Glossary: D-E


Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives:
A national cooperative effort of neuroscientists (biomedical and behavioral scientists) addressing the structure, function and dysfunction of the nervous system.

Generally, the term “deaf” refers to those who are unable to hear well enough to rely on their hearing and use it as a means of processing information. For more information on this term, please visit the National Association for the Deaf Web site.

A combined loss of vision and hearing.

Also known as Valproic acid. An anti-epileptic seizure medication.

Dev. Dis. Assistance & Bill of Rights Act of 1980:
Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1980 as Amended is the basic statute setting out the structure and goals of three Federal programs for people with developmental disabilities:
State Protection and Advocacy Systems; State Developmental Disabilities Councils; and University Affiliated Programs.

The process of growth and learning during which a child acquires skills and abilities.

Developmental disability:
A disability or impairment beginning in infancy or childhood which may be expected to continue indefinitely and which causes a substantial disability. Such conditions include pervasive developmental disorders, autism, cerebral palsy, and mental retardation.

Developmental milestone:
A developmental goal such as sitting or using two word phrases that functions as a measurement of developmental progress over time.

Developmental sequence:
The normal progression of motor skills, including all areas such as fine motor, gross motor, personal and social.

Usually meaning diabetis mellatus, a chronic disorder characterized by insufficient insulin and improper metabolism of body glucose.

Diabetic neuropathy:
Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder caused by diabetes. Symptoms of neuropathy include numbness and sometimes pain in the hands, feet, or legs. For more information, visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Web site.

Toe or finger

Phenytoin. An antiepileptic seizure medication.

A type of cerebral palsy in which spasticity primarily affects the legs.

Double vision.

As defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act: (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, e.g., seeing hearing, speaking, walking, working, learning, breathing, performing manual tasks, and caring for one’s self or (B) a record of such an impairment or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment.

Discretionary trust:
A trust in which the trustee (the person responsible for governing the trust) has the authority to use or not use the trust funds for any purpose, as long as funds are expended only for the beneficiary.

Dispute resolution procedures:
The procedure established by law and regulation for the fair resolution of disputes regarding a child’s special education.

Doman-Delacato Method:
See Patterning.

Dopa-responsive Dystonia (DRD):
This genetic disorder first appears in young children (ages 2-6). It is characterized usually by the onset of dystonia in a limb (usually a leg) affecting walking and over time spreading to involve other limbs.

Dorsal Rhizotomy:
See Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy.

Upward motion of the foot toward the body.

It is generally accepted that drooling occurs because of a defect in the oral or voluntary phase of swallowing, resulting in an overflow of secretions which builds up in the front of the mouth (Shott et al. 1989).

Durable Medical Equipment (DME):
DME includes items such as oxygen tents, wheelchairs, and hospital beds. It is defined, most authoritatively under Medicare statute, as equipment that is expected to last for a substantial period of time, that is subject to repeated use and not consumed by being used, that would not be used or needed by an individual in the absence of a medical need, and that is appropriate for use in the home.

Impaired articulation due to problems in muscle control.

A general term for involuntary movements.

Difficulty planning movements and putting them into sequence.

Difficult labor.

The term used to describe an illness dominated by involuntary spasms and muscle contractions that induce abnormal movements and postures. Such dystonic spasms may affect one part of the body, such as the eyes, neck or a limb; a larger region, such as the neck and arms; or the whole body. Slow, rhythmic, twisting movements. Dystonia is a neurological disorder of the brain characterized by sustained muscle contractions which frequently causes twisting or repetitive movements of a body part (eyelids, tongue, hand, limb, neck, trunk, etc.) or abnormal postures. Also, a tremor may accompany these symptoms. Symptoms are often exacerbated by active voluntary movements.


Early development:
Development during the first three years of life.

Early Intervention:
Early intervention applies to children of school age or younger who are discovered to have or be at risk of developing a disabling condition or other special need that may affect their development. Early intervention consists in the provision of services such children and their families for the purpose of lessening the effects of the condition. Early intervention can be remedial or preventive in nature—remediating existing developmental problems or preventing their occurrence.

Easter Seals Society:
A national, not-for-profit organization providing services for people with disabilities.

A parrot-like repetition of phrases or words just heard (immediate echolalia), or heard hours, days, weeks, or even months ago (delayed echolalia).

The occurance of convulsions in a pregnant woman, often preceded by pre-eclampsia.

Education Department General Administrative Regulations. These establish uniform administrative requirements for federal grants and agreements awarded to institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other nonprofit organizations. Entities that apply for and receive federal grant funds must follow EDGAR regulations.

Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA):
The original name for the Education of Individuals with Disablitlies Act.

Originating from the central nervous system, a nerve impulse which travels to a nerve or muscle.

Education of the Handicapped Act (now IDEA). The name of the original 1975 legislation entitling children and youth with disabilities to a free appropriate public education.

Electrical Stimulation:
The use of electrical stimulation in the treatment of muscle spasticity and tendon contracture associated with cerebral palsy has been used by a number of clinicians over many years. The desired effects of electrical stimulation were increased muscle strength and greater mobility of restricted joint motion.

Electroencephalogram (EEG):
A record of brain electrical activity.

A record of activity in muscles,used in diagnosing muscle and nerve disorders.

A recording technique that detects muscle activity.

A type of therapy in which electrical impulses are used to stimulate muscle contractions in an attempt to strengthen muscles.

A fertilized egg; in humans, less than 16 weeks of development.

The ability to remain focused on, and responsive to, a person or object.

Environmental Controls:
These are those devices or systems, usually computer-based, that enable individuals with disabilities, to control their physical environments including telephones, lights, doors, thermostats, etc.

Epilepsy is a general term used for a convulsive disorder with repeated episodes of symptoms ranging from momentary loss of consciousness, the repetitive movement of a particular limb or other part of the body, to an overall body convulsion.

Equal Employment Opportunity:
Nondiscrimination in hiring, firing, compensation, promotion, recruitment, training, and other terms and conditions of employment regardless of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin or disability.


Equine Therapy:
See Hippotherapy.

Walking on toes due to a shortening of the calf muscles.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This law contains several federal programs designed to address the needs of disadvantaged students. The largest, Title 1 (formerly Chapter 1), is an $8 billion program designed to ensure that students in high poverty schools meet high standards. The law was amended in 1994 to strengthen provisions around high state standards for all students, accountability for schools and districts that continually underperform, and strong parental involvement and quality program requirements for schools and districts receiving Title 1 funds. The law is currently in the process of being reauthorized.

The tube through which food travels from the pharynx to the stomach.

A condition in which the eye(s) turns inward. A form of strabismus

Essential Job Functions:
The fundamental job duties of the employment position that the individual with a disability holds or desires. The term essential functions does not include marginal functions of the position.

Estate planning:
Formal, written arrangements for handling the possessions and assets of people after they have died.

The cause(s) of a disease.

See Assessment.

When a body part turns out, away from the body.

A condition in which an eye turns outward. A form of strabismus

Expressive language:
The ability to use gestures, words, and written symbols to communicate.

The straightening or extended of the limbs or trunk ; the opposite of flexion