Glossary: B-C


Baclofen (Lioresal):
A muscle relaxant and antispasmodic that decreases the excitability of nerve cells in the spinal cord and is used to diminish spasticity in the lower limbs in persons with spinal cord injury and disease of the spinal cord. It is commonly used as an oral medication. Its precise mechanism of action is unknown although it is thought to inhibit the transmission of impulses between nerve cells. Since it is a nervous system inhibitor, it can affect the action of nerve cells in the brain and cause confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, and difficulties with gait and balance.

Baclofen Pump:
The pump has been developed to administer controlled amounts of Baclofen by a tube from pump to the spinal fluid in the space that surrounds the spinal cord. The pump is implanted under the skin of the abdomen and a computer is programmed to release the Baclofen in the amounts desired.

Basal ganglia:
An area deep in the brain that influences voluntary movement in the arms, legs, hands and feet.

Behavior Modification:
See Applied Behavior Analysis.

Bell’s Palsy:
A form of facial paralysis resulting from damage to the 7th (facial) cranial nerve. This nerve disorder afflicts approximately 40,000 Americans each year. It can strike almost anyone at any age; however, it disproportionately attacks pregnant women and people who have diabetes, influenza, a cold or some other upper respiratory ailment. In addition to one-sided facial paralysis with possible inability to close the eye, symptoms of Bells’ Palsy may include pain, tearing, drooling, hypersensitivity to sound in the affected ear and impairment of taste.

The person indicated in a trust or insurance policy to receive any payments that become due.

Berad method:
A type of auditory integration training in which the child listens to music with certain frequencies filtered out.

Relating to both sides.

Bile Pigments:
Yellow-colored substances produced by the human body as a byproduct of digestion and red blood cell destruction.

The technique involves sensory electrodes being placed on a person’s skin over a muscle group. The electrodes lead to a monitoring device which informs the person whether the muscle group is contracted or relaxed; with some apparatus, the degree of contraction can be demonstrated. There is no pain or discomfort associated with the technique.

Birth Defects:
An imperfection, malformation, dysfunction or absence present at birth.

Bite reflex:
A reflex which causes an infant to close its mouth tightly, for example, when his gums or teeth are touched.

Bivalved casts:
Removable plaster casts worn to improve toe walking, stretch out tight muscles, or improve wrist or elbow flexion and other abnormalities.

Botulinum toxin :
A toxin made from Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that causes a serious form of food poisoning. The toxin blocks the transmission of the nerve impulse from a nerve to a muscle, causing muscle weakness or paralysis, often causing death. BOTOX TM is the commerical name give to botulinum toxin and is used to relieve muscle spasm, generally within three days after its injection into a spastic muscle.

Very slow heart rate.

Brain Lesion:
A injury to brain cells.

Brain stem:
Portion of the brain between the cerebellum and the spinal cord.

Grinding of teeth repeatedly.



Clouding of the lens in the eye, which blocks the visual images from entering the retina.

The concept that actions create reactions.

Cell Therapy:
Cell therapy traditionally involves the intramuscular injection of cellular tissue preparations from fetal sheep or cattle. Generally, specific tissues and organs are separated and removed from an animal fetus and injected in humans to nourish corresponding human tissues and organs. For example, fetal brain tissue preparations may be used to nourish a functionally impaired human brain. Often several fetal tissues are selected and administered to human recipients according to individual patterns of need. The use of cell therapy is controversial.

Central nervous system (CNS):
The brain and spinal cord. The part of the nervous system primarily responsible for thinking, learning and speech as well as movement.

Part of the brain that helps coordinate muscle activity and control balance.

Relating to the two hemispheres of the human brain.

Cerebral Palsy (CP):
A term used to describe a chronic condition affecting body and/or limb movement and the control of muscle tone and coordination. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain during periods of brain development; there is usually no damage to the sensory or motor nerves controlling the muscles. The brain damage is not progressive; however, the characteristics of disabilities resulting from brain damage often change over time.

Cerebrospinal fluid:
A clear liquid that constantly bathes the spinal cord and flows through the ventricles of the brain, nourishing and protecting the central nervous system.

Code of Federal Regulations. The rules and regulations of federal agencies as published in the Federal Register. The federal regulations for the implementation of the IDEA were published in the March 12, 1999, Federal Register, Part II, Department of Education, 34 CFR Parts 300 and 303.

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder:
A nonprofit parent-based organization formed to better the lives of individuals with attention deficit disorders and those who care for them. Through family support and advocacy, public and professional education and encouragement of scientific research, CH.A.D.D. works to ensure that those with Attention Deficit Disorder are given the opportunity to reach their inherent potential.

Abrupt, quick, jerky movements of the head, neck, arms, or legs.

A movement disorder that causes variable muscle tone and involuntary movements of the limbs.

Chronic Cerebellar Stimulation (CCS):
Electrical stimulation of the cerebellum on a continuing basis.

Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome:
A body state characterized by debilitating chronic fatigue. Its cause is unknown but some scientists believe it may be due to a dysfunction of the body’s immune system; other believe it may be due to a biochemical disorder.

Clinical Trials:
The evaluation of a clinical intervention in an organized way. The goal standard is a randomized, double standard procedure in which subjects are randomly assigned to one of several interventions and neither the subject nor the evaluator know which intervention was used.

Rapid, rhythmic movements (alternate muscle relaxation and contractions).

Clostridium Botulinum:
See Botulinum toxin.

The ability to know and understand.

Complementary Medicine:
Usually used when an Alternative Medicine method is used in conjunction with generally accepted procedures.

Complex Partial Seizures:
Seizures which cause decreased alertness and changes in behavior.

Computed Tomography (CT scan):
An imaging technique that uses X rays and a computer to create a picture of the body’s tissues and structures.

Conductive Education (CE):
An unevaluated approach of teaching and learning for children with motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida. It is designed to improve motor skills and increase independence of many aspects of common living. It is not a cure, but a method of exercises and education that are broken down into basic functional movements. The program is goal oriented (performing a task) and does not focus on the cause of a disability. The primary objectives of Conductive Education are to promote maximum independence and the ability to enter school, the workplace and the community without the use of mechanical or electronic aids. The exercises are performed intensively (5 hours per day, 5 days per week) in small groups which promotes interactivity and fun. Conductive Education was developed at th

Conductive hearing loss:
A loss of hearing due to blockage of in the middle ear. Common causes include ear infections, middle ear fluid, or anatomic abnormalities such as cleft lip or palate.

Present at or before birth.

Consortium for Citizen with Disabilities (CCD):
The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities is a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations working together to advocate for national public policy that ensures the self determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society.

Momentary tightening or shortening of a muscle.

Chronic shortening of muscle fibers resulting in a decrease of joint mobility.

Involuntary contractions of the muscles due to abnormal electrical activity of the brain; a seizure.

Cortical blindness:
Total or partial blindness resulting from injury to the brain’s visual centers in the cerebral cortex. The individual is able to pick up visual information with his eyes, but his brain cannot process and interpret the information.

Cost-of-care liability:
The right of a state providing care to someone with disabilities to charge for the care and to collect from that person’s assets.

Pertaining to the area of the skull and the bones of the face.

Craniosacral Therapy:
A non-invasive, gentle therapy which uses the craniosacral system of the body. This system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. The therapy uses the craniosacral system’s rhythm to detect and balance restrictions that can cause pain and dysfunction throughout the body. Craniosacral Therapy has been used in conjunction with other therapies or when traditional therapies have proven ineffective. Craniosacral Therapy has been used in a wide range of cases from chronic symptoms to head or neck injuries following an accident. It can also be helpful for stress-related problems and various sensory disorders. The effects of Craniosacral Therapy remain controversial and have not been scientifically substantiated.


Input that prompts a person to perform a behavior or activity. Also called a prompt

Cystic Fibrosis (CF):
A genetic disorder characterized by dysfunction in many organs of the body; particularly the lungs, pancreas, liver and urinary tract. Pulmonary disease is the most common cause of death.