Glossary: J-M


An abnormal amount of bile pigments in the bloodstream.

Job Coach:
A person hired by the placement agency or provided through the employer to furnish specialized on-site training to assist an employee with a disability in learning and performing a job and adjusting to the work environment.


Ketogenic Diet:
A very precisely prescribed diet that is used to help control seizures in children with intractable epilepsy. The diet is very high in fat and low in sugar and carbohydrates.

Relating to the ability to perceive movement.

Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (KAFO):
A brace that starts below the hip and extends to the ankle.

Rounded back; a deformity of the upper spine.


A neurotransmitter (nervous system chemical) important in the control of neurological function.

The inner ear.

A chemical product of energy metabolism’s production of milk in the mammary glands.

The expression and understanding of human communication.

A motor awareness of both sides of the body.

Learning Disability:
A learning disability is a neurological disorder. In simple terms, a learning disability results from a difference in the way a person’s brain is “wired.” Children with learning disabilities are as smart or smarter than their peers. But they may have difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information if left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in conventional ways.

A learning disability can’t be cured or fixed; it is a lifelong issue. With the right support and intervention, however, children with learning disabilities can succeed in school and go on to successful, often distinguished careers later in life.

Local Education Agency (LEA):
The agency responsible for providing educational services on the local (city, county, and school district) level.

Long-leg sitting:
Sitting with legs extended straight out in front of the body.

Sway back; a deformity of the lower spine.

Low tone:
Decreased muscle tone.

Lower extremities:
The legs.

Lower motor nerve (LMN):
The nerve located in the spine that receives messages from the brain and sensors in the body, and sends messages to the muscle to produce and control movement.

Relating to the lower back.

Lung Cancer:
A primary or metastatic tumor in the lungs.

Luxury trust:
A trust that describes the kind of allowable expenses in a way that excludes the cost of care in state-funded programs in order to avoid cost-of-care liability.


An abnormally large head.

Magnesium Sulfate:
A chemical used for various purposes. Taken orally, it is a laxative. When given intravenously to pegnant women in labor, it may abolish or diminish unterine contractions.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):
An imaging technique which uses radio waves, magnetic field, and computer analysis to create a picture of body tissues and structures.

The practice of involving children with disabilities in regular school and preschool environments. See also Inclusion.

Major Life Activity:
Basic activities that the average person in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty, including caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

Nutritional intake that is insufficient to promote or maintain growth and development.

Faulty bites such as overbites or underbites.

Lower jaw bone.

Upper jaw bone.

As related to special education services, a process for resolving disputes about a child’s special education. During mediation, a trained, impartial person tries to help the participants reach a compromise through discussion of the issues.

Medicaid and Medicare:
These are public health insurance programs established in 1965 under the Social Security Act. Medicaid is a means-tested insurance program for people who are poor and have disabilities. Medicare is an insurance program for virtually all persons over the age of 65 and for persons under that age who receive Social Security disability insurance. In a number of States, Medicaid is now also available for “buy-in”, particularly on behalf of low-income children.

Mental Retardation:
The definition used most often in the United States is from the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR). According to AAMR, mental retardation is a disability that occurs before age 18. It is characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills. It is diagnosed through the use of standardized tests of intelligence and adaptive behavior.

Mentoring is an educational process where the mentor serves as a role model, trusted counselor or teacher who provides opportunities for professional development, growth and support to less experienced individuals in career planning or employment settings. Individuals receive information, encouragement and advice as they plan their careers.

An abnormally small head.

Middle ear:
The air-filled cavity between the outer and inner ears that contains three tiny bones-the malleus, incus and stapes.

an imaginary reference line down the center of the body separating left from right.

Mild Oxygen Loss:
Usually a time limited, small decrease in the amount of oxygen available.

Mobility Opportunities Via Education (M.O.V.E.):
A program designed to teach children with disabilities functional motor skills through the use of selective equipment-i.e. the Gait Trainer, the Mobile Stander and the Universal Chair. MOVE International is an activity-based curriculum designed to teach students basic, functional motor skills needed for adult life within the home and community. The program is designed to build on natural body mechanics, aiming for increasing independence in sitting, standing and walking.

Diminished muscle control in one limb.

Relating to the ability to move a part of or the entire body.

Motor cortex:
The area of the brain containing the neurons that control voluntary movement (as opposed to reflexes).

Motor delay:
Slower than normal development of movement skills.

Motor patterns:
The ways in which the body and limbs work to make sequenced movement.

Motor planning:
The ability to think through and carry out a physical task.

Multidisciplinary Team:
See Interdisciplinary team.

Having more than one disability.

Multiple Sclerosis Foundation:
A not-for-profit organization supporting services, advocacy, reseach and public information in the area of multiple sclerosis, a disease of the nervous system.

Muscle facilitation:
To encourage a muscle to work harder through techniques such as proper positioning, special equipment, sensory input, etc.

Muscle tone:
The amount of tension or resistance to movement in a muscle. The amount of contraction of a muscle when it is at rest.

Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA):
A not-for-profit organization supporting services, advocacy, research and public information in the area of neuromuscular dystrophy, a group of genetic disorders affecting muscles.

Myofascial release therapy:
A controversial therapy in which connective tissues around joints and overlying muscles are stretched and manipulated to enhance movement.

Nearsightedness; a condition in which close objects can be seen clearly but distant objects are blurry