Ask An Advocate Q&A |

Ask An Advocate: Acronyms

Q: I was at an annual meeting with my 22 year old son and his case manager, staff and work supervisor kept using acronyms that I found confusing, and sometimes didn’t know what they were talking about. How can I figure out what they are talking about?


A: Every profession has acronyms and jargon that can be tough to understand and disability services is no exception. Things like Medical Assistance (MA), Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS), and Personal Care Assistance (PCA) are used in place of the words they stand for, and it can be confusing.


If you do not know what something means, ask the person things like, “What does that stand for?” “What does that mean?” or “Can you tell me more about that?” Knowing what the acronym stands for does not always mean you understand what it is, so keep asking questions until you do.


For a quick reference to terms that are often used, check out this guide to acronyms in health and human services. You can also call advocates at The Arc Minnesota​ at 952-920-0855 if you have questions.