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Glossary of Terms

Apprenticeship
A structured training opportunity conducted in partnership with an employer or industry that prepares an individual for a specific trade or occupation.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
A law passed in 1990 that protects people with disabilities from discrimination in employment, and mandates accessible public accommodations, government services, transportation and telecommunications.
Assistive Technology
Any item, device, or piece of equipment used to increase, maintain, or improve an individual's capacity on the job.
Chapter 688 Referral (also known as "Turning 22 Law")
A legal form submitted by the school to identify the adult services a student will need after leaving special education.
Childhood Disability Benefit (CDB)
A Social Security Administration (SSA) benefit for people 18 years of age or older, determined by SSA to have become disabled before age 22, whose parents qualify for benefits and are either deceased or receiving retirement or disability benefits; typically includes Medicare.
CommonHealth
A Massachusetts health coverage program for people with disabilities at any income level above the cutoff for MassHealth Standard (Medicaid). Members pay a monthly premium that increases as their income goes up.
DDS Transition Coordinator (sometimes called "688 Coordinator")
The TC is the student's primary link to DDS during the transition from special education to adult life. The TC facilitates development of an Individual Transition Plan (ITP), and helps individuals and families understand what DDS and other agencies offer.
DDS Service Coordinator
Once the Individual Transition Plan has been written and the young adult has left school, the SC replaces the Transition Coordinator as the primary link to DDS. The SC facilitates development of an Individual Service Plan (ISP) and provides ongoing information and assistance regarding services and supports.
Employment Service Providers
Typically, private and non-profit community-based organizations that provide direct vocational services to adults with disabilities. These services are often paid for by state agencies such as DDS but families can also pay for them on their own.
Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE)
A Social Security work incentive allowing an SSI or SSDI recipient to deduct the cost of disability-related items and services s/he relies on for work (such as personal care assistants or transportation), from the gross income that Social Security counts when they calculate the amount of the individual's monthly check.
Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment (ICE)
Massachusetts state-funded pilot grant program, which enables students with severe disabilities, aged 18-22, to participate in integrated college experiences while still in high school.
Individual Service Plan (ISP)
An ongoing DDS planning document for young adults no longer in school, the ISP specifies individual goals, services and supports, as well as strategies that promote achievement of the goals. The ISP is updated annually.
Individual Transition Plan (ITP)
Facilitated by the DDS Transition Coordinator, this document specifies vocational, residential, and support services requested by the student/family when the student leaves special education.
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
A written plan, mandated by law and updated annually, developed by the student, parents, and the school's special education team. The IEP specifies the student's services, goals and objectives, and methods to obtain these goals.
Interest Inventory
A test or tool that attempts to match one's personality and interests with a work environment and/or career.
Internships
Paid or unpaid work experiences for students.
Job Coach
An employment staff person who assists the worker with a disability to adjust and maintain stability at their job. Roles of the job coach can include job skills training; developing accommodations; arranging natural supports; and working with the individual, supervisors and coworkers to resolve issues, promote effective communication and ensure social inclusion.
Job Shadowing
Designed to increase career awareness, students learn about a job by spending time observing an employee in an occupation of interest, where they get to witness firsthand the work environment, skills, and behavior involved in that setting.
MassHealth Standard (Medicaid)
Joint federal-state comprehensive heath benefits program, automatically giving full coverage to SSI recipients.
Medicare
Federal health insurance program, typically connected with SSDI and CDB, in which beneficiaries pay deductibles and co-fees.
Mentoring
A career exploration experience where a student is matched with an employee and forms a relationship which supports learning about a career or job of interest. Mentors can also be coworkers at a new job who help to support the initial orientation and training needs of the novice employee.
Natural Supports
The resources that are available to all employees in a workplace, such as job orientations, trainings and mentors. Examples include an employer's human resource department providing extra help during orientation and training, or a coworker providing a ride to or from the job.
One-Stop Career Centers
Coordinated by the US Department of Labor, these Centers are designed to provide a full range of assistance to job seekers. The Centers offer training referrals, career counseling, job listings, a career library, job search workshops, computer workstations and more.
Para-transit
Shared-ride, curb-to-curb transportation (often vans) for people who are elderly or have disabilities that prevent them from riding on fixed route buses and trains.
Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)
A Social Security work incentive that allows a person with a disability to set aside income and/or resources to reach a work goal. This helps to reduce the amount that Social Security deducts from an SSI check based on an individual's earned income.
Person-Centered Planning
A planning process that focuses on the individual and his/her interests, strengths, and needs. Emphasis is placed on the process being controlled by the individual with a disability. This individual often invites people from his/her personal network along with service providers to help develop a plan for the future.
Regional Transit Authority (RTA)
Located across Massachusetts, 16 RTAs are charged with maintaining a fixed route public transportation system and managing the para-transit programs for their region. For example, Boston's MBTA has a large system of bus, subway and streetcar routes but also manages its RIDE program.
Self-Advocacy
Individuals with disabilities speaking and/or acting for themselves to advocate for their own rights and needs. Self-advocacy groups for persons with developmental disabilities are growing across the US.
Self-Determination
Individuals having control over those aspects of life that are important to them, such as the services they receive, their career choices and goals, where they live, and which community activities they are involved with.
Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE)
A Social Security work incentive that allows qualified young people who are in school to keep some or all of their earnings without losing money from their SSI checks.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Social Security Administration (SSA) benefit for people determined by SSA to be disabled and who have low incomes and low resources; typically includes MassHeath Standard (Medicaid).
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Administration (SSA) benefit for people determined by SSA to be disabled and who either: a) have previously worked and paid Social Security taxes (FICA) for enough years to qualify, or b) have a retired or deceased parent who has paid into the system; typically includes Medicare.
Social Security Work Incentives
Special programs that make it possible for recipients of SSI and/or SSDI to work and still receive monthly payments and health insurance benefits. These options provide those who want to work with a "safety net" while they are adjusting to the job; this minimizes the risk of losing financial stability.
Supported Employment
Competitive employment for individuals with disabilities in integrated work settings with ongoing training and support provided on and/or off the job site as needed and requested by the worker with a disability or the employer.
Ticket to Work
A Social Security Program created in 1999. It is designed to give recipients aged 18 to 64 who receive SSDI and/or SSI greater choice in getting the employment-related services they need. The goal is for them to earn enough money from working so they will no longer need Social Security cash benefits.
Transition Planning Form (TPF)
Maintained with the IEP beginning at age 14, schools must use this form to plan for the student's need for transition services. The TPF includes the student's post-secondary Vision Statement.
Vision Statement
An important component of IEP and TPF documentation, this statement addresses student preferences and interests, desired outcomes in adult living, and post-secondary and working environments over a five-year period.
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
A state agency that aims to help restore or develop the working ability of individuals with disabilities. VR provides counseling, training, placement, and referrals to other agencies. In Massachusetts, the VR agencies are Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) and Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB).
Work Incentives Planning & Assistance (WIPA)
Programs funded by Social Security to help individuals understand the impact of earned income on public benefits, including SSI, SSDI, Medicare, Medicaid, housing, TANF, and food stamps. In Massachusetts, the two WIPA programs are Project IMPACT, and BenePLAN.
Workplace Accommodations
Any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that enables an employee with a disability to perform job duties, and/or to participate in other work-related events or activities.