Information that is not immediately visible including information that relates to feelings, (eg hopeful, sad), concepts of time (eg before, after, early, late), order (eg first, last, second), amounts (eg some, a little), or position (eg beside); and it can also refer to ‘hidden’ or ‘other meanings’ to words, such as when using sarcasm (eg oh you must be joking), metaphors (eg as high as a kite), or idioms (eg pull the other leg); with the abstract information being that which is not necessarily contained in the direct meaning of the words used. Abuse
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Inflicting or threatening to inflict physical or emotional pain or damage; includes unwanted harmful or offensive touching or verbal abuse.
Physical disability that is acquired later in life (eg, car accident may bring about brain injury, spinal or back injury and a health condition such as heart disease or arthritis may result from the ageing process) Active support
A model of service delivery that involves increasing the person with a disability’s involvement in activities which are constructive and affirming.
Any task or action undertaken by a person, including physical, intellectual, social, psychological or any other interaction.
Acquired vision impairment
Vision impairment that has occurred after birth; might result from illness or injury (eg, premature babies developing problems with the retina and may be left blind and, also, a person may have had a visual condition from birth, but symptoms may appear only in later life).
An illness of rapid onset and short duration (not related to severity of the illness).
Adaptive technology and equipment
Technology or equipment that helps a person with a disability to access their environment and/or increase their independence. Can include things such as mobility aids, dressing aids, communication aids, and aids for independent living skills. Some adaptive technology and equipment is quite simple (low tech), while some is very complex (high tech).
Physical and or psychological dependence on a substance (eg alcohol, nicotine). Additional precautions
Are implemented when standard precautions may be insufficient to prevent transmission of infection Advocate
An independent person who represents the interests of a person (a client, eg, a person with a disability) to a decision maker. Advocates have been given the power to speak out on behalf of their clients, represent the concerns and interests of their clients as directed by their clients, and seek the outcomes desired by their clients. Affect
Another word for ‘mood’; also used to describe someone’s mood. Affective disorders
disorders of mood (eg depression, hypermania and mania).
The fear of being in public places—that causes anxiety and avoidance of such places. Aids and equipment
Resources that may promote or assist in a particular activity or behaviour for the person with a disability. Alcoholism
Alcohol dependence or addiction.
Allied health professionals
Related professional workers e.g. physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists. Alternative communication
A system of communication that replaces or does not rely on any speech or verbal communication, eg, voice-synthesized communication boards or Auslan sign language. Amniotic fluid
Fluid that fills the womb, keeping the temperature constant and protecting the baby from jolts. Anorexia nervosa
An eating disorder affecting mostly young women in developed countries. Symptoms include an intense fear of obesity, dramatic weight loss, obsessive concern about weight and distorted body image, and self-starvation which can lead to death. The disorder is resistant to treatment but people can make
full recovery. Anti-depressant drugs
Drugs or medication used in depressive disorders.
Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 No 48 (NSW)
Makes it illegal to treat people differently and unfairly based on their race, gender, sexual preference, marital status, age, physical or intellectual impairment or carer responsibilities. Anti-psychotic drugs
Major tranquillisers used to relieve symptoms of psychosis in illnesses such as schizophrenia, hallucinations, delusions and severe agitation.
Feelings and experiences that occur at times of stress. Symptoms include nervousness, fear, worry, excessive sweating, irritability, breathlessness, palpitations and racing pulse.
A medical condition that results in pain and stiffness in the joints and may lead severe disability as people age.
A medical condition where a serious lung infection occurs, following the intake of food, saliva, fluids or other materials into the airway rather than the stomach.
‘Attitudes’ refer to a state of mind, belief or feeling held by a person (client, worker or carer). They influence behaviour and therefore it is important to consider these in providing services and in making decisions relating to the needs of people with a disability e.g. the right to make choices about sexual behaviours is one where restrictive attitudes often surface.
Auditory processing disorder
The person does not hear—because the part of their brain that processes sound stimuli is not functioning properly; the structures of the ear and auditory nerve are intact.
Augmentative and alternative communication
Any form of communication that is not by speech and includes symbols, signs, gestures, facial expressions, body language, speech generating devices, computers for communication, communication boards, books or wallets, timetable displays or picture cards.
A blend of the words Australian sign language, it is the native sign language of the Australian Deaf community; it is a visual language combining facial expression, gesture, mime, body language, hand shapes, hand movements, space, time and finger spelling (ie, it has its own structure and grammar).
Australian Communication Exchange (ACE)
An alternative to the TTY is the use of the Australian Communication Exchange where a telephone operator relays messages between a person with a hearing impairment and a hearing person.
Australian Hearing is part of the Department of Human Services. At Australian Hearing, audiologists can: test hearing; prescribe and provide hearing aids; advise on other equipment that might be of use; teach the wearer how to use and maintain the aids; and advise families and teachers on how best to create a good listening environment.
The AS 1428, Design for access and mobility series, provides design requirements for buildings encompassing the specific needs of people with disabilities.
A dysfunction of the central nervous system which impairs a person’s ability to process information and impacts on their ability to communicate, socialise, and learn – it has different levels of severity.
Behaviour modification techniques that use unpleasant, painful stimulation to control or alter behaviour, in a therapeutic manner and setting (eg electric shocks to alter behaviour).
An unpleasant physical stimulus intended to reduce undesired behaviour; this includes physical punishment.
Barriers to opportunity
Aspects of the environment or actions of people that work to reduce opportunities or to prevent people from participating in activities to the degree that they are able.
Behaviour management or support plan
A plan to guide workers in promoting behaviour change, community inclusion and/or lifestyle improvement for an individual.
An episodic disorder which includes symptoms of depression or mania, also known as manic depression. A person can experience either depression or mania for a period of months, but will not experience both together. A person may experience long periods of wellness between episodes. Some episodes may be severe, and can involve psychosis.
Body mass index
A calculation relating to body measurement which involves measuring the person’s height and weight and making the following calculation: weight in kilograms (height in metres) x (height in metres) this is then compared to normative data tables that are used to determine if a person is underweight or overweight according to their age group (adult/child) gender (male/female) weight and height.
An eating disorder characterised by repeated binge eating followed by vomiting to avoid weight gain.
Old workshops, work crews, benchworks etc where people with a disability work alongside others with a disability but as part of a legitimate business—this is called ‘supported employment’.
Another way of accessing spoken information— eg, captions are used in some TV shows and movies; some videos are captioned so that all viewers see the captions, but DVDs and many television shows are transmitted with closed captions.
Includes the client’s identified family, including children and parents or the community, as well as other legal guardians and people significant to the consumer who provide care. Case based funding (CBF)
Funding linked to each person with a disability, based on their individual needs, choices and outcomes so that they can receive appropriate service.
What you can see straight ahead of you; a person whose central vision is impaired will have difficulty with tasks such as reading and writing.
A disorder of movement control which results from damage to part of the brain, usually before birth. It results in mild to severe movement disorders and includes muscle weakness, stiffness, clumsiness, difficulty coordinating movements and balancing.
A term used to describe a wide range of behaviours that a person with a disability may display as a way of communicating but that may result in harm to themselves, and/or others and/or property. The behaviour may also limit the person’s ability to participate in daily life and enjoy wider experiences.
Structures that carry genetic information within the cell structure. If there is an abnormal number or structure of chromosomes it may result in a physical or mental impairment e.g. Down syndrome.
An illness of long duration (doesn’t relate to severity).
Fear of enclosed spaces.
Any person interacting in some way with a service, agency or organisation in the community service and health sector. Some times called ‘consumer’ Closed circuit televisions (CCTVs)
Machines used to enlarge printed material; they consist of a reading table, camera, lights and monitor.
Sometimes called the bionic ear and suitable only when the cochlea is not functioning properly. This is an implant in which a wire is implanted inside the cochlea; a transmitter is also implanted under the scalp with a magnet and the person wears a receiver which is held on by the magnet, and also uses a hearing aid to amplify the sound (ie, to make it louder).
These are the skills related to intellectual functioning. They are associated with thinking and problem solving, and include calculation, memory, understanding and using language, orientation in time, place and person and decision making.
Portable chair that holds a container (chamber pot) for body waste Community treatment order
A court order made by a magistrate under the NSW Mental Health Act that legally ensures a person found to be mentally ill under the Act takes their medication and receives treatment while living in the community, rather than in a hospital. It is a modern alterative to long-term commitment to a psychiatric hospital or institution.
An unwelcome and unwanted urge to perform a certain action (eg, cleaning, ritualistic counting). Conductive loss
The tubes inside the ears are blocked with wax or mucus; common in children who often have colds or middle ear infections.
Congenital vision impairment
Vision impairment that a person has had from birth (eg, congenital vision impairment may result from a mother having an illness such as rubella during the first three months of pregnancy).
Where the posture if forced, cramped, restrained, unnatural, confined or restricted Consultation
The sharing of information and exchange of views between managers, workers and/or their representatives. It includes the opportunity to contribute to decision making in a timely fashion to resolve manual handling risks.
The ability to control the excretion of urine and/or faeces
Continuous path of travel
Access relating to making a clear path of travel so that a person who has a mobility disorder can move smoothly from one area to another unimpeded by obstacles (eg steps, kerbs), in a wheelchair or with a mobility aid.
This term relates to ‘muscles’ and the tightening of muscles that are no longer used. Contractures develop over time and can result in deformities in the bone due to the pull of the tight muscles in one direction.
An unforeseen incident or crisis.
CS & HI / CSHI
Community Services and Health Industry
A system that helps people with a hearing impairment to communicate orally by taking away the uncertainty of lip reading; each sound is paired with a hand shape and a hand position and when read in combination, the lip shape, hand shape and hand position can only mean one sound—therefore, two sounds that look the same in the lips—eg, ‘g’ and ‘c’ can be differentiated.
An idea or belief that is demonstrably false. A symptom of psychotic illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
A group of disorders of the central nervous system including communication, thinking and behaviour, characterised by a decline in brain function that leads to significant impairment of physical, mental and social functioning. A progressive state of confusion, and deterioration of intellectual and physical ability, resulting in eventual death. Depression
a biological disorder that is made worse by life stress or biochemical changes; a collection of symptoms that persist over time, which affect thoughts, feelings, behaviour and physical health. Symptoms interfere with normal emotional, social and physical functioning and can vary from mild to severe. Some are thought to be reactive—a reaction to a shock, crisis or event, or endogenous—biochemical in origin.
Term used to describe a person that society believes is of less importance than the general community.
States that everyone is capable of learning and developing throughout life when opportunities for growth are provided.
Dignity of risk
The right of a person with a disability to make an informed choice to experience life and take advantage of opportunities for learning, developing competencies and independence and in doing so take a calculated risk. In other words, weighing up the risks versus the benefits of an activity for a person with a disability keeping in mind their right to experience all that life has to offer. Disability
The functional loss that results from impairment (eg, the person with only one leg may have difficulty walking).
Occurs when a person with a disability is treated unfairly compared to a person without a disability.
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth. No. 135, 1992) Anti-discrimination legislation makes it illegal to treat people differently and unfairly based on their race, sex, marital status, age, physical or intellectual impairment. Disability Services Act 1993 No 3 (NSW) / Disability Services Regulation 2008 An Act to ensure the provision of services necessary to enable persons with disabilities to achieve their maximum potential as members Disinhibition
An inability to control own behaviour resulting in saying things or behaving in ways that are not socially acceptable, eg swearing or masturbating in the lounge room
The separation from the general community by adopting a disability-based lifestyle and having groups of people with a disability as one’s primary reference group for beliefs, behaviours and social interaction; life is redesigned around the disability and the person may feel safe as contacts are restricted to those who know about and understand disability.
A person’s ability to see things in the distance; person will have difficulty seeing objects that are far away—reading street signs, for example.
An abnormality in the chromosomes resulting in a set of recognised physical features and mild to more severe intellectual disability.
Duty of care
Duty of care is a difficult term to define as there isn’t a legal definition of the concept (except in occupational health and safety legislation). Duty of care comes under the legal concept of negligence, and negligence belongs to the domain of common law. Common law is also know as judge-made law as the decision about guilt is decided using legal precedence and community attitudes and expectations. That is, there hasn’t been an Act of Parliament passed defining what is legal or illegal but rather the decision is based on what is considered appropriate or not appropriate at a particular time in history.
Abnormal eating behaviours that cause physical problems.
EEO (equal employment opportunity)
Everyone, irrespective of disability, gender, sexual preference, culture and so on, should have a fair and equal opportunity to get work, keep it, participate in training, get promotions, and be fairly rewarded for their work.
Electric shock therapy
Also called ‘electroconvulsive therapy’; a medical treatment of some mental illnesses by passing an electric current through the brain.
Alternately described as ‘shock treatment’. Electrodes are placed on the person’s head, with live electrical currents that pulsate through the brain, causing convulsions and memory loss. It is extremely painful unless used under anaesthetic. Commonly used in the past and used in mental health today for treatment of certain types of depression. Emotional abuse
Abuse involving threats and harassment that causes a person to feel fear, anxiety, loss of self worth and rejection.
Changes that can be made to a person’s environment to make it more accessible and better suited to their needs.
Factors that can influence intellectual development and cause intellectual disability eg, children who are cared for in institutions or are kept in extreme isolation can develop an intellectual disability as a result of impoverishment or a lack of stimulation.
A disturbance in brain electrical activity that results in seizures. There are many forms of seizures and types of epilepsy, from mild petit mal to severe grande mal fits. It is commonly treated with medications that control the electrical activity in the brain. Many people with cerebral palsy also have epilepsy, as do those with acquired brain injuries. There is an increased risk of a person with epilepsy sustaining an injury during a seizure, through a fall, drowning or choking. It is important that staff be trained in the management of such medical emergencies.
The area that one can see at any given time.
A form of manual communication; 26 distinct hand shapes represent each of the 26 letters of the alphabet (virtually no one uses finger spelling by itself to communicate, except when talking to someone who is both deaf and blind).
Attached to the hearing aid to help the person tune in only to the desired sounds while blocking out other background noise.
A person who has committed a crime, usually serious, and who has been unable to stand trial in a criminal court because of mental illness and is committed to treatment and hospitalisation in large or specialised psychiatric hospital.
Government and non-government mainstream community and health services (eg, local hospital, neighbourhood centre). (Also known as generic services.)
a generic service is a service which anyone can access (eg, Centrelink, Community Health centre, public hospital or library). A generic drug name is the chemical name for the drug (eg, Paracetamol is the generic name and Panadol is the brand name).
Relating to the genes inherited from both parents.
Body movements used by all people; an example of a gesture is a nod of the head to indicate ‘Yes’.
Intense emotional state associated with the loss of someone or something with which a person has a deep emotional bond.
Small drainage tubes, sometimes inserted by doctors, to keep the ear open and dry, to help prevent recurring bouts of middle ear infections and conductive hearing loss.
A supported accommodation service where a small number of people with a disability are supported by disability support workers to live in a
A parent or an adult responsible for decision making on behalf of a person deemed not to be capable of making their own decisions.
A legal position of responsibility and decision making, taken by a guardian on behalf of another person.
Guardianship Act 1987 No 157 ( NSW)
This Act protects the rights of people, who because of a disability are totally or partially incapable of managing to care for themselves and their affairs. This can include the inability to make day-to-day decisions about their lives and manage their financial affairs. Guardianship orders are overseen by the Guardianship Tribunal who, after conducting a hearing, can make an order taking into account what is considered to be in the best interests of the person.
Emotional response to knowingly violating some moral standard.
An experience of a bodily sense (touch, vision, taste, smell or hearing) which seems real but has no external cause (eg, hearing voices, seeing visions).
The negative consequence of disability—usually comes from community attitude and focuses on the restrictions imposed by impairment, rather than on the person’s positive attributes and abilities (eg, the person with a severed leg may find it difficult to gain or keep employment or to establish relationships because people view him or her as different, less able and less desirable than people without impairment).
Anything that has the potential to result in harm to a person.
Small devices that are generally worn behind or inside the ears (a person may have one or two of them); they receive sound, amplify it and transmit it into the ear.
Described in terms of degree—profound, severe, moderately severe, moderate, and mild.
Many common types of disability are hidden eg, back injury, repetitive strain injury and epilepsy.
Care given to someone with a disability; assistance with the ordinary activities of daily living where these tasks cannot be performed independently and/or with ease by the person.
Actual damage to physiological or anatomical structures (eg, a person might have an industrial accident in which their leg is severed).
Any undesired event which could or does result in harm to people, loss of or damage to property, interruption to process, environmental impairment and/or loss of containment.
A policy that requires people with disabilities to be involved in decisions about all aspects of their lives.
Independent living skills
Skills needed for everyday living: bathing, dressing, preparing meals, cleaning and maintaining the house, shopping, banking and so on.
Individual program plan (IPP)
Plan that provides basic information about the person and his/her visual needs; records goals that the person wishes to achieve and sets out the steps needed to achieve those goals. [Also known as an individual education plan (IEP) or individual service plan (ISP) to name a few!]
A wire that is placed in a loop around a room, together with a receiver, transmitter and amplifier; a person with a hearing impairment who wears a hearing aid, switches the aid to the ‘t-switch’ position and can hear the amplified sound from within the looped area.
A person’s capacity to understand the full meaning of information and the implications of making that decision (either through giving or withholding the consent).
General term for the chronic inability to sleep in a normal way (eg, inability to fall asleep, frequent waking during the night and early waking).
A set of inappropriate behaviours combined with a lack of independent living skills that result from a person with a disability being placed into an institution or confined to a large, highly-structured organisation for all their needs; this set of behaviours comes from routine, lack of stimulation, lack of choice, lack of social value, etc Integration
A person is part of a community and is involved with other community members—ie, the person is being seen in the community, joining in everyday activities and interacting with others in the community.
Actions that are forced on a person with a disability by a disability support worker.
Itinerant support teachers—visual impairment
Teachers whose role is to visit students who have vision impairment and who are enrolled in mainstream schools, to provide them with specialist individual (or small group) instruction, and to carry out assessment; they also help classroom teachers to plan their teaching and to prepare learning materials that meet the needs of students who have vision impairment.
An analysis of a job covering general information on the job, its requirements and training and the support needed Learning goals
A clear statement about what is to be learnt, where it is to be learnt and to what standard.
Least restrictive alternative
Under this principle, the actions of a disability support worker that intrude as little as possible on the rights and lifestyle of a person with a disability; this principle places limits on the use of interventions such as restraint and seclusion.
Degree of vision impairment that a person must have in order to be considered eligible for a range of government services such as the Disability Support Pension (Blind); in Australia, a person is considered to be legally blind if their field of vision is 20° or less, or if their visual acuity is 6:60 or worse.
Sometimes called ‘speech reading’, it is a difficult skill to master, even though all of us lip read to some extent; only 20% to 30% of sounds can be read on the lips—the rest is a combination of context, expression, prediction, elimination, intuition, common sense and guesswork.
An antispasmodic drug. Lithium compounds are used in preventative treatment of bipolar disorder. Highly toxic; dosage must be carefully monitored.
Soft or loud sounds (ie, intensity of sounds)—measured in decibels. The softest sound that a person with normal hearing can hear has a sound level of zero decibels.
Vision that might be blurred, absent or poorly defined; these difficulties might affect all of the vision or only one part, and might be different in various lighting conditions.
Low vision aids
Devices prescribed to improve the use of residual vision; they may be prescribed for close or distance vision and usually include some sort of magnifying lens.
An elevation of mood beyond normal happiness, associated with a person becoming restless, irritable and psychotic. A person will usually behave in a speedy, high, grandiose manner.
A very general term that simply refers to communication using the hands rather than the voice (verbal communication).
Any activity requiring the use of force exerted by a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain any animate or inanimate object Mental health
The capacity of individuals in their environment to interact with one another in ways that promote well-being, optimal development and use of mental abilities (cognitive, affective, relational) and achievement of individual and collective goals. Mental Health Act 2007 No 8 ( NSW)
This Act clearly sets out the rights of people with a mental illness. It emphasises community-based care, with hospitalisation only when necessary, patient rights (such as the right to know about the decisions and orders made of their care and to know and consent to treatment prescribed for them). The Act gives clear guidelines for the involuntary admission of patients and ensures that the Mental Health Tribunal regularly reviews all patients. The Act also provides a legal definition of mental illness, based on the symptoms the client is experiencing rather than on their diagnosis. Mental illness
A disorder that is characterised by disturbances in thoughts, emotions or behaviour. The term covers a variety of mental and emotional conditions, which can vary in intensity, symptoms and effects. The disorder can range from an illness that causes mild distress to one that severely impairs a
person’s ability to function. The illness may be constant or a person could have one episode of a type of illness in a lifetime. The illness may be caused by genetic, physical, biochemical, environmental or social factors. Metabolic rate
Describes a person’s use of energy within the body, and contributes to a person’s weight gain or loss. Micro organism
A micro organism can be good or bad and is naked to the eye. A bad micro organism can carry potential infections. Pathogenic micro organisms can cause diseases like sore throats, influenza, tuberculosis and AIDS. Miniscope
Small hand-held telescope used to read signs etc.
Being able to move about the environment.
A hand-held device that vibrates to indicate an obstacle ahead. Multiple personality disorder
An extremely rare personality disorder, where an individual has several completely different personalities. NAATI
National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. Near vision
A person’s ability to see up close; person will have difficulty with tasks such as reading and sewing. Neglect
Failure to meet health and welfare needs, including the need for physical safety; a lack of reasonable care or attention. Nervous breakdown
A colloquial term used to describe an episode of mental illness, disorder or mental health problem. The term wrongly refers to the ‘breakdown’ of ‘nerves’ as a cause of serious psychiatric symptoms. It should not be used to describe a mental health problem. Neurosis
A vague term, sometimes used as a put down, that covers a range of psychiatric disorders. Symptoms include exaggerations of normal experience; the individual does not lose touch with reality. Non-aversive approach
Non-use of unpleasant physical stimulus intended to reduce undesired behaviour; this includes no physical punishment. Normalisation
First presented by Wolfensberger, this principle sees the role of service delivery as providing the skills, knowledge and opportunities to people with a disability that will enable them to reach their full potential in society and that this is provided according to the standards of society and what is deemed as ‘normal’ for society. NSW Disability Services Act 1993
(Amended 2002 to include Quality Assurance Act)designed to promote the provision of services which enable people with a disability to maximise their potential, further their integration into the community and achieve positive outcomes, including increased independence and employment opportunities. Occupational therapist
Also called an Occupational health and leisure scientist. A health professional involved in the provision of services relating to life activities, roles and functional skills, skilled in the assessment of independence and support needs in relation to a person’s ability to fulfil everyday functions and life roles within social and occupational settings. Open employment service
Service that supports people with a disability to obtain and maintain employment in the open job market. Organic mental disorder
Disorder caused by demonstrably impaired function of the brain (eg, a tumour, stoke, virus). Orientation
A person’s ability to identify their position in the environment relative to known landmarks (knowing where we are and where we are going). Orientation and mobility
The knowledge and skills necessary to move about safely, enabling people to be independent in moving from one place to another. Orientation and mobility officers
People who teach orientation and mobility and are often employed by special schools and by educational support services in state schools. Osteoporosis
A disease that makes bones fragile and more likely to break, and common in people who have not developed walking skills within the usual developmental milestones (eg between 12–18 months); in post menopausal older women; in some people with developmental disabilities or those who have calcium,
vitamin D (usually derived from sunlight exposure on bare skin) and other dietary deficiencies. Paranoia
Strong feelings or delusions of persecution (eg, feeling that ‘someone is watching me’). Paraphilia
Any mode of sexual expression or arousal dependant on socially unacceptable or unusual stimulating conditions (eg, frottage—a fetish for rubbing up against people in a crowded place). Peripheral vision
What is to the side of where you are actually looking; a person whose peripheral vision is impaired may have difficulty with independent mobility; for instance, they may not see traffic approaching from the sides. Perpetrator
Person who commits an abusive act against someone else (the victim). Perseveration
Continuous and repetitive behaviour, speech or thought which restricts new learning and adaptive functioning, frequently observed in people with a brain disorder, eg Parkinson’s or an acquired brain injury Personality disorder
A classification for a disorder, which is not a recognised psychosis or neurosis, but rather an extreme personality type. This includes antisocial personality disorder. Pervasive
In terms of support, it means that the support required will be all encompassing, in other words, the person will need support in all areas. Phobia
An unbearable persistent, intense fear or dread of an otherwise normal situation, causing severe anxiety and avoidance and the desire to flee. The fear is not rational or based on sound judgment. Physical assault
Any touching of another person which is harmful, offensive, or unwanted. Physical disability
Physical disability may be characterised by:
poor fine-motor control (eg, the ability to use a tool with the hands) high or low muscle tone
lack of stamina (eg, with heart disease)
excessive pain (eg, arthritis)
lack of coordination
lack of muscle control (eg, for talking, eating)
chronic illness (eg, HIV/AIDS).
A professional who helps people with injuries or disabilities to regain movement skills, using exercises and support aids. Pidgin Signed English
A mixed system incorporating aspects of both Auslan and English; all reading and writing is done in English and most people with a hearing impairment are exposed to both signed and written communication. Pitch
How low or high a sound is (measured by the frequency of the sound wave); an important aspect of deafness is that the sounds of words we hear all have different pitches (pitch has nothing to do with loudness, but with a person’s ability to hear the sound frequency range required to hear a whole word). Positive adaptive behaviours
Appropriate daily living activities as a substitute for inappropriate behaviours Post-lingual deafness
When deafness occurs in a person after language has been learnt—from the age of about three onwards; while two people may have the same degree of hearing impairment, the age at which their hearing impairment occurred may explain the variations in their behaviour, attitudes and communication. Post-traumatic stress disorder
A mental disorder, following a traumatic event, producing symptoms of anxiety, phobic and depressive states, with vivid and persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event. Power of attorney
A legal term that relates to a person having legal authority to make decisions relating to finances and other important decisions on behalf of another person. Pre-lingual deafness
When deafness occurs in a person before language has been learnt—at birth, or soon after; a person who is hearing impaired at birth often finds it difficult to learn how to speak. Proactive strategy
A strategy that produces change over time.
These are workers trained to conduct client assessments, to develop individual plans and assist in the implementation and management of behaviour programs. They may have qualifications such as nursing, teaching or psychology. In some services, social educators are called programmers. Programming team
A team of people such as psychologists, teachers and therapists whose responsibilities include developing and implementing behaviour management plans. Prohibited practices
The Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care states that assault, wrongful imprisonment and abusive practices are prohibited practices; prohibited practices can also include practices that are unethical; under NSW law, assault and wrongful imprisonment are criminal offences. They also include practices that may not be unlawful, but are unethical. Protective behaviours
Skills taught to many people, including people with a disability, in what to do in a situation of risk of being abused. They cover how to say ‘no’, who to tell and so on. Psychiatric disability
When a mental illness significantly interferes with the performance of activities such as thinking, learning, communicating, sleeping and other day-to-day life activities. Not all people who experience a mental illness have a psychiatric disability. Psychiatrist
A specialist medical doctor specialising in mental illnesses. Psycho-geriatrician
A doctor specialising in the psychological disorders of ageing people. Psychologist
A non-medical specialist with a degree in psychology. Some clinical
psychologists are specialists in mental health; they do not prescribe medication. Psychopath
A person with a severe anti-social personality disorder.
The study of drugs useful for the treatment of mental illnesses, and their clinical application. Psychosis
A term used to describe a person’s experiences in which there is a break from reality. Hallucinations and delusions (eg, hearing voices telling you to kill yourself, believing the colour green represents evil) are the major symptoms. Psychosocial rehabilitation
The services, processes and technologies which assist people with a psychiatric disability to improve their quality of life, live successfully at an optimal level of independent functioning in the community and participate in the areas of recreation, education, work, social and community life. Psychotherapy
A form of counselling used by qualified health professionals as a treatment for a variety of mental health issues and disorders. Psychotic disorder
A general term for a number of severe mental disorders. Classic symptoms are delusions, hallucinations, severe regressive behaviour. An example is schizophrenia. Punishment
The contingent presentation of a stimulus or event that results in a future decrease in response strength. Reactive strategy
A strategy that manages the behaviour at the time it occurs. Real-time captioning
Captioning is displayed on the monitor via a computer-based system that records the spoken word, translates it into the written word and displays it on a monitor. Reasonable adjustment
Modifications to the workplace or the tasks that people with a hearing impairment do to enable them to work effectively and efficiently. Repetitive strain injuries
Repeated performance of a limited number of movements causes damage to nerves, tendons and other soft tissues, characterised by numbness, pain, weakening and wasting of muscles Residual hearing
How much a person can hear.
The sight that a person has even though they may have vision impairment (most people who are considered to be legally blind still have useable vision). Respite care
‘Timeout’ offered to those who care for people with disabilities. It may be ‘in home’” or residential care, and provides carers with an opportunity to relax and/or attend to personal affairs. Restraint
To forcefully hold back a person with a disability from some action by restricting their movement. Restricted practices
Strategies that impact on a person’s freedom as a result of controlling an inappropriate behaviour; they restrict the rights of a person with a disability; they are strategies that have detailed procedures which allow their use in very limited situations. If they are used without consent they may constitute assault or unlawful imprisonment. Risk
The likelihood that harm will occur.
Situation in which a person is at risk of emotional or physical abuse or neglect. Many people with a disability are at much greater risk than people who don’t have a disability. Schizophrenia
A serious mental illness featuring symptoms of psychosis; it can be acute and or chronic. The ‘schiz’ in schizophrenia refers to a ‘split with reality’ expressed in a person’s symptoms and behaviour (not a split personality). Seclusion
Where a person with a disability is removed from contact with others through time out or being kept in their bedroom, for example; often used as punishment. Sedative
A class of drugs which produce drowsiness and are frequently prescribed for insomnia. Self-stimulatory behaviour
An action taken by a person with a disability in order to arouse their own senses; may be done for sexual satisfaction, as a response to a highly anxious situation or as a response to boredom Sensori-neural hearing
Type of hearing impairment where the structures of the inner ear and/or auditory nerve are damaged; the damage may result from the ear not forming properly before birth, or from a severe blow to the head. Sensory impairment
Any difficulty or disorder relating to the senses (eg hearing, touch, vision, taste, smell). Sexual assault
Subjecting a person to sexual activities without their consent. Shorelining
Where the person follows an edge on the ground, such as the edge of a path, by walking with one foot on the path and the other on the grass. Sign language
Communication that uses hand shapes, positions and movements together with facial expression, gesture and body language. Signed English
The manual representation of English word for word; it is a sign code rather than a sign language and is often taught in schools because it is thought to lead to more successful English literacy. SMS
Short Message Service; on mobile phones, a way to communicate without needing special equipment, especially when the mobile phone being used for SMS has a vibration alert (it vibrates rather than rings to tell you there is a message waiting). Social role valorisation
Providing people with a disability with the socially desirable competencies that are valued by society Solitary confinement
Forcibly keeping a person with a disability out of contact with all others as a punishment; this may also include lack of access to stimulation and daily living requirements Specialist services
Organisations which support people with mental health problems or a psychiatric disability. Spina bifida
A disability that occurs when the foetal spine does not completely form close, being is split or divided with the spinal cord and its’ covering protruding out along the back between the neck and the buttocks. This can result in paralysis, incontinence and/or hydrocephalus (water between the brain and brain lining, expanding the bones of the skull, causing pressure
and potential brain damage). Squaring off
Where a person has to move in a straight line across an open space eg, to cross a corridor (the person places their shoulders squarely against the wall which they are leaving to cross the space at right angles to the wall and they make sure their feet are pointing forward and step off at right angles to the wall). Standard precautions
Work practices that require everyone to assume that all blood and body fluids are potential sources of infection, independent of perceived risk. Such precautions involve the use of safe work practices and protective barriers, and the safe disposal of body substances and soiled material. Stigma
Negative attitudes (prejudice) and actions directed, for example, at people with mental health problems. They act to put down, further isolate and devalue a person, denying them full social acceptance. Tardive dyskinesia
A side effect from very long-term use of anti-psychotic medication that may be permanent. Symptoms include involuntary odd facial and chewing movements, with the limbs often affected. Task analysis
The process of analysing a task and recording the steps needed to complete it. It is used to identify what a person needs to be able to do, what they actually can do and what they still need to learn. Therapists
Workers who provide assessment and treatment of people in areas of daily living and independence such as communication; mobility and vision. They may come from a range of disciplines e.g. speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, orthoptics and orthotics. Thyroid function
The thyroid gland is in the neck, just above the voice box and releases the hormones that regulate energy levels. Tests of thyroid function determine whether or not people need medication to manage thyroxine levels. Some forms of intellectual disability relate to thyroid malfunctions. Tourette’s syndrome
A neurological disorder. Symptoms include tics, movements, noises like barks and whistles and, in many cases, the urge to swear or be obscene. Trailing
Where the person locates an edge such as a wall and uses the back of the hand closest to the wall to brush lightly against it slightly in front of them as they move along. TTY (a telephone typewriter)
A special telephone, with a keyboard, small screen and printout, that people with a hearing impairment can use to type and read their conversations rather than speaking and listening; to communicate over the phone using a TTY, users at both ends must each be using a TTY. Victimisation
To single someone out for unfair punishment or treatment.
To slander or insult a person with malicious intent.
The measure of someone’s distance vision.
The area that one can see at any given time.
A person supplying a service to a service user, client or consumer. Some other common terms are support worker, field worker or mental health worker. Workplace modifications
Modifications made to the workplace to enable a person with a disability to access their job eg, ramps, picture based signs, ergonomic furniture.