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Adaptive Instruction for Teacher Education: Inclusive Approaches, Resources and Technology
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common acronyms 

Acronym Meaning
A.D.D. Attention Deficit Disorder
A.D.H.D. Attention Deficit /Hyperactive Disorder
A.S.D. Autistic Spectrum Disorder (Also see P.D.D,)
D.D. Developmental Delay (severe)
F.A.S.D Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
I.E.P. Individual Education Plan
I.P.R.C. Identification Placement & Review Committee
L.D. Learning Disability
M.I.D. Mild Intellectual Disability
O.S.R. Ontario Student Record
O.D.D. Oppositional Defiant Disorder
P.D.D. Pervasive DevelopmentDisorder (Also see A.S.D.)
W.I.S.C. Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children


Accommodations: Changing how one teaches or a way of compensating for difficulties a student experiences.  (Use a student's strengths to accommodate for weaknesses). These are listed in an IEP.  There can be

Instructional Accommodations e.g.  Giving students notes rather than having the student copy these notes from the board.

Environmental Accommodations e.g. Where a student is seated in the class, or changing the lighting for a student with light sensitivities.

Assessment Accommodations e.g. giving students more time to write a test.

Modifications: Changing the expectations for a student. These are listed in an IEP.

In English and Math modifications may be teaching to a lower grade level of expectations.  In other subjects the number of grade level expectations may be reduced.

Alternate Expectations:  Substituting specific expectations for those that are in the Ministry Curricular documents.  e.g. At high school Essential classes may use alternate expectation

Oral Reception or Auditory Reception: What one hears.

Oral Receptive Language:  The language that one receives or hears.  It includes all of the auditory functions and the associated brain functions which process what we hear and interprets this as meaningful language.

Included in Oral Reception is Auditory Reception.

Auditory factors

 There are several factors which are auditory.

  • Hearing: This is related to the physical structure of the ear. To hear means that ears can receive sound waves and send these to the brain via associated nerve connections to the brain. We hear sound which could include sounds, music, and language. Hard of hearing or students who are deaf cannot hear.
  • Listening: Paying attention to what is heard. This may also involve auditory attention (being able to filter extraneous noise, or extracting salient information.)
  • Auditory Processing: A very general term which means the brain can use the information that is heard.
  • Auditory Attention: the ability to filter out extraneous noise or sounds and only extract what is important to hear.  Students with auditory attention difficulties may not be able to eliminate background sounds in the environment or may extract non salient information from what is heard. 
  • Phonology or Phonological Analysis: the ability to split words in to the associated sounds or phonemes.  e.g. the ability to hear CAT and split it into C -AT or C-A-T
  • Verbal Comprehension: understanding the language that one hears.
  • Auditory Short Term Memory: being able to keep a series of instructions, words, number for a brief time in memory.
  • Auditory Working Memory: being able to use and manipulate what one has heard.
  • Auditory Long term Memory: storing information in memory
  • Auditory Discrimination: the ability to hear the difference between similar words of sounds such as cat and mat

Oral Expressive Language: 
Speaking and responding i.e. communicating orally.  Generating spontaneous responses.
It involves:

  • Speech: Articulation- how we say it.  A lisp, a stutter or an accent is speech.
  • Language: The content of what is said.  This involves usage of age appropriate vocabulary, grammar, - word order, and socially appropriate responses, (pragmatics).
  • Retrieval: the ability to extract information, words etc from long term memory

Reading aloud is not considered to be oral expressive language as it involves generating language that someone else has written and produced, and isn't self generated spontaneous language.

Written Receptive Language: reading.

Reading involves

  • Decoding: which is being able to put the associated sound to symbol together  of the specific language that is being read and then being able to put a series of letters together to make a word.
  • Reading Comprehension: understanding what is read and is highly dependent on vocabulary and an understanding of word order that imparts meaning.
  • Phoneme: In English groups of letters combine to form units of sound e.g. at is a phoneme as in c- at = cat
  • Phonics: Teaching students decoding by teaching phonemes.

Written Expressive Language
: writing.

It is considered to be the most complex task one asks students to do.  It involves

  • Encoding: putting the word one thinks of into writing.  This is the opposite of decoding in that it involves finding the correct symbols for the sounds and also remembering the conventions of spelling.  Spelling is encoding.
  • Physical Action of Writing: This involves small muscle control as well as the long term memory of the muscle actions required to form letters or knowledge of the key board.
  • Organization of ideas: and the language need to write on a specific topic.
  • Grammar, syntax and morphology: a knowledge of the conventions of the language, word order, appropriate endings for words and conventions of writing using capitals, punctuation etc.
  • Proofreading: being able to identify one's own errors.
  • Retrieval: being able to extract from memory the word or idea that one wants to use in writing.
  • Styles, or genres: knowing that different forms of written language have different styles and conventions e.g. letter writing, emails, narratives, scientific reporting all use different formats and styles of language.


  • Sight: The ability to use ones eyes as receptors of light or images which are then sent to the brain where they are interpreted.
  • Visual Processing: The brain being able to utilize the information received from the eye.
  • Visual Attention: The ability to pay attention to relevant visual information and exclude extraneous vision images. (Pay attention to the diagram on the board and exclude the pictures on the wall.)
  • Visual Memory: being able to store visual images in the brain either short term or long term
  • Visual Imagery: being able to conjure up a visual image in the brain associated with an idea, word etc.
  • Visual Organizers: using a visual method of organizing ideas
  • Visual- Spatial Functions: include the ability to see the differences between objects or letters that are similar with only small differences such as p,b.d,q or was and saw.  Mapping, geometry, judging distances etc  also involves visual spatial functioning.
  • Visual Discrimination: being able to see minor differences in objects.
  • Visual Sequencing: the ability to see sequences of pictures or numbers.

Temporal Functioning and Temporal Sequencing
: Temporal is time related and so temporal sequencing is the ability to do tasks in a specific order, to being able to judge time or extract time related meaning for such words as sooner, later, then, after.

Sensory Integration: The ability to integrate sensory information from several or all sense organs.  Students with Autism may have difficulty doing this and so become overwhelmed when there is too much sensory information.

Sensory Sensitivity: Some people are more sensitive to certain sensations.  Children with autism may have such sensitivities e.g. extremely sensitive to touch or the texture of clothing.