952-200-3030 [email protected]

Glossary of Disability-Related Terms

This page offers a full list of terms related to the services we provide, as well as mental health and disability-related terms that individuals may want to learn more about.


Adaptive Recreation
Adaptive Recreation provides recreational activities that are both physically active and social to persons of all abilities. Any person with an intellectual or physical disability is welcome to participate in the programs at Reach, no specific diagnosis is required. Our adaptive recreation program provides opportunities to our participants to take part in activities such as bowling, Zumba, softball, social community outings, and more.

Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS)
Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services bring restorative, recovery-oriented interventions directly to individuals in their homes and their community. Skills that have been lost or diminished due to symptoms of mental illness can be acquired, practiced and enhanced though training and education.

Anxiety is a mental health condition that may require treatment. Generalized anxiety disorder, for example, is characterized by persistent worry about major or minor concerns. Other anxiety disorders—such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—have more-specific triggers and symptoms. Sometimes anxiety results from a medical condition that needs treatment. Anxiety signs and symptoms include feeling apprehensive; feeling powerless; having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom; having an increased heart rate; breathing rapidly (hyperventilation); sweating; trembling; feeling weak or tired.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
A family of related chronic neurobiological disorders that interfere with an individual’s capacity to regulate activity level (hyperactivity), inhibit behavior (impulsivity), and attend to tasks (inattention) in developmentally appropriate ways. The core symptoms of ADHD include an inability to sustain attention and concentration, developmentally inappropriate levels of activity, distractibility, and impulsivity. ADHD has also been shown to have long-term adverse effects on academic performance, vocational success, and social-emotional development.

Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder
A pervasive developmental disorder characterized by a pattern of deficits that include impaired (delayed and deviant) communication skills; failure to develop social relationships; and restricted, repetitive, and stereotypical behaviors. Most children with autism exhibit all of the behavioral features of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness with recurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from one day to months. This mental illness causes unusual and dramatic shifts in mood, energy and the ability to think clearly. Cycles of high (manic) and low (depressive) moods may follow an irregular pattern that differs from the typical ups and downs experienced by most people.

Brain Injury (BI)
Brain injury (BI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. Symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. Disabilities resulting from a brain injury depend upon the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the age and general health of the individual. Disabilities can include problems with cognition (thinking, memory, and reasoning), sensory processing (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), communication (expression and understanding), and behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness).

Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and to maintain balance and posture. It is due to a non-progressive brain abnormality, which means that it does not get worse over time, though the exact symptoms can change over a person’s lifetime. People with cerebral palsy have damage to the part of the brain that controls muscle tone. Muscle tone is the amount of resistance to movement in a muscle. It is what lets you keep your body in a certain posture or position.

Children’s Mental Health Targeted Case Management (CMH-TCM)
Children’s Mental Health Targeted Case Management services help children with severe and long-term mental health needs to receive health, social, school, educational, employment, and other support services. Case Management connects children and their families with a team and monitors the effectiveness of services as children grow and change. Meetings with the Case Manager may happen at home, in school or in community programs.

Community Alternative for Disabled Individuals (CADI)
The CADI Waiver services provides many different services including independent living skills, and homemaker services. Independent Living Services help people to develop and maintain the skills necessary to live independently within the community.

Department of Human Services (DHS)
The Department of Human Services is the United States government’s agency for “protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.”

Depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. These problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual’s ability to take care of his or her everyday responsibilities.

Developmental Disability Waiver (DDW)
The Development Disabilities (DD) Waiver provides funding for home and community-based services for children and adults with development disabilities or related conditions.

Down Syndrome
Down syndrome is a disorder that is caused by a genetic defect. Persons with this condition have some degree of intellectual disability, characteristic facial features and, often, heart defects, increased infections, problems with vision and hearing, and other health problems. The severity of all of these problems varies greatly among affected individuals. Down syndrome is a genetic birth defect, affecting approximately one in 800 to 1,000 babies.

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that makes people susceptible to seizures. A seizure is a change in sensation, awareness, or behavior brought about by a brief electrical disturbance in the brain. Seizures vary from a momentary disruption of the senses, to short periods of unconsciousness or staring spells, to convulsions. Some people have just one type of seizure. Others have more than one type. Although they look different, all seizures are caused by the same thing: a sudden change in how the cells of the brain send electrical signals to each other.

Family Capacity Services
Family Capacity Services are provided to families with an open Child Protection case. Services to families include parent skill building, in-home parenting skills training, and therapeutic parent-child interaction sessions. These services improve the well-being of children and families by strengthening parent abilities, reducing reports of abuse and neglect, and preventing out-of-home placements.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a congenital syndrome caused by excessive consumption of alcohol by the mother during pregnancy. Problems that may be caused by fetal alcohol syndrome include physical deformities, intellectual disability, learning disorders, vision difficulties, and behavioral problems.

Inclusion services provide a child or adult with a disability the opportunity to take part in an activity with typical peers. Reach provides a staff member to act as an extra source of support at the class or activity the individual is participating in. This extra staff support allows for extra assistant for the participant and increases the chances of success in the program. Reach provides inclusion support for all sorts of activities such as swimming lessons, playground camps, t-ball, and so much more!

Intellectual Disability (also known as Developmental Disability (DD)
Intellectual Disability is characterized by sub average intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work. Intellectual Disability manifests before age 18 and is categorized according to a qualitative description and the level of supports necessary for a given person to function.
Different levels of ID/DD:
• Borderline = IQ 70-79
• Mild = IQ 50-69
• Moderate = IQ 35-49
• Severe = IQ 20-34
• Profound = IQ below 20

Learning Disability (LD)
A learning disorder is characterized by difficulty with certain skills such as reading or writing in individuals with normal intelligence. Learning disorders affect the ability to interpret what one sees and hears or the ability 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. Learning disabilities can be lifelong conditions that, in some cases, affect many parts of a person’s life: school or work, daily routines, family life, and sometimes friendships and play.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for qualifying individuals, including people age 65 and older, those with certain disabilities, and individuals with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), also known as permanent kidney failure. Some people may confuse Medicaid and Medicare programs. Though both are federal health insurance programs run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the primary difference is that Medicaid is a needs-based insurance program while Medicare isn’t. Your income isn’t a determining factor for Medicare qualification. There are monthly premiums for certain parts of Medicare. Additionally, Medicare does have some limitations and regulations on what it’ll cover for health care costs. Read on to learn more about each part of Medicare, what’s covered, and how to enroll. Click here to learn more.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder
“Pervasive Developmental Disorders” is a relatively recent term that describes a class of disorders characterized by impairments in social interaction, imaginative activity, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and a limited number of interests and activities that tend to be repetitive. These disorders include autism, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and “pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified” (PDDNOS).

Schizophrenia interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It impairs a person’s ability to function to their potential when it is not treated. Unfortunately, no single, simple course of treatment exists. Research has linked schizophrenia to a multitude of causes, including aspects of brain chemistry and structure, as well as environmental causes. Psychosis is defined as the experience or loss of contact with reality and usually involves hallucinations and delusions. Psychosis is a symptom of schizophrenia.

Semi-Independent Living Skills Services (SILS)
A staff person will go to clients’ homes to support them while they learn the skills they need to live in the community. Staff could help with budgeting and paying bills, cooking, shopping, running a household or learning about the community. Staff may go to their homes every day or only once a week.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Sensory Processing Disorder (formerly known as “sensory integration dysfunction”) is a condition that exists when sensory signals don’t get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological “traffic jam” that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.

Supported Living Services (SLS)
People can get help with daily tasks, such as shopping, cooking, managing money, taking medications, dressing, and other self-care skills and housekeeping. Staff may stay all the time or come only once in a while. Supported living services are paid for through the waiver program. Individuals have to be part of the waiver program to get this service.

Supported Employment Services (SES)
This program helps people obtain and retain competitive employment. Supported employment services are provided to people for whom competitive employment at or above the minimum wage is unlikely, and who, because of their disabilities, needs intensive ongoing support to perform in a work setting. The person receiving services must be in a paid employment situation.

Targeted Case Management (TCM)
Targeted Case Management is a direct service to adults with disabilities. TCM provides support services to the individual and their family such as; health, social, and employment support services. Adults will who participate in TCM will have a case manager that they will meet with either at home or in the community.