Glossary


access barriers: Any obstruction that prevents people with disabilities from using standard facilities, equipment, and resources.

accessible: In the case of a facility, readily usable by a particular individual; in the case of a program or activity, presented or provided in such a way that a particular individual can participate, with or without auxiliary aid(s); in the case of electronic resources, usable with or without adaptive computer technology.

accessible web design: Creating webpages according to universal design principles to eliminate or reduce barriers, including those that affect people with disabilities.

accommodation: An adjustment to make a program, facility, or resource accessible to a person with a disability.

adaptive technology: Hardware or software products that provide access to a computer that is otherwise inaccessible to an individual with a disability.

ALT attribute: HTML code that works in combination with graphical tags to provide alternative text for graphical elements.

alternative keyboard: A keyboard that is different from a standard computer keyboard in its size or layout of keys.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA): A comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public services, public accommodations, services operated by private entities, and telecommunications.

American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII): Standard for unformatted plain text that enables transfer of data between platforms and computer systems.

anxiety disorders: Mood disorders in which the individual responds to thoughts, situations, environments, and/or people with fear and anxiety.

applet: Computer program that runs from within another application.

assistive listening devices (ALDs): Devices designed to amplify sound directly from a microphone/transmitter to a receiver/hearing aid. Examples include FM systems, infrared transmissions, and induction loops.

assistive technology: Technology used to assist a person with a disability, e.g., wheelchair, handsplints, computer-based equipment.

attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADD/ADHD): Disorders that affect the ability to attend and concentrate.

audio description: The addition of audio content to a video product to read titles and speaker names and describe scenery, objects, and other vital information for audience members who cannot see.

auditory processing disorder: A type of learning disability that involves difficulty listening, attending to, discriminating, and/or remembering aural information, not due to a hearing loss.

binary files: Electronic files containing non ASCII text.

bipolar affective disorder (BAD): A mood disorder with revolving periods of mania and depression.

borderline personality disorder (BPD): A personality disorder that includes both mood disorder and thought disorder symptoms.

Braille: A system of embossed characters formed by using a Braille cell, a combination of six dots consisting of two vertical columns of three dots each. Each simple Braille character is formed by one or more of these dots and occupies a full cell or space. Some Braille may use eight dots.

browser: Software designed to access and display information available on the web. Browsers may be graphical or text-based. Text-only browsers cannot display images, sound clips, video, and plug-in features that graphical browsers can. Talking browsers are also available for use by people who have difficulty reading text due to a learning disability or visual impairment.

captioning/captions: Text that is displayed on video presentations or broadcasts enabling people with hearing impairments to access the audio portion of the material.

cerebral palsy: A condition that results from early, non-progressive damage to the brain, often impacting hand use, mobility, and/or speech.

closed captions: Captions that appear on the screen only when special equipment, called decoders, are used to view the video product.

closed circuit TV magnifier (CCTV): Camera used to magnify and project books or other materials onto a monitor or television screen.

communication device: Hardware that allows a person who has difficulty using his or her voice to use symbols or a synthesized voice for communication. May range in complexity from a simple picture board to complex electronic devices that allow personalized, unique construction of ideas.

compensatory tools: Adaptive computing systems that allow people with disabilities to use computers to complete tasks that they would have difficulty doing without the aid of a computer, e.g., reading, writing, communicating, accessing information.

concept mapping: Software that allows for visual representation of ideas and concepts that are presented spatially and can be connected with arrows to show relationships between ideas.

digital: Computer-formatted data or information.

disability: Physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).

discrimination: Act of making a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit.

diversity: Refers to all races, ethnicities, disabilities, genders, ages, and cultures.

dyscalculia: A learning disability that makes it difficult for a person to understand and use math concepts and symbols.

dysgraphia: A learning disability that makes it difficult for a person to perform physical tasks of forming letters and words using a pen and paper and producing legible handwriting.

dyslexia: A learning disability that may cause an individual to mix up letters within words and words within sentences while reading. He or she may also have difficulty spelling words correctly while writing; letter reversals are common. Some individuals with dyslexia also have a difficult time using relative or cardinal directions.

dyspraxia: A learning disability in which a person's language comprehension does not match language production. He or she may mix up words and sentences while talking.

electronic information: Any digital data for use with computers or computer networks, including disks, CD-ROMs, and web resources.

facility: All or any portion of a physical complex, including buildings, structures, equipment, grounds, roads, and parking lots.

fingerspelling: Method of sign language interpretation that uses a manual alphabet to spell a spoken word.

FM sound amplification system: Electronic amplification system consisting of three components: a microphone or transmitter, monaural FM receiver, and a combination charger and carrying case. It provides wireless FM broadcast from a speaker to a listener who has a hearing impairment.

graphical user interface (GUI): Program interface that presents digital information and software programs in an image-based format, as compared to a character-based format.

hardware: Physical equipment related to computers.

hearing impairment: Complete or partial loss of ability to hear caused by a variety of injuries or diseases, including congenital defects.

hidden disability: Also known as an invisible disability, any disability that is not readily observable to others.

host: Any computer that holds Internet resources for access by others, or the computer that provides Internet access and houses email accounts.

HTML validation: Process that analyzes HTML documents and identifies HTML errors and non-standard code.

hyperlink, hypertext: Highlighted word or graphic on a webpage that, when selected, allows the user to jump to another part of the document or to another webpage.

hypertext markup language (HTML): Markup language used to create webpages.

hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP): Communication protocol used by the web to transfer text, graphics, audio, and video.

image map: Picture or graphic on a webpage in which hyperlinks are embedded.

inclusion: See mainstreaming.

input: Any method by which information is entered into a computer.

Internet: Computer network connecting government, education, commercial, other organizational and individual computer systems.

interpreter: Professional person who assists a deaf person in communicating with hearing people.

invisible disability: Also known as a hidden disability. Any disability that is not readily observable to others.

Java: Computer programming language used to create programs or applets that work with some web browsers to include features with animation or other characteristics not available through standard HTML.

joystick: A device consisting of a lever that allows a pointer to move up, right, left, or down and serves as an alternative to a mouse. It usually includes buttons to enable mouse clicks.

keyboard emulation: A method of having an alternative device or software, such as a switch-based system, serve the role of a keyboard.

keyguard: A plastic or metal shield that covers a keyboard with holes over the keys. It allows use of a keyboard without undesired activation of surrounding keys.

large print books: Most ordinary print books use 10-12 point font for body text. Large print books generally use 16 to 18 point font. The size of a large print book is also proportionately larger (usually 8.5 x 11 inches).

LD (learning disabled): Difficulties with intake, processing, or output of information resulting in a large discrepancy between intelligence and achievement.

learning styles: Preferences toward processing and integrating information using different sensory abilities (e.g., auditory, visual, kinesthetic).

Lynx: Text-based web browser.

mainstreaming: The inclusion of people with disabilities, with or without special accommodations, in programs, activities, and facilities with their non-disabled peers.

major life activities: Functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, and participating in community activities (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).

mental illness: A term that refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders causing severe disturbances in thinking, feeling, relating, and functional behaviors. These disorders result in substantially diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

mobility impairment: Disability that affects movement ranging from gross motor skills, such as walking, to fine motor movement involving manipulation of objects by hand.

mouse emulation: A method of having an alternative device or software, such as a switch-based system, to serve the role of a mouse.

multimedia: In terms of electronic information, any data that is presented through several formats including text, graphics, moving pictures, and sound.

multi-tasking: Attending to, performing, and managing two or more tasks concurrently.

non-verbal learning disorder: A learning disorder demonstrated by below-average motor coordination, visual-spatial organization, and social skills.

off-line captioning: Captions that are developed after the video product has been created.

onscreen keyboard: See virtual keyboard.

open captioning: Captions that always appear on the screen when the video product is presented.

optical character recognition (OCR): Technology system that scans and converts printed materials into electronic text.

oral interpreter: A professional who uses lip movements to make spoken language more accessible to individuals with hearing impairments who lipread.

output: Any method of displaying or presenting electronic information to the user through a computer monitor or other device.

peripheral neuropathy: A condition caused by damage to the nerves in the peripheral nervous system, which includes nerves that run from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.

physical or mental impairment: Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).

plug-in: A separate program written to be launched by a specific web browser to display or run special elements in webpages, such as animation, video, or audio.

psychiatric disability: A diagnosable mental illness causing severe disturbances in thinking, feeling, relating, and/or functional behaviors that results in a substantially diminished capacity to cope with daily life demands.

qualified individual with a disability: An individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).

reader: A volunteer or employee of an individual with a disability (e.g., visual impairment, learning disability) who reads printed material in person or for an audio recording.

reading system: Hardware and software designed to provide access to printed text for people with visual impairments, mobility impairments, or learning disabilities. Character recognition software controls a scanner that takes an image of a printed page, converts it to computer text using recognition software, and then reads the text using a synthesized voice.

real-time captions: Captions that are simultaneously created during a video program or meeting.

reasonable accommodations: The removal of a barrier, alteration of an assignment, or the provision of auxiliary aids to allow the full access and participation of an individual with a disability, in learning, employment, or other activities.

refreshable Braille display: Hardware connected to a computer that translates text selected on a computer monitor to Braille characters.

repetitive stress injury (RSI): This disability may be chronic or acute and usually is described as pain caused by overuse of extremities, usually hands and wrists.

reverse interpreting: A method of communication used when a sign language interpreter voices what is expressed by a person who is deaf or hard of hearing who cannot speak.

scanning input: A switch-based method of controlling a computer. Activations of a switch will bring up a control panel that, upon subsequent switch activations, allow a user to focus in on a desired control or keystroke. Custom scanning layouts can be created for a variety of purposes and programs and may also be used in a communication device.

schizophrenia: A thought disorder that may cause a person to experience delusions, hallucinations and paranoia that can result in difficulty with activities of daily living.

screen enlargement: Hardware or software that increases the size of characters and text on a computer screen.

screen reader: Software used to read text on a computer screen, often used by people who are blind, with visual impairments, or with learning disabilities.

screen resolution: Refers to the clarity or sharpness of an image. For computer monitors, this term indicates the number of pixels (or dots) on the screen used to display text and graphics. A higher screen resolution indicates increased display clarity.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act: Legislation that requires federal agencies to develop, procure, and use accessible electronic and information technology.

Section 713 of the Telecommunication Act of 1996: Legislation that resulted in many changes in the broadcast and cable television industries. Among other things it charged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create mandates to increase the percentage of television programming that is captioned. It has published rules and set guidelines for gradually increasing the number of captioned programs.

sensory impairment: A disability that affects touch, sight, or hearing, or any combination of the three.

server: Any computer that stores information that is available to other users, often over the Internet.

side effects: The effects of medications that can interfere with functional performance.

sign language: Manual communication commonly used by people who are deaf. The gestures or symbols in sign language are organized in a linguistic way. Each individual gesture is called a sign. Each sign has three distinct parts: the handshape, the position of the hands, and the movement of the hands. American Sign Language (ASL) is the most commonly used sign language in the United States. Deaf people from different countries speak different sign languages.

specific learning disability: A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in difficulties listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, or doing mathematical calculations. Frequent limitations include hyperactivity, distractibility, emotional instability, visual and/or auditory perception difficulties, and/or motor limitations, depending on the type(s) of learning disability.

speech impairment: Problems in communication and related areas, such as oral motor function, ranging from simple sound substitutions to the inability to understand or use language or use the oral-motor mechanism for functional speech.

speech input or speech recognition: A method of controlling a computer and creating text by dictation. Speech input software is combined with a microphone.

standard HTML: Version of HTML accessible by all browsers.

strategy: System or plan to meet objectives or problem solve.

streaming media: A method of transferring audio and video via a network from a server to an end user's computer. During the transmission, the material is displayed or played on the end user's computer.

switch input: A method of controlling a computer or communication device. It is most often used with Morse code or scanning methods, but may also be used for controlling household appliances and related controls. Switches are available in a nearly endless array of sizes, shapes, and activation methods.

tag: (1) HTML code that prescribes the structure and formatting of webpages. (2) a keyword assigned to a piece of digital information, such as an image, document, or computer file.

telecommunications device for the Deaf (TDD) or teletypewriter (TTY): A device that enables someone who has a speech or hearing impairment to use a telephone when communicating with someone else who has a TDD/TTY. It can be used with any telephone, and one needs only a basic typing ability to use them.

Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990: Legislation that requires that television sets with screens thirteen inches or larger manufactured for sale in the United States must have built-in closed caption decoders.

test anxiety: The experience of severe distress such that an individual is rendered emotionally and physically unable to take an exam.

trackball: A mouse alternative that is basically an upside-down mouse. Useful for some people with mobility impairments because it isolates pointer movement from button clicking.

traumatic brain injury (TBI): Open and closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, including cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.

uniform resource locator (URL): An address used to locate a specific resource on the Internet. DO-IT's URL is http://www.washington.edu/doit/.

universal design (UD): Designing programs, services, tools, and facilities so that they are usable, without modification, by the widest range of users possible, taking into account a variety of abilities and disabilities.

universal design of instruction (UDI): The design of instructional materials and activities that make learning achievable by students with a wide variety of abilities and disabilities.

virtual keyboard: Software used to emulate a keyboard. A picture of a keyboard is displayed on a computer screen and the user points and clicks on the pictures of keys to enter text.

vision impairments: Complete or partial loss of ability to see, caused by a variety of injuries or diseases, including congenital defects. Legal blindness is defined as visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or widest diameter of visual field subtending an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.

Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and applies to any program that receives federal financial support. Section 504 of the Act is aimed at making educational programs and facilities accessible to all students. Section 508 of the Act requires that electronic office equipment purchased through federal procurement meets disability access guidelines.

word prediction: Software that reduces the number of keystrokes needed to type words and sentences. As characters are entered on either a standard, alternative, or virtual keyboard, suggested completions of the word that has been started are provided to the user.

web (WWW or World Wide Web): Hypertext and multimedia gateway to the Internet.