Accommodations –refers to changes made to the environment to support the full participation of all students within the school community.

Adaptations – changes in the instructional teaching process, types of materials used, and/or the assignments or products a student may produce to achieve the expected learning outcomes for his/her grade-appropriate curriculum.

All students – inclusive of those with special needs, those displaying gifted and talented capacities, those learning “English as an Additional Language” – i.e. each and every student within the school community.

‘Appropriate educational programming’ – a collaborative school-family-communityprocess where school communities create learning environments andprovide resources and services that are responsive to the lifelong learning, social, and emotional needs of all students.

Classroom profile – refers to a collection of demographic information about the students in the classroom. It may include age, sex, socioeconomic background, school/grade readiness, preferred learning styles, strengths and challenges.

Common learning environment –refers to all areas used for classroom and small group instruction shared among age-appropriate, neighbourhood peers (see Learning Environment for further clarification)

Culture – is central to the way we view, experience, and engage with all aspects of our lives and the world around us. While human societies and cultures are not the same thing, they are inextricably connected because culture is created and transmitted to others in a society.  Cultures are not the product of lone individuals.  They are the continuously evolving products of people interacting with each other (source:

Individual Education Plan (IEP) – “A global term referring to a written document developed and implemented by a team, outlining a plan to address the unique learning needs of a student; the written IEP may range in length from one page documenting student-specific adaptations developed by a student’s teacher(s) in consultation with the parent(s), to a lengthier documentation of a student’s programming outlining student-specific outcomes developed by a larger team that may also include resource, clinical, and other student services supports; the term IEP is inclusive of other acronyms such as adapted education plan (AEP), behaviour intervention plan (BIP), assisted learning plan (ALP), and so on” (Manitoba Education, 2010b, p. 86).

Individualized program – programming designed to meet the needs of students with severe cognitive disabilities outside the regular curriculum in the area of cognition, social/behavioural, self-help, motor, and communication skills.

Learning environment – all locations (e.g., classrooms, hallways, washrooms, gymnasium, playground, and others) within the school setting in which the child participates during the school day.

Least restrictive environment – an environment in which the student has the fewest restrictions and the most opportunities to fully participate in all aspects of an education (academic, social, emotional) throughout their school career (an American term used in their legislation and often used interchangeably with the “most enabling environment”).

Modification (content) – refers to a change in the number or the content of the learning outcomes that a student is expected to meet in the provincial curriculum, determined by the school team, and recorded in the individual education plan.

Parent – refers to the biological/adoptive parent, the legal guardian, or whoever has the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of or for the student.

People first language –The practice of using care in language when talking about people with disabilities. For example, one would say, “child with a disability” versus “disabled child.” This puts the person first and emphasizes the person instead of the disability.

Person-centered planning – a set of approaches designed to assist someone to plan their life and supports. It is used most often as a life planning model to enable individuals with disabilities or otherwise requiring support to increase their personal self-determination and improve their own independence.

Reasonably practicable – describes the timeframe allocated for specialized assessments to be completed in order to support the special needs of the student. This concept may vary from division to division dependent on the availability of clinicians needed to conduct the assessments. Another way to express this term is “in a timely fashion”.

School community – representing an all-inclusive concept of community stakeholders, starting with the student and the classroom teacher and expanding to incorporate parents, the school principal, school specialists (resource teacher, guidance counselor, and others), the divisional Student Services administrator, clinicians (speech and language pathologists, psychologists, school social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other specialists) and those living within the geographical school community, such as neighbours, citizens, business owners, and others who may have a role to play in the school.

Segregation – the practice or policy of keeping students with different defining characteristics (eg. races, religions, abilities, etc.) separate from each other in physical, social, and/or academic contexts.  This may occur through separated schools, school classrooms, school areas, instructional groupings, etc.

Special needs – a broad term that refers to any learner need that is not adequately supported by standard delivery of the provincial curriculum. Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Training (2001) referred to students with special needs as being those who require the following:

  • Personalized adaptations to participate in the provincial curriculum (special equipment, transportation, teaching methods, assessments, organizational strategies, time allotments, physical or social environments, etc.);
  • Personnel supports beyond the classroom teacher (resource teacher, guidance counselor, clinicians, therapists, educational assistants, nurses, etc.);
  • Redesigned (modified or enriched) content in their courses; or
  • Individualized programming.

Students with special needs are identified as gifted and talented, as “at risk” or “struggling” learners, or as having educationally relevant disabilities.

Triangulated assessment – the process by which teachers assess student learning using three different methods: conversations, observations and products.

Undue hardship – This term establishes a legal expectation of how far public institutions must go to accommodate the needs of a person identified as having equal rights under human rights legislation. For the public institution to deny equal services, it must be established that accommodating the needs of an individual or a class of individuals would impose an extreme burden on the organization, considering health, safety and cost.

Universal Design for Learning – an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, guiding the development of flexible learning environments accommodating individual learning differences.