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MedEd Connections Resource Guide: Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH)

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

You will hear a variety of medical and audiological terms being used at your child’s appointments. The Outreach Center at OCALI has developed a glossary of commonly used terms and their definitions to assist you as you navigate the medical and educational systems.


American Sign Language (ASL): A visual language used in the United States and Canada. Language is conveyed through hand signs, facial expressions, and body language gestures. These visual signs are received through the eyes and processed through language areas of the brain. ASL has its own rules of grammar, phonology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics.

Assistive Technology (AT): Assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment, or product which supports a child’s ability to do what they want to do. AT can be high tech, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, or FM/DM systems. AT can also be low tech, such as a pencil grip.


Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA): This hearing assistive technology is a surgically implanted device which vibrates the bone behind the ear to direct sound to the inner ear, therefore by-passing the outer and middle ear.


Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART): CART is instantaneous translation of speech to text by a certified CART provider. Text is displayed on an individual’s computer monitor, projected onto a screen, or combined with a video presentation to appear as caption. CART is also referred to as real-time captioning.

Closed Captioning (CC): A feature on TVs, movies, videos or any screen in which spoken words and any auditory information is displayed as text.

Cochlear Implant (CI): A hearing assistive technology device which is implanted to direct auditory input to the inner ear by stimulating the cochlea, therefore by-passing the outer and middle ear.

County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CBDD): A county agency that provides supports and services to eligible persons with disabilities.


Deaf or Hard of Hearing (D/HH): Deaf, when spelled with a capital D, is a cultural, linguistic term that means a person’s communication mode is visually based, (either sign language or written English); residual hearing (if any) may be a secondary or supplemental sensory avenue. Hard of hearing is a term used by individuals to describe their hearing status when they have access to some sounds and communicate via spoken languages, signed languages, or both. When combined, the terms D/HH refers to both groups of individuals.


Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC): The term expanded core curriculum (ECC) is used to define concepts and skills that often require direct specialized support with children who are deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) in order to provide opportunities for direct instruction in areas that others may learn incidentally by through auditory channels.

Early Intervention (EI): State-wide program that provides services to support the cognitive, physical, social and emotional development of children with disabilities from birth to age three.

Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT): Another term for Otolaryngologist, medical doctor who identifies and treats ear, nose, and throat conditions.

Educational Services Center (ESC): There are 52 educational service centers in Ohio that provide school districts with professional development, technology support, planning, student service supports, and administrative services to improve student learning, enhance quality of instruction, and expand equal access to resources. School districts contract with these ESCs for the specific services they need.

Evaluation Team Report (ETR): The educational assessment teams’ documented results, implications for instructions, and recommendations of a multi factored evaluation (MFE), which consist of a student’s strengths and needs. This report is used for special education eligibility determination and to plan an Individualized Education Program.


Frequency Modulation/Digital Modulation System (FM/DM): FM is a hearing assistive technology device in which the person speaking wears a microphone, and the speech is channeled directly to hearing aids or headphones worn by the listener. There are also classroom systems that channel the sound to speakers strategic placed in the classroom to enhance the signal of the voice over the signal of background noise.


Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT): Any technology that helps a person hear. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): A federal law which details the educational rights and requirements applicable to students with disabilities.


Individualized Education Program (IEP): A legal document which details a student’s special education program. Operates under part B of IDEA and addresses the needs of children ages three through twenty-one.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP): An action plan detailing the supports and services that early intervention will provide to eligible young children with disabilities. Operates under part C of IDEA and addresses the needs of children birth through age three.

Individualized Service Plan (ISP): An action plan detailing the supports and services that a county board of developmental disabilities will provide to eligible children and adults with disabilities.


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): Supports and services provided to meet the individual needs of each child in order to make an educational setting inclusive and accessible.


Multi-factored evaluation (MFE): An assessment evaluating a student’s cognitive, emotional, social, physical, and academic development to determine whether the student is qualified to receive special education services. Specifically identifies a student’s strengths and needs.


Ohio’s Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI): A state agency that Informs policy, consults and collaborates, and develops and deploys best practices which includes providing resources, trainings, and support to families with children who have disabilities, and related professionals so that people with disabilities have the opportunity to live their best lives for their whole lives.

Ohio’s Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD): A statewide non-profit program which provides direct support to families and their children with disabilities. Parent Mentor Program is part of OCECD.

Ohio Department of Education (ODE): A state agency that supports and manages school districts and education in Ohio.

Office for Exceptional Children (OEC): A state agency which provides leadership, assistance, and oversight to school districts and other entities that provide differentiated instruction for students with disabilities and gifted students.

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD): State agency that provides services and support to Ohioans with disabilities to achieve quality employment, independence, and social security disability determination outcomes.

Occupational Therapist (OT): A professional who works with people to improve their fine-motor skills.


Parent Mentor (PM): A professional who is a parent of a child with disabilities specially trained to support and mentor other parents experiencing similar circumstances. They are employed through OCECD and provide guidance navigating special needs systems.

Physical Therapist (PT): A professional who works with people to improve their gross motor skills.


Teacher of the Deaf (TOD): A certified teacher who provides assessment, instruction, and support for students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing and their educational team to enhance student learning.


Response to Intervention (RTI): A multi-tiered (or three step process) approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs.


Speech Language Pathologist (SLP): SLPs work to assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language development, social communication, cognitive communication, and swallowing disorders in children. Service Support Administrator (SSA): A professional from your local board of Developmental Disabilities (DD) working with your child and family to create and implement an Individual Service Plan (ISP).

State Support Team (SST): There are 16 regional state support teams in Ohio to provide coordination and support for common barriers in school improvement and services for low-performing students.


Video Relay Services (VRS): A service provided by interpreters to relay conversations between American Sign Language (ASL) users and people who do not use ASL.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): A program designed to support individuals with disabilities with employment and daily living.