Glossary – A

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AA – Alcoholics Anonymous

AARP – American Association of Retired Persons

Accessibility – Extent to which a program or services can be reached by those who want or need them.

Accreditation – An official decision made by a recognized organization that a health care plan, network, or other delivery system complies with applicable standards.

ACF – Administration of Children and Families

ACLD – Association for Children with Learning Disabilities

ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union

ACMH – Association for Children’s Mental Health

ACSW – Association of Certified Social Workers

ACT – Assertive Community Treatment

Action Learning – Hands-on approach to teaching and learning in which students work collaboratively to increase their understanding through an active process of “doing and reflecting” on real-life tasks, problems, issues, or assignments.

Active Listening – People are actively listening when they respond to someone in a way that shows that they have listened to what the person has said and understand how the person feels and what they are saying about themselves. A helpful way to do this is for the listener, having heard what the speaker has said, to then repeat, in the listener’s own words, what he or she thinks the speaker said.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL) – An index or scale which measured a patient’s degree of independence in bathing, dressing, using the toilet, eating, and moving from one place to another.

Acute Care – Medical treatment rendered to individuals whose illnesses or health problems are of a short-term or episodic nature. Acute care facilities are those hospitals that mainly serve persons with short-term health problems.

Adjustment Disorder – Extreme reactions in adolescents to social demands for establishing personal identity and independence from family.

Administrative Case Management – Assessment for individuals experiencing significant mental health problems, referral to appropriate community services, and case management services.

Adult Mobile Medication Management – Management of psychiatric medication for adults with serious mental illness who reside in the community.

Adult Protective Services (APS) – Receives and investigates reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elderly persons (defined as age 65 or older) and persons with disabilities.

Adoption – The legal process of adding a person to an existing family. Adoption is meant to be permanent and the goal is to provide lifelong security to the child and the adoptive family.

Advocacy – The process of actively supporting the cause of an individual or group, speaking in favor of, or being intercessor or defender.

AFC – Adult Foster Care

AFCARS – Automated Foster Care and Adoption Reporting System

After School Program – Services which focus on the development of skill building and problem solving for school-age youth who are at risk for delinquent behavior.

AHEDD – Association for Habilitation and Employment of Developmentally Disabled

Alternative Therapy – An alternative approach to mental health care that emphasizes the interrelationship between mind, body and spirit.

AMA – American Medical Association

American Psychological Association (APA) – The largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and the world’s largest association of psychologists.

American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) – A nonprofit, bipartisan organization of individuals and agencies concerned with human services.

AMI – Alliance for the Mentally Ill

Annual Performance Reviews – A systematic, periodic review and analysis of an employee’s job performance by a superior, to compare that performance to a set of predetermined standards, identify strengths and weaknesses, and develop a plan to improve an employee’s performance.

Anxiety Disorders (in children) – Characterized by fear, worry or dread that greatly impairs the ability to function and is out or proportion to the circumstances. There are many types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety disorder and social phobias. Most commonly, children refuse to go to school, often using physical symptoms as the reason.

APA – American Psychiatric Association

Appendicitis – Inflammation and infection of the appendix. It seems to develop when the appendix becomes blocked by hard fecal matter or swollen lymph nodes in the intestine that occur with various infections.

Apprenticeship Training – A formal process by which individuals learn their jobs through a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training from a skilled expert in their specific job.

Appropriate Education – An individual education program specially designed to meet the unique needs of a child who has a disability.

APWA – American Public Welfare Association

Area Agency on Aging (AAA) – The local agency that receives funds to care for the needs of older adults. Pennsylvania has 52 sub-state area agencies on aging.

ASAM – American Society of Addictive Medicine

ASI – Addiction Severity Index

ASL – American Sign Language

Asperger’s Syndrome – Less severe than autism, children with Asperger’s syndrome have impaired social interactions similar to those of children with autism, as well as stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and mannerisms and nonfunctional rituals. Their speech and language skills are normal, but they often have weaknesses in pragmatic (social) language. They have normal intelligence but also often have intense interests in narrow topics to the exclusion of other developmentally appropriate pursuits.

Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACT) – Intense mental health services and supports for adults with serious mental illness. Treatment is delivered by a team of trained individuals and is provided in the home and community.

ASU – Adult Services Unit

AT – Assistive Technology

Attachment Disorder – A condition in which individuals have difficulty forming loving, lasting, intimate relationships.

Autistic Disorder (Autism) – A complex developmental disability that appears in early childhood, usually before age three. Autism prevents children and adolescents from interacting normally with other people and affects almost every aspect of their social and psychological development.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) – Disorders in which young children cannot develop normal social relationships, use language abnormally or not at all, behave in compulsive and ritualistic ways, and may fail to develop normal intelligence. Disorders include Asperger’s syndrome, Autism, Childhood disintegrative disorder, and Rett Syndrome.

Avoidance – A symptom of a disorder manifested by avoiding the establishment of new interpersonal contacts to the extent that social functioning is impaired.