A device used to increase the size of an image through the use of lenses or lens systems. A magnifier may be used at any distance from the eye (e.g., stand type, hand held, or spectacle mounted).


An outdated term, mainstreaming, describes the placement of students with disabilities into regular education classrooms when they are deemed ready. Inherent in mainstreaming is the belief that a student needs to earn their way into a regular education setting. Typically, children who are mainstreamed receive the bulk of their education in a special education class and visit a general education class when they have attained the skills to function in a general education setting without supplemental supports or services.


The common term for a mand is request. The term mand implies the function (i.e., command, demand) of the word. A student requests or mands for an item or activity that they want. In other words, the student has a motivation for the item they want.

Manifestation Determination

A Manifestation Determination is an assessment, required by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 97), which is done when considering the exclusion of a student with a disability from school that constitutes a change of placement.

Manually Coded English (MCE)

A sign communication system created for educational purposes by combining American Sign Language signs with invented signs for such concepts as prefixes and suffixes, and by placing signs in English word order to represent the grammatical structure of English.


mutually agreed upon written arrangement


multidisciplinary evaluation


multidisciplinary team

Mechanical Skills

The abilities necessary for efficient Braille reading, including finger dexterity and wrist flexibility, hand movement skills and finger positions, light finger touch, and tactile perceptions and discrimination skills.

Medical Services

Services provided by a licensed physician to determine a student’s medically related disability that results in identifying the student’s need for special education and related services.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

An MOU is a written statement detailing the preliminary understanding of parties who plan to enter into a contract of some other agreement. An MOU between the Pennsylvania Departments of Education, Labor and Industry, Public Welfare and Health has launched a cross agency effort around providing services to youth and young adults with disabilities that has gained national attention as a Community of Practice (CoP) on Secondary Transition. The members of the CoP who are representatives of ten offices within the four departments, meet on a regular basis to advance policy and practice around several issues impacting the successful adult outcomes for these youth. The team has jointly sponsored several cross agency projects including statewide conferences and employment expositions.


An instructional process, usually one-to-one, that involves an individual with knowledge, expertise, or experience working with a student to transfer information and skills.


This term is also known as motor imitation. A person makes the sign for apple and the other person imitates the exact sign for apple. Another example is one person claps their hands and the other person also claps their hands.


The act or ability to safely move from one’s present position to one’s desired position in another part of the environment.


Modifications are adaptations to a task that change what is assessed and alter the difficulty level of the math- or reading-related components.


How sounds and words are put together to form meaning. A morpheme is the smallest unit of language that has meaning.

Motor Control

Regulating the timing and amount of muscle contraction to produce smooth and coordinated movement.

Multidisciplinary Evaluation (MDE)

A comprehensive assessment conducted at least yearly that determines early intervention services eligibility. It describes the child’s strengths and needs, identifies the resources, priorities and concerns of the family, and recommends supports and services necessary to enhance the family’s capacity to meet the child’s developmental needs.

Mutually Agreed Upon Written Agreement (MAWA)

A written agreement between the PA Department of Education and a local intermediate unit or school district for the provision of early intervention services to eligible children age three to the age of beginners.