Natural environment usually means a setting that is natural or "normal" for young children with or without disabilities. These settings may include home, a childcare setting, a therapeutic facility, or other community setting in which children participate. For older children we usually refer to what is known as the "least restrictive environment" as the most "natural" setting to deliver educational and related services.

Natural Environment Training or NET is designed to transfer skills acquired in other learning settings or activities to naturally occurring settings most often experienced by children. Many skills, such as, manding (requesting), following directions and transitioning, are best taught in environments that have naturally occurring reinforcing value for the learner.

Nursing refers to a health care profession that is focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life from birth to the end of life.

Neurobiological disorder refers specifically to a condition of the nervous system caused by genetic, metabolic, or other biological factors. Autism and Tourette syndrome are examples of neurobiological disorders.

Neurological disorders are conditions involving the nervous system. A neurological disorder is a disease or injury of the nervous system that usually results in some deficit. Sometimes these conditions can result from genetic or biochemical causes. Other times, the cause may be unknown and only the effects are seen.

Nutritional services are services that help address the nutritional needs of children, including the identification of feeding needs or feeding problems, food habits and food preferences.

Occupational Therapists or OT's are qualified professionals who assess and work with eligible individuals to enhance their ability to function and be successful in the negotiation of their environment. Occupational therapists can work on improving underlying sensory motor foundation skills, fine motor coordination, visual motor control, visual perception and activities of daily living.

Occupational therapy or OT services are related services associated with self-help skills, adaptive behavior, play, sensory motor, and postural development. Occupational therapy services involve a functional evaluation of the student and the planning and use of a program of purposeful activities to develop or maintain adaptive skills. Occupational therapy services are designed to help individuals with disabilities achieve maximal functional capability in their daily life tasks.

Operant conditioning is the use of consequences to modify the occurrence and form of behavior. Operant conditioning deals with the modification of "voluntary behavior" or operant behavior. Operant behavior "operates" on the environment and is maintained by its consequences.

Oral-motor function refers to the use of the muscles in and around the face during speech and feeding. This includes the coordination, range of motion, and strength of the lips, tongue, palate, jaw, and teeth.

Outcomes are the statements of changes that parents wish to see in their child or family. These statements are a part of the Individualized Family Service Plan or IFSP and, for older students, are an important consideration when developing the annual goals for the Individualized Education Program or IEP.

Parent and child groups are Early Intervention Services that are delivered to a group of parents and children together by one or more qualified personnel at an Early Intervention Site or community-based setting. The primary goal is to help parents generalize skills that children learn to home and other natural settings.

Parent counseling and family training involves assisting parents, family and caregivers in understanding the special needs of their child. This includes providing information about child development, the understanding of and working with a child with a disability, and helping to facilitate the necessary skills that will allow for support of the goals of their child's educational program.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified or PDD-NOS is a diagnostic condition in which some, but not all, features of Autism or another explicitly identified condition in the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders or PDD are identified.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder or PDD refers to a group of five disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication. The pervasive developmental disorders are: Autism, the most commonly known Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), which includes atypical Autism. Parents may notice symptoms of Pervasive Developmental Disorder or PDD as early as infancy; typically, onset is prior to three years of age.

Physical development has to do with demonstrating growth, gross motor and fine motor abilities. Physical development also includes auditory and visual development.

Physical impairment or delay refers to a significant limitation, impairment, or delay in the physical capacity to move, coordinate actions, or perform physical activities. These characteristics are exhibited by difficulties in one or more areas such as motor planning, independent movement, and performing basic life functions.

Physical Therapists or PT's provide therapeutic services to individuals in order to develop, maintain, and restore maximum movement and functional capability throughout life.

Physical Therapy or PT is a related service that involves preventing or reducing movement difficulties and other related functional problems resulting from physical impairment or delay.

Picture Exchange Communication System or PECS is a form of augmentative communication. It is typically used as an aid in communication for children with Autism and other special needs. The system has been used with a variety of ages including preschoolers, adolescents, and adults who have a wide array of communicative, cognitive, and physical difficulties.

Positive Behavioral Supports or PBS offer a creative problem solving process for understanding why problem behaviors occur and how to deal with these problems effectively. PBS is based on principles of applied behavior analysis and use a consistent, effective approach to encourage positive behavior. PBS use proactive versus reactive strategies.

Positive Reinforcement involves the presentation of a stimulus, following a behavior, which serves to increase the likelihood of that behavior occurring in the future. Positive reinforcement increases the future occurrences of a particular behavior.

Preschool age refers to children between the ages of 3 and 5 years.

Primary referral sources, with regard to Early Intervention, are defined as all individuals who are qualified personnel under the Early Intervention Program and all State approved evaluators, service coordinators, and providers of Early Intervention Services.

PROMPT stands for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets. It is a speech and language treatment technique allowing a trained therapist, during communicative exchange, to physically manipulate a child's jaw, face and mouth to show how a speech sound, sounds in words, or words in sentences are produced. The PROMPT approach holds the belief that communication (verbal or not) represents the integration of a child's mental, physical, and emotional development. A breakdown in any of these developmental areas can lead to communication difficulties. When a child's speech and language needs are analyzed and treated by a PROMPT-trained therapist, he/she will also incorporate activities that address areas of developmental needs including cognitive function and social skills. The goal of PROMPT therapy is to achieve a state of equilibrium across these developmental areas to the highest level attainable by that child.

Psychological evaluation means a process by which a New York State certified school psychologist or licensed psychologist uses, to the extent deemed necessary for purposes of educational planning, a variety of psychological and educational techniques and examinations in the student's native language to study and describe a student's development, learning ability, behavior, and other personality characteristics.

Psychological services are related services that involve administering and analyzing psychological tests and information about a child's behavior and family conditions related to learning, social and emotional development as well as planning services including counseling, consultation, parent training, and education programs.

PARENTS CORNER