ABA  –  The abbreviation for Applied Behavior Analysis, a common therapy for individuals with autism. ABA is not just one specific treatment method, but rather an umbrella term for the application of behavioral science to socially significant behaviors. As such, ABA encompasses a variety of scientifically proven treatment methods to address all types of behaviors. It includes both behavior intervention techniques and measurement of progress.

ADA – The abbreviation for Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark piece of federal legislation that, among other things, prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s disability.

Assessment – Assessment is the term used to describe the process for determining whether a person is eligible for services through the regional center. Assessment is coordinated by the regional center’s Intake and Assessment Department staff. It involves regional center professional staff obtaining information from the applicant and his or her family members, advocates, professionals and others. The goal is to gain as much information as possible to assist families in understanding the nature of their situation and to determine whether a person meets the standards for eligibility that the state sets for services to be funded by regional centers. If the person is eligible for services, the information gained during assessment is used to help in developing an Individual Program Plan.

Autism – A complex developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. For more information about autism, visit the Autism Society of America or Autism Speaks.

ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD is a term commonly used in place of the word “autism” in recognition of the fact that autism affects individuals differently and to varying degrees, thus it is considered a “spectrum” disorder.

Cerebral Palsy – A developmental disability that is the result of some type of trauma or injury to the brain before, during and shortly after birth. It is a permanent, but not progressive, condition characterized by impaired motor skills. For more information about cerebral palsy, visit United Cerebral Palsy, Orange County. (Please note that UCP has rebranded as Unlimited Possibilities.)

Cognitive Disability – Also called “intellectual disability,” cognitive disability is a preferred term to describe the condition formerly referred to as mental retardation.

Community Care LicensingCommunity Care Licensing, or CCL, is the division of California’s Department of Social Services that is responsible for licensing a broad range of facilities, including group homes for adults with developmental disabilities. CCL is also responsible for investigating and taking action on complaints about the facilities it licenses.

Consumer – The adult or child with developmental disabilities who receives regional center services. The consumer is sometimes referred to as the “client” by service providers and others.

DDS – The abbreviation for California’s Department of Developmental Services, the state-level agency that contracts with regional centers to provide community-based services and supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families. DDS is also responsible for overseeing California’s state-operated developmental centers.

Eligibility – The determination about whether a person meets the requirements set by the State of California to have services and supports paid for by the regional center. There are different eligibility requirements for Lanterman Act services, Early Start services and Prevention services through regional centers.

Epilepsy – A medical condition that produces seizures, affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It is also sometimes called a “seizure disorder.” For more information about epilepsy, visit the Epilepsy Foundation.

Generic Resources – Some supports and services are provided to RCOC clients and families by public agencies mandated to serve the general public, or through community organizations – these are often referred to as “generic resources.” One example would be the public schools, which are required to provide educational services to all children, including those with developmental disabilities. Another example would be Medi-Cal and Medicare, which provide healthcare to the poor and elderly, including many regional center consumers.

Intake – Intake is the regional center department responsible for handling inquiries by individuals and families who think they may qualify to receive regional center services. Intake is also the word commonly-used to describe the process that the department follows, which includes assessment (see above) and determination of eligibility (see above).

Intellectual Disability – Also called “cognitive disability,” intellectual disability is a preferred term to describe the condition formerly referred to as mental retardation.

IEP (Individualized Education Program) – Developed and implemented by public schools in partnership with the parents of a child with disabilities, an IEP spells-out the educational goals for the child and the specific strategies and plans the school will be undertaking to meet the child’s educational needs.

IPP (Individual Program Plan) – Based on hopes and dreams for the future as well as an assessment of the person’s needs, preferences and life choices, the Individual Program Plan (or IPP) states specific objectives to develop competencies and achieve personal goals in the areas of community participation, housing, work, school and leisure time. It includes a special section describing those services and supports necessary to maintain the child at home. In all cases, the person with a developmental disability, parents, the service coordinator, and a wide circle of relatives and friends are engaged members of the Planning Team that creates the plan using person-centered planning.

IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan) – A written plan for providing early intervention services to an eligible child and the child’s family from birth up to the third birthday.  The IFSP addresses developmental needs in at least one of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development.

In all cases, the person with a developmental disability, parents, the service coordinator, and a wide circle of relatives and friends are engaged members of the Planning Team that creates the plan using person-centered planning.

Mental Retardation – No longer a preferred term, mental retardation is a developmental disability marked by impaired intellectual capacity. The preferred terms for this condition are cognitive disability or intellectual disability.

Service Coordination – Service coordination is another term for “case management.” This service is provided by an employee of the regional center who often has a background in social work. Service coordination is the first and most fundamental of the services that individuals and families receive through regional centers. It is the means through which needs are identified, and specific resources for meeting those needs are explored and accessed – all with the goal of ensuring that the person with disabilities receives the necessary supports to live safely and with dignity in the community.

SIR – An SIR, or Special Incident Report, is a formal report that is filed with the regional center whenever a person served by the regional center is involved in an unusual event, such as a crime or injury. There are detailed and specific rules about SIRs that service providers and regional centers must follow.

SSI/SSPSupplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a federal benefit program that provides financial support to people with disabilities and others in order to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. In California, the SSP or State Supplementary Payment augments the federal payment. People who meet the federal criteria for SSI benefits are also eligible for SSP.