Training Solutions Glossary

Ableism: Attitudes and behaviors that support the idea that people with disabilities are inferior to people without disabilities  

Accessibility: Refers to a site, facility, work environment, service, or program that is easy to approach, enter, operate, participate in, and/or use safely and with dignity by a person with a disability.

Accommodations: Services that create access to information and facilitate communication between hearing and Deaf individuals. Common accommodations include sign language interpreting, video remote interpreting, CART captioning, and video relay services.  

American Sign Language (ASL): American Sign Language, also known as ASL, is a complete and distinct language that has the same linguistic properties as spoken languages and its own grammar and syntax. American Sign Language has more complex aspects because it is a visual language that uses space, sign placement, eye gaze, and other unique features to convey meaning. ASL is primarily expressed with the hands and face. It is the first language of many Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. 

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public

Assisted listening devices: Personal technologies with amplifiers and microphones that help individuals with hearing loss communicate by capturing sound and filtering out background noise.

Assistive technology: Products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for individuals living with disabilities.

Audism: An oppressive and discriminatory system that is based on the belief that hearing people are more capable, intelligent, and socially accepted than Deaf people. It is a form of ableism. Audism is an oppressive system that is damaging to both Deaf people and hearing people.  

Bicultural: Belonging to, relating to, or including two distinct cultures.

Bilingual: A person fluent in two languages.

Captionter: A professional who uses a stenotype machine to transcribe television shows, movies, events, classes, and other forms of audio and video into a written language in real-time.

Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART): The instant translation of the spoken word into written text using a stenotype machine, notebook computer, and real-time software.

Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI): A Deaf specialist who provides interpreting, translation, and transliteration services in American Sign Language and other visual and tactual communication forms used by individuals who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Child of Deaf Adults (CODA): An acronym for a child of Deaf adults. It references a person who was raised by one or both parents who are Deaf. Usually, children born to Deaf parents are hearing. CODAs often learn English and ASL, making them bilingual. This allows them to navigate the border between the Deaf and hearing worlds, serving as liaisons between their Deaf parents and hearing society. 

Closed captioning: Time-synchronized text that reflects the audio of a video and can be read while watching visual content. These captions are not visible until activated by the viewer.

Cochlear implant: An electronic device that stimulates the auditory nerve through electrodes placed in the cochlea of the inner ear, allowing some people with hearing loss to perceive sounds.

Code-switching: The process of shifting from one language or dialect to another, depending on the social context or setting.

Culture: The shared values, beliefs, behaviors, and practices that characterize a particular group of people. It encompasses the ways in which a group of people express themselves through language, art, literature, religion, customs, and traditions. What defines and makes a culture is the shared identity, language, history, and way of life that is unique to a particular group of people. 

Deaf gain: Deaf gain is a concept based on the idea that Deafness is not a disability, but an identity and culture that offers unique perspectives and potential. Deaf Gain reframes being Deaf from a loss to a gain and suggests multiple ways in which Deaf people contribute to the diversity of the world. The potential of Deaf gain is vast and it benefits hearing people. This means that rather than viewing Deafness as something to be fixed or cured, it is viewed as something that can offer unique contributions and benefits to our society. 

Deaf/deaf: We use the lowercase deaf when referring to the audiological condition of not hearing, and the uppercase Deaf when referring to a particular group of Deaf people who share a language – American Sign Language (ASL) – and a culture.

DeafBlind: An individual who has combined hearing and vision loss that limits their access to both auditory and visual information.

Diversity: Including or involving various racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds and various lifestyles, experiences, and interests.

Equality: When an individual or a group of people is given the same resources, rights, and opportunities, regardless of their circumstances or the way they identify.

Equity: Recognizing each person has different circumstances and needs, meaning different groups of people need different resources and opportunities allocated to them in order to thrive.

Fingerspelling: A form of sign language in which individual letters are formed by the fingers to spell out words

FM system: A frequency-modulated system is a wireless assistive hearing device that enhances the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants, and also assists people who are hard-of-hearing but do not wear hearing aids, in particular in noisy environments.  

Hard-of-hearing: An individual living with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe.

Hearing: The ability to perceive sounds.

Hearing aid: A small device that fits in or on the ear, worn by an individual with hearing loss to amplify sound.

Hearing impaired: This term establishes the standard as “hearing” and anything different as “impaired,” or substandard. This was once a well-meaning term but it is not accepted or used by members of the Deaf community. The word “Deaf” is not negative and does not need to be avoided. The term hearing impaired focuses on hearing loss and does not acknowledge’s an individual’s Deaf identity or community. 

Hearing Interpreter: A professional who is fluent in a sign language and a verbal language, and effectively facilitates communication between Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals and hearing individuals.

Hearing loss: Hearing loss refers to a partial or total inability to hear. Hearing loss is diagnosed when an individual has hearing thresholds outside the range of “typical” hearing. It can result from complications with the ear, the vestibulocochlear nerve, or the auditory system. Hearing loss has a variety of causes and may be bilateral or unilateral, symmetrical or asymmetrical, progressive or sudden in onset, fluctuating or stable, and present at birth or acquired at some point during an individual’s life. 

Inclusion: Ensuring that everyone feels valued and respected as an individual and has the opportunity to add value.

In-person interpreting: The traditional means of providing interpretation between American Sign Language and another language, where participants and the interpreter are conversing in the same location.

Language: A system of conventional spoken, signed, or written symbols that individuals, as members of a social group and participants in its culture, use to express themselves.

Late-deafened: A person who grew up hearing, then lost all or most of their hearing as an adult. 

Lipreading: The art of being able to see speech sounds.

Name signatures: A sign given to someone by a Deaf individual that is often based on a characteristic or physical feature that relates to the person’s identity.

Open captioning: Captions that are permanently visible in movies, TV shows, music videos, and online videos. Like closed captions or subtitles, they display important audio information and dialogue on-screen. Unlike closed captions, they can’t be switched on or off by the viewer.

Pidgin Signed English (PSE): A combination of American Sign Language and English, most frequently used by people whose primary language is spoken English.

Post lingual deafness: Deafness that develops after the acquisition of speech and language.  

Post-production services: The process of adding sign language interpreting and/or captioning to videos after they are recorded to make them accessible.

Prelingual deafness: Deafness that develops before the acquisition of speech and language.

Residual hearing: Hearing acuity that remains after hearing loss. 

Signed Exact English (SEE): A system of manual communication that strives to be an exact representation of English vocabulary and grammar.

Spoken language: A language produced by articulate sounds.

Tactile signing: A way that DeafBlind individuals communicate that is accomplished by the DeafBlind person placing their hands on the hands of another person and feeling the sign language.

Visual language: The perception, comprehension, and production of visible signs.

Vocational rehabilitation: A series of services that are designed to facilitate the entrance into or return to work for people with injuries, disabilities, hearing loss, or vision loss.

Video Relay Services (VRS): A form of telecommunications that allows a Deaf or hard-of-hearing person to make and receive telephone calls through a qualified American Sign Language interpreter.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI): A form of sign language interpreting that allows Deaf individuals and hearing individuals to communicate through a live videoconferencing platform.