds in the language in order to form words, phrases, and sentences.

Speech Disorder

Difficulty producing speech sounds or problems with voice quality.

Speech-Language Pathology Services

Speech and language services that assist in identifying and treating communication impairments.

Speech-Language Support Specialist or Clinician

An individual with a university degree, usually at the master’s level, who is certified to assess speech, language, and voice disorders and implement remediation.

Spina Bifida

A congenital cleft of the spinal column with hernial protrusion of the meninges and sometimes the spinal cord.

Standard Protocol

Intensive, short-term instructional interventions that follow a specified script and have research to support its effectiveness. They are typically conducted with a small group of targeted students using materials that supplement the general education curriculum (Fuchs, 2003). ᅠ Standard Protocol Interventions are research-based, have a high probability of producing change, are used in a standard manner across students, and can be orchestrated by a team.

Standards Aligned System (SAS)

Standards Aligned Systems (SAS) is the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s model for achieving consistent, standards-based, sustainable educational improvement across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s public education system.ᅠThe SAS model is based upon the premise that six core components are required to provide a consistent environment in which student achievement is possible in a comprehensive manner: clear standards, fair assessments, effective and engaging instruction, comprehensive instructional resources, targeted and proactive interventions, and strong curriculum framework.


Pennsylvanias Academic Standards guide instruction in the schools. The PSSA results allow educators to determine how well students are learning based on the list of areas and standards set by the Department of Education.

Standards-based Transition Activities

Those activities that, after examining the component skills involved, are then aligned with the appropriate academic standard. For example, having a student practice self-advocacy skills for a post-secondary education outcome would relate to the following reading, writing, speaking, and listening standards: 1.6.11A – Ask clarifying questions; 1.6.11 B – Summarize and reflect on what has been heard; 1.6.11 C – Speak using skills appropriate to the situation; 1.6.11 D – Contribute to discussions by responding with relevant information; 1.6.11 E – Participate in discussions by initiating conversations.


Short Term Loan, PaTTAN‘s program for loaning assistive technology devices and materials for evaluation


A collection of assistive technology devices and/or resources packaged by PaTTAN for ease of use by the LEA.

STL or Short Term Loan

A trial of assistive technology and/or resource materials provided by PaTTAN.

Strategic Instruction

A cognitive, behavioral modification approach designed to teach students to use what they know efficiently when learning content.

Student with a 504 Plan /PA Chapter 15 (Protected Handicapped Students)

A student who is not eligible for special education services, but who has a physical or mental disability which substantially limits or prohibits participation in, or access to, an aspect of the student’s school program.


An interruption in the smooth, easy flow of speech. Examples include repetitions, prolongations, interjections, and silent pauses.

Supplemental Educational Services (SES)

Supplemental Educational Services is the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirement for low income students in Title I Schools at School Improvement II. Tutoring is provided to low income students in Title I schools, as required for schools in their second year of school improvement under the No Child Left Behind act.

Supplementary Aids and Services

Supplementary aids and services means aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings, to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate in accordance with ᄃ300.114 through ᄃ300.116. (34 CFR 300.42) The purpose of providing supplementary aids and services is to support students with disabilities as active participants with nondisabled peers as well as to enable their access to the general curriculum. ᅠ To that end, supplementary aids and services include modification to the general curriculum and [a child with a disability is not removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modification in the general curriculum]. ᅠ (34 CFR 300.116 (e)) ᅠ


The way words are put together in phrases or sentences to produce meaning.

Synthesized Speech

Speech generated by a computer that sounds similar to the human voice.

Systematic Instruction

Instruction following a logical sequence of learning focused on the presentation of new skills based on previously mastered skills. Teaching from the known to the unknown and from easier to harder, with instruction driven by continuous assessment through progress monitoring.