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Individual Plan for Employment

A written plan stating long-term goals and short-term objectives that will enable a person with a disability to be successful in preparing for, obtaining and keeping a job. The plan also specifies the types of rehabilitation services to be provided for achieving employment objectives and assistive technology.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

A written plan for children with disabilities who receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) through the public school system. The plan details the child’s current level of performance, measurable goals, ways in which these goals will be accomplished, and the frequency and duration of the services and supports to be provided.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)

A written plan for providing early intervention services to preschool children with developmental disabilities, preschool children at risk for developmental disabilities or preschool children experiencing a developmental delay and to their families.

Individualized Supports

The term "individualized supports" means supports that—(A) enable an individual with a developmental disability to exercise self-determination, be independent, be productive, and be integrated and included in all facets of community life; (B) are designed to— (i) enable such individual to control such individual’s environment, permitting the most independent life possible; (ii) prevent placement into a more restrictive living arrangement than is necessary; and (iii) enable such individual to live, learn, work, and enjoy life in the community; and (C) include—(i) early intervention services; (ii) respite care; (iii) personal assistance services; (iv) family support services; (v) supported employment services; (vi) support services for families headed by aging caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities; And (vii) provision of rehabilitation technology and assistive technology, and assistive technology services. (114 STAT. 1682 PUBLIC LAW 106–402—OCT. 30, 2000)

Individualized Written Rehabilitation Program (IWRP)

The primary tool used by the vocational rehabilitation counselor and the prospective supported employee to identify the goal, content, cost, duration and sponsor(s) of substantial services.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Originally P.L. 94-142 Education for all Handicapped Children Act mandating that state and local education agencies provide a free, appropriate public education and related services to all 'handicapped' children. Subsequent amendments provide for secondary education and transition services and for funds on research, training, and demonstration in transition from school to adult life. IDEA also includes Part H (Early Intervention Programs for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities).

Informed Choice

Informed choice refers to a person’s ability to understand and use programs successfully, because the programs and services are designed to enable consumers to navigate them competently and without fear of reprisal. Individuals with disabilities need to know how to find, evaluate and use information, which will better inform their decision making process. Service delivery systems should facilitate—not stifle or direct—this decision making process.

Integrated Setting

A setting in which individuals interact with non-disabled individuals other than those who may be providing services to that person. It refers to a setting in the community in which individuals interact with non-disabled individuals, other than those who are providing services to that person, to the same extent that non-disabled individuals in comparable positions interact with other persons.


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.


The term "integration", used with respect to individuals with developmental disabilities, means exercising the equal right of individuals with developmental disabilities to access and use the same community resources as are used by and available to other individuals. (114 STAT. 1682 PUBLIC LAW 106–402—OCT. 30, 2000)

Intellectual Disability

is a disability that involves significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18 and encompasses a wide range of conditions, types, and levels. Intellectual disability is caused by factors that can be physical, genetic, and/or social.

Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities (ICF-MR/DD)

Certified private group homes and public mental retardation centers that provide 24-hour personal care, habilitation and developmental and support services to people with developmental disabilities who have intermittent, recurring needs for nursing skills but don’t require continuous skilled nursing care.

Job Coach

A person who provides one-to-one supports to a person with a developmental disability to assist in securing and maintaining competitive employment. Responsibilities include training the individual to do the job and staying on the job with the employee to monitor and evaluate the worker’s performance; decreasing his/her, presence to only periodic checking once the employee’s work is satisfactory to the employer.

Learning Disability (LD)

A lifelong disorder that affects a person’s ability to either interpret what he/she sees and hears or to link information from different parts of the brain.  These limitations can show up in many ways—as specific difficulties with spoken and written language, coordination, self-control, or attention.  A person with a learning disability may have normal intelligence; however, there is a significant discrepancy in intelligence level and his/her ability to learn and perform certain tasks.  Most people with learning disabilities alone are not eligible for developmental disabilities services but may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

This term refers to the act of providing services to a person with a disability in a manner that results in the greatest amount of freedom to make choices and act autonomously, to participate in one’s community and interact with people who do not have disabilities, to experience meaningful relationships, and to be free of restrictions imposed by environments or the method of service provision. The concept encompasses the notion that providing enabling supports, including assistive technology, can reduce or eliminate the need to provide services in a more limiting environment.

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North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities

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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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