Overture is committed to providing resources that are helpful and easy to navigate – this includes understanding the language, acronyms, and jargon in our field. If there’s a term that you think we should add to our glossary, please let us know.

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ABC Assessment

Observing behavior (B) and its functional relationship to antecedents (A) and consequences (C).


Easy to approach, enter, operate, participate in or use safely, independently and with dignity by a person with a disability.


Modification of buildings, curbs, and other physical structures to allow easy movement and admittance by a person with a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 mandates accessibility to all public and private facilities. Modifications might include ramps, use of Braille and sound adaptations.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Basic self-care activities including bathing, bowel and bladder control, dressing, eating, independent ambulation, and needing supervision to support behavior, medical needs and memory/cognition.

Adaptive behavior

A collection of conceptual, social, and practical skills that allow individuals to function in their everyday lives. Limitations in adaptive behavior can impact a person's daily life and affect the ability to respond to a particular situation or to the environment.

Adaptive Skills (Functional Skills)

Those skills used in daily living such as dressing and eating.


Meaning to go before a judge. This term is used to describe the fact that an individual has had a guardian appointed by the court. The person is no longer deemed competent to make informed decisions independently.

Adult Protection Services (APS)

Provides assistance for adults who are at risk of mistreatment or self-neglect.

Advance Directive

A document that tells your doctor what kind of care you would like to have in case you become unable to make your own decisions about medical treatment and the provision of health care, when and if you become incapacitated (for example, if you are in a coma).


Parents (or families), organizations or volunteers working on behalf of the rights and interests of others (such as people with disabilities). The ARC of Colorado is one such organization that serves throughout the state.


An association of community centered boards and service agencies dedicated to improving programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)

The nation’s oldest and most respected professional association run by and for professionals who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

A comprehensive set of laws designed to ensure equality and protect the civil rights of people with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Justice is in charge of enforcing these laws. To obtain a copy of the act, you can call the ADA Hotline at (800) 514-0301

Angelman Syndrome

A neuro-genetic disorder that occurs in 1 in 15,000 live births. Characteristics of Angelman syndrome include developmental delays, lack of speech, seizures, problems with walking and balance, jerky movements and hand-flapping, unusually frequent laughter or smiling, and apparent happy demeanor.


A language impairment affecting the production or comprehension of speech and/or the ability to read or write. Aphasia is always due to injury to the brain, most commonly from a stroke but also from head trauma, brain tumors, or infections.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

A discipline devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior through skill acquisition and the reduction of problematic behavior in a measurable and accountable manner. Often used interchangeably with behavior modification.

Asperger Syndrome

An autism spectrum disorder characterized by deficits in social cognition, eccentric and repetitive behavior patterns, and intense, "obsessive" interests. It differs from other forms of autism in that there is relatively little or no delay in language and cognitive functioning.

Assistive Technology

Any item, piece of equipment, or product used to increase, maintain or improve the functioning of an individual with a disability, including increasing learning, independence, mobility, communication, environmental control and choice.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A neurobiological disorder affecting an individual's attentiveness and/or impulse control. Symptoms include absent-mindedness, hyperactivity, distractibility, impulsiveness, developmentally inappropriate behavior. The symptoms appear during early childhood (before age seven) and typically last well into adulthood. Also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD).

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

A complex developmental disability that appears during early childhood and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is characterized by language and communication deficits, social cognition deficits, and repetitive behaviors. These symptoms can vary widely in type and degree of severity; some individuals display only "mild" symptoms, while others' symptoms may be much more profound. See also: "Asperger Syndrome."


Any observable, measurable response or action.

Behavioral Services

Programs and services that include an assessment and plan to target certain behaviors, in conjunction with a support and service plan (IBSSP). Behavioral services can be accessed through a variety of waiver services or through private pay services.

Community Centered Board (CCB)

A private corporation, for profit or not for profit, which when designated pursuant to Section 27-10.5-105, C.R.S., provides case management services to clients with developmental disabilities, is authorized to determine eligibility of such clients within a specified geographical area, serves as the single point of entry for clients to receive services and supports under Section 27-10.5-101, C.R.S. et seq , and provides authorized services and supports to such clients either directly or by purchasing such services and supports from PASAs.

Children’s Extensive Support waiver (CES waiver)

Medicaid benefits and additional supports for children birth to 18 years old with extensive medical or behavioral needs requiring direct intervention at least every two hours during the day and every three hours during the night. Families must apply through their local CCB.

Cerebral Palsy (CP)

A life-long condition caused by damage to the brain during pregnancy, labor or shortly following birth. It is characterized by the inability to control motor functions and can result in involuntary movement, disturbance in gait and mobility, visual, hearing or speech impairments.

Comprehensive Life Review (CLR)

A Comprehensive Life Review assists the Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) in identifying any patterns or significant circumstances which may be contributing to the concerns in the person’s day to day life. This is completed by the Service Provider Organization (SPO).


Case Manager (also known as Service Coordinator or Resource Coordinator), assigned through the CCB.


Certified Nurse’s Aide.

Comprehensive Services

Comprehensive Services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Provides 24-hour residential care, employment and other day-type services and transportation. Comprehensive Services is an all-inclusive program that is designed to ensure that all identified needs in a person’s Individualized Plan (IP) are met.


An informed agreement which is expressed in writing and is freely given.

Cues or Prompts

Physical, visual and verbal forms of assistance to a person that helps teach a behavior.

Day Services

Programs, services, and facilities designed to assist adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to remain in their communities.


A Do Not Resuscitate order. Also known as a CPR Directive.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

DVR assists persons with disabilities to succeed at work and to live independently.

Developmental Delay

Being behind other children of the same age in achieving cognitive, adaptive, physical, and social skills.

Developmental Disability

A disability that occurs before the person reaches 22 years of age, substantially impacts the person’s daily life, is caused by an intellectual disability or related conditions (for example: cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, Down syndrome, or other neurological conditions) and significantly impairs the person’s general intellectual and/or adaptive functioning.

Down Syndrome

A genetic condition caused by a duplication of the 21st chromosome. Symptoms include specific facial features (such as slanted eyes and a flat profile), a predisposition for congenital heart disease, as well as some degree of intellectual and developmental delays.

Due Process

The legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person, which guarantee an individual’s right to disagree, refuse, change, or permit services.


A disorder which characterized by difficulty in or a complete inability to swallow food, liquid, or saliva. As a result, dysphagia may lead to medical problems related to malnutrition.


A learning disability that hampers an individual's motor skills and the ability to carry out fine motor tasks, such as writing and personal grooming. Although dyspraxia does not affect a person's intelligence, it is often associated with disordered speech and learning difficulties.


The completion of the application process and actual entry into or receipt of support services


A disorder characterized by repeated and spontaneous episodes of disturbed brain function that cause changes in attention or behavior (seizures). Epileptic seizures are caused by abnormally excited electrical signals in the brain, and they can vary in degree of severity.

Family Support Services Program (FSS or FSSP)

Program designed to offer supportive services for families who have children with special needs living at home.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

A wide range of mental and physical birth defects caused by a mother's consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. These defects can include intellectual disabilities, growth deficiencies, central nervous system dysfunction, facial abnormalities, and emotional/behavioral maladjustments.


Person in a special relationship of trust, confidence or responsibility in which one party occupies a superior relationship and assumes a duty to act in the dependent’s best interest. This includes a trustee, guardian, counselor or institution, but it could also be a volunteer acting in this special relationship.

Fragile-X Syndrome

A genetic disorder caused by a mutation within the X chromosome. It is characterized by varying degrees of intellectual disability, facial abnormalities (such as large ears and an elongated face), and behavioral problems. Fragile X is also highly associated with conditions such as ADHD, autism, and sensory integration disorder.

Gastrostomy Tube (G-tube)

A tube which has been surgically inserted into the stomach through the abdominal wall, or a tube which has been inserted through the nasal passage into the stomach, or both.


A person appointed by the probate court to protect the property and/or wellbeing of one who does not have the capacity to protect his or her own interests.

Home and Community Based Services (HCBS/HCB-DD waiver)

A state program designed to build support services based on an individual's needs. Services may be provided in the family home or within an alternative living residence. These services may include adaptive aids, day habilitation, dental treatment, minor home modifications, nursing, residential assistance, respite care, specialized therapies, and/or supported employment. To receive these services, an individual must qualify for care in an intermediate care facility and have a diagnosed intellectual disability.


Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.


The Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act of 1996 (August 21), Public Law 104-191, which amended the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986. Also known as the Kennedy-Kassebaum Act, the Act includes a section, Title II, entitled Administrative Simplification, requiring: Improved efficiency in healthcare delivery by standardizing electronic data interchange, and protection of confidentiality and security of health data through setting and enforcing standards.

Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

A federal agency that provides rental assistance through Section 8.

Hepatitis B

An inflammation of the liver caused by the Hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B is contagious.

Host Home (HH)

Non-licensed private residential setting that provides residential supports to no more than two persons in the HCBS-DD waiver. The host home must be the primary residence of the provider.

Host Home Provider (HHP)

An individual or individuals who provide supports in his or her home, to one or two persons receiving services who are not related to the provider.

Human Rights Committee (HRC)

A third-party mechanism to safeguard the legal rights of persons receiving services. The HRC participates in the granting of informed consent, monitoring the suspension of rights of persons receiving services, monitoring behavior development programs in which persons with developmental disabilities are involved, monitoring the use of psychotropic medication by persons with developmental disabilities, and at the committee’s option, either providing or ensuring the investigation of allegations of abuse or neglect of persons with developmental disabilities who are receiving services or supports under this article.

Interdisciplinary Team (IDT)

The team of people who develop the Individualized Plan (IP). Members of the team include the person applying for or receiving services, his or her parents, guardian, the case manager/resource coordinator, a psychologist, PASA staff and other persons who can help identify the person's needs and appropriate programs.


Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

An educational plan for a specific student written by a multidisciplinary team. The plan states learning objectives and steps to meet the objective within a given time frame.

Individualized Plan (IP)

A written plan designed to identify the total needs of a person receiving services and the services required to meet those needs. Also referred to as the Service Plan.

Individual Service and Support Plan (ISSP)

A written plan designed by a PASA to identify specific program objectives and how progress will be measured. It becomes a supplement to the IP.

Informed Consent

A decision based on knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages and implications of choosing a particular course of action.

Intellectual Disability

A condition originating before the age 18 characterized by limitations in both intellectual and adaptive functioning that can range from mild to profound. Includes difficulties in the areas of communication, self-care, social skills, problem solving, functional academics, and work.


Licensed Clinical Social Worker


Licensed Practical Nurse.


Licensed Social Worker


Long Term Care.


Mistreatment, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation


Masters in Social Work.


A funding source authorized under Title XIX of the Social Security Act that provides health care assistance to qualified individuals. The program is funded by both federal and state money, but is administered by the state.


A federal health insurance program run by the Health Care Financing Administration that includes both hospital and medical insurance.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

A chronic neurological disorder caused by an individual's immune system attacking the central nervous system (CNS). It is characterized by a wide range of symptoms, such as paralysis, numbness, cognitive dysfunction, and mood disorders, and these symptoms can vary in severity from mild to severe.

Natural Supports

Supports and resources provided in the community by family, friends, neighbors, and others who are not paid to provide such supports.


Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Prior Authorization Review (PAR)

Process whereby requested services and levels of support are authorized by the state prior to access. PAR shows what services are authorized for persons enrolled in Medicaid funded waiver programs (i.e. residential, day) or Supported Living Services.

Program Approved Service Agency (PASA)

An intellectual and developmental disabilities service agency or typical community service agency that has received program approval to provide waiver services.

Personal Care Alternative (PCA)

A staffed residential program staffing up to three people, designed to meet the unique needs of the individuals.


Primary Care Physician.

Physical Therapist (PT)

Therapist who works with an individual, generally through exercise, to improve movement patterns.


A pattern of hording and eating non-food materials (rocks, grass, paper, etc.).

Positive Reinforcement

The presentation of something rewarding following a behavior which increases that behavior, typically high fives, praise, food, special activities and prizes.

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS)

A genetic disorder caused by missing genetic material on chromosome 15, characterized by low muscle tone, shortness of stature, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, intellectual disabilities, incomplete sexual maturity, and a relentless appetite.

Prevocational Services

Day service that prepares a participant for paid community employment. Includes teaching such concepts as attendance, task completion, problem solving and safety needed to obtain employment.

Program Manager

An employee who is responsible for overseeing designated programs, the individuals receiving services from those programs, and compliance with regulations.

Psychotropic Meds

Drugs which affect mental activity, behavior or perception. Psychotropic drugs include tranquilizers, sedatives, and anti-depressants.

Request For Proposal (RFP)

An RFP is issued to suppliers of an item or a service indicating a desire to purchase on behalf of the entity issuing the RFP.


Registered Nurse.

Representative Payee

A person or organization that is authorized to cash and manage public assistance checks (Social Security, Supplemental Security Income) for a person, through their request due to their inability to do so.


Under the SLS waiver, short term or temporary care of individuals with disabilities provided so that their family members or guardians can take a break from the day to day stress of care giving, lasting from a few hours to longer periods of time, including overnights.


Resource Coordinator (also known as Service Coordinator or Case Manager), assigned through the CCB.


Single Entry Point for service and support referral through local Department of Human Services or Community Centered Board.

Supports Intensity Scale (SIS)

A psychometric tool created by AAIDD to evaluate practical support requirements of a person with an intellectual disability through a positive and thorough interview process.

Supported Living Services (SLS)

Provides services and supports tailored to the needs of the individual living in his or her own home or family home, including but not limited to day services, mentorship, homemaker, personal care, and respite.

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)

Federal benefit program sponsored by the Social Security Administration. Disability and/or benefits received from deceased or disabled parent, benefit depends upon money contributed to the Social Security program either by the individual involved and/or the parent involved.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Federal financial benefit program sponsored by the Social Security Administration.

Safety Control Procedure

A written, planned restrictive procedure regarding when and how staff would physically intervene to keep an individual and/or others around the individual safe.


Unusual muscular or behavioral activity caused by abnormal brain impulses without purpose.

Service Agency

Also referred to as Program Approved Service Agency (PASA) and Service Provider Organization (SPO).

Service Plan

A written plan designed to identify the total needs of a person receiving services and the services required to meet those needs. Also referred to as the Individualized Plan (IP).

Service Provider Organization (SPO)

Also referred to as Program Approved Service Agency (PASA) and Service Agency.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional eligibility of psychosocial impairment, or both.

Target Behavior

Behavior targeted for increase or decrease as part of a behavioral program.

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