A Beginner’s Guide to Common Medical Terms

AFO: ankle-foot orthotic, a type of hard, moulded plastic brace that provides rigid support for the foot, heel, ankle and calf

Anticonvulsant: medications used to treat seizures

CVI: cortical visual impairment, a neurological condition affecting the eyes- the structure of the eyes is fine, but there is an issue with the way the brain receive and processes the input from the eyes

DME: durable medical equipment, ex: wheelchair, bath chair, sleep safe bed, gait trainer, hoyer lift, etc
Gastroenterologist: Treats the esophagus, stomach, intestines and bowels

Geneticist: Diagnoses and manages hereditary disorders

Hippotherapy: a type of therapy done riding a horse. The belief is that not only will the person have fun, but it also gets to muscles that traditional physical therapy cannot get to for strengthening and supporting trunk (the part of the body that your legs, arms and head attach to) control

Ketogenic diet: a specific diet that involves regulating the ketones in the brain to change the way the brain uses “fuel”, and should only be done under the supervision of a physician

Neurologist: Treats nervous system disorders

Nutritionist: Specializes in food and diet recommendations and provides guidance on digestive complications.
Occupational Therapist: Improves daily living and fine motor skills of patients

Ophthalmologist: Treats the eyes

Orthopedic Specialist: Monitor musculoskeletal system and assist with equipment recommendations

Physical Therapist: Works to improve muscle strength and function through physical movements, exercise, and stretching

Pulmonologist: Treats the respiratory system

Speech therapist: Specializes in development of oral motor skills and communication

SMO: supra-malleolar orthotic, a hard, molded plastic brace that supports the heel and foot arches for better stabilization of the foot

Swim Therapy: physical therapy done in water, where the buoyancy of the water allows for easier movement of the limbs and provides gentle passive resistance to movements therefore strengthening the muscles

Vision Therapist: Adapts learning environments to accommodate perceptual-cognitive deficiencies

VNS implant: Vagus Nerve Stimulator a medical device that is implanted under the chest wall with a lead that attaches to the vagus nerve in the neck. This device sends out a regular electric impulse to the brain to break up any potential seizure activity. It has been called a “pacemaker for the brain”, and can be discussed with a neurologist