Glossary of Disability Terms

Terminology, acronyms, and "lingo" in the developmental disability service system can be confusing. See below for often-used terms.


The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization of professionals and citizens concerned about intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Ability One
The Ability One program is among the largest sources of employment, on Federal contracts, for people who are blind or have significant disabilities in the US.

Maryland ABLE accounts help people with disabilities save for their futures without jeopardizing state or federal means-tested benefits such as SSI or Medicaid.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law providing comprehensive civil rights protections for people based on race, sex, national origin, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

The Arc Maryland
The Arc Maryland is a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to the welfare of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, family members, educators, professionals, and the public. There are 10 local chapters in Maryland.

The Arc US
The Arc is the national nonprofit organization to which The Arc Baltimore is a local chapter. There are approximately 700 chapters across the country.

Assistive Technology is any piece of equipment or strategy used by a person with a disability to increase, maintain, or improve his or her functional capabilities. AT enables people to live, work and learn more independently. AT consists of both high and low-tech tools.

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