Glossary of terms

Take a look below for definitions of some terms used in the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program lessons and units.

not having any barriers.

Accessibility (elementary):
the degree to which a place can be used by or is available for everyone. An accessible place is one that does not have any barriers.

Accessibility (secondary):
the extent to which a physical space, such as a building, does not have any barriers, allowing anyone the opportunity to use and benefit fully from its existence, including people with a vision, hearing, or physical disability.

demonstration of one’s support for a cause, a person, or a group of people, for example, by public speaking, signing a petition, educating others about a topic, or generally raising awareness of an issue.

an obstacle that prevents someone from doing something. Barriers may be physical (e.g. buildings with stairs) or social (e.g. people’s attitudes).

something that is difficult to do.

Difference Maker:
an ordinary person who accomplishes extraordinary things by creating positive change in his or her community and in the lives of others.

Disability (elementary):
when a part of your body or mind works differently, which may make doing some things difficult because of barriers. Barriers may be physical (e.g. buildings with stairs) or social (e.g. people’s attitudes).

Disability (secondary):
a broad term that describes a physical, mental, sensory or cognitive condition that may limit full participation in life due to environmental or social barriers.

the treatment of people as the same, with no special attention to historical or current disparity amongst groups, in order to exercise quantitative fairness in how individuals are supported and protected.

the treatment and support of people according to their needs, in order to exercise qualitative fairness, by ensuring that everyone has access to the same quality of life and is equipped with the tools they uniquely need in order to achieve personal success.

Hard skills:
employability skills that require knowledge of a certain field and/or the ability to perform and fulfill specific duties, such as work with certain machinery or computer programs.

the practice of mindfully respecting all individuals in order to establish a sense of belonging for all, while at the same time recognizing and celebrating individuals’ differences.

one who directs, guides, influences, or causes movement in a particular direction.

someone who has experience and knowledge in a field of interest to you and is willing to guide and advise you.

Peer Advocate:
someone who advocates on behalf of a peer, a classmate, or someone of a similar status and/or age as himself or herself.

Personal Leadership:
the cultivation and application of self-awareness and wise decision making in one’s own life, for the purposes of personal growth and making a meaningful contribution to society.

an online tool that lets you find and rate the accessibility of venues and public spaces worldwide.

Role Model:
someone who sets an example for others, especially through positive behaviour and personal accomplishment.

a concrete and feasible goal that is specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Soft Skills:
employability skills that do not require knowledge of a certain field but instead demonstrate one’s ability to take initiative, work in teams, and to generally demonstrate positive attitudes towards others and towards work responsibilities.

Spinal Column:
the bones of the back and neck. These bones are called vertebrae (VERT-ehbray) and together they form a tube that protects the spinal cord.

Spinal Cord:
millions of nerves that send messages back and forth between the brain and the body. These messages allow us to feel, touch, move, breathe and walk.

SWOT Analysis:
a strategic tool, often used in the business world, that analyzes the internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors that will impact the process by which a team achieves a specific goal or vision.

working together with others to accomplish a goal/task.