Glossary of Terms & Abbreviations

The terms listed below are ones that may be useful.  This is not an all inclusive list and the sites listed below are not a part of Via of the Lehigh Valley’s website.  You will be directed off Via’s website when you click on the links below.

To submit a term for the glossary, contact:


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ACRE Training – ACRE (Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators) is a national membership organization for trainers and educators who work in the field of employment for people with disabilities.  ACRE training is designed for professionals working in employment services in order to raise the national service delivery standard.  ACRE Certificate of Achievement is awarded to trainees who complete all training requirements that includes 40 hours of content & professional development activities.  This includes training on job analysis, starting the job, implementing support plans, involvement in usual employer training, systematic instruction, natural supports, social inclusion, fading, positive behavioral supports, ongoing supports and funding, access to resources needed for long-term employment, opportunity for career advancement.

ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act — Answers to commonly asked questions about how the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) affects employment, transportation, public facilities and other areas of access.

AAW – Adult Autism Waiver — AAW is a Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver designed to provide long-term services and supports for community living, tailored to the specific needs of adults age 21 or older with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

APSE – Association for People in Supported Employment — APSE is an advocacy organization that works to improve and expand integrated employment opportunities, services, and outcomes for persons experiencing disabilities. Via is a member of APSE. 

ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder — Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the name for a group of developmental disorders. ASD includes a wide range, “a spectrum,” of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability. People with ASD often have these characteristics: Ongoing social problems that include difficulty communicating and interacting with others; Repetitive behaviors as well as limited interests or activities; Symptoms that typically are recognized in the first two years of life; Symptoms that hurt the individual’s ability to function socially, at school or work, or other areas of life.  Some people are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled. Treatments and services can improve a person’s symptoms and ability to function. Families with concerns should talk to their pediatrician about what they’ve observed and the possibility of ASD screening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  around 1 in 68 children has been identified with some form of ASD.

Asperger syndrome — Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder in which people have severe difficulties understanding how to interact socially. People with Asperger’s syndrome have some traits of autism, especially weak social skills and a preference for sameness and routine. But unlike those with autism, children with Asperger’s syndrome usually start to talk around 2 years of age (the age at which speech normally develops). They have normal to above-normal intelligence. Both conditions belong to the group of disorders called pervasive developmental disorders. As many as 3 out of every 10,000 people have Asperger’s syndrome.

ATF – Adult Training Facility — Service provided by Via.  Via provides educational, social, cultural and wellness activities for adults with disabilities in an ATF. Participants in this adult training program spend a portion of their time at our facility in Bethlehem, combined with opportunities to explore the community.  Via introduces individuals to volunteer opportunities, recreational activities and cultural events with the assistance of Via Community Inclusion Specialists. In addition, activities like art, cooking, nutrition, physical exercise, and cognitive skills development are integrated into our daily schedule to promote wellness and encourage social interaction and engage people as independently as possible in the activities and experiences offered so they may be included in their communities and peer groups.

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BAS – Bureau of Autism Services — The Bureau of Autism Services administers two programs for adults with autism, the Adult Autism Waiver and the Adult Community Autism Program.

BS – Behavioral Supports — Service provided by Via.  Via Behavioral Support Services promote the growth, development, and independence of individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who are struggling with behavior challenges.  Via’s specialized Behavioral Support Services enable individuals and their families to increase or maintain their ability to perform activities of daily living.

BSP – Behavioral Support Plan — Service provided by Via.  A Behavior Support Plan is a plan that assists a member in building positive behaviors to replace or reduce a challenging/dangerous behavior. This plan may include teaching, improved communication, increasing relationships, and using clinical interventions, etc.

Benefits Counseling — Service provided by Via.  Benefits Counseling helps support the participant in understanding how he or she can be employed in a competitive integrated job and maintain needed benefits through available work incentives.  Benefits Counseling is ideal for people who are considering or seeking competitive integrated employment, currently employed, or interested in career advancement and who need more information about how working impacts benefits programs.

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CC – Via’s Community Connections — Service provided by Via.  Via Community Connections facilitates relationships between individuals and the communities in which they live.  Via connects people to their community through volunteer, recreational, social and educational activities.  Via also helps adults live independently in their community and form the bonds and relationships of a neighborhood.

CDC – Center for Disease Control — The information center includes: information about developmental disabilities; activities of CDC and other federal agencies; state activities funded by CDC; education, services, and research resources; and activities to help children use the Internet to learn more.

CE – Customized Employment — Service provided by Via.  Creative employment option for people not interested in Supported Employment, some examples are small business ownership or resource ownership.

CES – Via’s Community Employment Services — Service provided by Via.  Via provides job development, job coaching and follow-along support to adults with disabilities so they can work in the community. This service is available to any adult who is motivated to work for wages in a competitive job. Via focuses on career planning and helps adults with disabilities as they move into the workforce.

CESP – Certified Employment Support Professional — The CESP™ certification sets a standard of knowledge and distinguishes employment support professionals who have shown they have the skill and competence to perform the requirements of the job.  Created by subject matter experts and leaders in the field of disability employment, the CESP™ exam seeks to define the benchmarks for knowledge and competency in the field in the following areas: Application of Core Values and Principles to Practice & Legislation and Funding; Individualized Assessment and Employment / Career Planning; Community Research and Job Development; Workplace and Related Supports; and Ongoing Supports.  This is one of three certifications necessary to provide Supported Employment Services through ODP.

CMS – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — CMS works to ensure effective, up-to-date health care coverage and to promote quality care for beneficiaries. CMS wants to achieve a transformed and modernized health care system and will continue to transform and modernize America’s health care system.

Consolidated Waiver — The Consolidated Waiver for Individuals with intellectual disabilities provides services to eligible persons with intellectual disabilities so that they can remain in the community. Financial Eligibility: Age 3 and older; intellectual disability. Services: Environmental accessibility adaptations; Habilitation services (residential, day, prevocational, supported employment services, homemaker/chore services, adaptive equipment); Permanency planning; Respite care; Specialized therapy; Transportation; and Visiting nurse.

CBWA – Community Based Work Assessment — Service provided by Via.  CBWA is a stand alone service for evaluation purposes only. It uses job coaches to assess a potential Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) customer at 3-5 actual job sites in the community. It is done to permit the individual and the VR counselor an opportunity to determine if the individual is one who is qualified to proceed with supported employment as a service funded by VR. At the end a report is written and a decision to move forward with Supported Employment services is determined. Assessments run from 10-20 hours with an average of 15.

CPS – Community Participation Services — Service provided by Via.  CPS focuses on the nature and quality of individuals’ experiences, including that the setting: Maximize opportunities for individuals to have access to the benefits of community living and the opportunity to receive services in the most integrated setting; Is integrated in and supports access to the greater community; provides opportunities to seek employment and work in competitive integrated settings, engage in community life, and control personal resources; ensures the individual receives services in the community to the same degree of access as individuals not receiving Medicaid CPS services.  This service flexibly wrap around and support community life secondary to employment, as a primary goal.  This service involves participation in integrated community settings, in activities that involve persons without disabilities who are not paid or unpaid caregivers.  The service should result in the person: increasing potential for employment; developing and sustaining a range of valued social roles and relationships; building natural supports; increasing independence; and experiencing meaningful community participation and inclusion.  This service at Via includes Community Connections supports, Pre-Vocational Employment and the Adult Training Facility.

CP – Cerebral Palsy — CP is a group of motor problems and physical disorders related to a brain injury. CP causes uncontrolled reflex movements and muscle tightness (spasticity) that may affect a part, a side, or the entire body, with varying severity. Several conditions, such as seizures, or vision and hearing problems, are often also associated with cerebral palsy.

Customized Employment — Service provided by Via.  Customized Employment means individualizing the relationship between job seekers and employers in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, requirements, and interests of a person with a complex life. The process is designed to meet the workplace needs of the employer and the discrete tasks of the position. When a customized relationship is developed, a shared employment alliance results.

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Developmental Disability — Developmental disability is a term used to describe life-long disabilities attributable to mental and/or physical or combination of mental and physical impairments, manifested prior to age twenty-two. The term is used most commonly in the United States to refer to disabilities affecting daily functioning in three or more of the following areas: capacity for independent living, economic self-sufficiency, learning, mobility, receptive and expressive language, self-care or self-direction. disabilities are usually classified as severe, profound, moderate or mild, as assessed by the individual’s need for supports, which may be lifelong.

DHS – Department of Human Services (formerly DPW – Department of Public Welfare) — The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ seven program offices administer services that provide care and support to Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens.  The mission of the Department of Human Services is to improve the quality of life for Pennsylvania’s individuals and families. We promote opportunities for independence through services and supports while demonstrating accountability for taxpayer resources.

Discovery — Service provided by Via.  Is an assessment process that seeks to answer the questions “who is this person?” and “what are the ideal conditions of employment?” The process most often starts at home, includes an inventory of the surrounding neighborhood (with transportation and natural supports an on-going employment and inclusion issue, it makes sense to look for interests can be explored through informational interviews, paid work experiences. Discovery runs from 25-50 hours with an average of 40.

Down Syndrome — Down syndrome is a lifelong condition in which a person is born with distinct physical features, such as a flat face and short neck, and some degree of cognitive disability. Although Down syndrome is permanent, most people who have it are able to live healthy, productive lives. Given the proper care and help they need, children with Down syndrome can flourish and grow into healthy and happy adults.

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EI – Early Intervention — Service provided by Via.  A program that helps families develop their child’s potential. All children grow and learn at different rates. Children who are developing more slowly than typical children are offered Early Intervention services. EI, an entitlement program, is funded by federal, state, and county funds, public insurance and many community resources. Children who have special needs due to development delays or disabilities are eligible to receive early intervention services.

EIS – Early Intervention Specialist — Early Intervention Specialists (EIS) address all areas of a child’s development focusing on their individual learning style. Working with the parents or caregivers, an EIS implements a SI plan that assists a child in their ability to play and interact in their environment. A child’s capacity to understand the world around them, learn independence and communicate and interact with others is some of the areas addressed by an Early Intervention Specialist.

EIM – Enterprise Incident Management – Enterprise Incident Management (EIM) is a PA ODP comprehensive, web-based incident and complaint reporting system that provides the capability to record and review incidents for OLTL program participants. EIM also provides OLTL with the capability to record and review participant complaints and link them to incidents as needed.

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FBA – Functional Behavior Assessment — Service provided by Via.  A Functional Behavior Assessment is a process that identifies specific target behavior, the purpose of the behavior, and what factors maintain the behavior that is interfering with the student’s educational progress.

FMLA – Family Medical Leave Act — Federal law administered by the US Department of Labor that states covered employers must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee; for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care; to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Follow Along Services — Service provided by Via.  Follow-Along services are designed for individuals in community employment who need support after successfully completing job training. Follow Along services assist participants with issues such as adapting to changes in supervisors, assigned work tasks, living situation, etc.: Vocational case management; periodic work-site visits to monitor work performance; additional job coaching and support when or as needed; regular job retention/socialization groups; long term career and life-planning and options-planning should the participant lose his/her job.

Fragile X Syndrome — Fragile X Syndrome is a defect of the X chromosome. The disorder occurs more frequently and severely among males than females. This condition is the leading known familial cause of intellectual disabilities in the United States. Language delays, behavioral problems, autism or autistic-like behavior (including poor eye contact and hand-flapping), enlarged external genitalia (macroorchidism), large or prominent ears, hyperactivity, delayed motor development and/or poor sensory skills are among the wide range of symptoms associated with this disorder.

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HCSIS – Home and Community Services Information System — Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) statewide database.

HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — HIPAA is United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information.

HHS – Health & Human Services — US agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. HHWS includes more than 300 programs including: Health and social science research, Preventing disease, including immunization services, Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people), Health information technology, Financial assistance and services for low-income families, and Head Start (pre-school education and services).

HSRI – Human Services Research Institute — HSRI assists states and the federal government to enhance services and supports to people with mental illness and people with and to support the development of alternatives to congregate care facilities.  HSRI was active in the 1970s in the assessment of the impact of federal programs, such as Supplemental Security Income, housing subsidies, and vocational rehabilitation, and their application on the expansion of community services for people with disabilities. HSRI staff also participated in the implementation of the Community Support Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, and in the design of a housing research agenda for people with disabilities.

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Inclusive Childcare — Service provided by Via.  Children with and without disabilities share high quality developmental learning experiences together. Staff and administration of an inclusive center commit to facilitate the specialized learning needs of children with disabilities, and work with inclusion professionals to develop a curriculum that fulfills the parent expectations for the kind of programs and experiences they want for their children.

ID – Intellectual Disability – (replaces MR – Mental Retardation)

IEP – Individualized Education Plan — The Individualized Education Plan is a document that is developed for each public school child who needs special education. The IEP is created through a team effort, reviewed periodically.

IPE – Individualized Plan for Employment — The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is a written plan outlining an individual’s vocational goal, and the services to be provided to reach the goal.

IRWE – Impairment Related Work Expense — Out–of–pocket costs of items, SSA calls impairment–related work expenses (IRWE), that are deducted from the amount of earnings used to figure your SSI benefit. Your SSI benefits are not reduced as much because SSA does not count all of your earnings.

ISP – Individual Service Plan — A plan that lists the services to be received, who will provide those services, how much it will cost and the goals to be achieved.

IU – Intermediate Unit — There are 29 IU’s throughout Pennsylvania, which were created in 1971 to provide services to school districts in ways that create economies of scale, cost savings, and better efficiencies in the delivery of important programs and services to children, especially those with special needs. They play an important role in providing substantial support services to the administrators and teachers in local school districts. IU’s mission in PA is (1) to strengthen and supplement local school district programs and services to children and their families; (2) to provide leadership without dominance; and (3) to provide assistance without interference.

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Job Carving — Service provided by Via.  Job carving involves melding job seeker and employer needs through systematic workplace analysis and person-centered career planning. Contrary to popular belief, job carving does not begin with the employer or the worksite. Instead, carving is based on the concept of using a person’s unique contributions and matching those to an employment setting.

Job Coach — Service provided by Via.  A job coach is a person who is hired by the placement agency to provide specialized on-site training to assist the employee with a disability in learning and performing the job and adjusting to the work environment.

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Keystone STARS (Standards, Training, Assistance, Resources, & Support) — A quality improvement initiative designed to recognize and reward child care providers who exceed state health and safety licensing requirements. Child care providers are awarded a STAR One, STAR Two, STAR Three, or STAR Four quality rating based on their achievement of quality performance standards in the areas of staff education, learning environment, and administration. The star rating reflects standards of quality that are research-based and linked to improved outcomes for children, as related to social and emotional development, learning skills, and school readiness.

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LCA – Lehigh Children’s Academy — Service provided by Via.  Lehigh Children’s Academy provides high quality, nurturing care and education for young children, ages six weeks to six years, and provides before and after school care for school age children.  LCA focuses on lasting impressions for a lifetime of learning through educational experiences that promote children’s emotional, social, intellectual and physical development and is located on Hamilton Boulevard in Lower Macungie Township at the Yurconic Campus.

Licensing — Via has several programs licensed by Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) – Pre-Vocational Services, Adult Training Services and Early Intervention. Each has a set of regulations and is audited by the regional ODP inspectors annually.  Additionally, Lehigh Children’s Academy, a service of Via, is licensed through the Department of Human Services and Department of Education.

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MANDT training — Training for staff to primarily de-escalate behavior with a small component of restraint training, this is the only restraint technique allowed by Via.

MATP – Medical Assistance Transportation Program — Provides non-emergency transportation to medical assistance compensable medical visits for Commonwealth MA recipients. The Commonwealth grants MATP funds to all Pennsylvania counties, with the exception of Philadelphia County, to administer the provision of transportation services to recipients and provides annual allocations to each county for this service. Counties contract with local transportation agencies to provide services to recipients. In the case of Philadelphia County, the Commonwealth contracts directly with a transportation broker to administer and provide services. It is possible that the new MMIS, which is scheduled for implementation in early 2004, may support non-emergency transportation claims processing.

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NAEYC – National Association for the Education of Young Children — Organization dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. NAEYC is committed to becoming an increasingly high performing and inclusive organization. Founded in 1926, NAEYC is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children with more than 100,000 members, a national network of nearly 450 local, state, and regional Affiliates, and a growing global alliance of like minded organizations.

NC MH/D&A – Northampton County Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol Division — This website has been designed to provide detailed information about NC MH/MR/D&A programs and services. The site also offers news, contact information for all staff members, popular downloadable forms and documents, driving directions to our building, and links to other helpful websites.

NIH – National Institutes of Health — NIH is the nation’s medical research agency – making important medical discoveries that improve health and save lives. NIH, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research.

NISH – National Institute for the Severely Handicapped — NISH is a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with severe disabilities by securing Federal contracts through the AbilityOne Program, formally Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) for its network of community-based, nonprofit agencies. 

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OCDEL  – Office of Child Development and Early Learning — OCDEL (a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services) is focused on creating opportunities for the commonwealth’s youngest citizens to develop and learn to their fullest potential.

Office of Children, Youth and Families — Pennsylvania’s child welfare system is county-administered and state-supervised. Child welfare and juvenile justice services are organized, managed, and delivered by County Children and Youth agencies and county Juvenile probation offices.

ODP – Office of Developmental Programs — ODP supports Pennsylvanians with developmental disabilities to achieve greater independence, choice and opportunity in their lives. ODP seeks to continuously improve an effective system of accessible services and supports that are flexible, innovative and person-centered. ODP directs the fiscal and program planning, management and oversight of all developmental program operations and administration of the Consolidated Waiver, Person/Family Directed Support Waiver (P/FDS), and Adult Autism Waiver.

OLTL – Office of Long Term Living — The majority of people will need assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and meal preparation, at some point in their lives, whether due to aging, injury, illness or disability. Knowing what types of services are needed, available and how to obtain them is not easy. Whether you need help now or are exploring future options for yourself or a loved one, services and supports available through the Pennsylvania Office of Long-Term Living can assist you.

Office of Medical Assistance Programs — The Office of Medical Assistance Programs administers the joint state/federal Medical Assistance (also known as Medicaid) program that purchases health care for Pennsylvania residents.

OMHSAS – Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services —

ODP Bulletins — ODP sends out bulletins to add regulations or inform providers of ODP philosophy or direction

OT – Occupational Therapy — Service provided by Via.  Occupational Therapists focus on how a child receives and uses input from their senses (vision, hearing, touch and movement). By working with this “sensory-motor” development, children acquire “fine motor” skills, such as use of the eyes and hands together, so the environment is more accessible and fun. Fine motor skills are used for play, feeding, dressing and school activities.

OVR – Office of Vocational Rehabilitation — OVR is a program under the state of Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry that assists Pennsylvanians with disabilities to prepare for, obtain, and retain employment. OVR has its own job placement counselors, but typically refers to agencies like Via for people with more significant disabilities who will require ongoing support to retain their employment.

OVR Performance Based Contract — Service provided by Via.  Negotiated contract between OVR and Via estimating the time it will take to accomplish a list of services with a participant that ends with employment for the individual.

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PACCA – Pennsylvania Child Care Association — PACCA is dedicated to facilitating the provision of quality early care and education to the children of Pennsylvania by: promoting the value of educationally appropriate child care to the general public; advocating at the local, state, and federal levels for quality early care and education that responds to the needs of Pennsylvania children and families; providing a forum in which members can work cooperatively to develop programs and provide services; advocate to enhance the status of the child care profession.

PADDC – Pennsylvania disabilities Council — PADDC is made up of people with disabilities, family members, advocates, and state department representatives who work to create favorable conditions for people with disabilities and their families in the Commonwealth. PADDC learns about the present situation for people with disabilities and their families in Pennsylvania and considers actions and strategies that will lead to more integrated and productive lives for people with disabilities in our state. 

PASS – Plan to Achieve Self Support — Administer through Social Security, PASS is a tool that a person with a disability uses to set aside income or resources to reach a work goal. For example, a person could set aside money for an educational or training program or to start a business. 

PDD – Pervasive Developmental Disorders — The diagnostic category pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), as opposed to specific developmental disorders (SDD), refers to a group of five disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication. The most commonly known PDD is (1) Autistic Disorder, with the remaining identified as (2) Rett’s Disorder, (3) Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, (4) Asperger’s Syndrome, and (5) Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (or PDDNOS). Parents may note symptoms of PDD as early as infancy and typically onset is prior to 3 years of age. PDD itself generally does not affect life expectancy.

PETS – Pre-Employment Transition Services — Service provided by Via.  This includes: job exploration counseling; work-based learning experiences (e.g., in-school or after school opportunities including internships) in an integrated environment to the extent possible; counseling related to transition or post-secondary education at institutions of higher learning (e.g., college); workplace readiness training; and instruction in self-advocacy.

Person/Family Directed Support Waiver (P/FDS) — Provides habilitation services to persons over age three who demonstrate significant developmental delays and are living at home. Waiver services are authorized by County ID/D Programs and services are delivered by agencies under contract with the county.

PT – Physical Therapy — Service provided by Via.  Physical Therapists work with children to develop gross motor skills such as rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, climbing stairs or riding a bike. Therapists also work to improve children’s ability to maintain good body posture and move through their environment safely.

PUNS – Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services — PUNS provides a uniform instrument that is used by County Intellectual Disabilities Programs, on an on-going basis, to collect a standard set of data on individuals who are waiting for intellectual disabilities services and supports. PUNS has been formally adopted by the Office of Developmental Programs, as a requirement for annual County Plans and for use in program budgeting. The County Plan and Budget Process is the annual planning and budgeting process in place across Pennsylvania to address the needs of individuals.

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RCPA – Rehabilitation & Community Providers Association — RCPA is a statewide organization of providers of health and human services committed to effective, efficient, and high quality care for individuals with physical, intellectual, social and/or emotional disabilities. RCPA works to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of rehabilitation and community services for persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth. Via is a member of RCPA.

Resource Ownership — Service provided by Via.  Resource ownership is a strategy that specifically identifies a resource that an individual with a disability can offer to a company. The individual purchases and owns the equipment or property and is paid wages by the business where they are hired. If the individual moves to another position, the resource still belongs to the individual. Resource ownership can empower a person with a disability and provide an advantage when he or she is negotiating a customized position with an employer. Resource ownership might lead to self-employment, and an individual eventually owning his or her business.

Rett Syndrome — Rett Syndrome is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder that appears to occur almost exclusively in females but can occur rarely in males. Infants and children with the disorder typically develop normally until about 7 to 18 months of age, when they may begin to lose previously acquired skills (developmental regression), such as purposeful hand movements and the ability to communicate. Additional abnormalities typically include slowing of head growth (acquired microcephaly); development of distinctive, uncontrolled (stereotypic) hand movements, such as hand clapping, rubbing, or “wringing”; and impaired control of voluntary movements required for coordination of walking (gait apraxia). Affected children also typically develop autistic-like behaviors, breathing irregularities, feeding and swallowing difficulties, growth retardation, and episodes of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain (seizures).

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School-to-Work Transition Services — Service provided by Via.  Via works with students in partnership with school districts across the greater Lehigh Valley and beyond to create a personalized plan for young adults preparing for the next step after high school – employment.  Students explore careers of interest with expert guidance from Via staff.  Our experienced team develops sites within local business, industry and non-profit settings, offering students work based learning experiences or job trials.  Job trials allow each student to gain valuable work skills and knowledge developed throughout each experience.

Small Group Employment – Service provided by Via.  Small Group Employment services consist of supporting participants in transitioning to competitive integrated employment through work that occurs in a community location.  Participants receiving this service must have a competitive integrated employment outcome included in their service plan, and it must be documented in the service plan how and when the provision of this service is expected to lead to competitive integrated employment.  This service is suited for people who wish to gain work skills to achieve competitive integrated employment and are interested and would benefit from experience in a mobile work force, a work station in industry, affirmative industry or enclave to learn those skills.

SE – Supported Employment — Service provided by Via.  Supported employment facilitates competitive work in integrated work settings for individuals with the most severe disabilities (i.e. psychiatric, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injury) for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred, and who, because of the nature and severity of their disability, need ongoing support services in order to perform their job. Supported employment provides assistance such as job coaches, transportation, assistive technology, specialized job training, and individually tailored supervision.

SI – Specialized Instruction — Service provided by Via.  Early Intervention Specialists (EIS) address all areas of a child’s development focusing on their individual learning style. Working with the parents or caregivers, an EIS implements a SI plan that assists a child in their ability to play and interact in their environment. A child’s capacity to understand the world around them, learn independence and communicate and interact with others is some of the areas addressed by an Early Intervention Specialist.

SSA – Social Security Administration — SSA pays retirement, disability and survivors benefits to workers and their families and administer the Supplemental Security Income program. 

SSDI – Social Security Disability Income — SSDI is paid to people with disabilities who have worked in recent years and have earned wages and paid into the SSA system. SSDI is also for people with disabilities who have deceased parents who have paid into SSA.

SSI – Supplemental Security Income — SSI is paid to individuals who are low income individuals/families and disabled whether or not the individual has worked in the past. SSI child’s disability benefits are paid to children who are under 18 years old, are disabled and the parents or guardian are of lower income.

SSI Work Incentives — SSI Work Incentives are rules that determine how your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will be affected while you prepare for and go to work. They are designed to help you enter or reenter the workforce. You are encouraged to work or to seek education or training for future employment. Work Incentives are intended to give you some of the support you need while you try to move from benefit dependency to increased self-sufficiency.

ST – Speech Therapy — Service provided by Via.  Speech Therapists focus on development of skills that enable a child to express themselves and understand others. Speech Therapists encourage natural development of communication skills like babies locating sounds and responding to language, and making their first sounds or gestures. Muscle development of the mouth and face is necessary to facilitate speech and eating skills. A Speech Therapist looks at how a child is using their muscles and works to improve “oral-motor” skills for better eating and speech.

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TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury — TBI, also called acquired brain injury or simply head injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain.

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VSWE – Via Student Work Experience — Service provided by Via.  The Via Student Work Experience matches students with employers for a nine-week paid internship – five hours a day, two days a week.  Students also participate in Small Group Trainings for an additional two hours per week.  Professional Portfolios are developed, including a resume, references, certificates or credentials earned, etc.  Via offers OVR Application Assistance for students to access benefits, as well as help with understanding and accessing funding sources for services like housing and other community supports. The Via Student Work Experience is a free service for students, funded by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

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WAC – Work Activity Center or Workshop Program — Licensing term used for Via’s Business Services program.

WBLE – Work Based Learning Experience — WBLE is an educational approach or instructional methodology that uses the workplace or real work to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will help them connect school experiences to real-life work activities and future career opportunities.

Waiver — Waiver is the shortened term for Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Program, which provides the majority of funding for the Pennsylvania intellectual disabilities supports and services to help people with disabilities live in their home and community.

Waiver – Adult Autism — The Adult Autism Waiver (AAW) is a Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver designed to provide long-term services and supports for community living, tailored to the specific needs of adults age 21 or older with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Waiver – Consolidated — The Consolidated Waiver for Individuals with intellectual disabilities provides services to eligible persons with intellectual disabilities so that they can remain in the community. Financial Eligibility: Age 3 and older; intellectual disability. Services: Environmental accessibility adaptations; Habilitation services (residential, day, prevocational, supported employment services, homemaker/chore services, adaptive equipment); Permanency planning; Respite care; Specialized therapy; Transportation; and Visiting nurse.

Waiver – Home & Community Based — Waiver programs generally support persons in their own homes, in a family home, in family living home (Lifesharing), or group living arrangements. Pennsylvania has received federal approval to operate two waivers generally known as the (1) Consolidated Waiver, and (2) Person/Family Directed Support Waiver.

Waiver – Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS) — Provides habilitation services to persons over age three who demonstrate significant developmental delays and are living at home. Waiver services are authorized by County ID/D Programs and services are delivered by agencies under contract with the county.

Waiver Funds — State funds for people with disabilities that is matched by the federal government with Medicaid money- there are 2 types for people in the intellectual disabilities system (consolidated waiver and PFDS or person family directed waiver)- the funds are used to keep people with disabilities in the community.

WIOA – The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – WIOA is landmark legislation that is designed to strengthen and improve our nation’s public workforce system and help get Americans, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, into high-quality jobs and careers and help employers hire and retain skilled workers.

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Addiction Resource Guide –
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality –
Alcohol and Drug Clearinghouse –
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology –
Americans with Disabilities Act Portal –
Angelman Syndrome Foundation –
Asperger Disorder –
Association for People in Supported Employment –
Autism and Asperger Syndrome – MAAP Services –
Autism Society of America – Lehigh Valley Chapter –
Autism Society ofAmerica –
Brain Injury Resource Center –
Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit #21 –
CDC disabilities Information Center –
Center for Research on Women with Disabilities –
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services –
Child Health Toolbox –
Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 –
Cornucopia of Disability Information –
Department of Public Welfare –
Disability History Museum –
Disability Resources on the Internet – –
Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouse – –
Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania –
Family Doctor –
Family Village –
Fragile X Foundation –
Genetics Home Reference –
Health & Human Services –
Healthfinder –
Human Services Research Institute –
Keystone STARS –
Kids Health –
LANTA/MetroPlus – Easton Coach –
Makoa – disABILITY Information and Resources –
Marfan Syndrome –
Maternal and Child Health Library –
Medicaid Resource Book –
Mental Health Information –
Muscular Dystrophy Association –
National Association for the Education of Young Children –
National Association of Disability –
National Down Syndrome Society –
National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities –
National Institute for the Severely Handicapped –
National Institutes of Health –
National Library of Medicine –
Northampton County Mental Health, Drug &Alcohol Division (NC MH/D&A) –|34430|&northamptonNav_GID=1977
Now You Have A Diagnosis: What’s Next? –
Office of Disability Employment Policy –
Office of Rare Diseases –
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation –
Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units –
Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities –
Pennsylvania Department of Education –
Pennsylvania disabilities Council –
Plan to Achieve Self Support –
Quality Mall –
Sensory Integration Resource Center –
Social Security Administration –
State Health Facts Online –
Ticket to Work Program –
United Cerebral Palsy –
United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley –
WebMD –


For more information, contact:
Jillian Lovejoy, Communications Director | 484-893-5399

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