Common terms and Acronyms

We generally use a lot of individualized terms and acronyms in this field.  And many hold dear to the meanings of each word or phrase as they see it.  I personally have spent long enjoyable hours of polite banter over the exact meanings of some of these.  There overall is a general consensus of what each functionally mean.  Also note that terms may change slightly depending on the State or kind of institution.  Example: Schools may use different words for the same thing that a facility may use.   

Each term below has history either from the Lanterman act, Federal title 17 (Regional Center regulations), Federal title 22 (Intermediate Care facilities and Community Care facilities, and Day Programs), and the Department of Education regulations.   Since “legalese” can be difficult to understand, agree on, much less explain.  So baring all dissenters, I present this list of terms and their generally accepted meanings in the field overall.  This may only confuse the confused even more, but here it is.

Commonly used terms, phrases and acronyms

ADL’s: Activities of Daily living.  The things we do each day.  For example:  in the mornings we all eat breakfast, get dressed, go out, work etc…  Particularly for lower functioning individuals theses events need to be planned/scheduled and provide good general areas for training programs.

ID Team Meeting: Interdisciplinary team (Care Plan Meeting):  A meeting including 2-3 or more professionals from different disciplines along with the individual and interested parties.  During these meetings each person is expected to add their specialty to the group and develop service and training goals/objectives that (either the school, facility, Regional Center or others) will be provided for the individual.   These are the meetings where all the services to be provided are stated.  Note for families.  Be sure that services that are discussed are written down and be sure to read the final reports. In a very real sense the final report is a contract of that the school, day program, facility or Regional Center is going to provide.  

ID team member examples: Regional Center Case Worker, a Nurse, Registered Dietitian (RD), Psychologist, Speech therapist (ST), Physical therapist (PT), Occupational therapist (OT), QIDP, Administrator.  Most ID team meeting should also include the client and interested family members, Conservators, Legal guardians and Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Examples of ID team meetings in this field:

IEP: Individual Education Plan:  A written program plan developed for a school or day program to provide services to an individual who has special needs.
IPP: Individual Program Plan: A written document stating an individual’s training programs including formalized goals and objectives. IPP and ISP are often used interchangeably but mean mostly the same thing.
ISP: Individual Service Plan (also call IHP: Individual habilitative plan): A written document stating an individual’s training programs including formalized goals and objectives. This document also includes services objectives for example: John will go to the dentist annually.

Note: In facilities most ID team meetings are held annually and Semi-annually.  People living at home are annually and schools and day programs are held annually.

30 Day Review: The initial development of an individual’s goals and objectives meeting.  Here the ISP, IPP, IEP reports are created initially.
Annual and Semi-Annual Review: An ID team meeting to review of the individual’s goals and objectives over the past 6 months.  Here the ISP, IPP, IEP reports are updated. Note: In facilities most ID team meetings are held annually and Semi-annually.  People living at home are annually and schools and day programs are held annually.

Program Plan: A written document stating an individual’s training program.
Goals and Objectives:   What is expected to be achieved from a training program.  For example: To improve dressing skills- Danny will pull up his pants with verbal prompts.
Plan: This is the written step by step instructions to the staff “how” to prompt the individual to do something.
Data Collection Sheets: The area of the plan where staff writes down how the individual responded to the training prompts.
Prompts: Technical words that are triggers to tell someone you want them to do something.  Different kinds of prompts include: Hand over hand, Physical assist, modeling, gesture, verbal, cue, and independent.

Facility Staffing: Note: Most often in smaller operations one or all the above designations can be the same or different people.

QIDP: Qualified Intellectually Disabilities Professional (Program Coordinator): The person who is responsible to coordinate the person’s training and service needs.  The QIDP is also responsible to write the Annual and Semi-Annual Reports as wells as monthly and quarterly reviews of progress.
Administrator: The person who is responsible to see that the facility has everything that it needs to operate under the regulations.  For example Food, electricity staff is paid.  This person is sometimes the Owner or Licensee as well.  Note: Administrators in Community Care facilities (level 3 and 4 homes) are required to be licensed.
Nurse: Always an RN, except in ICFDD-N facilities where there can be LVN’s as well as the RN.
Licensee: The person who the facility’s license is under.
Owner: The person who owns the business
Direct Care Staff: The individuals who give the direct daily care and complete the training objectives.

Regional Center Service Coordinator: The person who is responsible to provide information and services for the Intellectually Disabled and their families.  Regional Center usually attends most ID team meetings and often incorporates the goals and objectives in their final reports.   Regional Center often pays for in full or in part for most day programs (after the person turns 22 years old).  They also pay for in full or in part for placement (a facility) outside of the parent’s home.  There is even a small amount of money that they may pay either a family member or hired person for respect care (above and beyond care that is found necessary each month).  And on very rare occasion they will pay for special equipment and therapists when there are no other funds available.
A Packet: An individual’s specific information gathered into a neat bundle summarizing what a person is like.  Packets are sent out only by Regional Centers to be viewed by a possible new facility or day program.

Normalization: A concept where the goal is to develop an approach to a person’s life that are as culturally as “normal” as possible.  This becomes particularly important for lower functioning people who depend on others for their choices of clothing, hair styles, work (or day programs).

Confidentiality:  The personal information of one client is to be kept private only to that client and specific authorized persons.  In the case of working with the Intellectually Disabled and related areas, all personal information about clients (except for their first names) is not to be either left out in the open for others to see or talked about with others.  So please don’t take offence when staff will not talk about others in the same facility or school/day program.

Active Treatment: A concept where ongoing training is the key for continued growth and development of individuals.  This concept is the foundation of all the training programs and specific services for individuals to become as independent of others as possible.

Client Rights: There is a list of minimum client’s rights that all clients under Regional Center are afforded clients.  These are basic fundamental rights that everyone in the field need to be aware of.


I tried to keep it simple. But please let me know if there are missing terms, phrases and acronyms that are also important to add to this list.  Also feel free to contact me if there are things that need more (or less) explanation.