Acronyms & Glossary

Previous Link: Social Security Benefits

Next Link: Resources - Start Here



Agency for Persons with Disabilities


Agency for Workforce Innovation


Disabled Adult Child (a Social Security Administration term)


Division of Blind Services


Department of Children & Families


Disability Navigator Program


Department of Education


Department of Juvenile Justice


Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)


Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis & Treatment (Medicaid)


Exceptional Student Education


Florida Academic Counseling and Tracking for Students


Family and Supported Living Waiver


Home and Community Based Services Waiver


Individual Development Account


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


Individualized Education Program or Individualized Education Plan


Individual Plan for Employment


Plan for Achieving Self Support


Social Security Administration


Social Security Disability Insurance


Supplemental Security Income


Transition Individualized Education Program


Work Incentives Planning and Assistance

Glossary A - L

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Enacted in 1990, the ADA guarantees people with disabilities civil rights protections in employment, public accommodations, government services and telecommunications. Title II of the ADA covers public programs, activities and services such as the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Division of Blind Services. Most requirements of Title II are based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination based on disability in federally assisted programs and activities. The ADA then extended Section 504’s non-discrimination requirement to all activities of public entities – such as the State of Florida – and not only those receiving federal funds.

Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD)

APD is the Florida state agency that administers the state and federal funds provided to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Assistive Technology

Any item, equipment, or product system, whether bought off the shelf, modified or custom built, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a student with a disability.

Augmentative/Alternative Communication Systems (AAC)

Systems of communication, such as communication boards, that can help with writing, spelling, typing, word selection, conversation, speech synthesis, manual reading or other communication needs resulting from a disability.

Department of Children & Families (DCF)

DCF is the Florida state agency that administers the child welfare system, along with some mental health and substance abuse programs for children and youth. DCF also determines eligibility for welfare programs such as Medicaid, food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.


A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Due Process Rights   

Rights that give youth, caregivers, school or agency personnel ways to solve problems and settle disagreements.  In the education setting, they include the right to participation, the right to have notice, the right to give consent and the right to a due process hearing. The hearing is a formal meeting run by an impartial hearing officer, where parents, caregivers and school officials can resolve disagreements fairly.

Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT).

Comprehensive health services for Medicaid-eligible children – up to age 21. It includes routine medical check-ups, as well as treatment for illness, injury and chronic medical conditions.  Almost all youth in the dependency system are eligible for Medicaid.  Young adults who exit the foster care system at age 18 remain eligible for Medicaid up to age 21. Florida also calls this the “Child Health Check Up”.

Exceptional Student Education (ESE)

In Florida, special education services and programs for students who have a disability or who are gifted.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

504 Plan

An individualized plan for a student with a disability who may not meet the eligibility criteria for Exceptional Student Education (ESE), but who requires accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

A federal regulation (34 CFR 300.17) specifying that all children with disabilities aged 3 through 21, including children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school, are entitled to a free and appropriate public education. Districts must provide FAPE to all students with disabilities who have not reached age 22 and have not earned a regular high school diploma.

Independent Living (IL)

This term is used generally to describe services provided to youth who will exit the foster care system at age 18.  It is also used to refer to specific programs available to young adults such as the Road to Independence program.

Individualized Education Program / Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

A written plan to identify the specially designed instruction and related services designed to meet the individual unique needs of a student with a disability. The IEP is developed by the student , LEA, and his or her teachers, parents, caregivers and others as appropriate. It is reviewed annually, but may be revised at any time, upon request.

Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)

A vocational rehabilitation plan that targets a specific job goal and services that are necessary in order to reach the goal. The plan can be amended at any time and should be reviewed annually.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

Placement of a student with disabilities in a regular education class with their non-disabled peers or in a special program for the amount of time that is appropriate for the child. Taking a child out of a regular school setting should only be done when the nature and severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Glossary M - Z


Medicare is the federal program that provides health care coverage to Americans who are 65 or older, or who have a disability, no matter what their income. Adults with disabilities may be eligible for Medicare if they became disabled before age 18 and have a parent who paid into Social Security and is deceased, disabled or retired.


Medicaid is a jointly-funded, Federal-State health insurance program for certain low-income people. It covers children, the aged, people with disabilities, and people who are eligible to receive federally assisted income maintenance payments. Almost all youth in foster care are eligible for Medicaid and Florida now covers youth until age 21.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, amended in 1998, prohibits any recipient of federal funds from discriminating against persons with disabilities. Section 504 requires that all children with disabilities be provided a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment.

Special Diploma, Option I (Florida)

A type of diploma for students with a disability who are not able to meet all requirements for a standard high school diploma. Students must meet district credit requirements and master the Sunshine State Standards for Special Diploma.

Special Diploma, Option II (Florida)

A type of diploma for certain students with a disability who are not able to meet all requirements for a standard high school diploma. An individual employment and training plan is developed by the IEP team. It lists specific competencies related to job preparation skills and adult living skills for the individual student. The student must master all competencies included in the plan and be successfully employed for at least one semester. Districts may offer Option 2, but are not required to do so.

Special Education Services

Specially designed instruction for a student with a disability. Special education adapts lesson delivery, content and instructional methods to the student’s unique needs and provides services such as instruction in Braille, additional individualized practice or social skills training.

Standard Diploma (Florida)

The type of diploma earned by most Florida high school students. The state legislature and the local school district set the requirements. Other diploma options include a college-ready, vocational diploma and an international baccalaureate diploma. Students are required to earn at least 24 credits in a set of required and elective courses, have a 2.0 Grade Point Average, and pass the high school graduation test.

Supported Employment

Supported employment is a service that supports competitive work in an integrated setting for individuals with the most significant disabilities. These individuals, because of the nature and severity of their disability, need on-going work supports which may include job coaching services for an extended period of time. At these work sites, most co-workers do not have disabilities. And workers with disabilities have regular contact with people who do not have disabilities.

Surrogate Parent

A surrogate parent makes education related decisions for children under the age of 18 who do not have a parent, relative or legal guardian to make those decisions.

Ticket to Work

The Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program is the centerpiece of new legislation enacted under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. It is a nationwide initiative designed to assist people with the training and support they need to go to work by increasing their choices. SSA beneficiaries with disabilities can find employment, vocational rehabilitation (VR) and other support services from public and private providers.

Transition Services

A set of coordinated activities designed to help a student move from school to post-school activities. These may include independent living, work or continued education after high school, instruction, related services, community experiences, work toward post-school goals, and, if appropriate, daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation, all based on the student’s needs and preferences.

Transitional IEP (TIEP)

An IEP that addresses the student’s need for transition planning and services. The student’s IEP must address these issues by the student’s 16th birthday, or younger if deemed necessary by the student’s IEP team. This IEP deals with issues related to making the transition to adult life after high school, including diploma decisions.