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Wisconsin Wayfinder: Abbreviations and Terms

Common abbreviations

Families with children with special health care needs may find it overwhelming to keep up with all of the new terms and abbreviations. You are not alone! Children’s resource guides can help you understand the information, programs, and services to take the next step for your child. Find an overview of some of the common abbreviations you may come across.

Common terms

As you learn more about your child’s special health care needs, you may hear many new terms. It’s often hard to ask questions right away because you aren’t sure what everything means. Here are some helpful definitions:

Children’s Resource Centers
In Wisconsin, five centers support families with children and youth with special health care needs and the providers and professionals who serve them.
Children’s resource guides
Trained and confidential experts who work at Children’s Resource Centers and help families and professionals find the information and support they need.
Children's Resource Network
Wisconsin Wayfinder: Children’s Resource Network connects families and professionals to free information and referral services that support children and youth ages 0-21 who have delays, disabilities, or special health care needs, including behavioral or mental health conditions.
County health and human services agency
All Wisconsin counties have an agency that works directly with families and health care and community partners. 
Developmental delay
A developmental delay is defined as slow-to-meet, or not reaching, milestones in one or more of the areas of development in the expected way for a child’s age.
Developmental disability
A developmental disability is defined as a condition due to physical, learning, language, or behavior impairments.
The end of a complex process to identify a child’s condition or health concern.
Standards that allow people to get benefits through state and federal programs.
Health care services
Any services provided by health care professionals and allied health fields.
A joint federal and state program that provides high-quality health insurance coverage, long-term care, and other services.
Mental health
A way to understand a person's health through developmental and emotional milestones.
An individual health professional providing health care diagnosis and treatment services or an individual providing non-health related services through a covered program. 
Respite care
Provides primary caretakers with a much-needed break, or respite.
Special health care need
The health care and related needs of children who have chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions. Such needs are of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.
Specialty care
Provided by health care professionals with advanced training and expertise in specific areas.
A request from a state to the federal government to remove restrictions on the way Medicaid money is spent. Medicaid waiver programs help provide services to people who would otherwise be in an institution, nursing home, or hospital so that they can receive care in their home and community.
Last revised October 12, 2023