Terms in Definitions » A


  • Academic Counseling
    As quoted in the Perkins legislation, academic counseling is also often referred to as academic advisement. This generally refers to trained professionals counseling students on their academic plans, for course-taking while in secondary school, as well as for postsecondary education.
  • Academic Performance or Achievement Tests
    Assessments used by schools, school districts, and states that focus on educational performance or achievement in specific subject areas such as reading, spelling, or mathematics.
  • Access
    Refers to the ability to find, manipulate, and use information, an object, a place, a service or a program in an efficient and comprehensive manner. Access can be programmatic, physical, or communications. 1) Communications includes media and telecommunications equipment. 2) Physical implies the ability to find, manipulate, and use information, an object, a place, a service or a program in an efficient and comprehensive manner. Access can be programmatic or physical. 1) Program - Programs or activities provided by the recipient of public funds must be readily accessible to qualified individuals. 2) Technology - Hardware and software tools that includes computers, assistive and adaptive equipment, and the Internet. 3) Web - Websites built so that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.
  • Accessible
    Refers to providing access to or capable of being reached or used. It may also be used to describe architecture that can be reached or utilized by everyone, including those who have functional limitations and, as a result, may use a wheelchair, a walker, or a cane.
  • Accommodation
    Changes made in a classroom, work site, or other settings that assists people with disabilities to learn, work, or receive services. Accommodations are designed not to lower expectations for performance in school or work but to alleviate the effects of a disability.
  • Activities of Daily Living
    Things you do every day such as dressing, grooming, bathing, eating, positioning, transferring, toileting, and maintaining continence.
  • Adaptive technology
    Computer hardware and software tools developed to provide functional alternative to standard computer operations such as providing input, interpreting output, and reading supporting documentation.
  • Adult Education
    Adult education means services or instruction below the postsecondary level for individuals: (A) who have attained 16 years of age; (B) who are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under State law; and (C) who lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to enable the individuals to function effectively in society; do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and have not achieved an equivalent level of education; or are unable to speak, read, or write the English language.
  • Adult Services
    Services needed for people when they reach adulthood; these services often include (but are not limited to) assistance in finding a job, assistance in the home, assistance at work, and provision of various therapies or medications.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
    A catchall term that describes a number of methods used to resolve disputes out of court, including negotiation, conciliation, mediation and the many types of arbitration. The common denominator of all ADR methods is that they are faster, less formalistic, cheaper and often less adversarial than a court trial. In recent years the term Alternative Dispute Resolution has begun to lose favor in some circles and ADR has come to mean Appropriate Dispute Resolution. The point of this semantic change is to emphasize that ADR methods stand on their own as effective ways to resolve disputes and should not be seen simply as alternatives to a court action.
  • Alternative Schools
    A school that is nontraditional in its educational ideals, methods of teaching, or curriculum; often geared to special populations of youth.
  • Anxiety Disorders
    There are several anxiety disorders that interfere with school performance or attendance and with job training or work. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by six months or more of chronic, exaggerated worry and tension that is unfounded or much more severe than the normal anxiety most people experience. Youth with GAD also have one or more of the following symptoms in association with the worry: restlessness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension, or sleep disturbance. People with GAD are often pessimistic and worry excessively even though there may be no specific signs of trouble. These anxieties may translate into physical symptoms such as insomnia, eating problems, and headaches. Young people with GAD may have social anxieties about speaking in public or working in public areas.
  • Apprenticeship
    Apprenticeship is a federally recognized training system for occupations requiring a wide and extensive range of skills and knowledge. It involves on-the-job training combined with related (i.e., classroom) instruction. In the United States alone, there are currently more than 800 different apprenticeable occupations. Apprentice wages are based on the level of their skills and increase incrementally to the journeyman level upon successful completion of the apprenticeship.
  • Aptitude
    The potential to learn.
  • Aptitude Test
    A test that measures the vocational potential or capacities of an individual to succeed in future career endeavors.
  • Arbitration
    A dispute resolution process in which the disputing parties present their case to a third party intermediary (or a panel of arbitrators) who examine all the evidence and then make a decision for the parties. This decision is usually binding. Like court-based adjudication, arbitration is adversarial. The presentations are made to prove one side right, the other wrong. Arbitration is generally not as formal as court adjudication however, the rules can be altered to some extent to meet the party's needs.
  • Area of Development
    One of a range of areas in which a young person needs to learn and grow in order to become a fully prepared and fully engaged adult (Ferber, Pittman, & Marshall, 2002).
  • Assessment
    The process of collecting data for the purpose of making decisions. Four domains of assessment include educational, vocational, psychological, and medical.
  • Asset Development
    Assets are investments that appreciate over time. Examples are cash savings, investments, and retirement accounts, as well as material possessions such as a house, automobile, or small business. To be economically secure, families need both income and assets. Regular income helps families pay for daily living expenses. Assets help families weather financial hardships and prepare for the future by saving for retirement or investing in their children's education. Asset-development policies promote financial opportunity for all members of society and allow people to earn good incomes, save money, buy a home, start a business, and live securely in retirement.
  • Assistive Technology (AT)
    Under several different laws, assistive technology (or adaptive technology) is defined as including both the assistive technology devices and the services (e.g., repair and maintenance) needed to make meaningful use of such devices. The Assistive Technology Act defines an assistive technology device as: any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. An assistive technology service is defined as: any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.
  • Assistive Technology (AT) Assessments
    Activities used to determine an individual's need for technology and ability to use technology. These are accompanied with recommendations for training and specific adaptive equipment.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
    A family of related chronic neurobiological disorders that interferes with an individual's capacity to inhibit behavior (impulsivity) and to attend to tasks (inattention) in developmentally appropriate ways.
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)
    A family of related chronic neurobiological disorders that interferes with an individual's capacity to regulate activity level (hyperactivity), to inhibit behavior (impulsivity), and to attend to tasks (inattention) in developmentally appropriate ways.
  • Auditory Processing Disorder
    Interferes with an individual's ability to analyze or make sense of information taken in through the ears. Difficulties with auditory processing do not affect what is heard by the ear, but do affect how this information is interpreted, or processed by the brain. An auditory processing deficit can interfere directly with speech and language, but can affect all areas of learning, especially reading and spelling.
  • Autonomy
    The ability and opportunity to operate independently.

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