Glossary of Terms

This glossary explains terms used in the Stages Online Chart search. These definitions are taken from the glossaries found in the documentation for each Stage.

Close this window to return to your search.
Word Definition
Abbreviation expansion A feature that allows the user to set up abbreviations for frequently used words or phrases and then type them with just a keystroke or two.
Accessible Designates that a program is able to be used by an individual with special physical requirements through alternative input devices or methods.
Adaptive hardware An input device or computer component that has been altered for use by individuals with physical disabilities or custom access needs.
Alternative keyboard A keyboard with special features designed for individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities. Examples include one-handed keyboards, keyboards with large buttons, keyboards with symbols, etc.
Assessment A process by which a team of highly-trained professionals observes and evaluates an individual to determine his or her status and specific needs.
Assessment activities Activities designed to be used as a point of reference.
Assistive technology Devices or tools that have been designed for those with special needs. These may include "high-tech" items such as computers or "light-tech" devices such as a bathtub handrail or pencil grip.
Auditory feedback A sound that is produced in response to a user's action. It may be in the form of a short sound, spoken text, or a spoken label. It is frequently used with individuals having a visual impairment or learning disability.
Behavioral objective A specific goal that is based on an individual's action or response.
Categorization A grouping of objects based on similar attributes.
CD-ROM A form of storage similar to a floppy disk, except that you cannot change its contents and it can store a large amount of computer data (about 650 MB). CD-ROM stands for Compact Disc-Read Only Memory.
Cognitive development Growth in the ability to think, learn, and understand.
Content As related to software, the material (words and graphics) that is presented.
Convergent thinking A thought process through which an individual gathers information that leads to a single focus or conclusion in order to answer a question posed.
Distracter A sound, picture, or text that is designed to direct attention away from an intended target.
Divergent thinking A thought process through which an individual pursues self-initiated exploration of ideas and concepts that fan out from a starting focus.
Feedback The manner in which the software responds to a user's actions; feedback may be auditory, visual, or multisensory.
Grammar checker A feature of some word processors that checks for grammatical errors and suggests corrections.
Hardware The physical electronic devices or computer components, including the monitor, processor, hard drive, printer, mouse, keyboard, etc.
High-tech Related to complex technology, typically computers and other electronic devices.
IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) A detailed program customized for a learner with written objectives and required educational assistance.
Input device/method The means by which an individual accesses a computer.
Insertion point A marker within the content of the computer screen that shows where the next letter or symbol entered will be placed.
Interactive In software, a display that allows a user to make choices and cause actions.
Inventory A tool designed to gather preferences and abilities in an evaluation of an individual's skills.
Keyboard An input device that allows an individual to type letters, numbers, and special characters and send them to a computer. Many types of keyboards for people with disabilities are available, such as those featuring large keys, flat panels, one-handed layouts
Language development Growth in the ability to understand the meaning of words or gestures and to generate words or gestures that convey meaning in order to communicate.
Level of representation The concreteness with which a target is symbolized. Some learners can recognize a target when they see a photograph of it, but not when they see a line drawing of it, or its name in text.
Light-tech Related to simple technology, typically non-electronic devices and tools. Also called low-tech.
Management system In software, the part of the program that tracks user responses and summarizes the results of an interactive session.
Menu In software programs, a set of options available to the user. Standard menu functions found in most software programs allow you to open and print files, change settings, and exit the program.
Modified test A standardized test adapted for an individual user who might not otherwise be able to take the test. Note that modified tests are not considered valid, but that the results may still be reliable and useful.
Mouse A small input device connected to your computer that allows the user to move a cursor on the screen and to click (select) targets.
Object identification The naming or labeling of an object or a picture of an object.
Object representation The way in which an item is presented. Typical levels of representation are photographs, color symbols, line drawings, and text.
Preferences A set of options that the user can adjust within a computer program. For example, the user may be able to specify an input device, control aspects of how the device behaves, adjust settings for spoken or displayed labels, set a difficulty level, choose the number of activities to present, or select the content.
Program See Software.
Prompt In software, the way in which the user is encouraged to make a response. A prompt might be visual, auditory, or both.
Pronunciation exception A feature that allows the user to customize how a word is spoken. Typically, these revised pronunciations can be saved for future use.
Rate enhancement A tool or method that allows a user to increase the speed and efficiency of communication. A word completion program is one example of rate enhancement software.
Receptive language Words and gestures conveying meaning that a learner understands, although he or she might not yet be able to generate those words and gestures.
Scanning A computer access method for switch users. Choices on the screen are highlighted one at a time and the user indicates his or her choice by activating an input device. Various methods of scanning-- automatic scanning (auto scan), step scanning, single-switch Ńautomatic scanning (auto scan), step scanning, single-switch scanning, multiple-switch scanningŃ-can be used, depending on the userŐs abilities and preferences.
Software A set of instructions to the computer to perform a specific task or function. Also called a program.
Spell checker A feature of some word processors that checks for spelling errors and suggests corrections.
Switch A device which, when activated, closes an electrical contact to send a signal to the computer. Switches are available that can be activated by touch, blowing, or a tiny movement such as raising an eyebrow.
Switch interface box A hardware device that allows you to connect one or more switches to a computer.
Switch-adapted toy A mechanical or electronic object that can be activated by pressing a switch. Such toys give play opportunities to learners with special access needs.
Text-to-speech The conversion of typed words to a spoken version of those words using a computer-generated voice.
Touchscreen A sensitive overlay on a monitor that can detect pressure and activate a target where touched.
Visual feedback A response to a user's action that can be seen, such as a change of color or an animation. It is frequently used with individuals having a hearing impairment or learning disability.
Word completion software A type of program that allows a user to start to type a word, presenting choices of possible target words based on the letters already typed to complete the word. This feature makes communication very efficient for users who can type but not speak. It can also help users who have difficulty spelling or typing. Some software combines word completion and word prediction features.
Word prediction software A type of program that presents choices of possible target words based on previously typed words and letters. In other words, the program supplies possible words to follow the ones already typed. This feature makes communication very efficient for users who can type but not speak. It can also help users who have difficulty spelling, typing, or composing a thought. Some software combines word prediction and word completion features (see above).
Word processor A computer program that allows a user to enter and revise text.
Word wall A way to display study words in a readily accessible place so that learners can refer to them during reading and writing tasks. In a classroom the words are typically mounted on colored paper to facilitate learning groups of words. Then this is taped on the wall or pinned to a bulletin board. Teachers use various strategies for selecting appropriate words, and then use the word wall for classroom activities designed to help learners master them.

Close this window to return to your search.