Glossary of Terms

  • Accessibility

    An architectural feature, which allows people who use wheelchairs to get in and around buildings. A building that is accessible is fee of architectural barriers.

  • Adult Development Center

    A day program that serves people who need assistance to learn basic self-help, communication and socialization skills for movement toward vocational independence. In practice, these programs are often segregated but need not to be.

  • Advocacy

    Helping to represent the interests of another as if they were one’s own. People who do this are known as advocates.

  • Age-appropriate

    The consideration of the chronological age of the person in the use of activities, instructional locations and techniques.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

    This statute, enacted in 1992, gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities that are like those provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, State and local government services and telecommunications.

  • Area Boards

    Thirteen Area Boards help make sure people with developmental disabilities get the things they need. They help with: advocacy; public information about disabilities; planning new programs; monitoring existing programs; and making sure that people work together in providing services.
    Assessment - The process used to determine if a person is eligible for regional center services and to identify treatment needs.

  • Autism

    The most common definition is those persons who, before the age of three years old, develop severe disorders of communication and social behavior.

  • Behavior Management Program

    A time-limited day program that serves adults with a severe behavior disorder and or dual diagnosis (mental retardation and mental illness) who, because of their behavior problems are not eligible for, or acceptable in any other day program.

  • Behavior Modification

    A way to help people acquire behaviors by structuring the person’s environment to reinforce or reward positive behaviors.

  • Board and Care

    Residential facilities licensed by the State Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division. These licensing categories include three types of facilities: 1) ADULT RESIDENTIAL FACILITY: serves adults with developmental or mentally disabled, ages 18-59 years; 2) GROUP HOME: serves individuals birth through 17 years old with a structured environment with services provided by staff employed by the licensee; 3) SMALL FAMILY HOME: serves persons with developmental disabilities, mental disorders or physical handicaps aged birth through 17 years old with care provided in the licensee’s family residence.

  • California Children's Services (CCS)

    A statewide program that assists children under the age of 21 who have a serious medical condition and require specialty medical care.

  • California Master Plan

    A plan to help provide services for students with disabilities in the California School System. It describes who is disabled and what types of services are available and how they will be offered.

  • Care Provider

    Operator of a licensed community care facility (CCF).

  • Client Developmental Evaluation Report

    A diagnostic and evaluation instrument used by regional centers. All regional center clients are evaluated with C.D.E.R.

  • Client Program Coordinator (CPC)

    A person responsible (also called Case Manager) for the overall planning, coordination and implementation of an Individual Program Plan. Regional Centers employ Client Program Coordinators.

  • Client Rights Advocate

    A specific staff member designated to assist individuals with special developmental needs to exercise all rights guaranteed by law.

  • Community Care Facility (CCF)

    Facilities (majority with six beds or less) which provide residential services (room and board) along with varying degrees of supervision.

  • Community Colleges (C.C.S)

    Two year higher education schools which serve students both with and without disabilities and which currently provide prevocational, vocational and academic training for persons with disabilities.

  • Community Integration

    Presence, participation and interaction in natural environments.

  • Community Placement Plan (CPP)

    A yearly plan developed by each regional center for placement of persons out of state developmental centers.

  • Community Supported Living Arrangement (CSLA)

    A federal pilot project that had as its goal to help support adults with developmental disabilities live in their own homes, in the community, with the supports needed to make this possible. Now entitled Supported Living Services.

  • Community-Based Day Programs

    State Definition: Programs which are located in the community rather than at a State Developmental Center (DC) and which provide service to regional center clients on an hourly or daily, but less than 24 hour basis. Only the following programs are community-based day programs: Activity Center, Adult Development Centers, Behavior Management Programs, Independent living Programs, Infant Early Intervention Programs and Social Recreation Programs.

  • Community-Based Program

    Provider Definition: A program where the vast majority of classes and activities for participants occur in the participant’s local natural environment and not in a segregated setting.

  • Conservatorship

    A legal process by which an individual is appointed by the court to care for the personal welfare and/or financial welfare of an adult who is unable to adequately care for himself/herself or manage his/her behavior.

  • Consumer

    A person (Primary Consumer) or relative of a person (Secondary Consumer) who uses developmental services.

  • Day Service Provider

    A person or persons who provide training and education for persons with developmental disabilities. This may be in a day training and activity center, community college, sheltered employment, etc.

  • Day Training and Activity Center (DTAC)

    Focuses on people whose needs include both prevocational and pre-independent living skills. In practice, these programs are often segregated, but need not be.

  • Department of Developmental Services (DDS)

    Administers direct service to children and adults in state hospitals. DDS also provides programs to persons with developmental disabilities who live in the community through contracts with regional centers. In addition, the Department sets policy, determines rates, and advocates for people through its various departmental divisions.

  • Department of Developmental Services (DDS)

    The California Department of Developmental Services is the agency through which the State of California provides services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities. These disabilities include mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and related conditions. Services are provided through state-operated developmental centers and community facilities, and contracts with 21 nonprofit regional centers. The regional centers serve as a local resource to help find and access the services and supports available to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

  • Department of Education (DOE)

    In addition to providing regular education services for students, who have no disabilities, provides special education and support services for some 340,000 school-aged students with disabilities through local school districts and special education consortia. Students with developmental disabilities are eligible for school services up to age 22. In addition, children between 0-3 are offered programs designed to help educate through early intervention.

  • Department of Health Services (DOH)

    Provides a number of health services to all people. Also operates California Children’s Service, a therapy and medical treatment program for children with physical disabilities and health problems through age 21.

  • Department of Rehabilitation (DOR/DR)

    Provides the purchase of service for work-related aspects of development through Vocational Rehabilitation and Habilitation. Vocational Rehabilitation helps place people in jobs while the Habilitation Section funds people in sheltered employment and enclaves.

  • Department of Social Services (DOS)

    Provides licenses and monitors community care facilities such as residential and day services. Also funds In-Home-Support-Services (IHSS) for people who live at home but may need help in self-care.

  • Developmental

    Pertaining to successive changes during the process of natural growth.

  • Developmental Center

    Synonymous with state hospital.

  • Developmental Delay

    A delay in one or more of the four developmental areas: cognitive, physical, psychosocial or self-help skills.

  • Developmental Disability (DD)

    California defines a person with a developmental disability as anyone who has acquired mental retardation, autism, epilepsy or cerebral palsy before age 18 and is likely to need special services throughout life. The Federal definition uses age 22 and looks at a person’s range of abilities instead of diagnostic categories.

  • Disabilities Education Act

    Disabilities Education Act is a federal law which mandates the following for students with disabilities: A free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment; priorities for service; procedural safeguards; definitions of disabilities; and the Individualized Education Plan (I.E.P.).

  • Disability

    A physical or mental condition, which limits, or will limit if not corrected, a person’s functioning.

  • Down Syndrome

    A condition associated with a chromosome abnormality, usually trisomy (addition of a third chromosome to a pair) of chromosome 21, resulting in moderate to severe mental retardation, and sometimes accompanied by physical anomalies.

  • Dual Diagnosis

    In terms of developmental disabilities, an individual who is both developmentally disabled and mentally ill.

  • Early Intervention

    A trans-disciplinary program to provide services to developmentally at-risk and delayed infants (birth to three years of age), usually involving medical, educational, and psychosocial professionals. Infant intervention programs also provide emotional support, guidance and information to parents.

  • Education of the Handicapped Act

    Amendments of 1986, Part H of Public Law (P.L.) 99-457, provides for discretionary funds to assist states in establishing statewide, comprehensive systems of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays who are at risk, and their families.

  • Employment Development Department (EDD)

    Provides job referral services, benefits, and some training for persons who are looking for work.

  • Fair Hearing

    A procedure used by people who wish to question the decision of an agency regarding the type or amount of service they receive.

  • Functional/Critical Skills

    Those skills which enable an individual to communicate, interact with others and to perform tasks which have practical utility and meaning at home, in the community, or on the job.

  • Generic Services

    Services available to all persons residing within a given area (e.g., city, county, or state) without additional qualifications or requirements, such a public education, mental health services, and parks and recreation programs.

  • Guardianship

    A judicial process whereby the legal decision-making power from one individual is transferred to another who has been appointed to serve, assist, and protect the person by helping the individual make decisions or by making the decisions for him/her. This applies to persons under the age of 18 years.

  • Habilitation

    A section of the Department of Rehabilitation which funds people in sheltered employment and certain stages of supported-employment.

  • Health and Welfare Agency

    The state agency which coordinates the work of the Department of Developmental Services, Department of Rehabilitation, Employment Development Department, Department of Social Services, Department of Health Services and the Department of Mental Health.

  • In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

    Chore helpers who work with people who have disabilities and live at home. The Public Authority for In-Home Support Services provides a registry of names of persons who have been approved to provide In-Home Support Services.

  • Inclusion

    The use and participation by individuals with disabilities and their families of the generic services that are used by and are available to other individuals.

  • Incompetent

    A person is incompetent if s/he is either too young or unable to manage his/her own affairs because of impairment.

  • Independent Living Skill Training or Independent Living Program

    Provides training and support of people who want to live semi-independently or independently. Program includes skill development in home care, cooking, money management, consumer shopping, etc.

  • Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

    Required by Public Law 94-142, this plan is developed for individuals who are school-aged by a team of people such as parents, teachers and psychologists. The IEP describes the direction a student with special needs will be going in the future and how to get there.

  • Individualized Program Plan (IPP) or Individualized Habilitation Plan (IHP)

    Both of these written plans is similar to an Individualized Education Program (IEP). They outline special services, goals and objectives for a person who needs individualized help because of a developmental disability. The IPP is developed by the Regional Center and the Consumer. The IHP is developed by the Department of Rehabilitation and the Consumer. Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is developed by Regional Center and the family of an infant (up to age 3).

  • Infant Intervention

    Also called Infant Stimulation or Infant Development Programs. Refers to programs designed to provide early education for children (under age three) with developmental disabilities and training and support for their parents.

  • Intake and Assessment

    A process used by agencies to determine whether or not people are eligible for their services and what services are needed.

  • Integrated Setting

    Environments in which people with and without disabilities can live and work. Examples of integrated settings include residential neighborhoods, accessible social venues such as movies, nightclubs, or restaurants, churches and public transportation.

  • Interdisciplinary Team (IDT)

    A group of people (parents, teachers, psychologists, social workers, and others) who are involved with a consumer in helping him/her get the services he/she needs by developing the IEP, IPP or IHP. Some individuals are mandated to be part of the team; others are by invitation of the consumer.

  • Intermediate Care Facility/Developmental Disability (ICF/DD)

    A type of health facility (50 or more residents) that provides habilitation and developmental services, supportive medical and personal care, and occasional skilled nursing care to persons with developmental disabilities, who require less than 24-hour per day nursing care.

  • Intermediate Care Facility/Developmental Disability - Nursing (ICF/DD-N)

    A type of health facility (six or less residents) which serves people with developmental disabilities who have medical conditions which require more intensive nursing and/or medical care and treatment than those residing in ICF/DD-H facilities.

  • Intermediate Care Facility/Developmental Disability-Habilitative (ICF/DD-H)

    A licensed residential health facility which has as primary purpose the furnishing of 24-hour personal care, developmental training, habilitative and supportive health services in a facility with 15 beds or less to residents with developmental disabilities.

  • Job Site Training

    A component of supported employment services which involves direct and systematic instruction of job tasks and related vocational skills provided by a job trainer to a worker with a disability at a competitive job site.

  • Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA)

    Public Law 97-300: A government-funded program, which helps train people for work.

  • Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Act of 1976

    This California State law provides basic service rights to persons with developmental disabilities. It put in place the Department of Developmental Services, Regional Centers, the State Council on Developmental Disabilities and Area Boards to establish needed services and monitor their delivery.

  • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

    A mandate established by federal and state laws and the courts that states that all people, regardless of disability, have the right to be served in ways and in places that allow a person to be as independent as possible with the least amount of supervision necessary.

  • Level of Care (LOC)

    A term, used in the staffing standards for the developmental centers, which refers to staff that provide direct care, training, or supervision to clients.

  • Limited Conservatorship

    A form of general conservatorship that applies only to adults with developmental disabilities who are, or could be, clients of California regional centers. This protective legal arrangement is "limited" because the adult with a developmental disability retains the power to care for his/her self commensurate with his/her ability to do so.

  • Long Term Care (LTC)

    A range of diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, supportive, and maintenance services to address the health, social, and personal needs of people who have restricted self-care capabilities. Services may be continuous or intermittent, but it is generally understood that they will be provided over a long period of time.

  • Mainstreaming

    In educational settings, mainstreaming describes a way of working with students who have special needs on the same premises with regular students. It takes the help of support people like resource teachers and gives everyone a better chance at a regular education. There are various degrees of mainstreaming including integration (kids with disabilities participate in some of the regular classes) and full-inclusion (kids with disabilities are included in all classes with proper support and adaptations in their own neighborhood school).

  • Mental Retardation

    People who have been diagnosed with mental retardation simply learn at a rate that is slower than other people. When this diagnosis occurs before the age of 18 in the state of California, it is called a developmental disability.

  • Normalization

    The Principle Of Normalization: A social concept originating in Scandinavia and developed by Wolf Wolfensberger in the United States. In practice, those services, which integrate people with special needs into everyday community life to enjoy all that we value for ourselves. Normalization is the foundation and philosophy built into the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act.

  • Occupational Therapy (OT)

    An occupational therapist helps provide activities, which will improve the practical skills of people with disabilities.

  • Organization of Area Boards (OAB)

    The membership of OAB consists of the respective chairs of the thirteen Area Boards. OAB’s responsibilities include resolving common problems, improving coordination, exchanging information, and providing advice and recommendations to state agencies, the legislature and the State Council on Developmental Disabilities.

  • People First

    A self-advocacy organization with chapters across the state designed to promote empowerment of people with developmental disabilities.

  • Physical Therapy (P.T.)

    A physical therapist helps people who have disabilities through the use of massage, exercise and adaptive equipment. They provide this treatment under the direction of a medical doctor.

  • Placement

    A service available to clients who would benefit from an out-of-home living arrangement and for those who are unable to live independently.

  • Programming / Instruction

    An organized process which leads an individual to develop the skills necessary for residential, social and vocational integration into the community.

  • Protection and Advocacy, Inc. (PAI)

    Federally funded under Public Law 95-602, PAI provides advocacy services for people with developmental disabilities. This service often includes the involvement of the legislature and the courts to ensure basic rights.

  • Purchase of Service Agreement (POS)

    Refers to the agreement between an agency and a vendor that allows the vendor to provide a service for a person with a developmental disability for pay.

  • Quality Assurance (QA)

    A set of requirements that cover the major areas of client care and existence, including programming focus and hours, client rights, community integration, health, the physical plant and safety, client records, staff training, and qualifications and administration.

  • Regional Centers (RCs)

    A diagnostic, counseling and service coordination center for persons with developmental disabilities and their families which is established by a private, non-profit community agency/corporation acting as a contracting agency. Twenty-one centers provide people with residential, day, transportation, social, independent living, respite, medical, psychological, preschool and other services.

  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973

    Public Law 93-112: A federal law that expands rehabilitation services to persons with severe disabilities. Section 504 of this law prohibits discrimination on the basis of handicap and mandates accessibility in all federally assisted programs and is considered, therefore, the federal "civil rights" act for people with disabilities.

  • Residential Service Provider

    A person or persons who provide a place to live and varying degrees of supervision for persons with developmental disabilities in community living arrangements such as staffed apartments, family homes, group homes, board and care homes, etc.

  • Respite

    Temporary care of people who have developmental disabilities and are living at home. The period of rest provided to family members is a critical aspect of the home environment. This term also covers out-of-home respite.

  • Segregation

    The congregation of people with special needs in daytime programs and/or living situations where there is little or no interaction with people who do not have disabilities and are not paid to be there. This is the opposite of integration.

  • Self Advocacy

    The awareness, motivation, and ability of an individual to represent and communicate his or her own interests, to exercise personal choice, to exert control over his or her environment and to avoid exploitation and abuse.

  • Self-Care

    Providing for or meeting one’s physical and personal needs such as dressing, grooming and hygiene, without being dependent on others.

  • Service Provider

    An individual, group or agency approved by the State Department of Developmental Services to supply a service for a fee to a regional center client.

  • Site-Based Program

    A program where the majority of classes and activities occur in a site (building) as opposed to occurring in the community.

  • Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

    A health facility or a distinct part of a hospital which provides nursing care and supportive care to patients whose primary need is for skilled nursing care on an extended basis. It provides 24-hour inpatient care and as a minimum, includes medical, nursing, dietary and pharmaceutical services, and an activity program. (The acronym is sometimes pronounced "sniff.")

  • Social Security Administration (SSA)

    The federal agency which administers both the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program and the Social Security Disability Insurance Program.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

    Benefits paid to insured workers under the Social Security program who have become disabled.

  • Social/Recreation Program

    Programs that train people to participate in social and recreational activities on their own.

  • Special Education

    People and practices helping to provide individualized learning experiences for students with special needs.

  • Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA)

    The local unit responsible for administering the comprehensive special education plan in that area.

  • Special Services

    Residential facilities where extra funds have been provided to offer extra services for the people who live there. These services include behavior modification, vocational training and independent living.

  • Speech and Language Therapy

    A planned program for people who have problems with speech or language to help them communicate with others by voice or symbol systems.

  • Staffing Ratio

    The numerical relation of the number of direct care staff on duty to the number of clients in attendance.

  • State Council on Developmental Disabilities

    Under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (Public Law 95-602) and the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act of 1976, the State Council has a responsibility to plan and coordinate resources to protect the legal, civil and service rights of persons with developmental disabilities. The Council is made up of consumers, parents and state agency administrators.

  • Substantial Gainful Activity

    "Substantial" work activity means the performance of significant physical and/or mental duties, which are productive. "Gainful" activity is work for pay or profit or intended for profit.

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

    Money that comes from the federal government to people who, because of their disabilities, don’t earn enough to support themselves.

  • Support Services

    Those services designed to meet the total needs of the individual which are not traditionally met in a residential or day program (e.g., physical, speech, occupational therapy).

  • Supported Employment

    Services and supports that are provided to individuals with disabilities to assist them to locate, perform and retain a job. These services are paid for by Department of Rehabilitation - The jobs are located in the community. Two variations of supported employment are Individual Placement - where the individual is hired for a single position. Services/support are intensive at the onset with fading after individual improves; Enclaves:- a situation where there are three or more individuals hired to do a certain amount of work, with on-going supervision of a job-trainer or supervisor also provided through Department of Rehabilitation. Enclaves may be set up as contracted work between a service provider and the employer of they may be direct-hire, where the employer pays the enclave-worker directly.

  • Supported Living

    Services and supports provided by an agency to enable an individual with developmental disabilities to live in their own home in the community. Most often, these supports are more intensive than that of independent living services.

  • Therapy

    Improving, developing or restoring functions impaired or lost through illness, injury or deprivation. Therapy may address a variety of functions (e.g., physical, speech, and occupational therapy) and may take a variety of forms (e.g., art, dance, music therapy).

  • Title 17

    A portion of the California Code of Regulations that contains the Department of Developmental Services’ regulations as well as other regulations. These regulations, starting with Section 50201, cover parental fees, conflict of interest, rules for conducting research, clients rights, fiscal audits and appeals, fair hearings, vendorization procedures, regional center administrative practices and procedures, standards and rate-setting procedures for community-based programs and in-home respite services, residential facility care and supported living services.

  • Vendor / Provider

    A person, program or facility, which has been vendorized (authorized) by a regional center to provide particular services to regional center clients.

  • Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

    Helps people prepare for and find employment. Also sometimes synonymously used as Department of Rehabilitation.

  • Vocational Services

    Services, including education and training, that enable each individual to develop a capacity to work and progress as far as possible from vocational functions to affordable employment in the community. Such services include vocational evaluation, counseling, activity services, work adjustment, occupational skill, training and job placement.

  • Work Activity Program (WAP)

    The Department of Rehabilitation (Habilitation Section) funds and monitors those programs for people who have acquired basic vocational and independent living skills and need a work-oriented setting to prepare for a vocation. In practice, these programs are usually segregated, but need not be.

  • Zero Exclusion

    An entry criteria philosophy which states that no one should be denied services in the particular program, regardless of the level and degree of disability, or the number of secondary disabilities.

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