Back to Coming to Terms with Disabilities
Since 1981 when the New York State Senate Select Committee on the Disabled
began by legislative decree, it has attempted to assist persons with
disabilities and/or family members in a variety of ways.
The defined role of the Committee is to " seek out and resolve problems
which consistently frustrate individuals with disabilities, their
families and friends, service providers and professionals in the field
of disability in their efforts to achieve unqualified access to all
aspects of life including education, job training, employment, housing
and transportation. The Committee functions as an advocate legislatively
by holding public hearings, encouraging personal contact with the
Committee and by having an Advisory Council."
Employment : An Ongoing Issue for People with Disabilities, is one of
the reports published in 1986 by the Committee. (This publication is
currently being revised.) This report includes a compendium of already
existing Federal, State and local laws, programs and policies which are
in place to protect the rights of people with disabilities who need job
training, a job commensurate with skill, a promotion, and those who wish
to start their own businesses. The research for this report also
included extensive interviews with employers, potential employers and
the general public. As a result of those interviews, the Committee
became aware of the fact that many people base their perception of
individuals with disabilities on some unfounded ideas about origins,
symptoms, behaviors and life-long implications of the visible and non-
visible disabilities of over two million New Yorkers and 50 million
Americans. Therefore, in order to increase public awareness and to
provide a better basic understanding of disabilities and related terms
which we encounter most often (i. e. through television, radio and
the written media), the Senate Select Committee on the Disabled compiled
this publication entitled Coming to Terms with Disabilities: A
Compilation of Vocabulary Relating to Visible and Non-Visible
This glossary is not offered as the " definitive dictionary on
disability. " It is offered as a primer to further inform those who are
interested in learning more about disabilities, and as a catalyst to
stimulate awareness in those who may have previously shied away from
seeking explanations because of the technical terms involved.
The information contained herein is based on a voluminous amount
of information which was forwarded to the Committee by people with
disabilities, advocates, medical doctors, service agencies, parents,
friends, rehabilitation specialists, therapists, educators, counselors
and numerous other professionals in the field.
Because of the outstanding response to the first edition, the book has
been revised, adding new definitions and making necessary corrections
which were so kindly brought to our attention.
I am most appreciative to all those who have assisted us in the
development of both the first and second editions.
Coming to Terms with Disabilities is organized alphabetically ; some
definitions are extensive, while others only a brief explanation. For
additional information on a particular topic, it is suggested that
agencies and/or organizations that are listed under particular
definitions be contacted.
L. PAUL KEHOE, Chairman
New York State Senate Select Committee on the Disabled
-- Members of the Committee --
James H. Donovan Howard C. Nolan, Jr.
Hugh T. Farley Frank Padavan
Mary B. Goodhue Jeremy S. Weinstein
Kenneth P. LaValle
-- Staff --
Marilyn R. Wessels, Director
Betty Meyer, Assistant Director
James S. Huben, Legislative Analyst
Virginia M. Hunt, Administrative Assistant
Margaret J. Hinkell, Secretary
3RD EDITION - JUNE - 1989
A COMPILATION OF VOCABULARY RELATING
TO VISIBLE AND NON-VISIBLE DISABILITIES
Coming to Terms with Disabilities is organized alphabetically; some
terms have extensive definitions and references (as needed), while
others have only a brief explanation. Additional, pertinent information
can be obtained by writing or calling specific agencies or
Virginia M. Hunt, Administrative Assistant Margaret J. Hinkell,
Secretary Florence Neculae, Manager, Senate Office Services
Catherine K. Marschilok, R. N.
M.S. Student Intern, Russell Sage College
Heartfelt thanks for all of their help and support in putting together this
This material has been scanned and reorganized for this gopher. Some other
minor changes have been introduced. Please advise me of any errors or updates.
Jay A. Leavitt