neonatal - work incentives program



Period between onset of labor and several months after birth.



A person without a disability (preferred to “normal”).



Involuntary jerking of the eyes.




Uncontrollable, intrusive, and recurring thoughts, images, ideas, or impulses that an individual feels intrude upon his or her consciousness, and that cause significant anxiety or distress because of the irrational nature of the obsessions.


obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
A neurobiological disability, classified as an anxiety disorder. It causes recurrent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that provoke anxiety or discomfort. The person may perform ritualistic behaviors (compulsions) to neutralize the discomfort, although the relief is only temporary. The person realizes that the obsessions are a product of his or her own mind and that the compulsions are unreasonable. Until OCD becomes moderate to severe, the compulsions are often done secretively or are well disguised. Generally, the person feels that he or she is going crazy and fears telling others about it. OCD can be associated with other disabilities such as Tourettes syndrome, Attention Deficit disorder, panic disorder, learning disabilities, and schizophrenia.


occupational injury or disease
Occupational injury and occupational disease are health problems brought on by conditions in the workplace. There are a wide variety of injuries and diseases experienced by workers from many different occupational fields. Examples include: traumatic injuries such as an accident with heavy or motorized equipment that results in amputation, spinal cord injury; or back pain; hearing loss caused by working with noisy machinery; and asthma brought on by exposure to airborne pollutants such as grain dust or animal proteins.


occupational therapy

A type of therapy that uses goal-directed activities—appropriate to each person's age and social role—to restore, develop, or maintain the ability for independent, satisfying living.   An occupational therapist helps an individual with learning or re-leaning developmental or physical skills that will aid in daily living; it focuses on sensory integration, coordination of movement, fine motor, and self-help skills.



A medical doctor that deals with diseases and conditions of the eye.



Examines eyes and prescribes corrective lenses.


orientation and mobility specialist

A certified instructor specializing in teaching the visually impaired to travel safely and efficiently.



An ear, nose and throat doctor.



panic attack

Short, intense periods during which an individual experiences physiological and cognitive symptoms of anxiety, characterized by intense fear or discomfort.



Complete or partial loss of feeling or movement.



Paralysis of the lower half of the body involving the partial or total loss of function of both legs.



The “comparable service for people with disabilities who cannot use the regular service” that public entities that operate fixed-route services are required to provide. Whether or not the services provided are comparable determines whether paratransit is considered an effective accommodation or another barrier.


personal assistance services (PAS)

Consumer-directed basic ancillary services which enable a person with a physical, mental, or sensory disability to live in their home and community and carry out functions of daily living, self-care, and mobility.


petit mal seizures

A type of seizure involving a momentary alteration in consciousness, more frequent in children than adults.



An unrealistic but very severe fear of any object or environment; for example, claustrophobia (a fear of enclosed spaces).


physical therapy

Treatment of physical injuries or disabilities given by a trained physical therapist (under doctor's orders) that includes the use of massage, exercise, etc. to help the person improve the use of bones, muscles, joints, and nerves.



Artificial device that replaces a missing body part.


psychiatric disability
Mental health disability, also called psychiatric disability or mental illness, covers a broad range of disorders. It is generally considered a disability when it interferes with someone’s ability to cope or function on a day-to-day basis, or causes behavior that becomes a concern for others. However, many people find ways of managing their mental health disabilities and are able to lead fulfilling and active lives. A mental health disability can be organic (resulting directly from an identifiable brain malfunction) or functional (not explained by a simple structural abnormality of the brain). It can be a neurosis (e.g. one of various forms of anxiety and depression that can be regarded as severe forms of normal experiences), a psychosis (involving distortion of a person’s perception of reality, often accompanied by delusions and/or hallucinations), or a personality disorder, or there can be some overlap across these types (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder).




Paralysis of the body involving partial or total loss of function in both arms and both legs.



range of motion

The structure of a joint allows it to make certain movements. These movements are called the range of motion and are limited by the structure of the joint. These movements do not include overextending or stressing the joint.


receptive language

The understanding of spoken and written communication, as well as gestures.




A chronic, autoimmune disease of the connective tissue generally classified as one of the rheumatic diseases; also known as systemic sclerosis. Scleroderma is a condition in which the symptoms may either be visible, as when the skin is affected, or invisible, as when only internal organs are involved. It is a highly individualized disease; involvement may range from mild symptoms to life threatening.


seizure disorder

A chronic medical condition produced by temporary changes in the electrical function of the brain, causing seizures which affect awareness, movement, or sensation.  Also known as epilepsy.



The movement within the disability community that emphasizes the right and responsibility of a person with a disability to speak up for themselves and others. By letting individuals tell others how they feel about issues that affect their lives, they can educate the public about persons with disabilities and how they can be included in all aspects of community life.



While there is no national consensus on an exact definition of the term, the idea of self-determination generally rests on four core principles: 1) the freedom to develop a personal life plan, 2) the authority to control a targeted sum of resources, 3) the support to achieve personal goals, and 4) the responsibility for contributing to one's community and using public dollars wisely.


sensorineural hearing loss

A hearing impairment that is usually permanent results when the inner ear or nerves that carry the sound waves to the brain are damaged.


sign language

Sign languages are highly-developed visual-gestural-spatial communication methods. Examples include American Sign Language (ASL) and Signed English.



Having sudden, involuntary muscle spasms or tense, contracted muscles.  Muscles are spastic, people are not.


speech disorders

See language disorders.


speech/language pathologist

A person qualified to diagnose and treat speech and language disorders.


spina bifida

Genetic condition in which a portion of an infant's spinal cord fails to develop completely or develops incorrectly.


spinal cord injury (SCI)

Damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function such as mobility or feeling. Causes of damage include trauma (car accident, gunshot, falls, etc.), disease (polio), or genetic condition (spina bifida). The spinal cord does not have to be severed in order for a loss of functioning to occur. In fact, in most people with SCI, the spinal cord is intact but the damage to it results in loss of functioning.


Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)

Available to individuals have a work history (or are the child or widow of insured) and are no longer able to work due to disability.


Supplementary Security Income (SSI)

A nationwide federal assistance program administered by the Social Security Administration that guarantees a minimum level of income for adults and children with a disability who have no work history since childhood.



Speech characterized by hesitations, prolongations, and repetitions which are developmentally inappropriate for the age or mental ability of the speaker.



More commonly known as crossed-eyes, strabismus is a vision condition in which a person can not align both eyes simultaneously under normal conditions. One or both of the eyes may turn in, out, up, or down.




Consistent and uncontrolled movements.


total communication

Communication method that uses a combination of speech and sign language.



universal design

Extends the idea of barrier-free design to cover the needs of all members of society, including children and seniors.



visual discrimination

Ability to detect differences in objects, forms, letters, or words.


visual memory

The ability to remember visual stimuli by significant features on a short- and long-term basis.



work incentives program

Includes a variety of Social Security programs for people who are receiving disability benefits and want to enter the work force without immediately losing all their financial security. For more information contact the Social Security Administration.