Glossary: T-Z


Relating to touch.

Tactile defensiveness:
Abnormal sensitivity to touch.

Tailor sitting (Indian style):
Sitting cross-legged on the floor.

Telecommunications Device for the Deaf.

Technology is a tool, not an end product. Technology can be any combination of hardware and software that provides opportunities to enhance instructional delivery and production methods used by both instructors and learners.

Technology Adaptation:
The practice of taking technology equipment and software and altering them to meet the unique needs of one or more individuals, e.g. adding a switch to a slide projector so the student can operate the controls.

An electronic process that provides the means to communicate across distances, large and small, from one sender or more to another sender or group.

A portion of the brain involved in receiving stimuli from other parts of the body or brain and transmittting them to specialized areas of the brain.

The Perkins Act:
The Carl Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act of 1998. The purpose of this act is to develop more fully the academic, vocational, and technical skills of secondary and postsecondary students who choose to enroll in vocational and technical education programs. The act applies to the general population and to the following special populations: individuals with disabilities; individuals from economically disadvantaged families, including foster children; individuals preparing for nontraditional training and employment; single parents; single pregnant women; displaced homemakers; and individuals with limited English proficiency. § This symbol means “Section” as in “§300.7 Child with a disability” as written in the IDEA regulations.

Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation (TES):
A treatment in which electrodes are attached to the skin over certain muscles while the person sleeps. The electric stimulations increases muscle bulk and strength. Its effects on improving funtion are controversial.

Therapeutic Horseback Riding:
See Hippotherapy

Therapeutic Services:
Interventions to assist in the prevention or treatment of disease.

A trained professional who works to overcome the effects of problems.

A hormone form the thyroid gland that is important for the reglation of metabolism; it can be derived from animals or made synthetically.

Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973:
Title of the law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability by the Federal government, Federal contractors, by recipients of Federal financial assistance, and in Federally-conducted programs and activities.

Tomatis method:
A type of auditory integration training in which the child listens to special sound stimulation tapes and also to his own voice.

The amount of muscle contraction when it is at rest. Too high, it is called spasticity; too low, hypotnia. Both interfere with movement.

Tongue protrusion reflex:
A reflex that causes the tongue to forcefully push food out of the mouth.

Having continuous increased muscle tone.

Tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure:
A type of seizure which causes a sudden loss of consciousness followed immediately by a generalized convulsion in which extremities become stiff, then jerk rhythmically. Formerly know as grand mal seizure.


Transition Planning:
The terms transition planning and transitional services are generic ones, having to do with any service setting in which a person is being moved from one status or one service system to another. In the assistive technology context, the term is used mainly to describe the transition from school to work, or from special education services to vocational rehabilitation services. Both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act contain provisions mandating transition planning and coordination of services.

Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. Landmark legislation enabling individuals with disabilities to become employed without losing Medicare or Medicaid coverage provided to those who are unemployed and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income. This act allows individuals to buy into these coverages when they stop receiving disability benefits upon gainful employment. Other provisions of the act give individuals the ability to obtain vocational rehabilitation and/or other support services.

An electrical instrument which measures changes in pressure and mobility of the eardrum to detect middle ear fluid.


A crater in tissue.

A technique that bounces sound waves off of tissues and structures and uses the patterns of echoes to form an image, called a sonogram.

Undue Hardship:
With respect to the provision of an accommodation,an action would be unduly costly, disruptive or extensive or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business. These factors include the nature and cost of the accommodation in relationship to the size, resources, nature, and structure of the employer’s operation. Where the facility making the accommodation is part of a larger entity, the structure and overall resources of the larger organization would be considered, as well as the financial and administrative relationship of the facility to the larger organization.


Universal Design:
While having no official or legal definition, “universal design” is a concept or process having as its goal incorporation into technology and the environment of features that will allow equipment, services and facilities to be utilized by the largest possible range and number of persons, including by persons with disabilities. Examples might include speech output as an optional alternative to visual displays, ramps as an alternative for stairs, and captioning of television and films as an alternative or adjunct to audio output.

Upper motor nerve (UMN):
Receives messages from the brain and transmits them to a lower motor neuron.

A physician who specializes in urinary diseases.


When the ability to flex a muscle depends on the speed in which you do it. For a child with spasticity, a contracted muscle may straighten if moved slowly, but lock up if attempted to move.

Small cavities (spaces) within the brain that contain cerebrospinal fluid.

Pertaining to the sensory system located in the inner ear that allows the body to maintain balance and enjoyably participate in movement such as swinging and roughhousing.

Vision therapist:
A therapist who assesses and enhances useful vision.

Visiting Nurses Association (VNA):
An organization of nurses that visit patients at home under instruction from a physician or public health unit.

Visual sequential memory:
The ability to remember a sequence of pictures one sees.

Vitamin A:
Is essential for fetal growth and development, particularly of the nervous system, heart and face. Vitamin A and a Vitamin A source-beta carotene, are usually present in a wide variety of commonly eaten foods.

Vocational Rehabilitation:
Programs designed to assist individuals with disabilities to enter or reenter gainful employment.

Vocational training:
Training for a job. Learning skills to perform in the work place.




A stream of high-energy photons, used for their penetrating power in radiography, radiology, radiotherapy, and scientific research.