LD & Autism - Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

AAPEP(related to "PEP", see below)

AAC "Assistive Augmentative Communication" A speech-language therapists' term for communication using a picture board or recorded messages activated by buttons, etc.

ABA "Applied Behavior Analysis"

Acronym in common use by adherents of some behavioral techniques to refer to a kind of careful analysis and tracking of behavior including its cues and consequences.

ABC "Applied Behavior Consultants" Organization centered in Sacramento sometimes discussed on the AUTISM mailing list.

ABC "Autism Behavior Checklist"

Diagnostic device for autism.

AC "Autistics and cousins" people with autism and those who may not be formally diagnosed but may have some elements of atypical thinking. As far as I know, this usage is confined to the Autism list.

ADA "Americans with Disabilities Act"

USA law that ensures rights of persons with disabilities with regard to employment and other issues.

Adaptive PE "Adaptive Physical Education"

ADD "Attention Deficit Disorder" (see "Similar Conditions")

ADHD "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" (see "Similar Conditions")

ADI "Autism Diagnostic Interview" a diagnostic scale for autism being developed by the Medical Research Council in London. Fairly technical: more precise than CARS.

ADOS "Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale" (or "Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule"?) Fairly technical test.

AGRE "Autism Genetic Resource Exchange" Program run by CAN foundation (see "Initiatives") to collect & review DNA samples.

AIA Network "Autism, Intolerance & Allergy Network (see "Feingold Association" under "Organizations and Services")

AIT "Auditory Integration Training" (see "Treatment")

ASLA "Autism Society of America, Los Angeles Chapter" - They hold an annual conference often referred to as the ASLA conference.

Analog condition (conditioning?) - Term for some behavioral methods such as the Lovaas method used by developers of the Natural Language Paradigm.

ANC "Autism National Committee" (see "Organizations and Services")

ANDI "Autism Network for Dietary Intervention" (see "Initiatives")

aphasia - loss of ability to use or understand words.

apraxia - a neurologically-based disorder which occurs in adults, often (but not exclusively) as a consequence of stroke. The person has difficult sequencing movements in the service of a goal. e.g., he may have the ability to raise his arm and to wave his hand, but not when he consciously intends to do so. Apraxia may be specific to speech (e.g., "apraxia of speech") or to the movement of other body parts (e.g., "limb apraxia").

apraxia of speech (see definition of "apraxia")

apraxic - having to do with apraxia or a person with apraxia.

ARI "Autism Research Institute" (see "Initiatives")

ARRI "Autism Research Review International" (see "Bibliography")

AS "Asperger's Syndrome"

ASA "Autism Society of America" (see "Organizations and Services")

ASD "Autistic Spectrum Disorders" (see below)

ASL "American Sign Language"

atypical autism - A general term for conditions that are close to but don't quite fit the set of conditions or autism or other specific conditions. See "PDD-NOS" under "Similar Conditions".

augmentative communication (I think: communication augmented by a device, see for example, PECS)

AUTCOM "Autism National Committee" (see "Organizations and Services")

Autism Behavior Checklist

Autistic savant - an autistic individual who displays incredible aptitude for one or two skills.

Autistic Spectrum Disorders - Term that encompasses autism and similiar disorders. More specifically, the following five disorders listed in DSM-IV: Autistic Disorder, Aspergers Disorder, PDD-NOS, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Retts Disorder.


Behavioral methods employing punishment rather than positive reinforcement. Often use physical pain. (see "Treatment" and "Controversies")


BRI "Behavioral Research Institute" see JRC.

CAN "Cure Autism Now" (see "Initiatives") Canon Communicator (see "Facilitated Communication" above under "Educational Methods")

CARS "Childhood Autism Rating Scale" A test developed at TEACCH to diagnose autism. The child is rated in 15 areas on a scale up to 4 yielding a total up to 60, than ranges are considered to be non-autistic, autistic, and severely autistic. For reference, see entry on Schopler article in section "Bibliography" below.

CBCL "Achenbach Childhood Behavior Checklist"

diagnostic device.

CDC "Center for Disease Control"

US Government agency.

CF or c/f &uot;casein free"

CFF "Community Care Facility"

CHAT "Checklist for Autism in Toddlers" - A checklist to by used by General Practitioners at 18 months to see if a child has Autism. Described in Baron-Cohen S; Allen J; Gillberg C. "Can autism be detected at 18 months? The needle, the haystack, and the CHAT." British Journal of Psychiatry, 1992 Dec, 161:839-43. (UI: 93130306)

chat - On the autism and other mailing lists, the Internet term "chat" is used to refer to Internet chatting, i.e. using software that allows you to hold online conversations by typing sentences that will be read by a group. There are a number of chat groups dedicated to autism: see the term "IRC" and see "Initiatives" section below.

communications notebook - a notebook sent with a student (typically a special education student or young student) to and from school by which parents and teachers maintain (possibly) daily communication.

Cranio-Sacral Therapy (see "Cranial Sacral" Therapy under "Treatment") Cluster Used to label an unusually large number of occurrances of a disease or condition in one place. An "autism cluster" would be an unusually large number of cases of autism in (perhaps) a single locality. Clusters constitute evidence in the search for causes of diseases and conditions. In early 1999, an autism cluster was reported in the Brick Township of New Jersey.

DAN "Defeat Autism Now" (see "Initiatives") Also "DAN!".

DAN Doctor - Also "DAN! Doctor". A physician who subscribes to the DAN protocol and attended a DAN Conference. There is a list of such doctors at http://www.autism.com/ari/danlist.html.

DAN Protocol Also "DAN! Protocol". A protocol for the assessment of the underlying disorders that is causing the autism. It is the result of the DAN conferences.

DAS "Developmental Apraxia of Speech" (see "Treatment")

DD "Developmental Disabilities"

DH "Developmentally Handicapped"

Discrete Trial Methods - term used for some behavioral methods, e.g. the Lovaas Method (see "Behavioral Therapy" under "Treatment")

DSS "Department of Social Services"

DTT "Discrete Trial Training" - (Note: I've also seen it refered to as "Discrete Trial Therapy" and "Discrete Trial Teaching") I've seen the term applied to Lovaas's ABA-based method for treating autistic children, and I've seen it used as a term for the "drilling" aspect of ABA. The term is also often used in a less specific way, as a synonym for ABA. (see "Behavioral Therapy" under "Treatment")

DMAE "dimethyl aminoethanol" (see "Treatment")

DMG "dimethylglycine" (see "Treatment")

DSM-III, DSM-III-R, & DSM-IV "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual" (see "Books" in the "Bibliography" section below)

DTT "Discrete Trial Training" (see "Treatment")

DVD "Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia" (see "Similar Conditions")

Dyspraxia - Term for a neurological symptom: a proble with "praxis", i.e. planning, initiating, sequencing, and carrying out volitional movements. I think "dyspraxia" and "apraxia" mean the same thing, having been coined in different professional circles. See the variants of apraxia and dyspraxia under "Similar Conditions".

E-2 or E2 - Bernard Rimland's check list from the Autism Research Institute (see "Organizations and Services"). It functions as an autism rating device, and is basically being used to gather data for study.

EAHCA "The Education for All Handicapped Children Act See "Public Law 94-142".

echolalia - Repeating back something said to you. Delayed Echolalia is repeating it later. Both behaviors are found in many autistics. Functional echolalia is using a quoted phrase in a way that has shared meaning, for example, a child who sings the Barney jingle to ask for a Barney videotape, or says "Get your shoes and socks" to ask to go outside.

EEG "Electroencephalogram" - A test consisting of recording brainwaves as picked up by electrodes. It is used to identify seizures. It is also used to differentiate LKS from other disorders in with autistic symtoms.

ELAP "Early Learning Accomplishment Profile" - evaluation checklist for children used by some professionals (Cost $325 from Kaplan Catalog at 1-800-334-2014).

EFA "Essential Fatty Acid" - Evaluating Acquired Skills in Communication, Revised Edition

Face Blindness - See "Prosopagnosia" above under "Similar Conditions".

FAPE "Free and Appropriate Education"

FC or F/C "Facilitated Communication" (see "Educational Methods")

FCT "Facilitated Communication Training" A variant of the term "Facilitated Communiction" (see "Educational Methods")

FEAT "Families for Early Autism Treatment" See "Organization".

GARS "Gilliam Autism Rating Scale"

GF or g/f "gluten free"

HFA "High-functioning Autistic" or "High-functioning Autism"

Higashi - USA Higashi is a school for autistic children located in Boston. I believe it is modeled after a similar school in Japan. (see "Initiatives")

Hyperlexyia - Ability to read at an early age, but often without linking the words to what they words mean. (see "Similar Conditions")

Hypotonia - Low muscle tone.

ICD-10 - International Classification of Diseases 10th Edition

ICF "Intermediate Care Facility"

IDEA "Individuals with Disabilities Act" - A US Law mandating the "Free and Public Education" a.k.a. FAPE of all persons with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21.

IEP "Individualized Educational Plan" more visit http://theglp.info/resources/sec-504iep

IFSP "Individualized Family Service Plan"

IHP "Individualized Habilitation Program"

IgG - An antibody involvedin intraveneous immunoglobulin (see "Treatment")

IGIV or IgIV "intravenous immunoglobulin" (see "Treatment")

IVIG - Same as IGIV.

IVIgG "intravenous gamma globulin" (see "Treatment")

IMHO "In My Humble Opinion" - this abbreviation is sometimes used on the Autism mailing list just as it is used on lots of lists and newsgroups.

Inclusion (see "Mainstreaming" under "Educational Methods")

IPP "Individual Program Plan"

IRC "Internet Relay Chat" - the term has nothing to do with autism per se, but refers to an Internet service to allow people to type messages to each other. The term is used on the AUTISM mailing list to refer to the IRC regular discussions on the subject of Autism (see section below "Initiatives").

JRC "Judge Rotenberg Center" - a facility in Providence RI run by Matthew Israel, a follower of B.F. Skinner. Extremely controversial due to its use of aversives (electro shock device, ammonia water sprays in face etc.) for self injurious behaviors and noncompliance. The state of Massachusetts has been unable to close it, despite the death of a resident during the administration of a punishment. It was profiled in a television documentary on Connie Chung's _Eye to Eye_ which included footage taken by a hidden camera of various punishments being administered to residents. The JRC was formerly called the Behavioral Research Institute (BRI).

Ketogenic diet - restricted diet used to prevent epileptic seizures.

LCSW "Licensed Clinical Social Worker"

LD "Learning Disabled"

LFA "Low-functioning Autistic" or "Low-functioning Autism"

LKS "Landau-Kleffner Syndrome" (see "Similar Conditions")

Lovaas (see "Behavioral Therapy" above under "Treatment")

LRE "Least Restrictive Environment"

LSH "Language, Speech and Hearing Specialist"


Placement of a disabled child with non-disabled peers in a regular classroom.

MEG - (type of EEG?)

MR "Mentally Retarded" or "Mental Retardation"

MRI "Magnetic Resonance Imaging" - A diagnostic tool in the sense of an X-ray machine or Cat scanner, which like them, creates internal images of the selected parts of the body. Rather than sending X-rays through the body, it builds its image data by testing the magnetism of the body tissue.

MSDD "MultiSystem Developmental Disorder"

Stanley Greenspan's term for an autistic-like set of symptoms.

NAS "National Autistic Society" (see "Organizations and Services").

Neuroleptic - A class of drug that includes Haldol and Risperdal (see "Treatment").

Neurotypical - (see NT)

NICHCY "National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities"

NIH "National Institutes of Health"

U.S. government agency.

NLP "Natural Language Paradigm" (see "Treatment"). - Note: NLP isalso the acronym for something else: "Neuro-Linguistic Programming", and partly for this reason, "Natural Language Paradigm" has been renamed "Pivotal Response Training".

NIMH "National Institutes for Mental Health"

NT "Neurologically Typical" or for short, "Neuro-typical" or "Neurotypical" - this term is used in discussions of autistic people to refer to people who are not autistic.

NOS "Not Otherwise Specified" (see "PDD-NOS")

OCD "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" (see "Similar Conditions")

OCR "Office of Civil Rights"

Ocytocin - a neurotransmitter.

ODD "Oppositional Defiant Disorder"

OT "Occupational Therapy" or "Occupational Therapist" - Like Physical Therapy only deals with fine motor skills, e.g. picking up small objects like coins. Occupational therapists would be the people who provide Sensory Integration Therapy (see "Treatment")

PANDAS "Pediatric Autoimmune Disorders Associated with Strep"

PDD "Pervasive Development Disorder" (see "Similar Conditions")

PDD-NOS or PDD/NOS "Pervasive Development Disorder--Not Otherwise Specified" (see "Similar Conditions")

PECS "Picture Exchange Communication System" (See "Educational Methods")

PEP "psycho-educational profile" (see "PEP-R")

PEP-R "psycho-educational profile-revised" - a test designed (among other things?) to assess the presence of autism and point toward treatment strategies and some areas of need.

perserveration - obsessive-like continued immediate repetition of a behavior.

kica - ingestion of nonfood items.

PET(type of scan)

PPT - proprioceptive

PRT "Pivotal Response Training" (see "Treatment")

PT "Physical Therapy"

Public Law 94-142 - Also known as The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (EAHCA). USA Federal law providing funds to states that maintain certain standards in their education of handicapped children, i.e. providing a free and appropriate education in a least restrictive environment. I believe IDEA is the more recent version of this law.

Purkinje cells - A type of cell in the brain. There is a theory that a lack of Purkinje cells is related to autism. This idea came from reports of autopsies on autistic people.

QEEG - (type of EEG)

refrigerator mother - Slang jargon phrase used to describe mothers of autistic children who act coldly. The phrase was used in descriptions of the Freudian psychological theory of the cause of (infantile) autism. See section "History".

Residual state autism - (actually, "infantile autism residual state") A DSM-III (1980) category for individuals who once met the criteria for autism but no longer do so but may retain some residual traits. DSM-IV (1987) dropped the category.

Secretin - A hormone used to diagnose digestive problems (see "Treatment")

Snsorimotor - Pertaining to brain activity other than automatic functions (respiration, circulation, sleep) or cognition. Sensorimotor activity includes voluntary movement and senses like sight touch and hearing.

Seratonin - A neurotransmitter, i.e. brain chemical that plays a part in communication within the nervous system. It has been noted that the level of seratonin measured in autistic people is sometimes higher than that in typical people. Some of the drugs that have been tested for use with autistic people have been drugs already known to affect seratonin.

SI "Sensory Integration" (see "Educational Methods")

SI also sometimes stands for "Speech Impairment".

SIB "Self-Injurious Behavior"

SIT "Sensory Integration Therapy" (see "Educational Methods")

SLP or S-LP "Speech-Language Pathologist"

Son Rise - The name of a book by Barry Neil Kaufman about his autistic son (see section on accounts of autistic people under "Popular Attitudes") and the name of a program for treating/educating autistic children that Kaufman started (see "Initiatives").

SRRI "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor" (see "Treatment")

SSI-DC "Supplimental Security Income-Disabled Child"

SSS "Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome" (see "Similar Conditions")

stim - (e.g. stimming) short for "self-stimulation", a term for behaviors whose sole purpose appears to be to stimulate ones own senses. An example is rocking ones body. Many people with autism report that some 'self stims' may serve a regulatory function for them (ie. calming, adding concentration, shutting out an overwhelming sound). Other examples: hand-flapping, toe-walking, spinning, echolalia.

TEACCH "Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children" (see "Initiatives")

Theory of mind hypothesis - (see section "Theories and Causes" for a description)

TOM "Theory of Mind"

TS "Tourette Syndrome" (see "Similar Conditions")

The initials "TS" have also been used for another condition, "Tuberous Sclerosis" (see "Similar Conditions").

The Welch Method (Welsh Method?; see "Holding Therapy" under "Educational Methods")

Upledger Cranio-Sacral Therapy - see "Cranial Sacral Therapy" under "Treatment". Upledger is the name of a person who sells training in the methodology to therapists.

Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales - Test sometimes used to evaluate students possibly requiring special education.