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Your Dedicated Support Team

Providing Parents with Resources

Hello Parents, Families, Teachers and Other Guests,

The Downey-Montebello Special Education Local Plan Area celebrates the teamwork of families, educators, and medical professionals as we work toward creating strong foundations for our students.  

Empowering parents and bringing the special education community together has long been an active goal within the Downey-Montebello SELPA. It takes a village to care for a child and through the Downey-Montebello SELPA all members come together to bond, plan, and work toward deepening our understanding and partnerships.

Warm regards,
Alanna Cooper

Useful Links: California Department of Education

Special Education: CalEdFacts

Surrogate Parent Information

Surrogate Parents in California Special Education: An Overview

California Parent Organizations

The EDge Newsletter

Support Groups & Additional Resources

Developmental delay support and peer groups located in Southern California.

211 L.A.

Autism Society of America, LA Chapter

Autism Speaks

Challenger Baseball, Downey

Club 21

Designated Exceptional Services for Independence (D.E.S.I.)

Easterseals, Southern California

Los Angeles Regional Center (ELARC)

L.A. Care Health Plan

Modern Support Services

South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC)

Social Vocational Services

Team of Advocates for Special Kids (T.A.S.K.)

TLC Family Resource Center – Downey USD

The Whole Child

Terms and Definitions

Special Education

Special Education means specially designed instruction at no cost to parent, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institution, and in other settings, and instruction in physical education.

Related Services

Related Services means transportation and such developmental, corrective and supportive services that may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, including the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions. Related services may also include:

1. Speech-Language pathology and audiology services
2. Interpreting services
3. Psychological Services
4. Physical and occupational therapy
5. Recreation, including therapeutic recreation
6. Counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling
7. Orientation and mobility services
8. School health services and school nurse services
9. Medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purpose only
10. Social work services
11. Parent counseling

Children with Disabilities

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) defines “children with disabilities” as including children with intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments including deafness, speech or language impairments, visual impairments including blindness, emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments or specific learning disabilities, and who by reason thereof, need special education and related services.


An evaluation is an assessment of your child using various tests and measures per Education Code sections 56320-56339 and 20 U.S.C. section 1414(a), (b) and (c) to determine whether your child has a disability and the nature and extent of special and related services needed by your child for his/her educational benefit. The assessment tools are individually selected for your child and are administered by competent professionals employed by the local education agency. Testing and evaluation materials and procedures will be selected and administered so as not to be racially, culturally, or sexually discriminatory. The materials or procedures will be provided and administered in your child’s native language or mode of communication, unless it clearly is not feasible to do so.

Free Appropriate Public Education ("FAPE")

An education that: (1) is provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge to you; (2) meets the standards of the California Department of Education; and (3) is provided in conformity with a written individualized education program developed for your child to confer an educational benefit and to be implemented in a preschool, elementary or secondary school program.


The definition of parent includes: (1) person having legal custody of a child; (2) an adult student for whom no guardian or conservator has been appointed; (3) a person acting in place of a natural or adoptive parent, including a grandparent, stepparent, or other relative with whom the child lives; (4) a parent surrogate; and (5) a foster parent, if the authority of a natural parent to make education decisions on the child’s behalf has been specifically limited by court order.

Individual Education Program ("IEP")

A written document developed by your child’s IEP team that includes at least all of the following: (1) present levels of academic achievement and functional performance; (2) measurable annual goals; (3) a statement of the special educational and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child; (4) an explanation of the extent to which the child will not participate with non-disabled children in the general education programs; (5) the projected date for initiation and the anticipated duration, frequency and location of the programs and services included in the IEP; and (6) appropriate objective criteria, evaluation procedures, and schedules for determining, on at least an annual basis, whether the child is achieving his or her goals.

Least Restrictive Environment ("LRE")

To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities will be educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the general education program will occur only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Local Educational Agency ("LEA")

This term includes a school district, County Office of Education (“COE”), a Special Education Local Plan Area (“SELPA”), or a charter school participating as a member of a SELPA.

Notification of Majority Rights

Your child has the right to receive all information about his/her educational program and to make all decisions when he/she reaches the age of eighteen unless determined incompetent by state law and procedures. Non-conserved adults are presumed under the laws of the State of California to be competent.

Common Acronyms


5AAC  Alternative Augmentative Communication
AB    Assembly Bill
ABA  Applied Behavior Analysis
ADA  Americans with Disabilities Act
ADD  Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
ADR  Alternative Dispute Resolution
AIT  Auditory Integration Training
APE  Adaptive Physical Education
AS  Asperger Syndrome
ASD  Autism Spectrum Disorders
ASL  American Sign Language
ASRD  Autism Spectrum Related Disorders
AT  Assistive Technology

BIP  Behavior Intervention Plan
BL  Blind

CAC  Community Advisory Committee
CAPD  Central Auditory Processing Disorder
CBI  Community Based Instruction
CCS  California Children Services
CDE  California Department of Education
CMH  County Mental Health
CP  Cerebral Palsy

DBL  Deaf-Blind
DCFS  Department of Child and Family Services
DD  Developmental Delays or Developmental Disability
DDS  Department of Developmental Services
DHH  Deaf/Hard of Hearing
DIS  Designated Instruction and Services
DMH  Department of Mental Health
DPSS  Department of Public Social Services
DS  Down Syndrome
DSM-V  Diagnostic & Statistical Manual, 5th edition
DTT  Discrete Trial Training

ECE Early Childhood Education
ECSE Early Childhood Special Education
ED Emotional Disturbance
EI Early Intervention
ELL English Language Learner
ES Education Specialist
ESL English as a Second Language
ESY Extended School Year

FAPE Free Appropriate Public Education
FAS Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
FBA Functional Behavior Assessment
FC Facilitated Communication
FREC Family Focus Resource & Empowerment Center

GATE Gifted and Talented Education
GE General Education

HI Hearing Impaired
HoH Hard of Hearing
HQT Highly Qualified Teacher

IA Instructional Assistant
ID Intellectual Disabilities
IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
IEP Individualized Education Program
IFSP Individualized Family Service Plan
ISP Individual Service Plan
ITP Individualized Transition Plan

LD Learning Disability
LAS Language and Speech
LEA Local Education Agency
LEP Limited English Proficiency
LID Low Incidence Disability
LKS Landau-Kleffner Syndrome
LRE Least Restrictive Environment
LSD Language or Speech Disorder
LSH Language, Speech and Hearing Specialist (Speech Therapist)


MD or MH Multiply Disabilities or Multiply Handicapped

NIH National Institutes of Health
NPA Non-Public Agency
NPS Non-Public School
NT Neurotypical (not disabled)

OH Orthopedically Impairment
OHI Other Health Impairment
O&M Orientation and Mobility
OSEP Office of Special Education Programs
OT Occupational Therapy

PBS Positive Behavioral Supports
PD Physical Disability
PDD Pervasive Developmental Disorder
PECS Picture Exchange Communication System
PLoP Present Level of Performance
PP Paraprofessional
PSI Preschool Intensive
PT Physical Therapy

Q Intelligence Quotient

RS Related Services
RTI Response to Intervention

SAS Supplementary Aids and Services
SB Spina Bifida
SDC Special Day Class
SE Special Education
Section 504 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
SELPA Special Education Local Plan Area
SI Sensory Integration
SLD Specific Learning Disability
SLI Speech/Language Impairment
SLP Speech/Language Pathologist

TBI Traumatic Brain Injury
TDD Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf
TS Tourette Syndrome

VI Visual Impairment
Voc Ed Vocational Education

VR Vocational Rehabilitation
WWC What Works Clearinghouse