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The Glossary includes abbreviations, technical terms, acronyms, and definitions of many assessment tools. You may access it two ways. You can either scroll down to find the word or you can click on the letter of the alphabet.

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Generalization. The ability to apply a set of skills or knowledge learned under one set of conditions to other conditions or environments.


Generic Medications. Common names for medications. Generic medications are manufactured by companies who do not have to get FDA approval for selling the medication, and can thus usually sell the product cheaper than it's "brand name" counterpart. Overall, generics are just as potent and safe as brand names, although with some medications, such as seizure medications, it is important not to switch from one manufacturer to another because many times the medications aren't absorbed from the stomach the same and the patient's blood levels can fluctuate.


Generic Services. Services, businesses, organizations, or agencies which serve the general population rather than a select disability group. The use of generic resources and their reasonable accommodation to the needs of persons with developmental disabilities can encourage community inclusion more readily than the sole reliance on specialized services. Examples of generic services include transportation, health care, and higher education.


Genetic Counseling. A service provided by a trained counselor to determine the likelihood that a genetic or hereditary disability will occur within a family.


Gifted, Creative, and Talented. Terms applied to those with extraordinary abilities in one or more areas and capable of superior performance.


Grand Mal Seizure. Seizures that involve a sudden loss of consciousness followed immediately by a generalized convulsion.


Grievance. A grievance is a written complaint submitted by or on behalf of a member or a provider to a plan or agency regarding the availability, coverage for the delivery, or quality of health care or other services, including a complaint regarding an adverse determination made pursuant to utilization review claims payment, handling, or reimbursement for health care services, or matters pertaining to the contractual relationship between a member or provider and the plan or agency.


Gross Motor. Movement that involves balance, coordination and large muscle activity as required in holding your head up, walking, running, skipping, climbing, jumping and other physical activities.


Group Home. A home for a small number of individuals with disabilities who live in the community and participate in community life. Group home programs for people with developmental disabilities may assist in the development of the individual’s personal, social, and community skills.


Guardian. A person appointed by a court who has the same legal responsibilities and prerogatives as a parent, but who may not be expected to have the person he is responsible for live in his home. In most jurisdictions, a person under guardianship (by reason of mental illness) is under the total control of another person or persons, in the status of a ward with respect to both his body (as in consenting to surgery) and fiscal or contractual affairs.


Guardianship Services. Guardianship is a legal relationship between a competent adult and a person over the age of 18 whose disability causes incompetency (a ward). The disability may be caused by mental illness, developmental disability, age, accident, or other causes. A developmental disability or mental illness is not, by itself sufficient reason to declare someone incompetent. In addition, a person may not be declared incompetent simply because it saves someone money or because the disabled person acts or uses personal money in ways that seem odd to someone else. Competency has to do with a person’s ability to make an ‘informed decision’, or, with the risk of harm that they may experience due to their inability to provide for themselves or manage their affairs.


Guidance Counselor. An individual working in a school who is trained to do screening, evaluations, and career and academic advising.

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Habilitation. Training, care, and specialized therapies undertaken to assist a person with a developmental disability in achieving or maintaining progress in a developmental skill area.


Handicap. 1. A limitation imposed on an individual by the environment and the person's capacity to cope with that limitation. 2. A term used to refer to any disability (physical, mental or emotional) which limits or threatens a persons development of full potential. 3. For legal or eligibility purposes, "handicapped" may be defined as: A "special population" of persons who have been evaluated as having mental retardation, being hard of hearing, deaf, speech or language impairments, visual impairments, serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; who, because of their handicapping condition, require special education and related services (if a child) provided through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), in order to succeed in a regular educational program. If an adult, other services or assistance may be available through a variety of other agencies. See also "Disability".

Hard of Hearing. Refers to some degree of hearing loss, ranging from mild to profound, which can benefit from the use of hearing aids or other assistive listening devices and depends primarily upon spoken or written English in communicating.


Handicapping Condition. See "Handicap".


HCCA. Home Care Coordinating Agency, the private agency responsible for coordinating home and community services for DHHS’s clients.


HCP. Handicapped Children’s Program


Hearing Impaired. Any individual who has a hearing loss that requires special assistance (such as a hearing aid) or educational adaptation. This term includes both persons who are hard-of-hearing and who are deaf.


Hearing Impairment. Having a reduction in hearing that affects a person's educational, academic, and/or social performance. Hearing losses are classified by hearing sensitivity at various frequencies within the audible range. These frequencies are termed "decibels" or "dB". An individual is considered to have normal hearing if the hearing threshold is above the 25 dB range. Hearing losses are categorized as follows: Mild - hearing within the 25 to 40 dB range; Moderate - within the 40 to 55 dB range; Moderately Severe - within the 55 and 70 dB range; Severe - within the 70 to 90 dB range; and Profound or Deafness - exceeding 90 dB range. See also "Hearing Impaired".

High Tone Hypertonic. Having stiff, rigid, or inflexible muscles.


Home Health Aide (HHA). A Nurse Aide who has been tested and proven competent in home health skills. Home Health Aides are able to work in the private home.


Home Health Service. Services that allow you to remain safely at home with some assistance in daily living, whether it’s medical, personal hygiene, companionship, rehabilitation and support to aid the healing process after illness, surgery or injury.


Home Infusion. Supplies essential nutrients, fluids, electrolytes, medication, blood or blood products directly into the patient’s blood stream. Specific therapies include antibiotics, diuretics, pain control, hydration, chemotherapy and total parenteral nutrition.


Home Medical Equipment (HME). Equipment used by the patient to support attainment of highest level of independent function. HME includes hospital beds, walkers, bath benches, trapezes, oxygen and ventilators.


Homebound. Inability to leave home without a taxing effort, the assistance of someone else, or the use of crutches, cane, walker, wheelchair or special transportation.


Homemaker Service. A person who performs general household duties such as cooking, cleaning, child care and shopping for a client unable to perform these for themselves. A homemaker is not trained to provide personal care.


Hospice. A coordinated program of palliative and supportive care for individuals with terminal illness. An interdisciplinary team of professionals and volunteers provides services in the patient’s place of residence or in an inpatient setting during the illness and period of bereavement.


HUD. Housing and Urban Development (federal department).


Hydrocephalus. An excess of cerebrospinal fluid (surround the brain or in the cavities between the four ventricles), often resulting in enlargement of the head with pressure on the brain, which may cause mental retardation, convulsions, and/or visual impairments.


Hyperactivity. Constant and excessive movement and motor activity. Hyperactivity is a feature of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, autism, toxic reactions, etc. See also "Hyperkinetic" and "Hyperkinesis".


Hyperkinesis. Constant and excessive movement and motor activity. See also "Hyperkinetic" and "Hyperactivity".


Hyperkinetic. Refers to an excess of behavior in inappropriate circumstances. See also "Hyperactivity" and "Hyperkinesis".


Hypernasality. A voice resonance disorder that occurs when excessive air passes through the nasal cavity, often resulting in an unpleasant twanging sound.


Hyperopia. Farsightedness or poor vision at a close range. A refractive problem wherein the eyeball is excessively short, focusing light rays behind the retina.


Hypertension. This illness is a sustained elevation of blood pressure above normal levels. It is a common occurrence in the elderly, but it is not a consequence of the aging process. Sustained elevation in blood pressure may lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.


Hypotonia. 1. Low, or poor muscle tone (floppy muscles). 2. Damage to any part of the brain, usually including the cerebellum and basal ganglia, resulting in decreased stiffness of the extremities and trunk.

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IADL. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, regularly necessary home management activities, including meal preparation, housework, grocery shopping and other similar activities.


ICCPHC. Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee for Preschool Handicapped Children (state committee).


ICF-MR. Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Mental Retardation.


ICM. Intensive Case Management, a type of case management service provided by DHHS.


IDC. Infant Development Center (located in Portland, ME).


IDT. Interdisciplinary Team.


IDEA. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law governing the rights of children with disabilities to receive a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their needs.


IEP. Individualized Education Program (DOE), the term used for the service plan developed by the PET. A program of the special education and related services reflecting the individualized need of each student that has been developed by the child and parents, and a team of knowledgeable persons, including the child’s teacher, an agency representative who is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education, and other individuals at the parents’ or agency’s discretion. Each IEP is reviewed at least annually.


IEP Goals and Objectives. The long and short-term behaviors that are the targets of special education or therapeutic intervention. IEP objectives are almost always written in behavioral terms.


IFSP. Individual Family Service Plan (DOE), the term used for the service plan developed by the ECT for children from birth to 5. The plan must: 1) be developed jointly by family and appropriate qualified personnel involved in the provision of early intervention services; 2) be based upon the multidisciplinary evaluation and assessment of the child and the assessment of the child’s family; and 3) include services necessary to enhance the development of the child and the capacity of the family to meet the special needs of the child.


IHP. Individual Habilitation Plan.


ILS. Independent Living Services (DOL), a program offered through BVR.


Immaturity. Pertaining to behavior disorders, a category involving preoccupation, short attention span, passivity, daydreaming, sluggishness, and other behavior not in accord with developmental expectations.


Immunizations. Vaccines which have been developed to protect children from childhood diseases such as Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Haemophillis B Disease. Children should receive immunizations at specific times from birth to age 2.

Impairment. Something that someone lacks - it can be mental, visual, hearing, or weakness in an arm. An impairment can either be acquired during the course of a lifetime, or congenital (born with).


Implementation. The actual attempt to execute the plan of treatment subsequent to the assessment.


Impulsivity. Acting or speaking too quickly (upon impulse) without first thinking of the consequences.


Inclusion. Often referred to as full inclusion. Full participation by people with disabilities in settings and activities with persons who do not have disabilities; includes the provision of services and supports necessary to achieve this outcome.


Inclusive Recreation. The provision of opportunities in settings where people of all abilities can recreate and interact together. It may involve the provision of supports and accommodations to ensure personally satisfying and valued participation.


Incoherence. Speech that is largely not understandable, due to any of the following: lack of a logical or meaningful connection between words, phrases or sentences; excessive use of incomplete sentences; excessive irrelevancies or abrupt changes in subject matter; idiosyncratic word usage; distorted grammar. Mildly ungrammatical constructions or idiomatic usages characteristic of particular regional or ethnic backgrounds, lack of education, or low intelligence should not be considered incoherence; and the term is generally not applied when there is evidence that the speech disturbance is due to an aphasia. Incoherence may be seen in some organic mental disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.


Independence (as defined by federal law). The extent to which persons with developmental disabilities exert control and choice over their own lives.


Independent Living. Having the ability and opportunity to make choices, resulting in control over one’s own life. This reduces dependence on others in making decisions and performing everyday activities. Living independently includes managing one’s affairs, participating in the day-to-day life of the community in a manner of one’s own choosing, fulfilling a range of social roles including productive work, and making decisions that lead to self-determination.


Independent Retirement Housing. Independent Retirement Housing provides meals, activities, housekeeping, and maintenance to independent residents.


Infusion Therapy. Supplies essential nutrients, fluids, electrolytes, medication, blood or blood products directly into the patient’s blood stream. Specific therapies include antibiotics, diuretics, pain control, hydration, chemotherapy and total parenteral nutrition.


Individual Habilitation Plan. A written plan of action developed jointly by the person for whom the plan is established, family members or guardian (where appropriate), and the service coordinator stating long-range goals and short-term objectives to be achieved by the individual and/or other parties; specifies the services and supports to be rendered, who will provide them, how they are to be delivered, dates for provision, and procedures for evaluating accomplishment.


Individualized Educational Program (IEP). A written education plan for a school-aged child with disabilities developed by a team of professionals (teachers, therapists, etc.) and the child's parents. IEP's are based on a multidisciplinary evaluation of the child, describes how the child is presently doing, what the child's learning needs are, and what services the child will need. They are reviewed and updated yearly. IEP's are required under Public Law 94-142, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). New title for Education of the Handicapped Act, mandating that states and local divisions provide special education for children with disabilities.


Individual Plan for Employment. An action-oriented plan developed by the individual with a disability, the vocational rehabilitation counselor, and others as needed, stating long-term goals and short-term objectives that will enable the individual to be successful in preparing for obtaining, and keeping a job; specifies the types of rehabilitation services to be provided for achieving successful vocational rehabilitation.


Infant/Developmental Stimulation. Early intervention procedures that emphasize providing an infant with an array of visual, auditory, and physical stimuli to promote development. Infant stimulation provides for changes in the structure, thought, or behavior of an infant or person that occurs as a function of both biological and environmental influences (which may be quantitative or qualitative).


Influenza. Influenza is an annually occurring viral epidemic. Most of the deaths occur in the elderly, the primary tool for reducing this death toll is the use of immunizations against the virus. The best time to immunize against this illness is in October or November, and the single dose will last throughout March.


Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL's) are tasks like shopping, bill paying, cooking and other tasks very necessary to an individual and a household. These tasks are similar to the Activities of Daily Living (ADL's) but are more social/societal than bodily issues.


Insurance/Disability. An insurance policy that pays benefits in the event that the policyholder becomes incapable of working.


Insurance/Long Term Care. Long-term care insurance is one of the ways you may pay for long-term care. This type of insurance will pay for some or all of your long-term care. Long-term care insurance is a relatively new type of insurance. It was introduced in the 1980s as nursing home insurance but has changed a lot and now covers much more than nursing home care.


Integration. As defined by federal law, (a) the use by persons with developmental disabilities of the same community resources that are used by and available to other citizens, (b) the participation by persons with developmental disabilities in the same community activities and integrated employment in which citizens without disabilities participate, together with regular contact with citizens without disabilities, (c) the use of the same community resources by persons with developmental disabilities living, learning, working, and enjoying life in regular contact with citizens without disabilities, (d) the development of friendships and relationships with citizens without disabilities, and (e) the residence by persons with developmental disabilities in homes which are in proximity to community resources, together with regular contact with citizens without disabilities in their communities.


Intelligence Quotient (IQ). A score obtained from an intelligence test that provides a measure of mental ability in relation to age.


Intelligibility. The degree to which speech can be understood.


Interaction. How interested a person or child is with things or people around him or her, and how they play or interact with the objects and people in their environment.


Interdisciplinary Team. A team whose members come from multiple disciplines, who interact and rely on the others for information and suggestions.


Interdisciplinary. Involving two or more academic, scientific or artistic disciplines.


Intermediate Nursing Facilities. Intermediate Nursing Facilities (ICF) provide less intensive nursing care than that which is typically found in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF); however, many ICF patients may require higher levels of care to assist them with the activities of daily living. ICF services include 24-hour nursing care along with rehabilitative, social services, physical, occupational, and other therapies as prescribed by the patient's physician


Intermittent Care. Home care services provided on an episodic basis.


In Utero. A term pertaining to child development in the uterus, or before birth; may refer to abnormalities or accidents that occur during this fetal developmental period, such as in utero infection.


In-service Training. Educational training for vocational education teachers, counselors, administrators, and supervisors to enable them to increase skills and knowledge related to jobs in which they are presently employed.

International Classification of Diseases, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM). A classification used in assigning codes to diagnoses associated with inpatient, outpatient, and physician office utilization in the United States. It is based on the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, provides additional morbidity detail, and is updated annually.


Intervention. Action taken to correct, remediate, or prevent identified or potential medical or developmental problems.


Intraindividual. Refers to comparisons of an individual's different areas of performance.


IPP. Individual Program Plan


IQ. See "intelligence quotient".


I&R. Information and Referral


ISP. Individualized Support Plan, the term used for the service plan developed.


Itinerant Teacher. 1. A teacher who moves about a school district to several schools or several school districts and schedules children for teaching periods. Children usually leave their regular classrooms to work with the itinerant teacher. 2. A teacher who regularly visits a student who is unable to attend school (for whatever reasons) in his or her home or in a hospital setting to provide tutorial instruction.

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Jaundice. A yellowish tinge or color of the skin, usually caused by problems in the liver. Characterized by hyperbilirubinemia and deposition of bile pigment in the skin and mucous membranes with resulting yellow appearance of the patient (usually infants/newborns).


Job Coach. A person who provides one-to-one supports in securing and maintaining competitive employment for individuals with disabilities. Before the person with a disability begins the job, the job coach becomes thoroughly familiar with the job. To do this, he/she will work at the job, list the steps involved in doing it, and assess its physical and social demands. When training begins, the job coach will evaluate the worker’s performance. As the worker’s performance increases in both speed and quality to a level satisfactory to the employer, the job coach gradually decreases his/her presence. Eventually, only periodic checking of the worker’s situation will be necessary. (A job coach is frequently called an employment specialist or “trainer”. Job coaching is a type of supported employment.


Job Placement and Vocational Rehab Service. Services that assist individuals with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment, independence and community integration.


Juvenile. Pertaining to or denoting youth, childhood, immaturity.

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Kinesthetic. Pertaining to sensations derived from muscles or movement. The kinesthetic system interprets the excursion and direction of joint movement.

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Labeling. The process of naming a category of exceptionality.


Language Delay. A term used when the normal rate of language development is interrupted, but the developmental sequence remains intact.


Language Development. Growth of expressive and receptive communication. Also includes the development of skills related to understanding and production of language.


Language Disorder. A term used when the sequence of language development is seriously disrupted.


Late Deafened. Refers to profound hearing loss occurring after the development of speech and language which can usually benefit from the use of visual display technology (but very little from hearing aids or other listening technology) and usually depends upon visual representations of English in communicating.


Laterality. 1. Involves the awareness of the two sides of one's body and the ability to identify them as left or right correctly. 2. To use a preferred unilateral body part for activities requiring a high level of skill.


LCC. Local Coordinating Committee of one of Maine’s preschool sites (CDS)


LCSW. See "Licensed Clinical Social Worker".


LD. See "learning disability".


LDAME. Learning Disabilities Association of Maine


LEA. See "local educational agency".


Learning Disability (LD). A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. The term includes, but is not limited to conditions such as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include children who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps; mental retardation; emotional disturbance; or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantages.


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). 1. The most "normal" environment possible for instruction, treatment, and/or living. 2. An educational setting or program that provides a student with disabilities the chance to work and learn to the best of his or her ability; it also provides the student with as much contact as possible with children without disabilities, while meeting all the child's learning needs and physical requirements. (In some instances, placement in a least restrictive environment can be "more restrictive" for that child, i.e., if only one deaf child and interpreter are using signing as the means of communication for that child, that situation can be a most restrictive environment.) 3. As defined in special education rules: A learning environment for a child in need of special education or private education and related services, including a child placed in a public or private institution or another care facility, that includes to the maximum extent appropriate children who are not in need of special education or special education and related services, as determined through the child's individual educational program.


Legal Blindness. Corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye or visual field contraction of twenty degrees or less.


Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Certification by a state as a licensed clinical social worker. Such licensure often requires at least two years experience with a direct client caseload under supervision. See also "Association of Certified Social Worker (ACSW)" and "Registered Clinical Social Worker (RCSW)".


Listening Response. Response to auditory stimuli typically noted between 4 and 12 months of age characterized by attempts to locate sound source by turning head and/or searching with the eyes.


Live In. A non-relative living in the patient’s home who provides assistance as requested by the patient.


Local Education Agency (LEA). A school district, board of education, or other public authority under the supervision of a state educational agency having administrative control and direction of public elementary or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or political subdivision in a state, or any other public educational institution or agency having administrative control and direction of a vocational education program.


Localization Response. A head turn toward the source of a sound typically presented in sound field test procedures (testing booths).


LOCUS. Level of Care Utilization System, the assessment tool used by OACPDS to determine the needs of adults with mental illness.


LCRC. Local Case Resolution Committees, the local inter-departmental committees formed by the Children’s Cabinet to address needs of children requiring inter-agency resource management.


Long Term Care. Services provided for an extended period of time to patients of all ages with severe chronic diseases or disabilities involving substantial functional impairment. Long Term Care can range from skilled medical care to personal assistance with activities of daily living.


Long Term Home Care. Services and equipment provided in the home for an extended period of time to patients of all ages with severe chronic diseases or disabilities involving substantial functional impairment. Long-term home care can be a substitute for placement in a skilled nursing facility.


Loosening of Associations. Thinking characterized by speech in which ideas shift from one subject to another that is completely unrelated or only obliquely related, without the speaker's showing any awareness that the topics are unconnected. Statements that lack a meaningful relationship may be juxtaposed, or the individual may shift idiosyncratically from one frame of reference to another. When loosening of associations is severe, speech may be incoherent. The term is generally not applied when abrupt shifts in topics are associated with a nearly continuous flow of accelerated speech (as in flight of ideas). Loosening of associations may be seen in schizophrenia, manic episodes, and other psychotic disorders.


Low Birth Weight. A term applied to babies that weight 5 1/2 pounds (2,500 grams) or less at birth. Low birth weight infants are of two different types: those who are born too small because they are born to soon, and those who are born on time, but are too small for their gestational age.


Low Tone Deafness. Low frequency hearing loss; inability to hear low notes or frequencies.


Low Tone Hypotonic. Having poor muscle tone, appearing floppy.


LRE. Least restrictive environment, the terminology used under the IDEA to describe the right of children with disabilities to be educated in an integrated setting.


LSN. Local Service Network, the local organizational unit around which DHHS is building its system for community-based services.

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