Resources // Glossary

Welcome to the Looking for Bears glossary, designed to provide clarity and understanding of the key terms used in my work. I have compiled definitions for a range of terms. However, I recognize that language evolves, and there may be terms I haven't covered yet. I encourage you to actively participate in expanding our glossary by suggesting additional terms you would like to see defined. Your input is invaluable in helping me create a resource for everyone.



n. The design and provision of products, services, environments, or information that can be accessed and used by all people, including disabled people. It encompasses the removal of barriers and the creation of inclusive opportunities to ensure equal participation, independence, and dignity for all people.


n. A lasting psychological connectedness between human beings. (source: Bowlby J. (1969). Attachment. Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Loss. New York: Basic Books.)



n. A natural process through which we mutually influence and regulate each other's emotional and physiological states, whether through verbal or non-verbal cues, presence, or empathetic connection.

Cognitive Accessibility

n. Cognitive accessibility refers to a design approach that aims to remove barriers and ensure equal access and participation for individuals with cognitive disabilities. It involves creating inclusive user experiences, products, and services that consider and address the unique cognitive needs and challenges of diverse users. By employing clear communication, simplified information, intuitive navigation, and supportive features, cognitive accessibility enhances comprehension, memory retention, attention management, and decision-making, promoting equal opportunities and inclusion for individuals with cognitive disabilities.

Collaborative Problem Solving

n. Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) is a cooperative approach that involves working together to find solutions to challenges. It emphasizes shared decision-making, open communication, and a focus on finding solutions that meet the needs and interests of all parties involved.


Emotional Wellbeing

n. The state of being emotionally balanced, in a state of felt-safety, and able to foster healthy relationships with oneself and others.

Executive Function

n. A collection of mental processes that enable us to control our thoughts, actions, and emotions. It involves higher-order cognitive abilities required for planning, problem-solving, inhibiting impulses, and maintaining attention. Executive function acts as a conductor, orchestrating various cognitive functions to achieve desired outcomes.



n. Single, individual interactions, often subtle and subjectively experienced, that convey a lack of safety and validation to one's authentic self.



n. A neural process, distinct from perception, that is capable of distinguishing environmental (and visceral) features that are safe, dangerous, or life threatening. (source:


n. The idea that variation in brain function exists across the population. Differences such as Autism and ADHD have existed throughout human history and are not due to faulty neural circuitry. Rather than viewing them as such, neurodiversity embraces varied neurotypes as a different way of thinking and behaving. —Psychology Today (online)



n. Our ability to manage and modulate our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in response to different situations.



n. Trauma is an intensely distressing experience that, when left untreated and inadequately buffered, overwhelms an individual's nervous system leading to enduring dysregulation of their sense of safety, wellbeing, and ability to function as their authentic self.


Vagal Attunement

n. The mechanism by which individuals detect and respond to the cues expressed by another person's nervous system. It involves the interpretation of non-spoken signals such as facial expressions, body postures, and vocal tone, to gain insights into the person's physiological and emotional state. Vagal Attunement during times of distress and activation of the sympathetic or dorsal vagal pathways may cause the recipient of the vagal cues to feel a sense of discomfort or even feel unsafe, leading to avoidance and other antisocial behaviors. Vagal Attunement is rooted in the principles of Polyvagal Theory and neuroception.

Vagal Cues

n. Refers to the physiological signals and behavioral expressions that are influenced by the activity of the vagus nerve, a major cranial nerve involved in regulating the autonomic nervous system. In the context of Polyvagal theory, vagal cues are social engagement or defensive responses exhibited through facial expressions, vocalizations, body language, and other observable indicators. These cues provide information about an individual's internal states and readiness for social connection or defense, thereby playing a crucial role in social interactions and emotional experiences.