Access barrier: 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 by everyone, with or without adaptive computer technology.

Accessible web design: Creating World Wide Web pages according to universal design principles to eliminate or reduce barriers, including those that affect people with disabilities.

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

Adaptive technology: Hardware or software that provides 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 and services operated by private entities, and telecommunications.

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.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): A standard format for representing text that can be understood by all computers.

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: Special hardware and software used to assist a person with a disability by providing a solution to inaccessible features found in commercial products.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD): Disorders that affect the ability to attend and concentrate.

Audio description: The addition of audio content to a video product to read titles, speaker names, descriptions of scenery and objects, and other vital information for the viewer who cannot see.

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

Auxiliary aids and services: May include qualified interpreters or other effective methods of making aurally delivered materials available to individuals with hearing impairments; qualified readers, taped texts, or other effective methods of making visually delivered materials available to individuals with visual impairments; acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; and other similar services and actions.

Binary files: Electronic files with formatting information that is software-dependent.

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.

Browser: Software designed to access and display information available on the World Wide Web. Web browsers may be text-only, such as Lynx, or graphical, such as Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. Text-only browsers cannot display images, sounds clips, video and plug-in features that graphical browsers can.

Captioning: Text included with video presentations or broadcasts that enables people with hearing impairments to have access to the audio portion of the material.

Cerebral Palsy: A condition that results from early, nonprogressive damage to the brain, often impacting hand use, mobility, and/or speech.

Closed captions: Captions that appear only when special devices called decoders are used.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) magnifier: A camera used to magnify books or other materials on a monitor.

Communication device: Hardware that allows people who have difficulty using their voices clearly to use words or symbols for communication. May range in complexity from a simple picture board to complex electronic devices that allow personalized, unique construction of ideas.

Compensatory computing tools: Adaptive computing systems that allow people with disabilities to use computers to complete tasks that would be difficult without a computer (e.g., reading, writing, communicating, accessing information).

Cooperative education: Programs that work with students, faculty, staff, and employers to help students clarify career and academic goals and that expand classroom study by allowing students to participate in paid, practical work experiences.

Decoder: A small electronic device that decodes the captioning signal, resulting in closed captions being displayed on the screen. All U.S. television sets with screens 13 inches or larger manufactured after July 1, 1993, are required by law to have a built-in decoders. Some display devices (such as older or smaller televisions and data/video projectors) might not have decoders built in, so decoders must be purchased separately and physically connected.

Digital: Computer-formatted data or information.

Disability: A 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: The act of treating a person differently in a negative manner based on factors other than individual merit.

Diversity: Inclusion of all races, ethnicities, disabilities, genders, ages, and cultures.

Dymo Labeler: A device used to create raised-print or Braille labels.

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 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 may also have difficulty spelling words correctly while writing; letter reversals are common. Some individuals with Dyslexia also have a difficult time navigating and using right/left and/or compass directions.

Dyspraxia: A learning disability in which language comprehension does not match language production. An individual with dyspraxia 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 World Wide Web resources.

Essential job functions: Those functions of a job or task that must be completed, with or without an accommodation.

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: An electronic amplification system consisting of three components: a microphone/transmitter, monaural FM receiver and a combination charger/carrying case. It provides wireless FM broadcasts from a speaker to a listener who has a hearing impairment.

Frame tags: A means of displaying web pages. The browser reads the frame tags and produces an output that subdivides output within a browser into discrete windows.

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 the ability to hear, caused by a variety of injuries or diseases, including congenital causes. Limitations, including difficulties in understanding language or other auditory messages and/or in production of understandable speech, are possible.

Helper: An external program that can be called up by a web browser to display specially formatted material, such as word-processed documents, spreadsheet documents, or video/sound pieces. The helper program is launched by the web browser as a separate application to view or play the file.

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 a computer that maintains Internet access and email accounts.

HTML validation: Process that analyzes HTML documents and identifies HTML errors and nonstandard codes.

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

HyperText Markup Language (HTML): Programming language or code used to create World Wide Web pages.

HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP): Communication protocol used by the World Wide Web to transfer text, graphics, audio, and video.

Image Map: Picture or graphic on a web page in which hyperlinks are embedded.

Inclusion: Provision of specially designed support for individuals with disabilities in regular settings, with an emphasis on full membership in the community.

Independent study: A course in which a student works one-on-one with individual faculty members to develop projects for credit.

Informational interview: An activity in which students meet with people working in careers to ask questions about their jobs and companies and thereby gain personal perspectives on career interests.

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

Internet: Computer network connecting governmental, educational, commercial, other organizations, and individual computer systems.

Internship: A time-limited, intensive learning experience outside of the typical classroom.

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

Invisible disability: See Hidden disability.

Java: Programming language used to create programs or applets that work with some World Wide Web browsers to include features with animation or other characteristics not available through standard HTML.

Job shadowing: A short work-based learning experience in which students visit businesses to observe one or more specific jobs to gain a realistic view of occupations in a variety of settings.

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

Keyboard emulation: Use of hardware and/or software in place of a standard 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.

Kinesthetic: Refers to touch-based feedback and is often used to describe a learning style that is more tactile in nature.

Large print: Most ordinary print is six to ten points in height (about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch). Large-print type is fourteen to eighteen points (about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch) and sometimes larger.

LD (Learning disabled): Having difficulties with intake, processing, and/or output of information such that a large discrepancy exists between intelligence and achievement.

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

Link: A connection between two electronic files or data items.

Lynx: A text-based World Wide Web browser.

Macro: A miniprogram that, when run within an application, executes a series of predetermined keystrokes and commands to accomplish a specific task. Macros can automate tedious and often-repeated tasks or create special menus to speed data entry.

Mainstreaming: The inclusion of people with disabilities, with or without special accommodations, in programs, activities, and facilities with nondisabled people. 

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: Any diagnosable mental disorder causing severe disturbances in thinking, feeling, relating, and functional behaviors that result in a 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: Using an alternative device and/or software, such as a switch-based system, in place of a standard mouse.

Multimedia: A computer-based method of presenting information by using more than one medium of communication, such as text, graphics, and sound.

Multitasking: Attending to, performing, and managing two or more tasks concurrently.

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

Offline captioning: Captions that are developed once the video product has been created.

Onscreen keyboard: See Virtual keyboard.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR): Machine recognition of printed or typed text. With OCR software and a scanner, a printed page can be scanned and the characters converted into text in an electronic format.

Oral interpreter: A professional who uses lip movements to make spoken language more accessible to individuals with hearing impairments who lip-read.

Output: Any method of displaying or presenting electronic information to the user through a computer monitor or other device (e.g., speech synthesizer).

Physical or mental impairment: Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more, but not necessarily limited to, the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).

Plug-ins: Programs that work within a browser to alter, enhance, or extend the browser's operation. They are often used for viewing video, animation or listening to audio files.

Portable Document Format (PDF): The file format for representing documents in a manner that is independent of the original application software, hardware and operating system used to create the documents.

Proprietary software: Privately owned software based on trade secrets, privately developed technology, or specifications that the owner refuses to divulge, thus preventing others from duplicating a product or program unless an explicit license is purchased. The opposite of proprietary is open (publicly published and available for emulation by others).

Psychiatric impairment: 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 participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).

Reader: Volunteer or employee of a blind or partially sighted individual who reads printed material in person or records to audiotape.

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 with recognition software, and then reads the text in a synthesized voice.

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

Reasonable accommodations: The removal of a barrier, the 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 echoes screen text on a box that has cells consisting of pins that move up and down to create Braille characters.

Relay service: A third-party service (usually free) that allows a hearing person to communicate over the telephone with a person with a hearing impairment who has a TTY/TDD device. The system also allows a person with a hearing impairment who has a TTY/TDD to communicate in voice through a third party with a hearing person or business.

Repetitive stress injury (RSI): Chronic or acute 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 bring up a control panel that upon subsequent switch activations will allow the user to focus 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 communication devices.

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

Screen reader: A text-to-speech system intended for use by computer users who are blind or have low vision that speaks the text content of a computer display using a speech synthesizer.

Screen resolution: Refers to the clarity or sharpness of an image. For computer monitors, this term indicates the number of dots on the screen used to create text and graphics. Higher resolution means more dots, indicating increased sharpness and potentially smaller text.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Legislation that requires that the federal government develop, procure, maintain, and use electronic and information technology that is accessible to people with disabilities.

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 amount of captioned programming.

Sensory impairment: A disability that affects touch, sight, and/or hearing.

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

Service learning: A structured, volunteer work experience in which students provide community service in nonpaid positions to gain opportunities to apply knowledge and skills learned in school while making a contribution to local communities.

Side effects: Effects of medications that can interfere with functional performance.

Sign language: Manual communication commonly used by people who are deaf. Sign language is not universal; deaf people from different countries speak different sign languages. 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 hand shape, 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.

Specific learning disability (SLD): A disorder of one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in difficulties listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, or doing mathematical calculations. Limitations may 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: A problem 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 and feeding. Some causes of speech and language disorders include hearing loss; neurological disorders; brain injury; intellectual disability; drug abuse; physical impairments, such as cleft lip or palate; and vocal abuse or misuse.

Speech input system: A computer-based system that allows the operator to control the system using his or her voice.

Speech output system: A system that provides the user with a voice alternative to the text presented on the computer screen.

Speech recognition: Software that takes the spoken word via a microphone and converts it to machine-readable format.

Standard HTML: Version of HTML accessible by all browsers.

Sticky keys: A function that enables a computer user to do multiple key combinations on a keyboard with only one finger at a time. The sticky keys function is usually used with the CONTROL, ALT, and SHIFT keys. Simultaneous keystrokes can be entered sequentially.

Strategy: System or plan to meet objectives or solve problems.

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

Switch input: A method of controlling electronic technology. A person with a disability (usually a mobility impairment) uses a switch to turn devices on or off or to otherwise operate the devices. For computer access, switches can be set up to replicate mouse clicks or to type using a scan-and-click system of selecting highlighted keys from an onscreen keyboard.

Tag: HTML code that prescribes the structure and formatting of web pages.

Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD), Teletypewriter (TTY), or Text Telephone (TT): A device which enables someone who has a speech or hearing impairment to use a telephone when communicating with someone else who has a TDD/TTY. A TDD/TTY can be used with any telephone, and a person needs only a basic typing ability to use one.

Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990: Act that requires television sets with screens 13 inches or larger manufactured for sale in the United States to 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 pointing device, like an upside-down mouse, consisting of a ball housed in a socket containing sensors to detect the rotation of the ball. The user rolls the ball with his thumb or the palm of his hand to move the pointer.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI): An open or closed head injury resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as 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 or degenerative or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

Undue hardship: An action that requires significant difficulty or expense in relation to the size of the employer, the resources available, and the nature of the operation (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).

Universal design: The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

Universal design of instruction: The design of instructional materials and activities that make learning achievable by individuals with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.

Universal Resource Locator (URL): Address used to locate a specific resource on the Internet. DO-IT's URL is

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

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

Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973: An act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability which applies to any program that receives federal financial assistance. Section 504 of the act is aimed at making educational programs and facilities accessible to all people with disabilities. Section 508 of the act requires that electronic office equipment purchased through federal procurement meet disability access guidelines.

Voice input system: See Speech input system.

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

World Wide Web (WWW, W3, or web): Hypertext and multimedia gateway to the Internet.