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.
occupational therapy (OT): Therapeutic use of self-care, work and recreational activities to increase independence, enhance development and prevent disability. OT may include adaptation of tasks or environment to achieve maximum independence and optimum quality of life.
person-centered planning: Approach to planning services and supports for an individual with disabilities which supports the person in identifying choices, making decisions based on those choices and then honoring those decisions. The plan should focus on whole-life planning, reflecting what the person wants his/her life to be, and should outline how the person with the developmental disability will achieve and maintain the desired outcomes.
personal assistance: One or more persons assisting another person with tasks the individual would typically do if he or she did not have a disability. It includes assistance with bathing, dressing, getting in and out of bed or one’s wheelchair, toileting, eating, cooking, cleaning house, on-the-job personal support, handling money and planning one’s day.
personal assistance services: The term "personal assistance services" means a range of services, provided by 1 or more individuals, designed to assist an individual with a disability to perform daily activities, including activities on or off a job that such individual would typically perform if such individual did not have a disability. Such services shall be designed to increase such individual’s control in life and ability to perform everyday activities, including activities on or off a job. (114 STAT. 1682 PUBLIC LAW 106–402—OCT. 30, 2000)
physical therapy (PT): The treatment or management of physical disability, malfunction or pain by a number of non-invasive methods such as exercise, massage and hydrotherapy. For persons with developmental disabilities, PT may assist to enhance body function and prevent secondary disability.
positive behavioral support: An approach for understanding why challenging behavior occurs, including what function or purpose the behavior has for the individual. Unlike earlier behavior management techniques that emphasize the use of consequences to affect behavior, positive behavior support considers such things as pain or medical conditions, environmental conditions, actions of others, lack of choice and autonomy, and lack of skills as potential sources of challenging behavior.
prevention activities: The term "prevention activities" means activities that address the causes of developmental disabilities and the exacerbation of functional limitation, such as activities that—(A) eliminate or reduce the factors that cause or predispose individuals to developmental disabilities or that increase the prevalence of developmental disabilities; (B) increase the early identification of problems to eliminate circumstances that create or increase functional limitations; and (C) mitigate against the effects of developmental disabilities throughout the lifespan of an individual. (114 STAT. 1682 PUBLIC LAW 106–402—OCT. 30, 2000)
productivity: As defined by federal law, (a) engagement in income producing work by a person with a developmental disability which is measured through improvements in income level, employment status, or job advancement, or (b) engagement by a person with a developmental disability in work which contributes to a household or community.
rehabilitation: A restorative process through which an individual develops and maintains self-sufficient functioning consistent with his/her capability.
Relay NC: Relay North Carolina is a dual-party relay system that provides 24-hour access to public telecommunications services for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and/or speech impaired. Trained specialists receive calls and then relay messages through teletypewriters or orally, according to the needs of the person sending or receiving the call. For more information, contact Relay North Carolina’s customer service office at 800-735-0341 (voice) or 800-735-0533 (TTY).
respite care: Care for an individual with a developmental disability, in or out of the home, to provide a break from care giving for the family/primary caregiver.
restraint: A restraint is—(A) Any manual method, physical or mechanical device, material, or equipment that immobilizes or reduces the ability of [an individual]; (C) A restraint does not include devices, such as orthopedically prescribed devices, surgical dressings or bandages, protective helmets, or other methods that involve the physical holding of [an individual] for the purpose of conducting routine physical examinations or tests, or to protect the [individual] from falling out of bed, or to permit the [individual] to participate in activities without the risk of physical harm (this does not include a physical escort), to move his or her arms, legs, body, or head freely; or (B) A drug or medication when it is used as a restriction to manage the [individual’s] behavior or restrict the [individual’s] freedom of movement and is not a standard treatment or dosage for the [individual’s] condition.
seclusion: The involuntary confinement of [an individual] alone in a room or area from which the [individual] is physically prevented from leaving.
secondary conditions: Those conditions that are a direct or indirect consequence of a primary disability.
self-advocate: An individual with a disability who speaks or acts for him/herself. This includes making choices and decisions about one’s life.
self-advocacy: An individual speaking or acting for him-/herself. Includes the individual determining what is best for him/her and taking charge in getting it as well as standing up for his/her rights as a person.
self-determination: Self-determination means giving the person with a developmental disability control over how public funds allocated for his/her services and supports are spent. Because self-determination is based on the principles of freedom, authority, support and responsibility, it also means things like setting and pursuing goals, living in a place of one’s choosing, holding a job and taking responsibility for making a contribution back to the community.
self-sufficiency: Self-sufficiency refers to the ability to meet one's needs without outside assistance. For example, a person who is economically self-sufficient would not rely on cash assistance or cash benefits to meet his/her daily living needs.
service coordination: Assistance provided to persons in gaining access to needed social, medical, vocational and educational services and supports. See also "case management."
social security disability insurance (SSDI): Funds available to individuals who have worked and paid into the Social Security system and who are too disabled to work according to Social Security guidelines. This differs from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) generally in that SSI recipients have not worked previously.
speech-to-speech (STS) service: Enables a person with speech impairment to use his/her own voice or voice synthesizer to call another person through Relay North Carolina. STS provides trained operators who function as live voices for users who have trouble being understood on the telephone. The operator will repeat the words of the person with the speech impairment to whomever that person is calling. The service also works in reverse so that anyone may initiate a call to a person with a speech impairment using STS. STS users may also make relay calls to TTY users through STS.
supplemental security income (SSI): Direct, monthly cash payments to provide minimum income for individuals who meet a financial-needs test and who are elderly, blind or have a disability.
supported employment:. means services, such as long-term training and ongoing support, that enable individuals with developmental disabilities to perform competitive work in integrated work settings.
supported living: Services and supports designed to assist an individual with developmental disabilities in activities of daily living which enable that individual to live in the his/her own home, family home or rental unit.
supports intensity scale (SIS): is an assessment tool that evaluates practical support requirements of a person with an intellectual disability. SIS is comprehensive and engages the consumer in a positive interview process.
targeted case management: Case management consists of services which help beneficiaries gain access to needed medical, social, educational, and other services. "Targeted" case management services are those aimed specifically at special groups of enrollees such as those with developmental disabilities or chronic mental illness.
telecommunication device for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing (TDD): A device similar to a computer keyboard, either with a cradle to rest a telephone handset on or connected directly to the telephone. A TDD allows the user to communicate by typing messages on the keyboard and receiving messages on the screen above the keyboard. This teletext device typewriter is usually referred to as a TTY by members of the deaf and hard of hearing community.
therapeutic recreation: Therapy which uses recreation and activities to improve functioning and enhance the health and well-being of people whose functional abilities are limited due to illness, disability or other conditions.
transition: The process of moving from one stage of life or "set" of services to another; for example, transitioning from services provided by the school system to adult life in the community as the student nears completion of school or moving a child from an early intervention or preschool program to a school setting.