Glossary

Accessible /Accessibility: Accessible and accessibility refer to the ability of disabled users to participate or engage in environments or with materials as non-disabled peers would. Refers to buildings or environment, material (documents), and electronic media such as audio-visual materials as well as web content.

Accommodation: A modification or adjustment that enables an individual with a disability to access and participate in training, employment or other activity.

Alternative Text: Description of picture or graph which communicates the meaning of the graphic. For more information see Accessibility Guide Images and Graphics

Alternative Format: "Alternate format is medium and/or methodology that allows people with disabilities to access information in a manner other than how the format was originally delivered." - WebAim Alternate format and alternative format are interchangeable.

ASL: "American Sign Language (ASL) is a complete, natural language that has the same linguistic properties as spoken languages, with grammar that differs from English. ASL is expressed by movements of the hands and face. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing, and is used by many hearing people as well." Visit the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders for more information.

Assistive Technology (AT): Assistive technology is any device that is "Any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."- US Accessboard Assistive technology can be as low cost and simple as a chart or box to organize medication or expensive or complex as an electric wheel chair or screen reader.

Deaf or deaf: There are occasions where you will see "Deaf" or "deaf". The reason for this is that "Deaf" denotes an individual who is "culturally Deaf" where "deaf" refers to the hearing impairment only. "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."- National Association of the Deaf quoting Tom Humphries, in Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture (1988)

Disability: The American's With Disabilities Act defines disability as a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities… a record of such an impairment...or being regarded as having such an impairment."

Relay/ Maine Relay: Maine Relay Service is a free statewide service that connects voice telephone users with people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, have a speech disability, or are late-deafened. The service allows consumers to use equipment (such as captioned telephone, TTY, VCO or HCO) to communicate with standard voice telephone users through specially trained relay operators (RO). For more information, visit Maine Telecommunications Relay Service Council

Screen Reader: See Text to Speech, below

Screen Magnifier: Software that enlarges a screen so an individual with a visual impairment can view it at desired resolution. Many also allow the user to change the color scheme for better clarity.

Service Animal: Maine law differentiates between a service animal and an assistance animal. A "service animal" is defined as "a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability" (MHRA Part 12, Chapter 337).

Text to Speech: Software that converts electronic text to synthesized speech. Primarily designed for those with visual impairments and print disabilities. Text to speech software reads from left to right, including tables. Many text to speech engines have the ability to navigate a document based on headings created using Styles (see below). Text to Speech software is sometimes known as a screen reader.

Speech to Text: Software that converts spoken words into printed text. Allows those with a variety of impairments to "type" and perform various actions on screen without the use of a keyboard or mouse. It is widely used as both an accommodation as well as a productivity tool.

Styles (aka Style and Formatting): A feature in Microsoft Word that will create headers and other formatting consistently across a document. Using Style Improves readability and accessibility for sighted and visually impaired individuals. For more information See Accessibility Guide's Word Documents. Website equivalent is known as semantic markup, see Web Accessibility Content Guidelines 1.3.1 for more information