ADL: Activities of daily living. Routine activities carried out for personal hygiene and health (including bathing, dressing, feeding) and for operating a household.
Acute Care: The phase of managing health problems which is conducted in a hospital on patients needing medical attention.
Acute Rehabilitation Program: Primary emphasis is on the early phase of rehabilitation which usually begins as soon as the patient is medically stable. The program is designed to be comprehensive and based in a medical facility with a typical length of stay of 1‑3 months. Treatment is provided by an identifiable team in a designated unit. See Program/Service Types.
Adaptive/Assistive Equipment: A special device which assists in the performance of self‑care, work or play/leisure activities, or physical exercise. See also adaptive equipment catalog.
Affect: The observable emotional condition of an individual at any given time. See also frontal lobe.
Agitation: Excessive restlessness, including increased physical activity which is usually non-purposeful and repetitious.
Agnosia: Failure to recognize familiar objects although the sensory mechanism is intact. May occur for any sensory modality.
Agrammatism: An inability to produce words in correct sequence.
Agraphia: Inability to express thoughts in writing. See also parietal lobe.
Alexia: Inability to read. See also parietal lobe.
Ambulate: To walk.
Amnesia: Lack of memory about events occurring during a particular period of time. See also: anterograde amnesia, retrograde amnesia, post‑traumatic amnesia.
Aneurysm: A balloon‑like deformity in the wall of a blood vessel. The wall weakens as the balloon grows larger, and may eventually burst, causing a hemorrhage.
AFO: Ankle-foot Orthosis. A below the knee brace that keeps the foot in a neutral position.
Anomia: Inability to recall names of objects. Persons with this problem often can speak fluently but have to use other words to describe familiar objects. See also parietal lobe.
Anosmia: Loss of the sense of smell.
Anoxia: A lack of oxygen. Cells of the brain need oxygen to stay alive. When blood flow to the brain is reduced or when oxygen in the blood is too low, brain cells are damaged.
Anterograde Amnesia: Inability to consolidate information about ongoing events. Difficulty with new learning.
Anticonvulsant: Medication used to decrease the possibility of a seizure (e.g., Dilantin, Phenobarbital, Mysoline, Tegretol). See also pharmacology guide.
Antidepressants: Medication used to treat depression. See also pharmacology guide.
Apathy: Absence of feelings or emotions. Person is indifferent.
Aphasia: Loss of the ability to express oneself and/or to understand language. There are many different kinds of aphasia. Receptive aphasia refers to the inability to understand what someone else is saying. This is often associated with damage in the temporal area of the brain. Expressive aphasia refers to an inability to express oneself. Some patients may know what they want to say, but many of the words they say may not “make sense”. Expressive aphasia is often associated with the left frontal area of the brain.
Apraxia: Inability to perform purposeful movements when paralysis is not present. Particularly refers to inability to use objects. For example, a patient may be unable to put together the proper movements to sit cross-legged on the floor or may not know what to do when handed a broom.
Aprosodia: A condition in which there is a loss of production or comprehension of the meaning of different tones of voice.
Arousal: Being awake. Primitive state of alertness managed by the reticular activating system (extending from medulla to the thalamus in the core of the brain stem) activating the cortex. Cognition is not possible without some degree of arousal. See also brain stem.
Articulation: Movement of the lips, tongue, teeth and palate into specific patterns for purposes of speech. Also, a movable joint.
Aspiration: When fluid or food enters the lungs through the wind pipe. Can cause a lung infection or pneumonia.
Astereognosia: Inability to recognize things by touch. See also parietal lobe.
Ataxia: Inability to coordinate muscle movements or having irregular muscle movements. This can interfere with the person’s ability to walk, talk, eat, perform self-care tasks, and work.
Attendant Care: Provision of assistance in activities of daily living for a person with disability. Daily number of hours of required assistance, either physical or supervisory.
Atrophy: A wasting away or decrease in size of a cell, tissue, organ, or part of the body caused by lack of nourishment, inactivity or loss of nerve supply.
Attention/Concentration: The ability to focus on a given task or set of stimuli for an appropriate period of time. The ability to remain alert, focused and to maintain attention to the environment. Includes ability to selectively attend to appropriate things and screen out unimportant information, shift attention from one activity to another and attend to several things at one time.
Audiologist: One who evaluates hearing defects and who aids in the rehabilitation of those who have such defects.
Auditory Comprehension: The ability to understand what is said.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Use of forms of communication other than speaking, such as: sign language, “yes, no” signals, gestures, picture board, and computerized speech systems to compensate (either temporarily or permanently) for severe expressive communication disorders.
Automatic Speech: Preservation of overly learned speech such as counting, alphabet, days of the week or songs.
Lability: State of having notable shifts in emotional state (e.g., uncontrolled laughing or crying).
Leg Bag: A small, thick plastic bag that can be tied to the leg and collects urine. It is connected by tubing to a catheter inserted into the urinary bladder. See also Bowel and Bladder Training manual.
Locked‑in Syndrome: A condition resulting from interruption of motor pathways in the ventral pons, usually by infarction. This disconnection of the motor cells in the lower brain stem and spinal cord from controlling signals issued by the brain leaves the patient completely paralyzed and mute, but able to receive and understand sensory stimuli; communication may be possible by code using blinking, or movements of the jaw or eyes, which can be spared.
Lower Extremity: The lower limbs including the hip, thigh, calf, ankle and foot.