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Definitions of Terms

“Developmental disability”  A mental or physical disability or combination thereof, which is manifested before the age of 18, is likely to continue indefinitely and results in substantial limitations in 3 or more major life activities (i.e., self care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, economic self-sufficiency). All of our clients have some degree of learning disability that may or may not exist in conjunction with physical disabilities, behavioral challenges, or emotional problems. Many of the people PDS serves are diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities.


Some terms that we sometimes use to describe the people we serve are “cognitively impaired” and “intellectually disabled”.


“Client” – Person with disabilities who receives services from Peoples with Disabilities Succeeding. At PDS, treating people with disabilities with dignity and respect is at the heart of what we do. We are conscious of our language and always refer to people with disabilities as people first (for example "people with disabilities" and not "disabled people)".


We refer to the people we serve as our "clients" because we believe that it is the most respectful term we could use, similar to a participant of another professional who provides services to others, who are of equal status.


We also refer to our clients as “individuals,” “the individuals we serve,” and “people.” Certain government agencies and other programs sometimes refer to their participants with developmental disabilities as “consumers”.


“Program” – People with Disabilities Succeeding

“Adult” Any person over the age of 18. Our clients typically range in age from 22 to 65 years of age.


“Administrator,” “Supervisor,” “Management” – Employee who primarily works “behind the scenes” developing jobs, running the agency, and hiring and supervising staff—other titles: “Director,” Executive Director,” “ Coordinator.”


“Job Coaches”  Job coaches (also titled "Employment & Community Support Facilitators") are employed by PDS to works with employers to assist them to feel comfortable with the employee(s) with disabilities and to give the company practical information and feedback on how to benefit from a diverse work force. Furthermore, as necessary, PDS staff will actually physically assist our clients to do their work tasks and/or may provide on the job monitoring and counseling to ensure that the employees remain on task. Job coaches are meant to be liaisons and facilitators, NOT to take the place of the supervisors or employers of the workplace. Lastly job coaches promote social inclusion in the workplace by facilitating conversations and interactions between people with and without disabilities and accompanying our clients to work parties and other social events and activities.


“Direct Service Staff,” “Staff,” “Support Staff” – Employee who directly provides daily support to individuals with disabilities on a regular basis, also referred to as “ job coaches” or Employment & Community Support Facilitators (ECSF).


“DDS” (Department of Developmental Services) – The California Department of Developmental Services is the agency through which the State of California provides services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities. These disabilities include intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and related conditions.


“GGRC” (Golden Gate Regional Center) – Regional centers are nonprofit private corporations that contract with the Department of Developmental Services to provide or coordinate services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. They have offices throughout California to provide a local resource to help find and access the many services available to individuals and their families. Golden Gate Regional Center funds services and supports and programs to individuals with developmental disabilities in Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

Title 17  is a portion of the California Code of Regulations that contains the regulations pertaining to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) as well as other regulations. Those pertaining to DDS, starting with Section 50201, cover parental fees, conflict of interest code, rules for conducting research, participants rights, fiscal audits and appeals, fair hearings, vendorization procedures, regional center administrative practices and procedures, standards and rate-setting procedures for community-based programs and in-home respite services, and residential facility care and services.

“IDT” (Interdisciplinary Team) – a group of different types of professionals working together to share expertise, knowledge, and skills to support the person with disabilities. Often includes families and representatives from the regional center.

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