Glossary: N-O


Nasogastric tube (NG tube):
A feeding tube that is inserted through the nose, down the esophagus and into the stomach.

National Environments:
Settings in the community where the infant or toddler with disabilities might participate. Center and family childcare programs are considered natural environments. EI services are to be provided in the childcare setting “to the maximum extent appropriate.” Decisions about appropriateness are to be made by the IFSP team.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders:
An agency of the U.S. Federal Government and a component of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Public Health Service, is a lead agency for the Congressionally designated Decade of the Brain, and the leading supporter of biomedical research on disorders of the brain and nervous system.

National Organization on Disability (NOD):
Promotes the full participation of America’s 54 million persons with disabilities in all aspects of life.

Natural Supports:
Supports provided to an employee with a disability from supervisors and co-workers, such as mentoring, friendship, socializing at breaks or after work, providing feedback on job performance or learning a new skill together. These natural supports are particularly effective as they enhance the social integration of the employee with a disability with his or her co-workers and supervisor. In addition, natural supports are more permanent, part of the workplace and more readily available than paid job coaches, thereby facilitating long-term job retention.

The nerve is made up of the nerve cell body and the axon. The dendrite sends messages to other neurons and sends them to the nerve cell body. The axon is the “wire” from the nerve cell by which messages are sent. Also called a neuron. Groups of axons traveling through the body are also called nerves. The major nerve in the leg, for example is the sciatic nerve.

Nerve Block:
To impair the conduction of impulses along the nerve.

Neurodevelopmental treatment (NDT):
A specialized therapy approach that concentrates on encouraging normal movement patterns and discouraging abnormal reflexes, postures, and movements. Used by physical, occupational, and speech therapists.

Medicine which produces changes in functioning of the nervous system.

A physician specializing in medical problems associated with the nervous system.

Involving both nerves and muscles.

Neuromuscular Disorder:
A dysfunction at the junction of the nerve and muscle.

See Nerve.

Interventions are being explored that when used either during labor and delivery or in the immediate neonatal period might protect the threatened infant’s brain from the stress of the perinatal period. Similar interventions are being applied for acute stroke, acute head injury and epilepsy.

The chemical substance released by one neuron to stimulate another nerve.

NICHCY (National Information Center for Children & Youth):
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education to inform the public about disability-related issues with a special focus on children.

Nissen Procedure:
See fundoplication.

Not Dead Yet:
A not-for-profit organization concerned with the rights of people with disabilities threathened with death or severe disability.

Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Whenever a federal agency proposes to publish new or amended regulations to enact a law (such as IDEA) the proposed regulations are issued in the Federal Register for public review and comment. The NPRM designation indicates that these are proposed regulations, out for public comment. Once finalized, regulations are published in the Federal Register as Final Rules and Regulations.

A jerky, involuntary movement of the eyes.


Occupational therapist (OT):
A therapist who specializes in improving the development of fine motor and adaptive skills.

Occupational Therapy (OT):
A clincial program aimed at improving fime motor skills and adaptive skills for people with disabilities. Primary goal is to maximize a person’s functional potential in all environments (home, school, community).

A physician who specializes in treating the eye and diseases of the visual system.

Relating to movement of the eyes when visually following a moving object.

A Professional who performs eye examinations and prescribes glasses.

Oral motor:
Relating to the movement of muscles in and around the mouth.

Oral tactile defensiveness:
An over-sensitivity to touch around the mouth.

Oral-motor problems:
Difficulty sucking and/or swallowing due to a lack of coordination of the muscles responsible for these functions.

A dentist who specializes in correcting irregularities of teeth and/or jaw alignment.

Relating to the bones, joints.

Orthopedic Disability:
An impairment that affects the bones, joints. Individuals with cerebral palsy may be classified as having an orthopedic disability as the basis for receiving special education services.

A physician specializing in bones and joints. A medical doctor who specializes in preventing or correcting orthopedic problems.

Any device to stabilize or immobilize a body part, prevent deformity, protect from injury, or assist with function (casts, braces, etc).

Lightweight devices made of plastic, leather, or metal which provide stability at the joints or passively stretch the muscles.

An operation to cut and realign the bones; for example, to change the angle of the femoral bone and the hip joint.

Otitis media:
inflammation of the middle ear due to bacteria] infection or other causes.