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The resource list below is a collection of selected readings that may offer complementary information to our site visitors. It is intended solely as a guide and thus not therapeutic, diagnostic, medical, or legal advice (see Disclaimer section in our Linking policy).

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AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

AAC: Any form of non-verbal language or differential communication in individuals who have little or no vocal ability. AAC methods include use of manual, visual communication and communication devises.  

ABA: Applied Behavior Analysis

ABC chart: Antecedent Behavior Consequence chart identifies conditions that precede and follow problem behaviour. ABC analyses may take a number of different forms, often involving study of behaviour using direct observation.

ABLLS:  Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills

ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is characterized by patterns of inattentive and/or hyperactive-impulsive behaviour that is not typical for the average person at that developmental level 

ADI: Autism Diagnostic Interview

ADOS: Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale

AFLS:  Assessment of Functional Living Skills

AIT: Auditory Integration Training

AS: Asperger's Syndrome; developmental disorder on the autism spectrum defined by impairments in communication and social development, and by narrow interests and repetitive behaviours. Unlike individuals with typical autism, individuals with Asperger's Syndrome have no significant delay in language or cognitive development.

AT: Assistive Technology; a wide range of highly specialised mechanical, electronic and computer-based tools commonly used in rehabilitation and special education settings.

ASD: is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication.  Symptoms usually start before age three and can cause delays or problems in many different skills that develop from infancy to adulthood.

ASL: American Sign Language

A-Typical Autism:  A pervasive developmental disorder that differs from classic autism in terms either of age of onset or of failure to fulfil all three sets of diagnostic criteria. 

Angelman Syndrome:  A severe genetic disorder and developmental delay characterised by lack of or minimal speech with relatively higher communication skills; movement or balance disorder and atypical verbal behaviour such as excitability, hand flapping and short attention span. Individuals with Angelman syndrome are sometimes misdiagnosed as having autism, cerebral palsy or other developmental disorders.  


BIP: Behavioral Intervention Plan

BSL:  British Sign Language

CARS - 2: Childhood Autism Rating Scale Second Edition

CBT: Cognitive Behavior Therapy; is a therapy used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, phobias and other forms of mental disorder. It involves recognising unhelpful or destructive patterns of thinking and reacting, then modifying or replacing these with more realistic or helpful ones.   

CCC/SLP: Clinical Competence Certification for Speech Language Pathology/Speech Language Pathologist

CD: Communication Disorder; a disruption in the process of exchanging information and conveying ideas. Disruption can affect language, speech, fluency, voice production and reception.  

CDC: Centers for Disease Control

CDD: Childhood Disintegrative Disorder; typically onset is between 3 and 4 and may be gradual or abrupt. Early signs include increased motor activity, irritability, and anxiety, followed by intellectual impairment and gradual withdrawal from communication and other social interactions, including loss of previously acquired skills. Developmental delay may be mild for an extended period, followed by continued decline. As with autism, CDD is more common among boys than girls.  

CHAT: Checklist for Autism in Toddlers

CoP: Practical advice/guidelines on a particular topic which organisations and establishments should adhere to (for example – guidelines on the provision of services for people with additional support needs)  

DAN: Defeat Autism Now is an approach  which starts with the idea that autism is a biomedical disorder and that autism is a disorder caused by a combination of lowered immune response, external toxins from vaccines and other sources, and problems caused by certain foods.

DIR/Floortime: Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based model

DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

DTT: Discrete Trial Teaching


EEG: Electroencephalogram

EI: Early Intervention

FA: Functional Analysis; type of analysis dealing with looking at the functions of behaviour.  

FC: Facilitated Communication; communication method in which a child’s hand is supported by a facilitator to type out messages on a keyboard or other communication device. Occasionally the support is as minimal as touching the child’s elbow or shoulder.

HELP:  Hawaii Early Learning Profile is an assessment tool for 0 to 3 years

HFA: High-functioning Autistic

ICD: International Classification of Diseases  

IEP: Individualized Education Plan

IFSP: Individualized Family Service Plan

IPP: Individual Program Plan

ILP: Individual Learning Plan 

LD: Learning Difficulties

LFA: Low Functioning Autism


MLD: Moderate Learning Difficulties  

MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging

NET: Natural Environment Teaching
NT: Neurologically Typical or Neurotypical; refers to anyone not on the autistic spectrum and who is considered to have a more typical brain structure  

OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Recurrent obsessions and/or compulsions that are time consuming and that cause an individual marked distress and/or significant impairment in social and occupational functioning.

OT: Occupational Therapist

PDD: Pervasive Developmental Disorder; is not in itself a disorder but an umbrella
term to describe a group or a spectrum of specific disorders characterised by
pervasive and significant impairments in the development of social and communication functioning and in the development of normal patterns of behaviours or a range of interests. The disorders include autism, Rett disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD), Asperger syndrome (AS), and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

PDD-NOS: Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

PECS: Picture Exchange Communication System

PEP-3: Psycho-educational Profile Third Edition

PRT: Pivotal Response Training

PT: Physical Therapy

RDI: Relationship Development Intervention; is a parent-based clinical treatment that addresses the core social problems of autism, such as friendship skills, empathy and the desire to share personal experiences with others.   

RETT Syndrome: is a genetic and neurological condition which affects girls. Although signs may not be initially obvious, it is present at birth. It usually becomes more evident during the second year. People with Rett syndrome are almost always profoundly and multiply disabled and totally dependent on others for all their needs throughout their lives but severity may vary considerably.  


SC: Social Cognition

SIT: Sensory Integration Therapy involves the gentle exposure to various sensory stimuli. The aim of this therapy is to strengthen, balance and develop the central nervous systems processing of sensory stimuli.

SIB: Self-Injurious Behavior

SGD: Speech Generating Device

SLD: Severe Learning difficulties

SLT: Speech and Language Therapists  

SLP: Speech and Language Pathologist

SPD: Sensory Processing Disorder also known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction

TTAP:  TEACCH Transition Assessment Profile specific for adolescent and young adults

TEACCH: Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children

Tourette Syndrome: also called Gilles de la Tourette syndrome is a  neurological disorder characterized by multiple facial and other body tics, usually beginning in childhood or adolescence and often accompanied by grunts and compulsive utterances, as of interjections and obscenities..

VB: Verbal Behavior

VB-MAPP: Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program

VOCA: Voice Output Communication Aid

WISC: Weschlers Intelligence Scale for Children

WHO: World Health Organisation

WH Questions: Questions starting with What, Who, Where, Why, and When