Appendix AGlossary of termsA  B  D  F  H  I  L  M  P  R  S  T


Access software
Software which allows disabled people to use information and communications technology (ICT), eg screen-readers and voice activated word processing software.

Access technology
Technology which supports disabled people in their work and day-to-day activities, eg screen magnifiers, hearing aids or text facility on mobile phones.

Access to Work
A scheme run by Jobcentre Plus that provides advice and funding to help remove the obstacles encountered by disabled people in employment.

Alternative text tag
A label that describes in words the content of a diagram or picture so that people using screen reader software can understand its content.

Auxiliary aids
Equipment, processes or people (eg interpreters) that support disabled people in their daily activities.


A system of raised dots which can be read by a blind or visually impaired person through touch.

British Sign Language (BSL)
A true language with grammar, tenses and word order that differ from English.


People who are both deaf and blind. Some deafblind people will have some hearing and some vision whereas others may be totally deaf and blind.

Describes people who have become severely or profoundly deaf after acquiring speech.

"A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on ... [a person's] ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities" (Disability Discrimination Act 1995).

Within this context we refer to unfair discrimination when relating to situations in which people receive unjustifiably less favourable treatment than others who are in a similar position to them, based on their gender, disability, age, sexuality, religion or ethnic origin.


A simple form of sign language that spells words letter by letter using the hands. Often used for names or complicated words.


Hard of hearing
A way to describe people who have lost their hearing gradually, usually late in life.

A direct link from one web page to another or to a different website. Accessed simply by clicking on the link.


Translating from one language to another (eg English to British Sign Language) orally or face to face.

Induction loop
A device used to help hearing-aid users hear the spoken word. It may be portable or fixed within a room.


Language Line
An organisation that provides telephone interpreting services in over 100 languages.

Learning difficulty
A general term referring to a range of learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

Learning disability
A general term referring to a range of disabilities such as Down's Syndrome and autism.

Lip reading
A method that deaf people use to gain information about what is being said by reading body language including lip movement.

Lip speaking
Repeating what is heard silently to enable a deaf person to lip read. Supported with gestures and fingerspelling to help convey meaning.


A method of communicating with people with learning difficulties using signs and symbols.

Member of the Register of Sign Language Interpreters (MRSLI)
A British Sign Language interpreter registered with the Council for Advancement of Communication with Deaf People. It takes about seven years to become fully qualified.


Plain English
A style of writing used to ensure that the reader easily understands essential information. Plain English ensures clarity, good grammar and clear layout.


Reasonable adjustment
Steps taken by the employer to remove disadvantages to disabled people, such as making physical changes to the workplace, providing access technology and software, or amending duties and hours.


Screen Reader
A screen reader can be used on a standard computer, whether laptop or desktop, and enables the computer to ‘talk’. The screen reader will speak the text in its focus and the user navigates through menus, dialog boxes, edit fields and so on.

Signed English
A direct representation of spoken English

Sign-supported English
Combines sign language and spoken English using BSL signs but with English grammar and punctuation.


T-bar facility
Some hearing aids have this facility that enables the hearing aid user to link into an induction loop system.

T-switch facility
Some hearing aids have this facility that enables the hearing aid user to link into an induction loop system.

A textphone is a telephone with a keyboard and screen instead of a handset and is used by typing a message rather than saying it. Textphones are used by deaf people or people who have difficulty with speech.

A document that has been expressed in another language.

A national telephone relay service which enables deaf, deafblind, deafened, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired people to communicate with hearing people anywhere in the world.