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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

A combination of physical and mental disabilities which develops in babies before birth when the mother drinks a substantial amount of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.

Generic Services

Services, businesses, organizations or agencies that serve the general population rather than a select disability group. The use of generic services by people with disabilities encourages community inclusion. Examples of generic services include transportation, health care, and higher education.

Group Home

A small congregate living setting that is licensed to provide 24-hour residential supports for people who have disabilities in exchange for compensation from federal and state or private sections. Group homes differ in the numbers of people served and in the level of support provided to the persons receiving services. State law dictates how services will be provided and methods of accountability for service provision.


A person or organization appointed by the court for the purpose of performing duties related to the care, custody, or control of an individual and which may include, but is not limited to, consenting for medical/surgical or treatment procedures and handling of business and legal affairs. In the case of a minor, it is a parent or some standing in "loco parentis".


Training, care and specialized therapies that assist a person with a developmental disability achieve or maintain progress in a developmental skill area.


Physical and social barriers that put people with disabilities at a disadvantage and hinder their ability to fully participate in the community. A person with a disability is not “handicapped” but may be limited by attitudinal, physical, and other barriers that society fails to remove.

Hard of Hearing

Hearing loss, ranging from mild to profound, that can benefit from the use of hearing aids or other assistive listening devices and depends primarily upon spoken or written communication.
hearing impaired: Refers to all people with hearing loss regardless of severity of loss, age at onset, communication methods, use of technology or socio-cultural factors.

Hearing Impairment

Loss of auditory functioning, ranging from hard of hearing to deaf.

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)

HCBS programs offer different service choices to qualifying individuals with disabilities who have Medicaid. Services are provided in your home and community to support independence.

Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE)

(A Social Security Administration work incentive) services or equipment, needed for a person to work because of a disability, which are paid for by the worker, such as wheelchair transportation, vehicle modifications, adaptive equipment, attendant care, medications and job coaching.


The term ‘‘inclusion’’, used with respect to individuals with developmental disabilities, means the acceptance and encouragement of the presence and participation of individuals with developmental disabilities, by individuals without disabilities, in social, educational, work, and community activities, that enables individuals with developmental disabilities to— (A) have friendships and relationships with individuals and families of their own choice; (B) live in homes close to community resources, with regular contact with individuals without disabilities in their communities; (C) enjoy full access to and active participation in the same community activities and types of employment as individuals without disabilities; and (D) take full advantage of their integration into the same community resources as individuals without disabilities, living, learning, working, and enjoying life in regular contact with individuals without disabilities. (114 STAT. 1682 PUBLIC LAW 106–402—OCT. 30, 2000)

Independence (as defined by federal law)

The extent to which persons with developmental disabilities exert control and choice over their own lives.

Independent Living

Independent living refers to achieving the ability to live in the home of one’s choice in the community with some level of support that may or may not be reduced over time. It also refers to learning skills that enable one to participate in activities of choice in one’s community, to manage one’s affairs, to have relationships and may include maintaining employment.

Individual Development Account (IDA)

is a special matched savings account designed to help low-income and low-wealth families accumulate savings for investments in long-term assets such as a house, higher education or a small business.

Individual Habilitation Plan (IHP)

A plan that addresses the full range of needs of a person with a disability through establishment of short- and long-term objectives and the coordination of a variety of service options to achieve those objectives. Usually those who participate in the development of such a plan are the person who the plan addresses and any other professionals associated with the plan. This model of planning has been replaced by "person-centered planning."

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North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities

Office Hours: 9AM-4PM Monday-Friday
1-800-357-6916 (Toll Free)
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This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001NCSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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