Glossary of Terms


Adventitious Disability resulting from illness or accident that occurs after birth.

*advocate A person who acts for, or on behalf of, a person with a disability.

Audiogram A diagrammatic representation of audiometric data.

*audiometer Electronic device used to measure aspects of hearing

*auditory discrimination Ability to differentiate between sounds (eg., "pad" or "pat").

*augmentative communication Devices to aid communication where speech is problematic (eg., signing, communication boards, computers).

*Auslan See Australian Sign Language

*Australian Sign Language The Sign Language used by the Australian Deaf community. Also known as Auslan. It is a dialect of British Sign Language. Sign Languages are distinct from one another and from the spoken language of the local community.

bilateral loss in both ears

BTE Hearing aids worn behind the ear.

*central hearing loss An inability to process sound (especially speech) presumably due to damage to the auditory processing areas of the brain. It may or may not be accompanied by conductive and/or sensioneural loss. It is not medically or surgically treatable.

#cochlea A part of the inner ear. In Greek cochlea means "snail". The cochlea in the inner ear looks like a tiny snail shell or sea shell.

cochlear implant A cochlear implant is a device that simulates sound in the cochlea by electrically stimulating the hearing nerve..

*communicative competence The ability of a person to coordinate all aspects of the communication system adequately to meet all communicative needs and requirements.

*complex sentences Sentences containing more than one clause. An element of syntax.

conductive hearing loss Hearing loss caused by some blockage of sound to the inner ear. Usually medically and/or surgically treatable. May be accompanied by other types of hearing loss.

*congenital Present in an individual at or prior to birth.

*Cued Speech A system of gestures used to make visible, speech sounds which look alike on the lips or are not visible on the lips. In conjunction with lip reading it can give a complete visual representation of speech.

*decibel A unit of measurement of the intensity of sound (perceived as the loudness of the sound). Abbreviated dB.

*dysarthria A speech disorder of neurological origin affecting the muslces of speech.

*dysphonia Problematic voice quality.

*dyspraxia A speech disorder of neurological origin where coordination of speech musculature is affected.

*expressive language Relates to the production of language usually through speech or writing (eg., correct pronunciation and grammar, letter formation and hand writing).

*finger spelling A system of communication in which there is a gesture for each letter of the alphabet.

*frequency The physical aspects of sound which is perceived as pitch (measures in hertz, usually abbreviated Hz).

idiomatic Colloquial type language used in the play ground or social setting eg cool, chill etc

*integration The process of moving children from special education settings into regular classrooms where they undertake most, if not all, of their schooling. Also called desegregation.

*intonation The rising and falling tones of the voice over an utterance. For example rising at the end of an utterance may be the only indicator of a question.

ITE Hearing aids worn in the ear.

*itinerant services Educational or therapeutic services provided by a professional person who travels from centre to centre to work in regular or special classes with students who have a specific need.

*Makaton This is an augmentative communication system which involves oral and sign language. It was originally based upon British Sign Language and has been widely introduced into facilities catering for people with severe forms of intellectual disability.

minimal pairs Pairs of words which differ in only one sound eg., bin/pin; cut/cup; sin/sun

*modelling Providing a behavioural example of how a task is to be undertaken so that another can learn by imitation.

morphology The way we put word together to form a sentence eg., placement of noun relative to verb.

phoneme Smallest unit of sound in a language that conveys meaning eg., /ph/ and /0/ in phoneme.

phonetic The actual sound that the phoneme makes when spoken eg., /ph/ phonetically is /f/.

*postlingual Refers to hearing impairment occurring after normal speech and language are established. The third birthday is used as a benchmark though some writers prefer to use adolescence.

*pragmatics The study of the uses to which communication is put.

prelingual Hearing impairment that occurs prior to the development of speech and language, generally recognised as before three years.

*receptive language Relates to the receiving and understanding of information (eg., word recognition, auditory discrimination).

*recruitment A condition in which a given increase in intensity of sound results in a greater than normal increase in perceived loudness. It limits the amount of amplification that a recruiting impaired ear can tolerate.

*sensioneural hearing loss A hearing loss due to damage to or deterioration of non-development of the hair cells of the cochlea and /or the auditory nerve which transmits sound to the brain.

*sign language A visual-motor communication system commonly used among Deaf people in which gestures are used instead of speech. Sign languages have grammars and vocabularies different to one another and to the spoken language used in which they are used.

*signed English A system of representing English on the hands in which invented signs and the signs of sign language provide the words with finger spelling adding the inflection of English.

*social skills training Instructional techniques involving description, modelling, rehearsel and feedback to assist individuals achieve social competence.

speech intelligibility Speech production and the ability of the listener to understand the word or message being conveyed.

speech tracking Getting a child to repeat all the words he/she has perceived of each sentence in a paragraph. Specific strategies employed to aid correction of perception and then reference back to original stimulus.

*Total Communication An approach to communication for people with a hearing impairment which holds that any method of communication necessary for such pupils to learn effectively should be used. These could include speech, listening, speech reading, Signed English, or Sign Language or any combination of these, depending on the situation. In practice, it has usually meant speech plus Signed English.

*transition In the educational context, transition refers to the movement of a student from one learning context to another (eg., from a high school to employment, from a special class to an integrated, regular class setting)

unilateral Hearing loss in one ear only

*vocalisation Any sound produced by the vocal cords whether this speech or noise.

*In Ashman, A. and Elkins, J..(1988). (Eds). Educating children with special needs (3rd ed.). Sydney: Prentice Hall.