Terms in Definitions » D


  • Depressive Disorders
    Young people with clinical depression (defined as a major depressive episode lasting for a period of two weeks or more) often have multiple symptoms, including a depressed mood, irritability, overeating or lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping at night or wanting to sleep during the daytime, low energy, physical slowness or agitation, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. Like many mental health problems, untreated depression can make education or career planning difficult. Fortunately, depression is one of the most treatable of all mental illnesses.
  • Developing a Curriculum
    DACUM is a newer technique, originated in Canada and popularized by vocational education in the United States. The DACUM process involves role incumbents and supervisors for up to several days with a trained facilitat9r to generate the information. The result is a listing of tasks and activities for any particular job. According to Dr. Robert Norton of Ohio State University DACUM operates on three assumptions: (a) expert workers can define their job more accurately than anyone else; (b) an effective way to describe a job is to define the tasks expert workers perform; and (c) all tasks demand certain knowledge, skills, tools, and attitudes in order to be performed correctly.
  • Developmental Areas
    Ferber, Pittman and Marshall (2002) have identified five basic developmental areas in which all young people need to learn and grow. They are: *Connecting - Connecting refers to the development of positive social behaviors, skills, and attitudes. Positive outcomes that fall under this area include quality relationships, the ability to build trust, and effective communication. Activities such as adult mentoring, positive peer interactions, and team-building exercises help youth achieve these outcomes. *Leading – Leading refers to the development of positive skills, attitudes, and behaviors around civic involvement and personal goal-setting. Beneficial outcomes that fall under this area include a sense of responsibility to oneself and others and the ability to articulate one’s personal values Activities such as the opportunity to take a leadership role and participation in community service projects help youth achieve these outcomes. *Learning – Learning refers to the development of positive basic and applied academic attitudes, skills, and behaviors. Beneficial outcomes that fall under this area include rational problem solving and critical thinking. Activities such as group problem-solving games and contextualized learning using academic skills to complete a project help youth achieve these outcomes. *Thriving – Thriving refers to the development of attitudes, skills, and behaviors that are demonstrated by maintaining optimal physical and emotional wellbeing. Beneficial outcomes that fall under this area include knowledge and practice of good nutrition and hygiene and the capacity to identify risky conditions. Activities such as workshops on nutrition and hygiene and role-playing adverse situations help youth achieve these outcomes. *Working – Working refers to the development of positive attitudes, skills, and behaviors around occupational and career direction. Positive outcomes that fall under this area include demonstrated work-readiness skills and involvement in meaningful work that offers advancement, satisfaction, and self-sufficiency. Activities such as career interest assessments and summer internships help youth achieve these outcomes.
  • Developmental Disability (DD)
    A term used to describe life-long disabilities resulting from a mental and/or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments, with an onset prior to the age of 22. Such disabilities affect daily functioning in three or more functional areas, including capacity for independent living, economic expressive language, self-care, and self-direction. Examples of developmental disabilities include cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and epilepsy. Developmental disabilities are also referred to as intellectual disabilities.
  • Direct Care Worker/Caregiver
    An individual, such as a physician, nurse, parent, foster parent, head of a household, or social worker, who assists in the identification, prevention, treatment of an illness or disability.
  • Disability
    The broadest definition of disability can be found in Americans With Disabilities Act: 1) A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; 2) A person who has a history or record of such an impairment; or 3) A person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. This broad definition forms the basis of civil rights of people with disabilities and is used as the core definition of disability for all the federal government legal and regulatory compliance responsibilities as it relates to both physical and programmatic access.
  • Disability History, Culture, and Policy
    Disability history is made up of people, places, things, and events that had an impact on people with disabilities. As a result of the disability rights movement and disability history bringing people with disabilities together; it also led to the development of a culture. The feeling of sharing a common experience is the initial sign of something more than just coincidences and experiences, but a deeper level of kinship. Disability culture emerged as a result of the oppression, people with disabilities face on political, social, economic, and cultural levels.
  • Disability Studies
    An interdisciplinary field of study, which is focused on the contributions, experiences, history, and culture of people with disabilities.
  • Disability Support Services (DSS)
    An office in a postsecondary institution that provides necessary information to students who need accommodations. In addition, these offices provide training to faculty and staff on disability issues.
  • Disclosure
    The act of opening up, revealing, or telling. With regard to individuals with disabilities, it refers to the act of informing someone that an individual has a disability, including self-disclosure. It is often associated with a person's need to request accommodations.
  • Disconnected Youth
    A person between the age of 16-24 years old, who is either not working (in the private sector or in the military), nor in school.
  • Dyscalculia
    A learning disability for mathematical or arithmetic concepts and calculations. For the most part, people experiencing dyscalculia often have visual processing difficulties.
  • Dysgraphia
    Refers to a writing or fine motor skills deficit. In all cases of dysgraphia, writing requires inordinate amounts of energy, stamina, and time.
  • Dyslexia
    A specific language-based learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is not caused by any visual acuity problem. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension, written expression and speaking. People with dyslexia can may find it difficult to express themselves clearly, or to fully comprehend what others mean when they speak.
  • Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder)
    An inability to coordinate movements even though there is no damage to the muscles needed for the movement. It is an immaturity in the way that the brain processes information, which results in messages not being properly or fully transmitted. Dyspraxia affects the planning of what to do and how to do it. It is associated with problems of perception, language, and thought. There may be an overlap with related conditions. (Dyspraxia Foundation, n.d.)

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