ABLE Account

Stands Achieving a Better Life Experience account. A savings account that helps people with disabilities and their families save for housing, education, transportation, medical and other expenses related to their disability. It helps individuals with disabilities, including autism, save for future needs without losing access to other resources.


community skills assessment.

Helps check skills needed for community living, like employment, self-advocacy, transportation, home living and health and safety.


group home.

A place where a group of people with similar needs live. It has trained staff to help care for the people who live there.


Also called legal guardian. The person who has legal responsibility to take care of a child or adult.


home and community-based services.

A Medicaid waiver program that allows states to offer services to people with disabilities who don’t qualify for Medicaid. HCBS pays for group homes and independent living.


Individualized Education Program (IEP).

A plan that identifies programs, goals, services and supports to make sure a student with a disability gets a free and appropriate education at school.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.

The team that works on an IEP to make sure it meets a student’s needs. The team can include the student, parents, teachers, a school district representative and service providers, like a speech therapist or an occupational therapist.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) transition plan.

Goals in a student’s IEP that help plan for life after high school. Schools must measure and report on the goals.


life insurance-funded annuity.

Income paid by a life insurance company where a death benefit is divided up over a number of years into equivalent amounts that the beneficiary receives each year, as opposed to a lump sum.

low-income housing.

Also called public housing. Housing (apartments, townhomes or single-family homes) you rent based on your income. This housing can be funded by the government or privately owned.


pooled trust.

A special needs trust organized by a nonprofit organization that pools resources of many people.


Section 8 Housing Voucher.

Rental housing you find on your own. The government pays your landlord each month. You pay the difference, if any.

shared living.

Renting a private bedroom in a home or owning a home with other individuals.

Social Security.

A U.S. government program that pays money to people with limited income, including people with disabilities and people who are retired or don’t have jobs.

special needs planner.

A professional financial advisor who is an expert in savings plans for people with disabilities and special needs.

special needs trust.

A savings fund that helps pay for your child’s special care needs over the lifetime but doesn’t affect their ability to get public benefits.


Tools or services that help people with autism in their daily lives. Examples of supports include activities that get you involved in the community, communication devices, job coaching, mentors, social skills groups and summer camp programs.


visual prompt.

Also called a visual cue. A picture, video or written instructions that help you learn or know to do a task or follow directions.