Glossary in Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Glossary of Terms Child and Adolescent Mental Health

This glossary contains terms frequently used when referring to the mental health needs of children and adolescents. The list is alphabetical. 


Accessible Services: Services that are affordable, located nearby, and open during evenings and weekends.

Staff is sensitive to and incorporates individual and cultural values. Staff is also sensitive to barriers that may keep a person from getting help. For example, an adolescent may be more willing to attend a support group meeting in a church or club near home than to travel to a mental health center. An accessible service can handle consumer demand without placing people on a long waiting list.

Acute Care: Medical treatment rendered to individuals whose illnesses or health problems are of short-term or short episodes. Acute care facilities are those hospitals that mainly serve persons with short-term health problems.

Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety disorders cause intense feelings of anxiety and tension when there is no real danger. The symptoms cause significant distress and interfere with daily activities. Suffers of anxiety disorders usually take extreme measures to avoid situations that provoke anxiety. The physical signs of anxiety are restlessness, irritability, disturbed sleep, muscle aches and pains, gastrointestinal distress, and difficulty concentrating. Anxiety disorders are often accompanied with the symptoms of depression and can lead to chronic anxiety.

Appropriate Services: Designed to meet the specific needs of each individual child and family. For example, one family may need day treatment, while another may need home-based services. Appropriate services for one child and family may not be appropriate for another. Appropriate services usually are provided in the child's community.

Assessment: A professional review of child and family needs that is done when services are first sought from a caregiver. The assessment of the child includes a review of physical and mental health, intelligence, school performance, family situation, and behavior in the community. The assessment identifies the strengths of the child and family. Together, the caregiver and family decide what kind of treatment and supports, if any, are needed.


Behavioral Disorder: A disorder characterized by behaviors which are significantly different, over a long period of time, from the socially acceptable behaviors of others of the same age and situation.

Behavioral Health Services:  Both mental health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

Behavioral Specialist Consultant (BSC):  A mental health professional who writes the treatment plan and supervises the team that provides Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services Child and Adolescents (BHRSCA) in the home.

Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS): Services that are available to a family if the child has a valid medical assistance card in the state of Pennsylvania. Another name for this service is wraparound services. Wraparound Services are a form of psychological treatment that takes place in the least restrictive environment (home, school, community). This atmosphere encourages the child to reach his/her full potential in a natural setting. The wraparound service provides a highly individualized service to meet the needs of the child and family. These services are to be cognizant of cultural differences and work within the framework that incorporates the strengths of the family. If a child/youth meets the criteria for medical necessity, a case manager meets with the family, facilitates a discussion exploring the strengths of the family, assists the family to create reachable goals, and develops options to meet those goals.

Behavioral Specialist Consultant (BSC): Must have a Master’s Degree or higher and also have experience in behavioral interventions and treatment of children with developmental delays and serious emotional disturbance. The BSC writes the treatment plan and develops the program to be implemented in the child’s home, school, or other community settings.


Caregiver: A person whom may or may not have special training to help people with mental health problems. Examples include family members, social workers, teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, foster and adoptive parents, and mentors.

Case manager: An individual who organizes and coordinates services and supports for children with mental health problems and their families. (Alternate terms: service coordinator, advocate, and facilitator.)

Case management: A service that helps people arrange for appropriate services and supports. A case manager coordinates mental health, social work, educational, health, vocational, transportation, advocacy, respite care, and recreational services, as needed. The case manager makes sure that the changing needs of the child and family are met. (This definition does not apply to managed care (MCO).

Child and Adolescent Services System Program (CASSP): Created in 1984 by Congress, this program assists all states (through grants, technical assistance and training) in the development of community-based, coordinated service systems to deal with the mental health needs of children and their families.

Child Protective Services: Designed to safeguard the child when abuse, neglect, or abandonment is suspected, or when there is no family to take care of the child. Examples of help delivered in the home include financial assistance, vocational training, homemaker services, and daycare. If in home supports are insufficient, the child may be removed from the home on a temporary or permanent basis. Ideally, the goal is to keep the child with the family whenever possible. i.e. Children Youth and Families (CYF), Department of Children Youth and Family Services(DCFYS), Children Youth Services (CYS).

Children and Youth at Risk for Mental Health Problems: Children are at greater risk for developing mental health problems when certain factors occur in their lives or environments. Factors include physical abuse, emotional abuse or neglect, harmful stress, discrimination, poverty, loss of a loved one, frequent relocation, alcohol and other drug use, trauma, and exposure to violence.

302 Commitment:  An involuntary emergency mental health commitment with two steps. (1) The patient is brought for emergency examination involuntarily if specific criteria of clear and present danger to self or others are met. (2) If, upon medical examination, the patient is felt to be a clear and present danger to self or others, admission for up to 120 hours in a designated facility occurs.

303 Commitment: This is the means by which a patient is maintained in involuntary hospitalization status for a period not to exceed 20 days. This type of extended involuntary emergency treatment must be certified by a judge or mental health review officer.

304 Commitment:  This is the means by which a patient is maintained in involuntary hospitalization status for an extended period of time up to 90 days. Often, this is the type of commitment used when a patient is sent to a state hospital.

Community Residential Rehabilitation host home (CRR):  Transitional residential programs in community settings, either in a therapeutic foster family or small group home. A CRR host home provides services 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.  

Community Treatment Team (CTT):  This treatment option is intended for adolescents (age 16 to 25 years) who have not achieved and maintained mental health stability in the community. A treatment team of mental health professionals provides comprehensive and intensive services to the adolescents in the community where they live in order to prevent hospitalization and/or incarceration.  

Confidential: All information provided by the family or child will be private and will not be shared with anyone unless written permission is given by the family or child.

Consumer/Client: Anyone using services provided by the Department of Human Services or one or more of its contracted providers.

Continuum of Care: A term that implies a progression of services that a child moves through, usually one service at a time. More recently, it has come to mean comprehensive services. Also see system of care and wraparound services.

Coordinated Services: Child-serving organizations talk with the family and agree upon a plan of care that meets the child's needs. These organizations can include mental health, education, juvenile justice, and child welfare. Case management is necessary to coordinate services. Also see family-centered services and wraparound services.

Crisis Residential Treatment Services: Short-term, round-the-clock help provided in a nonhospital setting during a crisis. For example, when a child becomes aggressive and uncontrollable, despite in-home supports, a parent can temporarily place the child in a crisis residential treatment service. The purposes of this care are to avoid inpatient hospitalization, help stabilize the child, and determine the next appropriate step.

Cultural Competence: Help that is sensitive and responsive to cultural differences. Caregivers are aware of the impact of culture and possess skills to help provide services that respond appropriately to a person's unique cultural differences, including race and ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or physical disability. They also adapt their skills to fit a family's values and customs.

Day Treatment: Day treatment includes special education, counseling, parent training, vocational training, skill building, crisis intervention, and recreational therapy. It lasts at least 4 hours a day.

Day treatment programs work in conjunction with mental health, recreation, and education organizations and may even be provided by them.

Day Treatment/Partial Hospitalization Programs:  Children/youth with mental illness participate in an intensive non-residential program. They commute to the program every day (hospital or community agency) for some part of the day. Sometimes, the school component is within the day treatment program. Other day treatment programs commence after school hours.

Department of Public Welfare (DPW): The Pa. state agency that oversees numerous program areas. The Department oversees all child welfare, mental health, mental retardation, income maintenance, Medical Assistance and social program issues in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Drug and Alcohol: Designation often used for services/programs designed to aid in the recovery of persons with substance use disorders

DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition): An official manual of mental health problems developed by the American Psychiatric Association. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other health and mental health care providers use this reference book to understand and diagnose mental health problems. Insurance companies and health care providers also use the terms and explanations in this book when discussing mental health problems.

Early Intervention (EI): A process used to recognize warning signs for mental health problems and to take early action against factors that put individuals at risk. Early intervention can help children get better in less time and can prevent problems from becoming worse.

Emergency and Crisis Services: A group of services that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help during a mental health emergency. Examples include telephone crisis hotlines, suicide hotlines, crisis counseling, crisis residential treatment services, crisis outreach teams, and crisis.

Emotional Disorder (ED): Emotional impairment exhibited by a child or adolescent that disrupts his or her academic, family or interpersonal relationships.

Empowerment: The ability to exercise influence and control over the services your child receives.


Family-based Mental Health (FBMH): Comprehensive services designed to assist families in caring for their child or adolescent at home. Services may include treatment for the child and other family members, service coordination and family support services.

Family-focus: Focusing on the strengths and capabilities of each individual family.

Family-Centered Services: Help designed to meet the specific needs of each individual child and family. Children and families should not be expected to fit into services that do not meet their needs. Also see appropriate services, coordinated services, wraparound services, and cultural competence.

Family Driven: Family-driven means families have a decision-making role in the care of their own children as well as in the policies and procedures governing care for all children in the community, state, and nation. This includes choosing supports, services; providers; setting goals; designing and implementing programs; monitoring outcomes; and determining the effectiveness of all efforts to promote the mental health of children and youth.

Family Support Program:  A program that works to ensure the healthy development and growth of small children by supporting families in the community where they live.

Family Support Services: Help designed to keep the family together, while coping with mental health problems that affect them. These services may include consumer information workshops, in-home supports, family therapy, parenting training, crisis services, and respite care.


Grievance:  A wrong considered as grounds for complaint, or something believed to cause distress.


High Fidelity Wraparound (HFW): High Fidelity Wraparound (HFW) is a youth-guided and family-driven planning process that follows a series of steps to help youth and their families realize their hopes and dreams. It is a process that allows more youth to grow up in their homes and communities. It is a planning process that brings people together (natural supports and providers) from various parts of the youth and family’s life.

The HFW workforce (Facilitator, Family Support Partner and Youth Support Partner), helps the youth and family achieve the goals that they have identified and prioritized, with assistance from their natural supports and system providers. Regardless of the differences in the various implementer counties, the HFW process is driven by 10 principles, four phases and basic activities. More information can be found at

High Fidelity Wraparound (HFW) Principles: A set of ten statements that define the HFW philosophy and guide the activities of the process. The ten HFW Principles are: family and youth driven, team-based, collaborative, community-based, culturally competent, individualized, strengths-based, natural supports, persistence, and outcome-based.

High Fidelity Wraparound (HFW) Team: The HFW team is comprised of the HFW workforce members, the youth and/or family, and a group of people chosen by the youth and family and connected to them through natural, community and formal support relationships. The HFW team helps the youth and family develop and implement the HFW plan, address unmet needs, and work toward the vision stated by the youth and family.

Home-Based Services: Help provided in a family's home either for a defined period of time or for as long as it takes to deal with a mental health problem. Examples include parent training, counseling, and working with family members to identify, find, or provide other necessary help. The goal is to prevent the child from being placed outside of the home. (Alternate term: in home supports.)


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): On November 19, 1975, Congress enacted Public Law 94-192, known as “The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975” which guaranteed the right of all handicapped children to be entitled to a free and appropriate education. Congress amended this Act several times over the years. On June 4, 1997, this act was amended again and renamed “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997” (IDEA). The amended statute, followed by federal regulation guided the states to write their own statute and regulations. These state statutes and regulations cannot diminish or reduce the rights of special education students and their families that are provided in the federal statute but may provide children and caretakers with more rights and protections. If there is a conflict, the federal law is always followed.

On December 3, 2004 Congress reauthorized the IDEA, now known as the Individual

Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA). Federal Regulations are being written at this time. The states will follow with regulations as well. There are changes in effect at this time(since July 1, 2005) concerning definitions, services prior to identification, evaluating/identifying students, Individual Education Program (IEP)/Free Appropriate Education (FAPE), highly qualified teachers, transition, enactment dates, discipline, and procedural safeguards.

Independent Living Services: Support for a young person living on his or her own. These services include therapeutic group homes, supervised apartment living, and job placement. Services teach youth how to handle financial, medical, housing, transportation, and other daily living needs, as well as how to get along with others.

Individualize Education Plan (IEP):  An educational plan that outlines the programs and services that a child may need in order to remove barriers to learning. The IEP includes goals, objectives, types of special help that a child will receive in the classroom, and how the child’s progress will be measured.

Individualized Services: Services designed to meet the unique needs of each child and family. Services are individualized when the caregivers pay attention to the needs and strengths, ages, and stages of development of the child and individual family members. Also see appropriate services and family-centered services.

Inpatient Hospitalization: Mental health treatment provided in a hospital setting 24 hours a day. Inpatient hospitalization provides: (1) short-term treatment in cases where a child is in crisis and possibly a danger to his/herself or others, and (2) diagnosis and treatment when the patient cannot be evaluated or treated appropriately in an outpatient setting.

The most intensive and restrictive treatment setting, providing acute treatment interventions, diagnostic evaluations, stabilization and treatment planning.

InterAgency Team (IAT): A group of people (including the family, the child and representatives from providers and/or agencies) who work together to make sure that services are planned, coordinated and implemented.


Juvenile Justice System (JJ): The system that deals with children or adolescents who break the law and are arrested.


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): High quality treatment and support services provided in the most natural environment that is available and appropriate. These are settings that are the most appropriate and natural for the child and family. These are the least intrusive settings possible that serve as the environment where the needs of the youth and family can still be met.

Legal Guardian; A person who is court-appointed to make decisions for another person who has been deemed incompetent to make decisions (financial or personal).

Liaison: A professional who is specifically trained to work in partnership with children and families, outside agencies and mental health providers.


Managed Care: Is a way to supervise the delivery of health care services. Managed care may specify which caregivers the insured family can see and may also limit the number of visits and kinds of services that are covered by insurance.

Managed Care Organization (MCOs) – A person, firm or corporation who is providing health care to individuals under agreement with a particular managed care plan. The company differs depending on the county you live in. Companies that agree to provide Medicaid benefits for people in exchange for a monthly payment from the state.

Medical Assistance (MA) – The federal program which provides, within restriction, medical (and certain medically supervised) care to those in need. In Pennsylvania, this is administered by the Department of Public Welfare.

Medical Necessity: Clinical determinations to establish a service or benefit which will, or is reasonably expected to:  Prevent the onset of an illness, condition, or disability; Reduce or ameliorate the physical, mental, behavioral, or developmental effects of an illness, condition, injury, or disability; Assist the individual to achieve or maintain maximum functional capacity in performing daily activities, taking into account both the functional capacity of the individual and those functional capacities appropriate for individuals of the same age.”

Measurable Objectives: Measureable objectives are short-term goals that will be set for each of the prioritized needs. Measureable objectives may be referred to as “baby steps” and are generally things that can be accomplished in two to four weeks or less so the family and team can celebrate often.
Mental Health/Mental Retardation or Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Administrator (MH/MR or ID/IDD Administrator): Combined administer for the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Developmental Programs. Supervises a comprehensive service delivery system in each county, or in combined counties which provides a full array of treatment and rehabilitation services in both institutional and community settings. The term may differ depending on the county Pennsylvania.

Mental Health: How a person thinks, feels, and acts when faced with life's situations. Mental health is how people look at themselves, their lives, and the other people in their lives; evaluate their challenges and problems; and explore choices. This includes handling stress, relating to other people, and making decisions.

Mental Health Problems (Issues): Mental health problems are real. They affect one's thoughts, body, feelings, and behavior. Mental health problems are not just a passing phase. They can be severe, seriously interfere with a person's life, and even cause a person to become disabled. Mental health problems include depression, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and conduct disorder.

Mental Disorders: Another term used for mental health problems.

Mental Illnesses: This term is usually used to refer to severe mental health problems in adults.

Mobile Crisis Services:  A crisis intervention team of professionals who, when called, go to the child during a crisis (in the home, at school, or in the community) in order to prevent injury or hospitalization.

Mobile Therapist (MT):  A mental health professional who provides counseling services in the home.

Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT):  A group of clinical staff made up of representatives from different professions, disciplines or service areas.


Natural Supports: Individuals or organizations in the family’s own community. Natural supports can include kinship, social, or spiritual networks such as friends, extended family members, religious leaders, sports coaches, and neighbors. A natural support can be anyone the family trusts and can depend on in time of need, outside of paid professionals. A natural support is someone who is willing to be a part of the family’s support network.
National Wraparound Initiative (NWI): The National Wraparound Initiative is an attempt to engage experts nationally in a process of defining standards and compiling specific strategies for conducting high-quality High Fidelity Wraparound (
Network of Care: Network of Care is an interactive, single information place where consumers, community-based organizations and municipal government workers all can go to easily access a wide variety of important information. The resources in this "virtual community" include a fast, comprehensive Service Directory; links to pertinent Web sites from across the nation; a comprehensive, easy-to-use Library; a political advocacy tool; community message boards; and many others. (

Neurologist: A neurologist is a specialist who can check brain structure or brain functioning by using a variety of tests.


Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF): Established by federal and state law, CYF exists to protect children from abuse or neglect.

Ombudsman: A person who helps to solve problems related to the care a person receives.

Outcomes: Child, family or team goals stated in a way that can be observed and measured.

Outcome-based: A focused treatment approach that allows for clear and measurable results.

Out-patient: Services provided in freestanding mental health offices or clinics. These services include medical examination, diagnosis, care and treatment and community-based services that provide evaluation/diagnosis, treatment planning, medication management, individual and play therapy.


Partial Hospitalization Services (Often referred to as “Partial”): A non-residential form of intensive treatment provided in a freestanding or school-based program for three to six hours per day.

Plan of Care (POC): A treatment plan especially designed for each child and family, based on individual strengths and needs. The caregiver(s) develop(s) the plan with input from the family. The plan establishes goals and details appropriate treatment and services to meet the special needs of the child and family.

Primary Care Physician (PCP): A general medicine, Family Practice or Internal Medicine physician responsible for overseeing the medical care of an individual.

Provider Organization: A practice, clinic, mental health center, hospital, or other organization that is employed by managed health programs to provide treatment services.                   

Probation Officer (PO):  An officer of the court responsible for ensuring that a client follows the terms of his or her probation.

Provider: Qualified individual or agency that provides services.

Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who will use a variety of psychological tests and techniques in order to evaluate your child’s mental health symptoms. A psychiatrist can prescribe medicine, if necessary.

Psychologist: A clinical psychologist is licensed to diagnose and treat serious emotional disturbances. He/she may use a variety of psychological tests and techniques to evaluate your child, much like a psychiatrist. However, a psychologist cannot prescribe medication.

Public Defender (PD) – Provides legal counsel to indigent defendants. When appointed by the court, the PD must also furnish legal counsel to persons subject to commitment under the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act of 1966.


Recovery: Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential (
Resiliency: The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune. Being resilient is having the ability to manage adversity without negative repercussions.

Residential Treatment Facilities (RTF): Facilities that provide treatment 24 hours a day and can usually serve more than 12 young people at a time. Children with serious emotional disturbances receive constant supervision and care. Treatment may include individual, group, and family therapy; behavior therapy; special education; recreation therapy; and medical services. Residential treatment is usually more long-term than inpatient hospitalization. Centers are also known as therapeutic group homes.

Respite Care: A service that provides a break for parents who have a child with a serious emotional disturbance. Trained parents or counselors take care of the child for a brief period of time to give families relief from the strain of caring for the child. This type of care can be provided in the home or in another location. Some parents may need this help every week.


Self-Efficacy: Achieving self-efficacy is when the youth and family begin to believe in themselves. Self-efficacy is the measure of one's competence to complete tasks and reach goals.

Serious Emotional Disturbances or Disorder (SED):  An emotional and/or social impairment that seriously disrupts the child or adolescent’s academic, family or interpersonal relationships.

Diagnosable disorders in children and adolescents that severely disrupt their daily functioning in the home, school, or community. Serious emotional disturbances affect one in 10 young people. These disorders include depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity, anxiety disorders, conduct disorder, and eating disorders. 2. A broad descriptive term that indicates that a child may have signs and symptoms that affect how he or she thinks, feels, or reacts to everyday situations. This term is not used in all states.

Service: A type of support or clinical intervention designed to address the specific mental health needs of a child and his or her family. A service could be provided only one time or repeated over a course of time, as determined by the child, family, and service provider.

Service Coordination:  A service that assists the child and family in obtaining and managing services that are needed. A service coordinator is the person who provides this service. (Formerly called Case Management or Targeted Case Management)

Service Coordination Unit (SCU):  Generally, part of a community mental health center, these provide full service mental health services to those in need in Allegheny County (Formerly called Base Service Units (BSU).

Short-Term Inpatient Services: Provides psychiatric service when children/adolescents have acute symptoms. The goal is to stabilize the symptoms so that the child can return to their home and community. Children and adolescents who are a danger to themselves or others may be mandated for a psychiatric evaluation and treatment if necessary.

Stakeholder: Individuals or organizations that are directly impacted by a system-wide decision, program, or intervention. 

Systems of Care (SOC): A System of Care is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that are organized to meet the challenges of children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families. Families and youth work in partnership with public and private organizations to design mental health services and supports that are effective, that build on the strengths of individuals, and that address each person's cultural and linguistic needs. A system of care helps children, youth and families function better at home, in school, in the community and throughout life. System of Care is not a program — it is a philosophy of how care should be delivered. Systems of Care ensures that approaches to services recognize the importance of family, school and community. System of Care seeks to promote the full potential of every child and youth by addressing their physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural and social needs and

Specialized Service Coordination Services:  Unique service coordination programs that are targeted toward certain children or adolescents based on their diagnosis and their specific needs.

Strengths-based: Treatment and support services that reflect the identified strengths and needs of each child and family.

Student Assistant Program (SAP): An intervention program designed to identify students who are having school problems due to alcohol or drug use, depression or other serious emotional disturbances, and to intervene and refer these students to appropriate community services, if needed.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A disability program of the Social Security Administration.

U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): The mission of SAMHSA is to provide, through the U.S. Public health Services, a national focus for the Federal effort to promote effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of addictive and mental disorders. SAMHSA is primarily a grant-making organization, promoting knowledge and scientific state-of-the-art practice. SAMHSA strives to reduce barriers to high quality, effective programs and services for individuals who suffer from, or are at risk for, these disorders, as well as for their families and communities.

Supported Living (SL): This initiative is designed to increase housing options available to persons with serious mental illness. Through supported living programs, individuals with psychiatric disabilities may access an array of flexible services and supports to enable them to live in the housing of choice and to become participation members of the community.

Support Services: An array of services designed to enhance a family’s ability to care for a child with serious emotional disturbances and to prevent out-of-home placement.


Targeted Case Management (TCM): See Service Coordination

Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS): A mental health professional who provides behavioral support and guidance to a child in the home, school and/or community.

Treatment plan: A plan that outlines the treatment and support services that are needed to address the serious emotional disturbances of a child and his or her family.

Treatment services:  Refers to a variety of therapeutic services designed to change behaviors or other conditions related to a child’s serious emotional disturbances. Treatment services are also designed to help individuals and/or families cope with a child’s behaviors.  


Wraparound services : A common term used for treatment services, more formally known as Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services – Children and Adolescents (BHRSCA). These in-home services provide focused therapeutic and behavioral support to the child.


Youth Driven: Youth driven means that youth are engaged in the idea that change is possible in his or her life. Youth feel safe, cared for, valued, useful and spiritually grounded. Youth are empowered in their planning process from the beginning and have a voice in what will work for them. In Pennsylvania the term Youth driven is used instead of Youth Guided.

504:  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act is civil rights law.

Section 504 protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination that arises because of their disability. A 504 Service Agreement is considered when a child has disability that can limit at least one major life activity, which can include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, writing, performing math calculations, taking care of oneself or performing simple manual tasks. If your child does not meet the criteria for special education, he/she may be eligible for a 504 Service Agreement.

A 504 Service Agreement often contains a list of accommodations and modifications that can assist the child with disabilities in the classroom.