Daytime Terminology


Daytime terms are frequently misunderstood, misused, and evolving. The definition of terms associated with day activities are featured below to spark conversation between self-advocates, decision-makers, service providers, and communities.

Social interaction icon
Social Interaction
Although social interaction, inclusion, and participation are used interchangeably, they are different in nature. People with IDD identify six themes critical to social interaction:

  • Being accepted as an individual beyond the disability.
  • Having significant and reciprocal personal relationships.
  • Being involved in activities.
  • Having appropriate living accommodations.
  • Having employment.
  • Receiving formal and informal supports.
Engagement icon
  • A positive connection with a role and the role’s related activities that motivate and energize individuals.
  • Highly focused on the activities associated with a role to the point where other thoughts and distractions melt away and a genuine interest in the role is expressed.
Peer support icon
Peer Support
An emotional and practical approach intended to be mutually beneficial and equal with choice, self-help, self-determination, and positivity being the core values.
Independent living icon
Independent Living
The belief that all people have the same rights and responsibilities in society and that services and supports provided to the public should be accessible and available to achieve the most independence possible.
Meaningful day icon
Meaningful Day
An approach that consistently offers opportunities to participate in age-appropriate, productive activities at home and in the community. It shifts the focus of direct-care work from traditional caretaking or programmatic tasks to being accountable for the extent of engagement and independence individuals with IDD experience from dawn to dusk.
Community based non-work icon
Community-based Non-work
Anon-facility-based option where individuals with IDD spend the majority of their day in community places where most of the people present do not have IDD doing activities such as volunteering, doing errands, going out to eat, and general community exploration.
Day habilitation icon
Day Habilitation
An optional, but widely used facility-based service provided in a group setting during weekday work hours. Though widely used, waiver participants are not required to include it in their plan. Services vary, but may include recreational activity, specialized therapy, and life skills training.
Terminology adult day care icon
Adult Day Care
Facility-based care for individuals age 65 or older and individuals with a physical or cognitive disability to relieve primary caregivers of their duties for the day.
Employment icon
An activity performed in which there is a wage earned for services rendered and the services are primarily for the benefit of the employer.
Work icon
An activity done on a personal basis to enable growth and skills development, and improve social interactions by contributing to society.
Productivity icon
Engagement in activities that contribute to a household or community.
Sheltered workshop icon
Sheltered Workshop
A segregated work place with activities that typically involve repetitive tasks. Workers may be paid below minimum wage.
Competitive employment icon
Competitive Employment
Work performed in an integrated setting that pays at least minimum wage.
Supported employment icon
Supported Employment
Work performed in an integrated setting that includes workers making an informed choice and receive individualized supports to learn and keep the job.
Customized employment icon
Customized Employment
Work performed in an integrated setting following a process of discovering a worker’s skills and interests and negotiating with an employer to find or develop the best fitting role. Out comes include job carving, resource ownership, and self-employment.