A Very Brief Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

A Very Brief Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations#

AB, AB’s, AB’d#

Able bodied people . Not pejorative. Sub-types: TAB’s, who are temporarily AB’d and SAB’s, who are severely AB’d.


Center for Independent Living.


Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The state “agency of last resort” which can provide a lot of help. Also called DR, VR and Voc Rehab. DVR is used here for consistency.

Level of Lesion#

Locates spinal cord damage by reference to the adjacent bones of the vertebral column. Cervical lesions, the highest, generally cause dysfunction in upper and lower limbs. Thoracic and Lumbar lesions usually result in lower body paralysis. See Loose Ends.


The National Spinal Cord Injury Foundation. A national advocacy, research and information coalition. NSCIF is a merger of two former organizations, The National Paraplegia Foundation (NPF) and the New England Spinal Cord Injury Foundation (NESCIF).


Or simply Para. Someone with paralysis of the lower limbs. Paraplegia, the condition, is sometimes used to include quadriplegia (e.g., NPF)..


Paralyzed Veterans of America. A national organization representing paralyzed veterans. Non-vets are welcomed.


Or Quad. In England, a tetraplegic. Someone with some paralysis of both upper and lower limbs.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973#

Your bill of rights as a disabled person. Section 503 of this act contains the buzzwords Affirmative Action (employers with federal contracts must hire, promote and actively recruit disabled people) and Reasonable Accommodation (the job must be made accessible to you). Section 504 requires recipients of HEW monies such as hospitals, schools, many non-profit corporations and state and local agencies, not to discriminate against disabled people in employment, promotion and benefits.


Sexual Attitude Reassessment Seminar.

SCI, SCI’s, SCI’d#

Spinal cord injury, spinal cord injuries, spinal cord injured.


Social Security Disability Insurance.


Supplemental Security Income.


Currently, this seems to be the scrupulously polite term for anyone in a wheelchair. Also cripple, disabled or handicapped person and invalid (I always loved that one). They’re just words and have no power to hurt unless used with malice—an experience I’ve never had. Gimp and Crip are words used often and fondly by many of us. Chairperson, I’m sure, is also appropriate.