10 Common Autism Terms That You Should Know

AutismWhen my son Norrin was diagnosed with autism, I felt like I was drowning in a big bowl of alphabet soup. Doctors, teachers and therapists casually throw out special education terms and acronyms, assuming you know the lingo. None of them actually explained what anything meant. And the meetings moved so quickly and with so much information to absorb, I didn’t always stop to ask.

It felt like I was learning a whole other language. And I had to learn it on my own. But I caught on quickly and pretty soon, I was fluent in special education too. It comes so naturally to me now, that when I’m talking to friends about Norrin’s services and I sometimes forget that not everyone knows what I’m talking about.  Occasionally friends will stop and ask, but sometimes I’m talking so fast, they don’t want to interrupt. So if we’ve ever had a conversation and I’ve thrown out a term you don’t know, this list may be helpful to you.

Here are some common terms you should know:

  • Autism/ASD/PDD 1 of 10
    Autism is an umbrella term for a complex developmental disability also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD). Kids with autism typically have difficulties with verbal and non-verbal communication, socialization, and play/leisure skills. Autism is a spectrum disorder, varying from mild to severe and each case is unique to the individual. There's a saying that goes, "If you've met one kid with autism, you've met one kid with autism."
  • ADOS 2 of 10
    The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is the "gold standard" for assessment and diagnosis.
  • Early Intervention (EI) 3 of 10
    Early Intervention (EI)
    Early Intervention (EI) is a statewide program that provides many different types of therapeutic services to infants and toddlers, from birth to 3 years old, who meet the requirements.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) 4 of 10
    Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
    Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a teaching methodology that rewards behavior with positive reinforcement.
  • OT/PT 5 of 10
    Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) are related services usually included in a child's IEP. OT addresses self-help skills, play and sensory motor development while PT focuses on preventing or reducing movement difficulties and other functional problems associated with a physical impairment.
  • Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) 6 of 10
    Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID)
    Many kids with autism also have Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID). SID is considered a neurological disorder that results from the brain's inability to integrate certain information received from the body's five basic sensory systems. These sensory systems are responsible for detecting sights, sounds, smell, tastes, temperatures, pain, and the position and movements of the body.
  • Echolalia or scripted speech 7 of 10
    Echolalia or scripted speech
    Echolalia or scripted speech is immediate and constant repetition of words/phrases spoken by another person.
  • IEP 8 of 10
    The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a written statement, developed, reviewed, and revised, that includes the related services to be provided and the annual goals to meet the unique educational needs of a student with a disability.
  • FAPE 9 of 10
    All qualified persons with disabilities within the jurisdiction of a school district are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education.
  • CSE 10 of 10
    The Committee of Special Education (CSE) refers to the team responsible for the special education needs and services for students 5 through 21 years old. Members of the committee include the parent and other people who have a broad range of experiences planning for and/or working with students with special needs.

photo credits: iStock Photo

For more information please visit: Autism Society and/or U.S.Department of Education.

Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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