Ableism: Prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination directed against
people who have developmental, emotional, physical, sensory, or health-related disabilities. Ableism may be evident in organizational and institutional structures, policies, procedures, and programs, as well in the attitudes and behaviours of individuals. (Ministry of Education, Equity and Inclusive Education in Ontario Schools, Guidelines for Policy Development and Implementation, 2014)

Access: The creation of an environment where people, regardless of their abilities, can communicate clearly and participate actively. (CHS Accessibility Guide to Business & Service Providers, 2012 and CHS Reference Guide, Barrier-Free Education, 2009)

Accessibility: Refers to a barrier-free environment. In particular, it means identifying and   removing barriers and creating an environment so that its use and interaction with people is maximized regardless of culture or abilities. Accessibility also includes ensuring policies and services are free from barriers. 

The World Health Organization states that “much of what disables people from participation is not the disability itself but rather the environment or aspects of the environment, external features of society created by people.” (CHS Position Paper on Accessibility and Accommodation, April 2007)

Accommodation: An adjustment made to policies, guidelines, or practices, including adjustments to physical settings and various types of criteria, that enables individuals to benefit from and take part in the provision of services equally and to participate equally and perform to the best of their ability in the workplace or an educational setting. Accommodations are provided so that individuals are not disadvantaged or discriminated against on the basis of the prohibited grounds of discrimination identified in the Ontario Human Rights Code or other factors. (Refer to the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Guidelines on Accessible Education and Policy and Guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate, at Equity and Inclusive Education in Ontario Schools: Guidelines for Policy Development and Implementation, Realizing the Promise of Diversity, 2014.

American Sign Language (ASL): A visual language with its own grammar and syntax, distinct from English, used by Deaf people primary in Canada and the United States. Meaning is conveyed through signs that are composed of specific movements and shapes of the hand and arms, eyes, face, head and body posture. In Canada, there are two main sign languages: ASL and Langue des signes Québécoise (LSQ).

Assistive technology: Also known as assistive listening devices or ALDs, assistive technology helps reduce background noise and compensate for poor room acoustics or distance from the sound source. Assistive technology can be portable or permanently installed. It includes FM, Infrared and loop systems. It is designed to connect to the public address system or any audio sound source and send the signal directly to hearing aid and wireless receivers worn by people with hearing loss. The receivers allow individuals to adjust the volume to their comfort level and can be used with a variety of headsets or neckloop listening accessories for those who have a T-switch compatible hearing aid. They are recommended for all meeting assemblies including tours, lectures, small to large meeting venues, classrooms, places of worship, etc. (CHS Accessibility Guide to Business & Services Providers, 2012)

Audism: A form of discrimination based on a person’s ability to hear or behave in the manner of   one who hears, including the conveyance of beliefs that a hearing person or a deaf person who behaves in a manner more similar to a hearing person, in appearance, communication and language use, and/or function, is more intelligent, qualified, well-developed, and successful than another individual who may be culturally Deaf and/or have a preference for the use of a signed language or a communication mode dissimilar to that used by hearing people. (CHS Reference Guide Barrier-Free Education, 2009)

Cochlear implants: A cochlear implant is an electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. It consists of an external piece that sits behind the ear as well as a second piece that is surgically implanted under the skin and sends and receives electronic impulses from the auditory nerve to the brain. The sensation of sound from a cochlear implant is unique and requires people who use them to learn new ways of processing sound. Each implant user will experience different levels of success in processing sound and hearing spoken language. (CHS Accessibility Guide to Business & Services Providers, 2012)

Communication: Includes languages, displays of text, Braille, tactile communication, large   print, accessibility multimedia as well as written, audio, plain-language, human-reader and augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, including accessible information and communication technology. (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, December 2006)

Computerized notetakers: Facilitate communication by typing out the main points of discussions or presentations. A laptop computer is set up near the person who will be accessing the notes so they can read the conversation as it scrolls on the screen. Unlike CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation), this support is not a word-for-word, simultaneous transcription of the discussion. (CHS Accessibility Guide to Business & Services Providers, 2012)

Deaf culture: The celebration of a signed language (in Canada, ASL and LSQ) and other values, traditions, and behaviours specific to the Deaf community. Deaf culture offers a strong sense of belonging and takes a socio-cultural point of view of deafness, rather than a pathological perspective. (CHS Reference Guide Barrier-Free Education, 2009)

Hearing aids: Hearing aids are devices that amplify sound which are worn behind the ear, in the ear or in the ear canal and are composed of a microphone, amplifier, receiver, battery, earmold (or the casing), hook and the tubing. Although they amplify spoken language, they do not improve the clarity of how speech is heard by someone with a hearing loss. Even when sound and speech are amplified, it is not always possible to discern distinct words. Unlike glasses that can restore 20/20 vision, hearing aids do not restore hearing; they amplify sound. Hearing aids are effective in managing hearing loss for many people. Advancements continue to be made in hearing aid design to improve the ability to understand and differentiate between speech and sound, and to determine the direction from which they are coming. (CHS Accessibility Guide to Business & Services Providers, 2012)

Langue des signes Québécoise (LSQ): A visual language with its own grammar and syntax, distinct from French, used by Deaf people primarily in Quebec and other French Canadian communities. Meaning is conveyed through signs that are composed of specific movements and shapes of the hand and arms, eyes, face, head and body posture. In Canada, there are two main sign languages: American Sign Language (ASL) and LSQ.

Speechreading: Uses visual clues to understand a spoken message. The speechreader   watches a speaker’s lips, teeth and tongue, along with many other cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, context and body language. When used alone, the effectiveness of speechreading varies since more than half the movements involved in sound formation occur within the mouth and cannot be detected by the eye. Forty to 60% of English words are homophones (words which look identical on a speaker’s face) and there is not a single sound that has a distinct lip/jaw movement/position of its own. Thirty-three to 35% of speechreading depends on many factors including visual acuity, personality and when hearing loss occurred. Speechreading is most successful when used in conjunction with other communication strategies. (CHS Accessibility Guide to Business & Services Providers, 2012)

Spoken language: Uses sounds produced with the vocal tract to convey meaning, as opposed to written or signed language. Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people who use spoken language speak for themselves. Their residual hearing is often augmented by hearing aid(s), cochlear implants, or other communication devices and/or speechreading. They may or may not have a noticeably unmodulated voice or “hearing loss accent” in their speech production. (CHS Accessibility Guide to Business & Services Providers, 2012)

Written/typed and read communication: Involves writing back and forth on paper or typing back and forth using a device with a keyboard and display, or via text messaging. It can be a convenient, portable, and effective means of communication with Deaf people or people with hearing loss. This method of communication is best suited to everyday, simple interactions (e.g. ordering at a restaurant, checking into a hotel, paying for a product in a retail outlet, etc.) but is not recommended for complex communication.

When writing back and forth use straightforward, conversational language, stating your point clearly. English or French is not the first language of all Canadians. The majority of culturally Deaf people function to a great extent bilingually – they are proficient, to a greater or lesser degree, in written English or French and ASL or LSQ. ASL and LSQ do not have written forms and sometimes the written skills of a person whose first language is a signed language might appear stilted. A person’s written English or French skill should not be perceived as an indicator of education, ability, or intelligence. (CHS Accessibility Guide to Business & Services Providers, 2012)