REHABDATA Thesaurus Updates

NARIC’s librarians and abstractors use the REHABDATA Thesaurus to index new material entering the NARIC collection. This tool was originally developed along side the REHABDATA database, and was informed by research and practice in disability and rehabilitation research. The Thesaurus is a living document which is updated regularly to reflect new and emerging terminology. The following terms and nonterms are proposed for this update.

Proposed Terms

Digestive system disorders

Disorders in any part of the gastrointestinal tract or accessory organs (living, biliary tract, pancreas).
Broader terms: Feeding
Related terms: Swallowing disorders, Metabolic disorders
Use for: Gastrointestinal illnesses


Sharing personal information about a disability for the specific purpose of receiving accommodations.
Broader terms:  Disabilities, Employment, Education, Accommodation, ADA
Related terms: Job modification, Employment reentry, Disability determination, Special education, Postsecondary education


Includes natural or physical environment, changes made to the environment caused by humans, interaction with and impact of the environment.
Use for: Physical and Geographical Elements (neighborhoods, terrain), Natural Events (hurricanes, weather/climate) , Human-Caused Events (fires, war, pandemic), Acoustics/Ambiance (light, sound, air quality, vibration, ultrasound)


Broader terms: Equilibrium, Sensory disabilities
Related terms: Prevention


Notes: Currently a nonterm with Audiology as the preferred term. However, audiology refers to the science of hearing, not the sense. The Thesaurus includes VISION and MOBILITY. Adding HEARING is in line with these terms.
Narrower terms: Deafness, Deafblind, Sensory impairments, Hearing impairments, Sensory aids, Hearing aids, Communication skills
Related terms: Communication, Audiology

Pain management

Broader terms: Pain, Holism, Therapy
Related terms: Alternative medicine, Arthritis, Cancer, Chronic illness, Drugs, Fibromyalgia, Hospices, Medical treatment, Pharmacology, Substance use disorders
Use for: Chronic pain

Service utilization

Notes: Sometimes also referred to as “rates under treatment” or “rates under direct service”, the extent to which people are making use of whatever services are already available in the community or at an organization. (Community Toolbox). The number of outpatient department visits in a year (WHO).
Related terms: Service delivery, Service integration, Service plans, Home and community based services, Long term services and supports
Use for: Utilization

Proposed Nonterms

Remote service delivery – use Telerehabilitation

Polio – use Poliomyelitis

Customized employment – use Job development, Interview techniques, Job search, Employment programs as appropriate

Mental retardation – use Intellectual disabilities or Developmental disabilities as appropriate

Gastrointestinal illnesses – use Digestive system disorders

These changes will appear in the online Thesaurus and in the printed 9th edition, to be published at the end of September.

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