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PFA Tips: Understanding Common Acronyms in Service Planning

Download a printable version of “Understanding Common Acronyms in Service Planning”


It can feel confusing if everyone in a meeting is throwing around letters you are not familiar with.
So here is a brief cheat sheet of some of the most common acronyms related to service planning.

ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) – a scientific approach requiring the implementation of established principles of learning, behavioral strategies, and environmental modifications to improve and teach new behaviors.

ACM (Alternate or Augmentative Communication Method) – A communication system individually developed for a person who is non-verbal, such as sign language, picture symbols, etc.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) – Enacted in 1990, the premier civil rights law supporting equal access in all areas of life for people with disabilities.

ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) – Activities associated with maintaining personal hygiene and nutritional status, money management, and maintaining the personal living environment.

ALU (Alternative Living Unit) – A home where three or fewer people with disabilities reside

AT (Assistive Technology) – Devices or equipment used to assist people with disabilities more effectively carry out activities of daily living.

AT (Active Treatment) – Aggressive, consistent implementation of a program of specialized and generic training, treatment and health services.

BP (Behavior Plan) – A plan designed to modify (challenging) behavior that interferes with a person’s quality of life, through the use of clinically accepted techniques.

CSLA (Community Supported Living Arrangements) – Services to assist an individual in non-vocational activities necessary to enable that individual to live in the individual’s own home, apartment family home, or rental unit with no more than two non-related recipients of these services, or members of the same family regardless of their number.

CP (Community Pathways) – One of the DDA Medicaid Waiver options.

CE (Competitive Employment) – Paid work at minimum wages in accordance with DOL (Department of Labor) regulations or in a setting where the majority of employees are not disabled.

DD (Developmental Disability) – a diverse group of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments that arise before adulthood and can be persistent for the lifespan.

DDA (Developmental Disabilities Administration) – The State agency mandated to provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities in Maryland.

DORS (Division of Rehabilitative Services) – A division of the State Department of Education which focuses on the vocational needs of persons with disabilities.

DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) – Published by the American Psychiatric Association; provides a comprehensive (coded) system classification of disorders in psychiatry.

EI (Early Intervention) – Individualized services for infants and toddlers who are at risk for or are showing signs of developmental delay.

ELP (Essential Lifestyle Planning) – Planning process involving unique tools and techniques to gather individualized information used in development of a plan that is person-centered.

FBA (Functional Behavioral Assessment) – The process for collecting data to help determine why a behavior occurs.

FMS (Fiscal Management Service) – Entity that assists Waiver participants who self-direct their services with financial responsibilities such as paying plan-related bills, budget oversight, tax preparation, and monthly reports.

FY (Fiscal Year) – A fiscal year (FY) is a period that a company or government uses for accounting purposes and preparing financial statements. A fiscal year may not be the same as a calendar year.

HCBS (Home and Community Based Services) – Provide opportunities for Medicaid beneficiaries to receive services in their own home or community rather than institutions or other isolated settings.

ICF/ID (Intermediate Care Facility) – An optional Medicaid benefit that can provide a residential option for patients who cannot live alone and also need more supervision than in-home services offer, but who do not need the level of care found in skilled nursing facilities.

ID (Intellectual Disability) – Intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18.

IEP (Individualized Education Program) – A written plan for a child with a disability that is developed and implemented in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) – A written plan describing the infant’s current level of development, the family’s strengths and needs related to enhancement of the infant’s development, goals for the infant and the other family members, and the specific early intervention services needed to meet the goals.

IP/PCP (Individual Plan/Person-Centered Plan) – A plan that specifies assessments, services, and supports to help persons served by a DDA-licensed entity to achieve their desired outcomes.

ISS/FSS (Individual Support Services/Family Support Services) – DDA funded services for people living with their families or on their own; may include respite, transportation, environmental modification, adaptive equipment, money management or home skills.

LD (Learning Disability) – Neurologically-based processing problems that can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math. They can also interfere with higher level skills such as organization, time planning, abstract reasoning, long or short term memory and attention.

LISS (Low Intensity Support Service) – DDA program to allocate low-level funding of various support services for persons on the DDA Waiting List.

LMB (Local Management Board) – LMBs bring together local child-serving agencies, local child providers, clients of services, families, and other community representatives to empower local stakeholders in addressing the needs of and setting priorities for their communities.

MA (Medical Assistance) – Federally supported program of health related services for people meeting financial eligibility criteria; also called Medicaid.

MCHP (Maryland Children’s Health Program) – Provides medical coverage for qualifying uninsured children under the age of 19.

MDTAP (Maryland Technology Assistance Program) – Support access to assistive technology (AT) devices and services.

MITP (Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program) – Directs a family-centered system of early intervention services for young children with developmental delays.

PCA (Personal Care Assistant) – Assist people with disabilities to be as independent as possible by providing support and assistance with ADLs and organizing social, cultural, and other activities upon request.

SFP (Service Funding Plan) – Agreement between the DDA, a licensed service provider, and the individual regarding the services to be offered and the cost.

SSA (Social Security Administration) – U.S. government agency that administers social programs covering disability, retirement and survivors’ benefits.

SSI (Supplemental Security Income) – Social Security benefits for disabled adults and/or children who have limited income and resources.

SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) – Social Security benefits for workers and/or certain family members; eligible through having worked sufficient number of years and paid Social Security taxes.

TY (Transitioning Youth) – A special category of eligibility and priority for services. Through the Governor’s Transitioning Youth Initiative, the DDA, in collaboration with the Division of Rehabilitative Services (DORS), has been able to fund supported employment and other day services for eligible graduating students who otherwise may not have received DDA services.

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