People First Glossary

Below is a list of commonly accepted terms to be used in conjunction with People First language. This reference is drawn from a variety of credible sources such as subject-matter experts, state and federal law or other current publications.

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accessible: Buildings, structures, programs, transportation services, public services, etc. that are designed or modified to enable people with disabilities to use them without undue difficulty and that conform to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Examples include ramps for entering and exiting buildings, TTY relay services for telephone use, lifts on public transportation, personal assistance, and documents in Braille, large print, CD, etc.

adult basic education: A program offered by community colleges for adults who have not completed an eighth-grade education in the public schools. The objectives of the program are increasing basic skills in reading, writing and computation, with an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills.

adult developmental vocational program (ADVP): Activities designed to prepare adults with developmental disabilities to live and work as independently as possible.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A federal law providing comprehensive civil rights protections for individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications. See also the relevant Federal Civil Rights Law section for a brief discussion of the ADA.

applied behavior analysis (ABA): A professional field that uses principles of leaning to increase performance of socially desirable behaviors. It always relies upon the collection of objective data to measure performance and the effectiveness of an intervention.

architectural barrier: Any physical structure that prevents persons with disabilities from having normal or easy access to a location.

asset-building: is an anti-poverty strategy that helps low-income people move toward greater self-sufficiency by accumulating savings and purchasing long-term assets.

assistive technology (AT): The use of technology to meet the needs of people with disabilities in all areas of life: education, employment, transportation and community living activities.

assistive technology device: The term ‘‘assistive technology device’’ means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with developmental disabilities. (114 STAT. 1682 PUBLIC LAW 106–402—OCT. 30, 2000) Examples of assistive technology devices include computerized communication boards, automated readers, augmentative communication devices; toys with adapted switches, modified household gadgets; wheelchairs and computer-based devices that give enhanced images to people with vision loss or that translate voice input into writing for people with hearing loss or deafness.

assistive technology service: The term ‘‘assistive technology service’’ means any service that directly assists an individual with a developmental disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. Such term includes— (A) conducting an evaluation of the needs of an individual with a developmental disability, including a functional evaluation of the individual in the individual’s customary environment;(B) purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of an assistive technology device by an individual with a developmental disability; (C) selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing or replacing an assistive technology device; (D) coordinating and using another therapy, intervention, or service with an assistive technology device, such as a therapy, intervention, or service associated with an education or rehabilitation plan or program; (E) providing training or technical assistance for an individual with a developmental disability, or, where appropriate, a family member, guardian, advocate, or authorized representative of an individual with a developmental disability; and (F) providing training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education and rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of, an individual with developmental disabilities. (114 STAT. 1682 PUBLIC LAW 106–402—OCT. 30, 2000)

augmentative and alternative communication (AAC): Any device, system, or method (other than natural speech) that improves or enhances a person’s ability to communicate. This includes sign language, letter boards, speech-generating devices, computer software, etc.

barrier free: Refers to a building or area that is fully accessible to persons with mobility limitations. The term may be used more generally to refer to activities that are readily accessed by persons with any type of disability.

behavior intervention plan (BIP): A written plan for a student with disabilities that outlines positive behavioral interventions and supports to address challenging behaviors.

Care Line: The Care Line is the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ (NCDHHS) toll-free information and referral telephone service. Specialists provide information and referrals regarding human services in government and non-profit agencies.

CFAC: The State Consumer and Family Advisory Committee (State CFAC) is a self-governing and self-directed organization that advises the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the General Assembly on the planning and management of the State's public mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services system.

case management services: Assistance provided to persons in gaining access to needed social, medical, vocational and educational services and supports. See also service coordination and targeted case management.

Centers for Independent Living (CILs): CILs are community-based, not-for-profit, non-residential organizations that provide advocacy, peer counseling, independent living skills training, and information and referral to persons of any age with any disability.

circle of support (also called circle of friends): A group of people selected by an individual with developmental disabilities or other types of disabilities that meets regularly with the individual to help plan, design and support ways for that person to achieve his or her personal goals. Circles are based on the belief that the community is a place where everyone belongs. A circle can include friends, family, classmates, co-workers, professionals, and other community members.

closed captioned: Written words appearing across the bottom of the television screen that show what is being said on the television broadcast. The television must have a decoder to receive the closed-captioned transmission.

Community Alternatives Program for People with Mental Retardation/ Developmental Disabilities (CAP-MR/DD): A source of funding that pays for services and supports that allow people with developmental disabilities to stay in, or return to, their own communities instead of living in an institution. To be eligible for this Medicaid-waiver program, the person with the developmental disability must need the level of care that would be provided at an Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Mental Retardation (ICF-MR).

community inclusion: The full participation by an individual with a developmental disability in activities, organizations and groups of his/her choosing in the community.

community rehabilitation program: Supervised work and other activities such as vocational evaluation, basic education and personal care training. The goals of the program are to assist individuals with developmental disabilities become employed in the community and to employ people who are viewed as not capable of competitive employment in the near future.

confidentiality: All records that can be connected to an individual are kept in confidence according to federal regulations. This means that no one is allowed to see them except authorized personnel, the individual, the parents of a minor, and others by special permission.

consumers: People with disabilities or parents/guardians of people with disabilities who may use or need services or supports. Other commonly used terms are "participants" and "clients." (Review for best practice)

culturally competent: The term ‘‘culturally competent’’, used with respect to services, supports, or other assistance, means services, supports, or other assistance that is conducted or provided in a manner that is responsive to the beliefs, interpersonal styles, attitudes, language, and behaviors of individuals who are receiving the services, supports, or other assistance, and in a manner that has the greatest likelihood of ensuring their maximum participation in the program involved.

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