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Via Resources & Glossary Via

Glossary of Terms & Abbreviations

The terms listed below are ones that may be useful.  This is not an all inclusive list and the sites listed below are not a part of Via of the Lehigh Valley’s website.  You will be directed off Via’s website when you click on the links below.

For more extensive information on any of the terms listed below, visit the Related Links & Resources section of our website.  To submit a term for the glossary, contact:

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   XYZ

ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act — Answers to commonly asked questions about how the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) affects employment, transportation, public facilities and other areas of access.

APSE - Association for People in Supported Employment — APSE is an advocacy organziation that works to improve and expand integrated employment opportunities, services, and outcomes for persons experiencing disabilities.

Asperger syndrome — Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder in which people have severe difficulties understanding how to interact socially. People with Asperger's syndrome have some traits of autism, especially weak social skills and a preference for sameness and routine. But unlike those with autism, children with Asperger's syndrome usually start to talk around 2 years of age (the age at which speech normally develops). They have normal to above-normal intelligence. Both conditions belong to the group of disorders called pervasive developmental disorders. As many as 3 out of every 10,000 people have Asperger's syndrome.

CBS - Via's Community Based Supports or Community Voluneteer Services — Services provided by Via

CCRD - Child Care Resource Developers of Pennsylvania — A statewide initiative, created by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, to enhance community solutions to improving the quality and increasing the capacity of child care services in Pennsylvania.

CCRD agencies were created through a statewide initiative to offer grant assistance, and resources linkages to child care providers to improve the quality and increase the capacity of services in Pennsylvania. The CCRD manages the Keystone STARS program and also works with community groups and businesses to promote strategies to meet child care and early care and education needs in each community.

CDC - Center for Disease Control — The information center includes: information about developmental disabilites; activities of CDC and other federal agencies; state activities funded by CDC; education, services, and research resources; and activities to help children use the Internet to learn more.

CE - Customized Employment — Creative employment option for people not interested in Supported Employment, some examples are small business ownership or resource ownership.

CES - Via's Community Employment Services — Services provided by Via

CIS - Via's Consumer Information System — Via's demographic and billing database

CMS - Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — CMS works to ensure effective, up-to-date health care coverage and to promote quality care for beneficiaries. CMS wants to achieve a transformed and modernized health care system and will continue to transform and modernize America's health care system.

Community Based Work Assessement - CBWA — CBWA is a stand alone service for evaluation purposes only. It uses job coaches to assess a potentional Vocational Rehabitlation (VR) customer at 3-5 actual job sites in the community. It is done to permit the individual and the VR counselor an opportunity to determine if the individual is one who is qualified to proceed with supported employment as a service funded by VR. At the end a report is written and a decision to move forward with Supported Employment services is determined. Assessments run from 20-40 hours with an average of 30.

CP - Cerebral Palsy — CP is a group of motor problems and physical disorders related to a brain injury. CP causes uncontrolled reflex movements and muscle tightness (spasticity) that may affect a part, a side, or the entire body, with varying severity. Several conditions, such as seizures, or vision and hearing problems, are often also associated with cerebral palsy.

Customized Employment — Customized Employment means individualizing the relationship between job seekers and employers in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, requirements, and interests of a person with a complex life. The process is designed to meet the workplace needs of the employer and the discrete tasks of the position. When a customized relationship is developed, a shared employment alliance results.

Developmental Disability — Developmental disability is a term used to describe life-long disabilities attributable to mental and/or physical or combination of mental and physical impairments, manifested prior to age twenty-two. The term is used most commonly in the United States to refer to disabilities affecting daily functioning in three or more of the following areas: capacity for independent living, economic self-sufficiency, learning, mobility, receptive and expressive language, self-care or self-direction. disabilities are usually classified as severe, profound, moderate or mild, as assessed by the individual's need for supports, which may be lifelong.

Discovery — Is an assessment process that seeks to answer the questions “who is this person?” and “what are the ideal conditions of employment?” The process most often starts at home, includes an inventory of the surrounding neighborhood (with transportation and natural supports an on-going employment and inclusion issue, it makes sense to look for interests can be explored through informational interviews, paid work experiences. Discovery runs from 25-50 hours with an average of 40.

Down Syndrome — Down syndrome is a lifelong condition in which a person is born with distinct physical features, such as a flat face and short neck, and some degree of cognitive disability. Although Down syndrome is permanent, most people who have it are able to live healthy, productive lives. Given the proper care and help they need, children with Down syndrome can flourish and grow into healthy and happy adults.

DPW - Department of Public Welfare — The mission of the Department of Public Welfare is to: Promote, improve and sustain the quality of family life; Break the cycle of dependency; Promote respect for employees; Protect and serve Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens; and Manage our resources effectively.

EI - Early Intervention — Services provided by Via

EI - Early Intervention — A program that helps families develop their child's potential. All children grow and learn at different rates. Children who are developing more slowly than typical children are offered Early Intervention services. EI, an entitelment program, is funded by federal, state, and county funds, public insurance and many community resources. Children who have special needs due to development delays or disabilities are eligible to receive early intervention services.

EIS - Early Intervention Specialist — Early Intervention Specialists (EIS) address all areas of a child’s development focusing on their individual learning style. Working with the parents or caregivers, an EIS implements a SI plan that assists a child in their ability to play and interact in their environment. A child’s capacity to understand the world around them, learn independence and communicate and interact with others is some of the areas addressed by an Early Intervention Specialist.

FMLA - Family Medical Leave Act — Federal law adminstered by the US Department of Labor that states covered employers must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee; for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care; to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Follow Along Services — Follow-Along services are designed for individuals in community employment who need support after successfully completing job training. Follow Along services assist participants with issues such as adapting to changes in supervisors, assigned work tasks, living situation, etc.: Vocational case management; periodic work-site visits to monitor work performance; additional job coaching and support when or as needed; regular job retention/socialization groups; long term career and life-planning and options-planning should the consumer lose his/her job.

Fragile X Syndrome — Fragile X Syndrome is a defect of the X chromosome. The disorder occurs more frequently and severely among males than females. This condition is the leading known familial cause of mental retardation in the United States. Language delays, behavioral problems, autism or autistic-like behavior (including poor eye contact and hand-flapping), enlarged external genitalia (macroorchidism), large or prominent ears, hyperactivity, delayed motor development and/or poor sensory skills are among the wide range of symptoms associated with this disorder.
HCSIS - Home and Community Services Information System — Office of Mental Retardation's (OMR) statewide database.

HHS - Health & Human Services — US agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. HHWS includes more than 300 programs including: Health and social science research, Preventing disease, including immunization services, Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people), Health information technology, Financial assistance and services for low-income families, and Head Start (pre-school education and services).

HSRI - Human Services Research Institute — HSRI assists states and the federal government to enhance services and supports to people with mental illness and people with and to support the development of alternatives to congregate care facilities.

HSRI was active in the 1970s in the assessment of the impact of federal programs, such as Supplemental Security Income, housing subsidies, and vocational rehabilitation, and their application on the expansion of community services for people with disabilities. HSRI staff also participated in the implementation of the Community Support Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, and in the design of a housing research agenda for people with disabilities.
Inclusive Childcare — Children with and without disabilities share high quality developmental learning experiences together. Staff and administration of an inclusive center commit to facilitate the specialized learning needs of children with disabilities, and work with inclusion professionals to develop a curriculum that fulfills the parent expectations for the kind of programs and experiences they want for their children.

Industrial Services — Services provided by Via - workshop program

IRWE - Impairment Related Work Expense — Out–of–pocket costs of items, SSA calls impairment–related work expenses (IRWE), that are deducted from the amount of earnings used to figure your SSI benefit. Your SSI benefits are not reduced as much because SSA does not count all of your earnings.

ISP - Individual Service Plan — A plan that lists the services to be received, who will provide those services, how much it will cost and the goals to be achieved

IU - Intermediate Unit — There are 29 IU's throughout Pennsylvania, which were created in 1971 to provide services to school districts in ways that create economies of scale, cost savings, and better efficiencies in the delivery of important programs and services to children, especially those with special needs. They play an important role in providing substantial support services to the administrators and teachers in local school districts. IU's mission in PA is (1) to strengthen and supplement local school district programs and services to children and their families; (2) to provide leadership without dominance; and (3) to provide assistance without interference.

Job Carving — Job carving involves melding job seeker and employer needs through systematic workplace analysis and person-centered career planning. Contrary to popular belief, job carving does not begin with the employer or the worksite. Instead, carving is based on the concept of using a person’s unique contributions and matching those to an employment setting.

Job Coach — A job coach is a person who is hired by the placement agency to provide specialized on-site training to assist the employee with a disability in learning and performing the job and adjusting to the work environment.
Keystone STARS (Standards, Training, Assistance, Resources, & Support) — A quality improvement initiative designed to recognize and reward child care providers who exceed state health and safety licensing requirements. Child care providers are awarded a STAR One, STAR Two, STAR Three, or STAR Four quality rating based on their achievement of quality performance standards in the areas of staff education, learning environment, and administration. The star rating reflects standards of quality that are research-based and linked to improved outcomes for children, as related to social and emotional development, learning skills, and school readiness.
Licensing — Via has 3 program licensed by Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) - the workshop (Via's Industrial Servcies), some family living programs and Early Intervention. Each has a set of regulations and is audited by the regional OMR inspectors annually.
MANDT training — Training for staff to primarily de-escalate behavior with a small component of restraint training, this is the only restraint technique allowed by Via.

MATP - Medical Assistance Transportation Program — Provides non-emergency transportation to medical assistance compensable medical visits for Commonwealth MA recipients. The Commonwealth grants MATP funds to all Pennsylvania counties, with the exception of Philadelphia County, to administer the provision of transportation services to recipients and provides annual allocations to each county for this service. Counties contract with local transportation agencies to provide services to recipients. In the case of Philadelphia County, the Commonwealth contracts directly with a transportation broker to administer and provide services. It is possible that the new MMIS, which is scheduled for implementation in early 2004, may support non-emergency transportation claims processing.
NAEYC - National Association for the Education of Young Children — Organization dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. NAEYC is committed to becoming an increasingly high performing and inclusive organization. Founded in 1926, NAEYC is the world's largest organization working on behalf of young children with more than 100,000 members, a national network of nearly 450 local, state, and regional Affiliates, and a growing global alliance of like minded organizations.

NC MH/MR/D&A - Northampton County Mental Health, Drug &Alcohol Division — This website has been designed to provide detailed information about NC MH/MR/D&A programs and services. The site also offers news, contact information for all staff members, popular downloadable forms and documents, driving directions to our building, and links to other helpful websites.

NIH - National Institutes of Health — NIH is the nation's medical research agency – making important medical discoveries that improve health and save lives. NIH, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research.

NISH - National Institute for the Severely Handicapped — NISH is a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with severe disabilities by securing Federal contracts through the AbilityOne Program, formally Javits-Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) for its network of community-based, nonprofit agencies.

NOD - National Association of Disability — The mission of the National Organization on Disability (N.O.D.) is to expand the participation and contribution of America’s 54 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. By raising disability awareness through programs and information, together we can work toward closing the participation gaps.
OMR - Office of Mental Retardation now Office of Developmental Programs — OMR, now ODP, directs the fiscal and program planning, management and oversight of all mental retardation program operations including state operated facilities, community mental retardation programs and early intervention programs.

OMR Bulletins — OMR sends out bulletins to add regulations or inform providers of OMR philosophy or direction

OT - Occupational Therapy — Occupational Therapists focus on how a child receives and uses input from their senses (vision, hearing, touch and movement). By working with this “sensory-motor” development, children acquire “fine motor” skills, such as use of the eyes and hands together, so the environment is more accessible and fun. Fine motor skills are used for play, feeding, dressing and school activities.

OVR - Office of Vocational Rehabilitation — OVR is a program under the state of Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry that assists Pennsylvanians with disabilities to prepare for, obtain, and retain employment. OVR has its own job placement counselors, but typically refers to agencies like Via for people with more significant disabilities who will require ongoing support to retain their employment.
PACCA - Pennsylvania Child Care Association — PACCA is dedicated to facilitating the provision of quality early care and education to the children of Pennsylvania by: promoting the value of educationally appropriate child care to the general public; advocating at the local, state, and federal levels for quality early care and education that responds to the needs of Pennsylvania children and families; providing a forum in which members can work cooperatively to develop programs and provide services; advocate to enhance the status of the child care profession.

PADDC - Pennsylvania disabilities Council — PADDC is made up of people with disabilities, family members, advocates, and state department representatives who work to create favorable conditions for people with disabilities and their families in the Commonwealth. PADDC learns about the present situation for people with disabilities and their families in Pennsylvania and considers actions and strategies that will lead to more integrated and productive lives for people with disabilities in our state.

PARF - Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities — PARF is a statewide organization of facilities serving individuals with physical, mental, social and/or emotional disabilities. PARF works to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

PASS - Plan to Achieve Self Support — Administer through Social Security, PASS is a tool that a person with a disability uses to set aside income or resources to reach a work goal. For example, a person could set aside money for an educational or training program or to start a business.

PDD - Pervasive Developmental Disorders — The diagnostic category pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), as opposed to specific developmental disorders (SDD), refers to a group of five disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication. The most commonly known PDD is (1) Autistic Disorder, with the remaining identified as (2) Rett's Disorder, (3) Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, (4) Asperger's Syndrome, and (5) Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (or PDDNOS). Parents may note symptoms of PDD as early as infancy and typically onset is prior to 3 years of age. PDD itself generally does not affect life expectancy.

PT - Physical Therapy — Physical Therapists work with children to develop gross motor skills such as rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, climbing stairs or riding a bike. Therapists also work to improve children’s ability to maintain good body posture and move through their environment safely.

PUNS - Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services — PUNS provides a uniform instrument that is used by County Mental Retardation Programs, on an on-going basis, to collect a standard set of data on individuals who are waiting for mental retardation services and supports. PUNS has been formally adopted by the Office of Developmental Programs, formerly the Office of Mental Retardation, as a requirement for annual County Plans and for use in program budgeting. The County Plan and Budget Process is the annual planning and budgeting process in place across Pennsylvania to address the needs of individuals.
Resource Ownership — Resource ownership is a strategy that specifically identifies a resource that an individual with a disability can offer to a company. The individual purchases and owns the equipment or property and is paid wages by the business where they are hired. If the individual moves to another position, the resource still belongs to the individual. Resource ownership can empower a person with a disability and provide an advantage when he or she is negotiating a customized position with an employer. Resource ownership might lead to self-employment, and an individual eventually owning his or her business.

Rett Syndrome — Rett Syndrome is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder that appears to occur almost exclusively in females but can occur rarely in males. Infants and children with the disorder typically develop normally until about 7 to 18 months of age, when they may begin to lose previously acquired skills (developmental regression), such as purposeful hand movements and the ability to communicate. Additional abnormalities typically include slowing of head growth (acquired microcephaly); development of distinctive, uncontrolled (stereotypic) hand movements, such as hand clapping, rubbing, or "wringing"; and impaired control of voluntary movements required for coordination of walking (gait apraxia). Affected children also typically develop autistic-like behaviors, breathing irregularities, feeding and swallowing difficulties, growth retardation, and episodes of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain (seizures).
SE - Supported Employment — Supported employment facilitates competitive work in integrated work settings for individuals with the most severe disabilities (i.e. psychiatric, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injury) for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred, and who, because of the nature and severity of their disability, need ongoing support services in order to perform their job. Supported employment provides assistance such as job coaches, transportation, assistive technology, specialized job training, and individually tailored supervision.

SI - Specialized Instruction — Early Intervention Specialists (EIS) address all areas of a child’s development focusing on their individual learning style. Working with the parents or caregivers, an EIS implements a SI plan that assists a child in their ability to play and interact in their environment. A child’s capacity to understand the world around them, learn independence and communicate and interact with others is some of the areas addressed by an Early Intervention Specialist.

SSA - Social Security Administration — SSA pays retirement, disability and survivors benefits to workers and their families and administer the Supplemental Security Income program.

SSDI - Social Security Disability Income — SSDI is paid to people with disabilities who have worked in recent years and have earned wages and paid into the SSA system. SSDI is also for people with disabilities who have deceased parents who have paid into SSA.

SSI - Supplemental Security Income — SSI is paid to individuals who are low income individuals/families and disabled whether or not the individual has worked in the past. SSI child's disability benefits are paid to children who are under 18 years old, are disabled and the parents or guardian are of lower income.

SSI Work Incentives — SSI Work Incentives are rules that determine how your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will be affected while you prepare for and go to work. They are designed to help you enter or reenter the workforce. You are encouraged to work or to seek education or training for future employment. Work Incentives are intended to give you some of the support you need while you try to move from benefit dependency to increased self-sufficiency.

ST - Speech Therapy — Speech Therapists focus on development of skills that enable a child to express themselves and understand others. Speech Therapists encourage natural development of communication skills like babies locating sounds and responding to language, and making their first sounds or gestures. Muscle development of the mouth and face is necessary to facilitate speech and eating skills. A Speech Therapist looks at how a child is using their muscles and works to improve “oral-motor” skills for better eating and speech.
TBI - Traumatic Brain Injury — TBI, also called acquired brain injury or simply head injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain.
WAC - Work Activity Center or Workshop Program — Licensing term used for Via's Industrial Services program.

Waiver — Waiver is the shortened term for Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Program, which provides the majority of funding for the Pennsylvania mental retardation supports and services to help people with disabitlties live in their home and community rather than in an institution.

Waiver - Consolidated — The Consolidated Waiver for Individuals with Mental Retardation provides services to eligible persons with mental retardation so that they can remain in the community. Financial Eligibility: Age 3 and older; Mental retardation. Services: Environmental accessibility adaptations; Habilitation services (residential, day, prevocational, supported employment services, homemaker/chore services, adaptive equipment); Permanency planning; Respite care; Specialized therapy; Transportation; and Visiting nurse.

Waiver - Home & Community Based — Waiver programs generally support persons in their own homes, in your family home, in family living home (Lifesharing), or group living arrangements (CLAs). Pennsylvania has received federal approval to operate two waivers generally known as the (1) Consolidated Waiver, and (2) Person/Family Directed Support Waiver.

Waiver - Person Family Directed — Provides habilitation services to persons over age three who demonstrate significant developmental delays and are living at home. Waiver services are authorized by County MH/MR Programs and services are delivered by agencies under contract with the county.

Waiver Funds — State funds for people with disabilities that is matched by the federal government with Medicaid money- there are 2 types for people in the mental retardation system (consolidated waiver and PFDS or person family directed waiver)- the funds are used to keep people with disabilities in the community instead of institutions.



For more information, contact:
Jillian Lovejoy, Communications Director | 484-893-5399