ASD Glossary

It has occurred to me that there are a ton of acronyms, therapies, and random rigamarole that can only serve to confuse the average person who doesn't know a lot about autism.  I'll continue to update this list as we go:

ABA:  Applied Behavior Analysis.  One of many behavioral treatments available to individuals with autism.  ABA is also used for treating other conditions besides just autism.

Adaptive Skills:  Self-help skills, i.e. feeding, toileting, dressing, etc.


ASD:  Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This term includes "classic" autism, PDD-NOS, and Asperger's.  Is interchangeable with the general term "autism" as well.

Asperger's Syndrome:  One of the autism spectrum disorders.  Children and adults who receive this diagnosis do so because they have been found to satisfy the DSM-IV criteria for Asperger's Syndrome.  The primary difference in individuals with Asperger's vs. other ASDs is that most individuals with Asperger's have normal language development and intelligence.

"Classic" Autism or Autistic Disorder:  One of the autism spectrum disorders.  Children and adults who receive this diagnosis do so because they have been found to satisfy the DSM-IV criteria for autistic disorder by a medical or psychiatric professional.

DIR/Floortime:  Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-Based behavioral model for treating children with ASDs and other developmental disabilities.  Floortime is the actual treatment provided.

DP:  Developmental pediatrician.  This is a person who manages and diagnoses children with developmental disabilities, like autism, and other developmental delays.

Echolalia:  The automatic repetition of vocalizations made by another person.  It is a common symptom of autism.

EI:  Early Intervention.  It's a blanket term to refer to state agencies that provide and coordinate care for children aged birth to three with developmental delays and disabilities.  Children must be deemed eligible for EI either through developmental testing or a medical diagnosis.

ESY:  Extended School Year.  This is the term used in IEPs when referring to service delivery during the summer, whether it be in a classroom setting or related services only.

IEP:  Individualized Educational Plan.  Used by the school system to plan care for an eligible child.

IFSP:  Individualized Family Service Plan.  EI develops these to plan for care for an eligible child.

NT:  Neuro-typical.  Kids who are not on the autism spectrum.

OT:  Occupational therapy / Occupational therapist.  OT helps children in many areas, including motor planning, sensory integration, and adaptive skills.

PDD-NOS:  Pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified.  Children and adults who receive this diagnosis do so because they have been found to satisfy the DSM-IV criteria for PDD-NOS.  Autistic Disorder and PDD-NOS are very similar, but individuals with PDD-NOS fall into 2 categories in which they differ from those with "classic" autism.
  1. They meet all of the DSM-IV criteria for Autistic Disorder, except their symptoms are not quite as severe in one or more categories.  (This is how Jack qualifies as PDD-NOS)
  2. They do not quite meet all of the DSM-IV criteria for Autistic Disorder, but they come close.
Sensory Integration/Sensory Processing:  A child's ability to take in sensory input appropriately.

SI:  Special Instructor.  SIs are provided by EI to provide behavioral therapy.  Many provide ABA.

SLP:  Speech-language pathologist.  A person who assesses and treats speech, language, and communication issues.  Some also work on feeding as it is related to oral-motor skills.

ST:  Speech therapy.  Treatment for speech, language, communication, and oral-motor problems.

Stimming/Stim:  Self-stimulatory activity.  Some kids flap their hands, others finger posture, and some grimace.  These examples are in no way a complete listing of the many stims that individuals with ASD demonstrate.