Tennessee Disability Acronym Dictionary

Acronym What it stands for What it means


The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Association of professionals who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Formerly known as AAMR – American Association of Mental Retardation)


Americans with Disabilities Act

Act by Congress to protect the Civil Rights of people with disabilities


Adult Protective Services

County agency responsible for investigating abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults who are elderly or have disabilities


Behavior Analyst

Professional who observes and assesses the relationship between behavior and the environment


Benefits Enrollment Center

Past project of The Arc TN that assists individuals with applying for public benefit programs


Behavioral Health Organization

TennCare contracted agency for mental health supports


Benefits Planning, Assistance & Outreach

Social Security term


Behavior Specialist

Similar to a counselor but treats ordinary emotional and psychological issues


Comprehensive Development Classroom

Special Education term - Segregated class for children and youth


Centers for Independent Living

Memphis Center for Independent Living

Jackson Center for Independent Living

TARP Center for Independent Living –Paris

Center for Independent Living of Middle TN

Tri-State Disability Resource Center- Chattanooga

disABILITY Resource Center - Knoxville

6 private non-profit agencies in Tennessee providing services that will maximize the independence of individuals with disabilities and the accessibility of the communities they live in


Centers for Medicare and  Medicaid Services

Federal government funding agency for TennCare and ID HCBS Waivers


Circle of Support

Term used within waiver services to define the group of individuals who support the service recipient’s planning process


Disability Coalition on Education

A group of parents and professionals who work to improve special education for students with disabilities


Developmental Disability

Any disability with an onset before age 22 that effects normal development; i.e., intellectual, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury


Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Department of state government that oversees funding and services for people with intellectual disability (ID)


Disability Determination Section

A federally funded division of TN Dept. of Human Services that adjudicates Social Security disability claims


Department of Education

Department of state government that oversees funding and programs for education, including special education services


Department of Health

Department of state government that oversees funding and health related services


Division of Rehabilitation Services

Division of state government that provides funding for vocational rehabilitation services related to jobs and working (also commonly referred to as “VR”)


Disability Rights Tennessee

An agency that protects individuals with disabilities rights, funded by the U.S. Administration on Developmental Disabilities


Down Syndrome Association

Disability agency advocating for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families


Direct Support Professionals

Support staff for people with disabilities and who are elderly


Employment and Community First

CHOICES program for people with IDD


Early Intervention

Education program for very young children who have disabilities

EP Team

Education Planning Team

Education planning team


Free and Appropriate Public Education

Term used in federal education law, IDEA, guaranteeing  students with disabilities a free public school education that meets their needs


Family Education Rights to Privacy Act

Act that protects privacy of records of students in special education


Federal Medical Assistance Percentages


The Federal Medical Assistance Percentages are for Medicaid and are used in determining the amount of Federal matching funds for State expenditures for assistance payments for certain social services, and State medical and medical insurance expenditures.


Home and Community Based Services

The name of the Medicaid Waiver that funds community services for people with intellectual disabilities


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Act that protects privacy of health records of individuals


Human Rights Commission

An independent state agency charged with preventing and eradicating discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing


Inventory for Client and Agency Planning

Tool used by DIDD for support planning and implementation process for people with intellectual disability (mental retardation) diagnosis



Intermediate care facility for persons with mental retardation (while intellectual disability has replaced the term “mental retardation” in most situations, it cannot be substituted in this term)

Mini institution or large group home that provides long term care and supports to people with intellectual disabilities who may also be medically fragile


Intellectual Disability

Cognitive disability with IQ 70 or below identified prior to age 18


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Act passed by congress entitling kids with disabilities to a freed and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment with appropriate accommodations


Individualized Education Plan

Term used for goals set for children in special education


Independent Support Coordinator

Person who advocates for needed services and supports for person with intellectual disability who has Medicaid Waiver services. 


Independent Support Plan

Medicaid Waiver term- The Plan written for each person receiving HCBS services defining annual needs and goals


Least Restrictive Environment

In education, it means to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities should be educated with children who are typically developing


Managed Care Organizations

Health insurance companies that contract with healthcare providers, medical facilities and government agencies to provide health and other services


Occupational Therapy

Therapy based on engagement in meaningful activities of daily life, especially to enable or encourage participation in such activities in spite of impairments or limitations in physical or mental functions


Personal Assistant

Support staff


Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security

Social Security term


Plan for Achieving Self-support

It is an SSI provision to help individuals with disabilities return to work and become independent


Personal Assistance Services and Supports

Grant funded by DIDD that assists people with disabilities to hire and supervise their own personal assistants


Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope

A colorful method of person-centered planning


Person-centered Planning

Person-centered planning is a process, directed by the family or the individual with long term care needs, to identify the strengths, capacities, preferences, needs and desired outcomes of the individual


Parents Encouraging Parents

A parent advocacy group for parents of children with disabilities


Partners in Education

Williamson County group of parents that works with special education division


Public Partnerships, LLC

A company that provides fiscal intermediary services to waiver funded individuals choosing to self-direct their services


Public Service Announcement

Free advertising through public radio or public television


Physical Status Review

Tool that addresses health needs of people with developmental disabilities


Physical Therapy

The use of exercises and physical activities to help condition muscles and restore strength and movement


People Talking to People

A program currently operated by The Arc of Tennessee that uses interview teams comprised of individuals with disabilities and family of individuals with disabilities to conduct customer satisfaction surveys related to services through DIDD


Request for Proposal

Call for interested organizations to apply for particular grants

SD Waiver

Self-determination Waiver

Capped ($30,000) HCBS Waiver through DIDD that includes a self-directed component


Supported Decision Making

Alternative to conservatorship that helps individuals with disabilities make choices


Substantial gainful activity

Social Security term used for earnings

Sib Shop

Siblings of persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities workshop

Training and social opportunities for brothers and sisters of person with intellectual or developmental disability


Statewide Independent Living Council

Federally mandated organization committed to people with disabilities living independently as possible


Supports Intensity Scale

Assessment tool that evaluates practical support requirements of a person with an intellectual disability through a positive and thorough interview process


Speech Language Pathology

The study, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders that relate to speech, language, swallowing, fluency, voice, and communication


Statewide Parents Advocacy Network

Parent organization serving children with greatest needs such as disability, poverty, etc.


Special Education

Federally and state funded program designed to provide access to a free and appropriate education to children with disabilities up to age 21 in public school systems


Social Security Administration

The federal government agency that holds money out of your check and provides benefits when you become disabled or retire


Social Security Disability Income

Benefits from SSA to someone with a disability who meets eligibility requirements and has worked long enough to qualify


Supplemental Security Income

Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes) designed to help aged, blind and disabled people who have little or no income


Support & Training for Exceptional Parents

An agency that provides special education and IDEA training targeted at parents and families


Tennessee Education Association

Advocacy/membership organization for teachers


Tennessee Early Intervention System

Program for children ages birth to three through  the TN Department of Education


Tennessee Network of Community Organizations

Membership of DIDD provider agencies in Tennessee (Formerly known as CMRA)


Tennessee Rehabilitation Center

A state run training facility through the Division of Rehabilitation Services located in Smyrna, TN


United Cerebral Palsy

A disability specific advocacy group


University of Tennessee, Connecting Disability and Employment

Branch of UT that works to see that people with disabilities receive training and get jobs


Vocational Rehabilitation

State Division that helps people with disabilities get trained for and find employment (aka Division of Rehabilitation Services)