GLOSSARY OF AUTISM TERMS

ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis): it is often described as the "gold standard" for autism treatment. Applied Behavioral Analysis is a system of autism treatment based on behaviorist theories which, simply put, state that desired behaviors can be taught through a system of rewards and consequences.

Adaptive Behavior: behavior that enables a person to get along in his or her environment with greatest success and least conflict with others.

Adaptive technology: Assistive or adaptive technology commonly refers to "...products, devices or equipment, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that are used to maintain, increase or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities".

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Became a federal law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

Auditory Processing: Disorders are fairly common in children with autism. ... The result was that sound processing and sound discrimination was found to be normal in autistic children. However, they did not pay attention to changes in speech.

Autism: A complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviors. Because of the range of symptoms, this condition is now called autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Baseline: A measurement of the behavior taken before interventions are started. Baseline data is important because it allows the team to compare the behavior before and after implementation of the behavior plan to determine if the interventions are working.

Autism Spectrum Disorder: A broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 40 children in the United States today.

Behavior Modification: A treatment approach, based on the principles of operant conditioning, that replaces undesirable behaviors with more desirable ones through positive or negative reinforcement .

Cognition: The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.

Cognitive Ability: A term referring to a human’s ability to process thoughts that should not deplete on a large scale in healthy individuals. It is defined as "the ability of an individual to perform the various mental activities most closely associated with learning and problem solving

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A psycho-social intervention that aims to improve mental health. CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems

Congenital condition: A birth defect, also known as a congenital disorder, is a condition present at birth regardless of its cause. ... Birth defects may result from genetic or chromosomal disorders, exposure to certain medications or chemicals, or certain infections during pregnancy.

DD Waiver:The plan lays out goals for transportation, education, health services, support services for families, employment, and affordable and safe housing. Rate Reform and OAP Redesign - DHHS-DD is working to assess and improve Nebraska's Medicaid waiver rate structure. This will ensure appropriate reimbursement.

Developmental Delay: When a child does not reach their developmental milestones at the expected times. It is an ongoing major or minor delay in the process of development. If your child is temporarily lagging behind, that is not called developmental delay.

Developmental Disability (DD): A diverse group of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments that arise before adulthood. ... Developmental disabilities can be detected early on and persist throughout an individual's lifespan.

This condition prevents physical or cognitive development.

Expressive Language: A child's ability to use language to express himself. A child uses expressive language every time he communicates his needs, thoughts, and ideas to others using words, phrases, or sentences. 

Fine motor skills: The small movements of the hands, wrists, fingers, feet, toes, lips, and tongue.

Gross Motor Skills: Larger movements your baby makes with his arms, legs, feet, or his entire body. So crawling, running, and jumping are gross motor skills.

High-functioning Autism (HFA): A term applied to people with autism who do not have an intellectual disability (an IQ of 70 or less). Individuals with HFA may exhibit deficits in areas of communication, emotion recognition and expression and social interaction.

Hypersensitivity: Some children with autism are hypersensitive, so seeing, hearing, or feeling something makes them feel bad. They can shake their hands, move back and forth, or make strange noises to activate their senses.

Hypertonia: Caused by upper motor neuron lesions which may result from injury, disease, or conditions that involve damage to the central nervous system. The lack of or decrease in upper motor neuron function leads to loss of inhibition with resultant hyperactivity of lower motor neurons. An effect could be stiffness of muscles.

Hyposensitivity: Occurs when a child is underwhelmed by the world around him or her and needs to seek out additional sensory information to feel content. Signs of this behavior could include a need to touch things excessively, always turning the volume very loud, or constantly putting objects in his or her mouth.

Inclusion: Full inclusion means that your child will be educated with typical peers 100% of the school day. ... The opposite of full inclusion is spending the entire day in a self-contained classroom. Self-contained classrooms may cater to a particular disability, for example, Autism Support Classrooms.

Incontinence: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to develop incontinence. ... In some cases, those with autism may experience urge incontinence, where they don't realize the need to go until they feel a sudden urge to urinate and the bladder contracts when it shouldn't. Some insurances will cover incontinence products with a doctor’s prescription.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP): Creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a disability.

Joint attention: An early-developing social-communicative skill in which two people (usually a young child and an adult) use gestures and gaze to share attention with respect to interesting objects or events. ... Several interventions are described that involve teaching joint attention to young children with autism.

Mainstreaming: Means putting your child with special education needs in the general education classroom for some or most of the day.

Mental Age (MA):  A measure of an individual's mental attainment based on the age in which it takes an average individual to reach that same level of attainment. Explore mental age, how it differs from chronological age, and more.

Motor planning: The ability to conceive, plan, and carry out a skilled, non-habitual motor act in the correct sequence from beginning to end. ... The child with motor planning difficulties may be slow in carrying out verbal instructions and often appears clumsy in new tasks.

No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB): The main law for K–12 general education in the United States from 2002–2015. The law held schools accountable for how kids learned and achieved. The law was controversial in part because its penalized schools that didn't show improvement.

Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD): brain-based condition that affects skills like abstract thinking and spatial relationships.

Neuro-motor: a nerve cell forming part of a pathway along which impulses pass from the brain or spinal cord to a muscle or gland.

Oral motor: Refers to the movement of the muscles of the face (e.g., mouth, jaw, tongue, and lips). ... A child's oral-motor skills may be assessed by a speech-language pathologist.

OT: Stands for occupational therapy. This therapy based on engagement in meaningful activities of daily life (such as self-care skills, education, work, or social interaction) especially to enable or encourage participation in such activities despite impairments or limitations in physical or mental functioning.

Performance I.Q.: a score derived from the administration of selected subtests from the Wechsler Intelligence Scales, designed to provide a measure of an individual's overall visuospatial intellectual abilities.

Receptive Language: the ability to understand words and language. ... Some children who have difficulty understanding oral language (words and talking) may appear to be understanding because they may be able to pick up key words and get visual information from the environment or from gestures.

Regression: In some children with autism, normal development stalls, often around age 2, and they start to lose many of the communication and social skills they had already mastered. The first large epidemiological study of this phenomenon, called regression, reveals that it occurs in at least 20 percent of children with autism.

Respite Care: Very simply, substitute care. A respite caregiver is a person who takes over when the primary caregiver takes a break. Sometimes the break is just a few minutes or hours and sometimes it's as long as a week or more.

Self-stimulatory behaviors: When a person with autism engages in self-stimulatory behaviors such as rocking, pacing, aligning or spinning objects, or hand flapping, people around him may be confused, offended, or even frightened. Also known as “stimming,” these behaviors are often characterized by rigid, repetitive movements and/or vocal sounds.

Sensory Integration Therapy:  A form of occupational therapy in which special exercises are used to strengthen the patient's sense of touch (tactile), sense of balance (vestibular), and sense of where the body and its parts are in space (proprioceptive).

Sensorimotor:  Involving both sensory and motor functions or pathways.

Spoonie: Someone living with a chronic illness. It mostly refers to physical chronic illnesses, though it has been known to be a helpful term for those with chronic mental illness as well.

Stimming: When a person with autism engages in self-stimulatory behaviors such as rocking, pacing, aligning or spinning objects, or hand flapping, people around him may be confused, offended, or even frightened. Also known as “stimming,” these behaviors are often characterized by rigid, repetitive movements and/or vocal sounds.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes): It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income; and. It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter

Supported employment: Service provisions wherein people with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, mental health, and traumatic brain injury, among others, are assisted with obtaining and maintaining employment.

Tactile defensiveness: Apattern of observable behavioral and emotional responses, which are aversive, negative and out of proportion, to certain types of tactile stimuli that most people would find to be non-painful.

Transitions:Is a disruption to an activity, location, or routine that require children to adapt. Transitions are predictable daily changes instead of unexpected schedule changes that aren't as well defined.

Twice Exceptional: Often abbreviated as 2e, entered educators' lexicons in mid 1990s and refers to gifted children who have some form of disability. These children are considered exceptional both because of their giftedness (e.g., intellectual, creative, perceptual, motor etc.) and because of their special needs (e.g., specific learning disabilityneurodevelopmental disability etc.)

Verbal I.Q.: A score derived from the administration of selected subtests from the Wechsler Intelligence Scales, designed to provide a measure of an individual's overall verbal intellectual abilities. The Verbal IQ score is a measure of acquired knowledge, verbal reasoning, and attention to verbal materials.