Glossary: H-I


Teaching new skills to children with developmental disabilities.

Hamstring muscles:
Muscles at the back of the knee that bend and move the leg and thigh.

Hand fisting:
Infants up to the age of 4 months tend to keep their hands in fists. At around the age of 4 months they begin to reach out for objects using both hands. An example of “asymmetric hand fisting” would be if one hand remains fisted in contrast to the other.

Head control:
The ability to control the movements of the head.

Head Injury:
Damage to the head; generally refers to damage to the brain.

Defective vision or blindness that impairs half of the normal field of vision.*

Hemiparetic tremors:
Uncontrollable shaking affecting the limbs on the spastic side of the body in those who have spastic hemiplegia.

A type of impairment in which only the right or left side of the body is affected.

An inflammation of the liver.

High tone:
A tightness or spasticity of the muscles.

Hip Muscle Releases:
Usually one of several surgical procedures such as adductor tenotomy and psoas release, hip adductor lengthening, iliopsoas release lengthening, hamstring lengthening. The adductors pull on the bones and bring them closer to the middle of the body. They are located on the inside of the thighs. When they are too tight they make the legs scissors, which can pull the ball of the hip out of the socket. Muscle releases are an attempt to prevent the hips from dislocating.

Hip subluxation:
When the ball of the thigh bone no longer fits in the center of its socket.

Therapeutic horseback riding is a form of therapy that literally means “treatment with the help of a horse.” The primary goals are normalizing muscle tone, equilibrium reactions, head and trunk control, coordination and spatial orientation. It is proposed that the multidimensional swinging rhythm of the horse’s walk is transferred to the patient’s pelvis in a manner that duplicates the normal human gait.

Hoyer lift:
Mechanical (hydraulic) device for lifting and transferring individuals.

Excess fluid within the cranial cavity that may cause increased pressure on brain tissue, often leading to the development of an abnormally large head. The pressure can be relieved by surgical insertion of a shunt (tube) to drain the fluid.

Therapy in the water.

A specific nervous-system-based difficulty which makes it hard for a person to control muscle (motor) behavior and results in restlessness, fidgeting, overactive movements.

Under increased pressure.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT):
A medical treatment that uses pure oxygen to speed and enhance the body’s natural ability to heal. HBOT is an American Medical Association, FDA and Medicare approved modality for selected ilnesses such as carbon monoxide poisoning (the Bends) and skin wound healing. It has been tried for a number of other illnesses, but generally without success. It is now being tried in the treatment of disabilities associated with cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury.

Hyperbaric oxygenation:
Means oxygen delivered under increased pressure. It is also the term used for a procedure in which a person is placed in an apparatus that delivers under increased atmosphere pressure, additional oxygen to the lungs and its blood vessels.

Overly flexible.

Farsightedness; a condition in which distant objects can be clearly seen, but nearby objects appear blurred.

Excessive growth of tissue-for example, of gum tissue.

An increased tension or spasticity of the muscles.

The body temperature is lowered below the normal.

Decreased tension of a muscle. Low tone.

Oxygen level below normal.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy:
Brain damage caused by poor blood flow or insufficient oxygen supply to the brain.


Intermediate care faculty.

The determination that a child should be evaluated as a possible candidate for special education services.

The ability to observe the actions of others and to copy them in one’s own actions. Also known as modeling.

In Utero:
Referring to the period during fetal development in the mother’s uterus.

The practice of including a child with special needs in a classroom alongside typically developing students. Classroom aides or assistants may help the child participate or adapt activities for him.

Inclusive Education:
A set of practices and beliefs that includes educating all students, regardless of disability, in their neighborhood school and in age appropriate general education settings with appropriate supports, necessary services, and access to a wide variety of technology.

Lack of bladder or bowel control.

Independent Living (IL):
The independent living movement, now embodies in independent living centers around the country, involves an approach to meeting the needs of people with disabilities that is very different from the traditional categorical services model, which was expert driven. It emphasizes consumer choice in services and providers, peer counseling, and self-advocacy.

Individual with a Disability:
A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of that person’s major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or who is regarded as having such an impairment.

Individualized Education Program (IEP):
An IEP is a plan for special education and related services that is developed annually, on behalf of elementary and secondary school students receiving special education services. The IEP sets forth the needs, goals and services that will be addressed in the coming year. Parents as well as educational professionals should be involved in the IEP process.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP):
The written document describing services, providers, locations and goals for services and supports provided to the child and family. The IFSP is prepared by a team to include the infant’s or toddler’s family and all service providers (including the child care provider). Services are to be family-focused and provided in the “natural environment, including home and community settings in which the infant or toddler with disabilities participate.”

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):
This is the statute, originally adopted in 1975 under the famous PL 94-142 designation that governs the special education program in the United States. IDEA guarantees children with disabilities the right to free, appropriate public education (FAPE). This law requires public schools to make available to all children with disabilities FAPE in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their individuals needs. IDEA requires public school systems to develop appropriate IEP’s for each child, reflecting the individualized needs of each student. IDEA also mandates that particular procedures be followed in the development of the IEP.

Infantile Myoclonic Seizures:
In infants, sudden, brief, involuntary muscle contractions involving one or several muscle groups.

Movements and positioning which discourages muscle tightness; also descreasing the sensitivity of nervous tissue to stimulation.

Inhibitive casts:
Cast fitted with a sole and raised ledge under the toes; used to inhibit muscle tightness and produce normal tone.

Information that a person receives through any of the senses (vision, hearing, tough, feeling, smell.)

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs):
These, together with activities of daily living (ADLs), represent scales of self-care capabilities used by insurers and others to assess an individual’s level of functional disability.

Within the skull

Intelligent Quotient (I.Q.):
A measure of cognitive ability based on specifically designed standardized tests.

Interagency Coordinating Councils:
IDEA helps states develop and implement state-wide systems of coordinated, comprehensive, multidisciplinary, interagency programs providing appropriate early intervention services to all eligible children and their families. States must bring together a State Interagency Coordinating Council to design and oversee the state system. Similarly, local governments must have a coordinating council to ensure interagency collaboration at the local level.

Interdisciplinary Team:
A team of professionals from different fields of expertise who evaluate a child and then develop a comprehensive summary report of his or her strengths and needs.

The sessions during which parents and teacher review and discuss the results of a child’s evaluation.

Within the brain.

Intrathecal Baclofen Therapy:
See Baclofen Pump

Intrauterine Infection:
Infection inside the uterus.

When a part of the body turns in.

Involuntary Movements:
Uncontrolled movements.

Ischemic Heart Disease:
Impaired heart function due to a lack of blood supply and may result in a myocardial infection (a “heart attack”).