Acronyms and Glossary of Terms

Acronyms and Glossary of Terms

Abacus is an adaptation of the traditional Japanese abacus used to teach basic number concepts, addition and subtraction for students with visual impairments.

Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP)

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM): Materials that are designed or converted in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format (print, digital, graphical, audio, video).

Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM): Materials that are designed or modified to provide access to the widest possible range of students, including those with disabilities. Accessible formats may include Braille, large print, audio, or digital materials. AIM is required under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for students who cannot access or use traditional print materials.

Active Middle Ear Implants (AMEI) consist of an external audio processor and an internal implant, which actively vibrates the structures of the middle ear.

Activities for Daily Living (ADL) are the tasks a sighted person takes for granted such as doing the laundry or dishes, selecting an outfit, compliantly taking medicine, preparing a meal, etc.

Acuity is measure of the ability to see details of the smallest possible letter or symbol. Typical acuity is 20/20 (print size/distance).

Adaptive Paper provides extra visual or tactile cues and feedback to aid in the process of writing. Examples include raised-line paper, dark-line paper, color-coded paper, and writing guides.

Adventitious Blindness refers to loss of vision acquired after birth (or after 5 years or so) as a result of illness or accident

All India Flag Day for the Blind: [India] Every 14th September, Finance Raising Committee (FRC) of NAB India organizes the All India Flag Day for the Blind. To mark the occasion, it calls on important personalities in Mumbai – the Governor, the Mayor, the chiefs of Indian Army and Navy bases in the city, heads of public and private sector establishments etc. It becomes a day of celebration and expression of talent and joy. Performances become a way to reach to people’s heart and start a new way of looking at world

American Printing House (APH) provides accessible learning materials such as large print and braille material, braille labelers, braille toys/games, and tactile aids for learning for the Blind.

Antihelix (Anthelix) is a part of the visible ear; the pinna. The antihelix is a curved prominence of cartilage parallel with and in front of the helix on the pinna.

American Sign Language (ASL): American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language that serves as the predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States and most of Anglophone Canada. ASL is a complete and organized visual language that is expressed by both manual and nonmanual features. Besides North America, dialects of ASL and ASL-based creoles are used in many countries around the world, including much of West Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. ASL is most closely related to French Sign Language (LSF).

Aphakia is the absence of the lens of the eye, due to surgical removal, such as in cataract surgery, a perforating wound or ulcer, or congenital anomaly. It causes a loss of accommodation, high degree of farsightedness (hyperopia), and a deep anterior chamber.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a type of therapeutic intervention that can improve social, communication, and learning skills through reinforcement techniques

Assistive Technology (AT): Any tool that is used to improve, increase or maintain functional capabilities of an individual with a disability. Includes a range from simple and inexpensive low tech solutions to complex high tech systems. Also refers to smartphone apps and other technology which assists someone who is PBVI with ADL’s. There are smartphone apps which detect colors & paper currency denominations, provide navigational assistance, provide text magnification, etc. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.

Astigmatism is a type of refractive error in which the eye does not focus light evenly on the retina, due to a variation in the optical power of the eye for light coming from different directions.

Audio book is a recording of a book, typically using human voice. May be available in various formats, including MP3, .wav, or DAISY. Some audio book players have advanced navigation and search features (generally requires DAISY format).

Audiobook Month: June

Audiologist: An audiologist is a health-care professional specializing in identifying, diagnosing, treating, and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular systems. Audiologists are trained to diagnose, manage and/or treat hearing, tinnitus, or balance problems.

Audiology is a branch of science that studies hearing, balance, and related disorders.

Audiometer: An audiometer is a machine used for evaluating hearing acuity. They usually consist of an embedded hardware unit connected to a pair of headphones and a test subject feedback button, sometimes controlled by a standard PC. Such systems can also be used with bone vibrators, to test conductive hearing mechanisms. Audiometers are standard equipment at ENT (ear, nose, throat) clinics and in audiology centers.

Audio-Supported Reading (ASR) is a technology-based approach for accessing and working with text presented in either braille or enlarged (magnified) print. This approach allows a user to listen to a spoken version of text while looking at screen-displayed print or touching braille.

Audism is an attitude based on pathological thinking that results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear; like racism or sexism, audism judges, labels, and limits individuals on the basis of whether a person hears and speaks. Audism reflects the medical view of deafness as a disability that must be fixed. Because many Deaf people grew up in hearing families who did not learn to sign, audism may be ingrained. The term audism was coined in 1975 in an unpublished article written by American communication and language researcher Tom L.

Audists belief that the ability to hear makes one superior to those with hearing loss.

Auditory Brainstem Implants (ABI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf, due to retrocochlear hearing impairment (due to illness or injury damaging the cochlea or auditory nerve, and so precluding the use of a cochlear implant).


Auditory Fatigue is defined as a temporary loss of hearing after exposure to sound. This results in a temporary shift of the auditory threshold known as a temporary threshold shift (TTS). The damage can become permanent (permanent threshold shift, PTS) if sufficient recovery time is not allowed before continued sound exposure.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)


Auricle or Auricula is the visible part of the ear that is outside the head. It is also called the pinna.


Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is the certifying body that develops and implements the national certification program for behavior analysts.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aid

Best Corrected Visual Acuity (BCVA): Normal visual acuity is generally accepted as 20/20, although many people can see 20/15, and a few can see 20/10.

Blind/Visually Impaired (B/VI)

Blindness is the inability to see anything using either eye. Blindness and visual impairment are often used somewhat interchangeably as the boundaries aren’t always clear cut. According to the Blindness and Visual Impairment Definitions in India, BCVA/Pinhole <3/60 in better eye with available correction

Blindness Awareness Month: October

Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) is the undergraduate-level certification for BCBAs. BCBAs must be certified by doctoral-level BCBAs (BCBA-D).

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a person with a certification in applied behavior analysis

Board Certified Behavior Analyst–Doctorate (BCBA-D) is a BCBA who has earned a Ph.D.

Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) is a type of hearing aid based on bone conduction.

Bone Conduction is the conduction of sound to the inner ear primarily through the bones of the skull, allowing the hearer to perceive audio content without blocking the ear canal.

Braille is a tactile reading system, utilizing a 6-dot system of characters, typically used by individuals who have extremely limited or no functional vision. Braille characters represent letters, therefore is an important literacy tool for students who cannot otherwise access text, and should not be substituted entirely by audio.

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) is a free library service of downloadable braille and audio reading material for residents of the United States and U.S. citizens living abroad who are unable to read or use standard printed material because of visual or physical disabilities.

Braille Display: See refreshable Braille display.

Braille Embosser is a printer used for producing Braille on paper.

Braille Notetaker is a portable Braille word processing device with refreshable Braille display and synthesized speech. May have additional features, including personal organization tools, Internet access, e-mail access or GPS.

Braille Ready Files (BRF) is an electronic text file that is transcribed into braille. You will need specialized software or hardware that can open and read BRF files. Note that most devices will not recognize BRF automatically.

Braille Writer is similar to a typewriter. It uses six keys, that when pressed in various combinations, create Braille code characters on a sheet of paper. Device also has space, backspace and line space keys. May be manual or electronic.

Canal Receiver Technology (CRT) BTE Hearing Aid. Alternate name for RIC / RIT / RITE

Caregiver: Caregivers invest time, money, and emotion helping a friend or loved one manage loss of sight. The support might be as simple as listening but it can become much more, from managing finances and schedule to assisting with all ADL’s. Caregiving is what someone with disability desires – assistance with things they can no longer readily accomplish but not coddling or babying.

Caretaker: In modern usage, caretaker is sometimes used with the same sense as caregiver, but it’s more commonly used for a person who looks after property or for designating a government, administration, etc., in office temporarily.

Cataract Awareness Month: June. Cataract is the world’s leading cause of blindness, accounting for approximately 42% of all cases of blindness in all nations.

Cataract Surgical Coverage (CSC-Eye) measures the proportions of eyes pinhole blind due to cataract, which have been operated so far. The numerator includes all (pseudo) aphakic eyes. The denominator includes the numerator, plus eyes pinhole blind due to cataract. Besides this, the indicator can also be calculated separately for PinVA <6/60 and <6/18.

Cataract Surgical Coverage (CSC-Person) indicates how many persons received cataract surgery (one or both eyes) among all who were bilaterally pinhole blind due to cataract. The numerator includes persons with one operated and one pinhole blind eye and persons with bilateral (pseudo) aphakia. The denominator includes the numerator, plus persons bilaterally pinhole blind due to cataract. Besides this, the indicator can also be calculated separately for PinVA <6/60 and <6/18.

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) is a professional that instructs individuals who are blind or visually impaired with safe and effective travel through their environment. They support learners at home, in schools, and in the community.

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month: August.

Child of Deaf Adults (CODA) is a person who was raised by one or more deaf parents or guardians. 90% of children born to deaf adults can hear normally, resulting in a significant and widespread community of codas around the world, although whether the child is hearing, D/deaf, or HH (hard of hearing) has no effect on the definition. The acronym KODA (Kid Of Deaf Adult) is sometimes used to refer to codas under the age of 18.

The term was coined by Millie Brother who also founded the organization CODA, which serves as a resource and a center of community for children of deaf adults as an oral and a sign language, and bicultural, identifying with both deaf and hearing cultures. Codas often navigate the border between the deaf and hearing worlds, serving as liaisons between their deaf parents and the hearing world in which they reside.

Children With Hearing Impairment (CWHI):

Children With Special Needs (CWSN):

Closed-Circuit TV / Caption Television (CCTV): An electronic system for capturing and projecting an enlarged image onto a screen or monitor. Also referred to as video magnifier.

Cochlear Implant (CI) is a small electronic device that electrically stimulates the cochlear nerve (nerve for hearing). The implant has external and internal parts. The external part sits behind the ear. It picks up sounds with a microphone. It then processes the sound and transmits it to the internal part of the implant.

Completely-In-Canal (CIC) ITE Hearing Aid

Comprehensive Evaluation: An assessment evaluating a student’s cognitive, emotional, social, physical, and academic development to determine whether the student is qualified to receive special education services. Specifically identifies a student’s strengths and needs.

Congenital Blindness refers to loss of vision present at birth (or within an early age like 5 years).

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD):

Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) is a neurological condition related to the visual pathway making it difficult for a person to interpreting visual information. Cortical Visual Impairment refers to the visual pathways going from the eye to the visual cortex. Cerebral Visual Impairment can encompass other areas of the brain, and also lower parts of the brain like the cerebellum.

Deaf Aid: Same as Hearing Aid

Deaf Community: Members of the Deaf community tend to view deafness as a difference in human experience rather than a disability or disease. Many members take pride in their Deaf identity

Deaf Culture is the set of social beliefs, behaviors, art, literary traditions, history, values, and shared institutions of communities that are influenced by deafness and which use sign languages as the main means of communication. When used as a cultural label especially within the culture, the word deaf is often written with a capital D and referred to as "big D Deaf" in speech and sign. When used as a label for the audiological condition, it is written with a lower case d. Carl G. Croneberg coined the term "Deaf Culture" and he was the first to discuss analogies between Deaf and hearing cultures in his appendices C/D of the 1965 Dictionary of American Sign Language.

Deaf Identity: A deaf identity is about acknowledging the hearing loss, learning new ways to interact (and possibly some new skills) and being proud of what makes you different to hearing people, but also different from other deaf people.

Deafblind (Db): Being deafblind is recognized as a unique disability in its own right. Any combination of documented hearing and vision loss, ranging from mild to profound hearing loss and low vision to total blindness. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are totally deaf or totally blind – most individuals who are deafblind have some residual sight and/or hearing.

Deafblind Awareness Week: [USA] Established in 1984, it is observed in the last week in June, in honor of Helen Keller's birthday on June 27th.

Decibel (symbol: dB) is a relative unit of measurement equal to one tenth of a bel (B). It expresses the ratio of two values of a power or root-power quantity on a logarithmic scale. Two signals whose levels differ by one decibel have a power ratio of 101/10 (approximately 1.26)

Differently-abled: An old term for People with Disabilities (See How to refer to a Person with Disability? in Home page)

Digital Accessible Information SYstem (DAISY) is a format of digital materials that meets international standards for accessibility, by enhancing navigation and supporting text/audio synchronization. DAISY files require specialized software or devices to read.

Digital Audio Books: May be human voice or computer synthesized voice, available in multiple formats. Can be played on a computer or a digital audio player (many off-the-shelf digital audio players do not offer full accessibility or are not compatible with all formats).

Digital Book Player: Stand-alone device or computer software that provides access to digital talking books specifically developed for individuals with disabilities, with advanced features such as changing the audio output speed, navigating and searching the file.

Digital Recorder: A portable electronic audio recorder that saves recorders in digital format, allowing the user to save and manage files on a computer. Digital recorders may be used as part of the writing process or to capture information from lectures or lessons.

Digital Text: Digital Text or eText is a electronic version of a written text. Digital Text can be found on the internet or on your computer or on a variety of hand-held electronic devices. It can be searched, rearranged, condensed, annotated or read aloud by a computer.

DRG: Disabled Rights Group

Disability Pride: has been defined as accepting and honoring each person's uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity. Disability Pride is an integral part of movement building, and a direct challenge of systemic ableism and stigmatizing definitions of disability.

Document camera: A system for capturing images of a document or object and projecting onto a monitor or screen. Typically used by the general population and frequently lacks the advanced features of video magnifiers.

DSI: Dual-Sensory Impairment: Or Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI) are other terms that may be used if you have both sight and hearing impairments.

ECCE: Early Childhood Care and Education: Early childhood is a period that covers the first six years of a life of a child, wherein their brain grows at an extraordinary speed. ECCE is a multidisciplinary field that relies on insights from several fields like human development, psychology, sociology, and medicine, particularly neuroscience.

Early Intervention (EI): Programs for young children with special needs, from birth until three. early intervention services may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or other appropriate interventions which are typically provided in the child's home or a community setting.

Earmuffs are clothing accessories or personal protective equipment designed to cover a person's ears for hearing protection or for warmth.

Earplug is a device that is inserted in the ear canal to protect the user's ears from loud noises, intrusion of water, foreign bodies, dust or excessive wind.

EVI: Early Visual Impairment: VA < 6/12 – 6/18 in better eye with available correction, according to the Blindness and Visual Impairment Definitions in India.

EAS: Electric acoustic stimulation is the use of a hearing aid and a cochlear implant technology together in the same ear.

E-text: Electronic Text: Any text available in digital format, which can be accessed electronically (i.e. through computer or other mobile devices). Appearance of e-text can typically be modified by changing font, size, or text and background colors. Standard large font is from 18 to 24 pt.

Employment Specialist: This individual works with the person who has lost their sight to ensure they know how to use technology such as JAWS which will enable them to re-join the workforce. They will also work with potential employers to ensure that appropriate accommodations are in place for an effective engagement. Lastly, they will work with the hiring manager and departmental staff as necessary to ensure that everyone is comfortable with how to interact. This is an essential function as both parties are likely to be initially uncomfortable and just a bit of guidance can help immeasurably.

Enabling Technology: Same as Assistive Technology.

Enlarged Text: A process of enlarging text for low vision readers that can be accomplished by changing the font on electronic files or through the use of a copy machine.

ECC B/VI: Expanded Core Curriculum: The term expanded core curriculum (ECC) is used to define concepts and skills (compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes, orientation and mobility, social interaction skills and others) that often require direct specialized support for learners with visual impairments.

Fixation: Fixation or visual fixation is the maintaining of the visual gaze on a single location. Fixation, in the act of fixating, is the point between any two saccades, during which the eyes are relatively stationary and virtually all visual input occurs.

FLV: Functional Low Vision: A person with impairment of visual functioning even after treatment and/or standard refractive correction, and a VA of less than 6/18 to light perception, or a visual field of less than 10 degree from the point of fixation, but who uses, or is potentially able to use, vision for planning and/or execution of a task. This is according to the Blindness and Visual Impairment Definitions in India.

FVA: Functional Vision Assessment: An assessment, conducted by a teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI), to determine how a child uses their vision in everyday life. Based on the results, the TVI can make recommendations about ways to help your child learn to use his vision more effectively. Due to possible vision changes as the learner grows, it needs to be repeated periodically.

Fundus: The fundus is the inside, back surface of the eye. It is made up of the retina, macula, optic disc, fovea and blood vessels. With fundus photography, a special fundus camera points through the pupil to the back of the eye and takes pictures.

Glaucoma Awareness Month: January.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day: 3rd Thursday of May

GPS: Global Positioning System: A satellite navigation system commonly used by drivers to determine position, direction, and assist with navigation. Devices or software with GPS capabilities may help an individual with visual impairment move more independently and safely throughout their community.

GVD: Global Vision Database: The goal of the GVD is to develop and deploy new and improved evidence on the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment and its causes, on intervention coverage, to inform and influence global priorities and programs.

Handheld Magnifier: A small, portable, low tech device that can be used to provide immediate magnification or illumination. Range in magnification from 2x to 16x, and should be prescribed by a low vision specialist.

Haptics: Haptics is the science of applying touch (tactile) sensation and control to interaction with computer applications. One familiar example is when your phone is set on vibrate. Haptics are being used increasingly in enabling technology solutions, including canes that vibrate when you’re approaching an impediment or shoes which vibrate on one side or the other to tell the wearer which way to turn.

Hearing Aid: Hearing aids are small electronic devices that can be highly customized to address different types of hearing loss. All digital hearing aids contain at least one microphone to pick up sound, a computer chip that amplifies and processes sound, a speaker that sends the signal to your ear and a battery for power. More sophisticated models provide additional features, such as direct connection to a smartphone or neural networks.

HAA: Hearing Aid Applications are software which, when installed on mobile computational platforms, transforms them into hearing aids

Hearing Implant: It is a hearing device that is typically implanted into the ear. They are electronic devices that can be surgically placed in the ear to prevent hearing loss and deafness. Hearing implants are implanted in the inner part of the ear of patients that suffer from mild to severe deafness.

Helen Keller Day: [USA] Commemorated on 27th June, the birthday of Hellen Keller. It celebrates the life and achievements of Helen Keller, a woman who overcame blindness and deafness and became infamous in the process.

Hyperacusis is the increased sensitivity to sound and a low tolerance for environmental noise

Helix is the prominent rim of the auricle

ITC: In-The-Canal ITE Hearing Aid

ITE: In-The-Ear Hearing Aid

ISL: Indian Sign Language

ISLRTC: Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre

Individual Education Program Plan (IEP) is a written plan/program developed by the schools special education team with input from the parents and specifies the student's academic goals and the method to obtain these goals.

Intersectionality is an analytical framework for understanding how aspects of a person's social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege. Intersectionality identifies multiple factors of advantage and disadvantage. Examples of these factors include gender, caste, sex, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, religion, disability, weight, physical appearance, and height. These intersecting and overlapping social identities may be both empowering and oppressing. The term was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989.

Intervention Specialist (IS): A certified teacher that assist learners with special education and social emotional needs in the classroom. They collaborate with team members to provide and assess individual education programs for learners.

IIC: Invisible-In-the-Canal ITE Hearing AidIDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, USA. A federal law that details the educational rights and requirements applicable to students with disabilities.

International Guide Dog Day: Last Wednesday in April. References to guide dogs date back to at least the 16th century, so for the hundreds of years of service that these faithful companions have provided, this day is the thanks giving.

(The) International Year of Disabled Persons: 1981. In 1976, the General Assembly proclaimed 1981 as the International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP). It called for a plan of action at the national, regional and international levels, with an emphasis on equalization of opportunities, rehabilitation and prevention of disabilities.

International Year of Light: 2015. IYL 2015 was a United Nations observance that aimed to raise awareness of the achievements of light science and its applications, and its importance to humankind, specifically the visually impaired.

IS: Intervention Specialist: A certified teacher that assist learners with special education and social emotional needs in the classroom. They collaborate with team members to provide and assess individual education programs for learners.

Ishihara Color Vision Test: It is a color perception test for red-green color deficiencies, the first in a class of successful color vision tests called pseudo-isochromatic plates ("PIP"). It is named after its designer, Shinobu Ishihara, a professor at the University of Tokyo, who first published his tests in 1917.

Keratoconus: Keratoconus occurs when your cornea — the clear, dome-shaped front surface of your eye — thins and gradually bulges outward into a cone shape. A cone-shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may cause sensitivity to light and glare.

Legally Blind: According to Blindness and Visual Impairment Definitions in US, legally blind means a level of vision loss with central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with best possible correction, and/or a visual field of 20 degrees or less (Key definitions of statistical terms, 2013).

Low Vision: Vision loss that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical procedures, or with conventional eyeglasses. The term used interchangeably with “visually impaired”. According to Blindness and Visual Impairment Definitions in US, low vision refers to a severe visual impairment in which visual acuity is 20/70 or poorer in the better-seeing eye and cannot improve with glasses or contacts.