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There are currently 61 names in this directory

504 refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act that precedeed the Americans with Disabilities Act and provides accommodations in educational and public settings. "504 plans" are typically found in K-12 schools as a way to outline the needed accommodations for students with disabilities. More information can be found here:

AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Devices or ways to communicate using technology or alternatives to speech.

ABA: Applied Behavior Analysis
A type of therapy most commonly used with young autistic children.

ACEs Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is the term used to describe all types of abuse, neglect, and other potentially traumatic experiences that occur to people under the age of 18.

ADRC Aging and Disability Resource Centers

The ADRC provides information on a broad range of programs and services, helps people understand the various long-term care options available to them, helps people apply for programs and benefits, and serves as the access point for publicly-funded long-term care.

ASL: American Sign Language

BCBA: Board Certified Behavior Analyst

The Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) is a graduate-level certification in behavior analysis. Professionals certified at the BCBA level are independent practitioners who provide behavior analysis services.

Birth to 3 or B-3
Birth to 3 is the name of Wisconsin's Early Intervention (EI) program for children up to age 3 with delays. You can go to the following site to find your local Birth to 3 contact:

CBI: Consultative Behavior Intervention

CCOP: Children's Community Options Program

The Children's Community Options Program (CCOP) provides supports and services to children living at home or in the community who have one or more of the following long-term disabilities: developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and/ or severe emotional disturbances.

CCR IEP: College and Career Ready IEP

Refers to IEPs in Wisconsin that support students at all grade levels to prepare for college and careers.

CCS: Comprehensive Community Services

From the Department of Human Services: Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) is a program that helps individuals of all ages live their best life by providing supports that address their unique needs related to mental health and substance use. CCS is intended to assist individuals who are in need of care outside of inpatient settings, but who may have ongoing needs that, if left unaddressed, could result in hospitalizations during times of crisis. As of September 30, 2019, the latest data available, 8,562 individuals were enrolled in CCS.

A listing of county contacts is available at:

CESA: Cooperative Educational Service Agency

Wisconsin has 12 CESAs. The Cooperative Educational Service Agencies are designed to serve educational needs in all areas of Wisconsin by serving as a link both between school districts and between school districts and the state. Not every school district participates in CESA programs. A brochure explaining CESAs is available at:


CHIPS: Children in Need of Protection/Services

JIPS: Juvenile in Need of Protection

CLTS: Children's Long Terms Support Program

Wisconsin's Medicaid waiver program for children who meet financial and functional eligibility. Eligible children include those with developmental disabilities, severe emotional disturbances, and physical disabilities. Funding can be used to support a range of different services based on an assessment of the needs of the child and his or her family. To find your local contact to see if you qualify- go to the list on the DHS website-

COMPASS/CompassWisconsin/COMPASS Threshold can refer to a program the provides intake for Children's Long Term Supports and Katie Beckett Medicaid in certain counties.

CYSHCN Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

May go by other names in different states. In Illinois referred to as Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC)

Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and CYSHCN programs are charged with providing family-centered, community-based coordinated care.

DCF: Department of Children and Families

Wisconsin's state agency responsible for a variety of services, support and enforcement- including Child care, custody and child welfare concerns, adoption and foster care.

Developmental Disability
From the Wisconsin Department of Health Services: a disability attributable to brain injury, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, or Prader-Willi syndrome. This also includes an intellectual disability diagnosed before age 18 and characterized by below-average general intellectual function and a lack of skills necessary for daily living, or another neurological condition closely related to such intellectual disability or requiring treatment similar to that required for such intellectual disability, that has continued or can be expected to continue indefinitely and constitutes a substantial handicap to the afflicted individual. “Developmental disability” does not include senility that is primarily caused by the process of aging or the infirmities of aging.

DHS: Department of Health Services
Wisconsin Department of Health Services oversees a variety of programs including Children's Long Term Supports, Comprehensive Community Services, Public Health, CYSHCN, and a variety of medicaid programs.

DPI: Department of Public Instruction

DPI is the department of State Superintendent. Information on Special Education from DPI can be found here:

DVR: Division of Vocational Rehabiltiation

DVR supports people with disabilities to get, keep, or maintain employment. DVR supports a variety of transition programs in the state for youth, including Project SEARCH. More information on transition services can be found at: Local DVR counselors can be contacted by finding your nearest office:

ECE: Early Childhood Education

EI: Early Intervention

ESDM: Early Start Denver Model

Family Care

Family Care is an option for long term supports for adults in Wisconsin along with IRIS. More information on Family Care can be found at:

FAPE: Free Appropriate Public Education

FBA: Functional Behavioral Assessment

HIPPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
The term HIPPAA is frequently used when referring to the privacy parts of the law

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The federal law that is responsible for special education.

IEP Individual Education Plan
IEPs are plans for students receiving special education.

IFSP Individual Family Service Plan

IFSPs are plan created for Early Intervention which in Wisconsin is known as Birth to 3

IHS Indian Health Services

IPE Individual Plan for Employment
IPE's are plans for people with disabilities receiving services and support from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.


I Respect, I Self-Direct: self directed program for those 18 and over that along with Family Care make up Wisconsin's long-term care system. Individuals qualify due to having a developmental disability, physical disability, and/or frail elder. More information is on the DHS website: or by contacting your local Aging and Disability Resource Center. 

IRIS is also a software program within DVR

Katie Beckett

the Katie Beckett Program is for children under 19 years old with long-term disabilities or complex medical needs. Children who are not eligible for other Medicaid programs because their parents' income or assets are too high may be eligible for Medicaid through the Katie Beckett Program. The program is a special eligibility process that allows certain children who are residents of Wisconsin with long-term disabilities or complex medical needs, living at home with their families, to obtain a Wisconsin Medicaid card.

The program is named after a child at the time from Iowa, Katie Beckett, whose mother advocated for the program.

LRE: Least Restrictive Environment

This term is part of special education law and supports that inclusion of children with disabilities with their peers should be considered first. For more information you can download "Special Education in Plain Language" at Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction also has information at:

MA: Medical Assistance
Badgercare or Medicaid


Can be used as an acronym for Mental Health or Medical Home

No Wrong Door
This is a term used when designing services and programs so that families trying to access supports get the help they need. It is a way to streamline services so that people needing help do not have to contact multiple agencies to find the specific program they need.

OBVI: Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired

ODHH: Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

OHI: Other Health Impairment

A classification in Special Education: "Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems. The term includes but is not limited to a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes, or acquired injuries to the brain caused by internal occurrences or degenerative conditions, which adversely affects a child's educational performance. "

OT: Occupational Therapist

OTA: Occupational Therapy Assistant


Positive Behavior Interventions and Support

PCP Primary Care Provider

PDD-NOS: Pervasive Developmental Disorder—Not Otherwise Specified

PT: Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy

SI: Sensory Integration

SLD: Specific Learning Disability

SLP: Speech Language Pathologist

TIC: Trauma Informed Care

TIG Transition Improvement Grant

UD: Universal Design

Universal design is the process of creating products that are accessible to people with a wide range of abilities, disabilities, and other characteristics

UDL: Universal Design for Learning

Provides programs and services for deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind.

WSBVI: Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

WSD Wisconsin School for the Deaf

WSPEI: Wisconsin Statewide Parent Educator Initiative


Youth in Partnership with Parents for Empowerment -held annually in locations across the state in conjunction with PIP trainings for parents

Other glossaries and definitions of terms are available at:

Medical Home Portal 

Wisconsin’s Department of Children and Families has a list of Acronyms and Definitions for Early Childhood here.

A list of insurance-related definitions can be found here

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