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Autism Glossary of Terms – Terms for Autism

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The Autism Glossary of Terms is a way of exploring autism through the words that are used to describe it. The glossary also defines these terms, so that they are easier to understand. Autism is a neurological disorder that effects the way the brain processes information. High functioning autism is characterized by normal or near-normal intelligence, but impaired social interactions and verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Low functioning autism has severe impairments in all three areas of this definition.

Let’s explore these Terms for Autism together!

Autism Glossary of Terms in Alphabetical Order

A

ABA

It is an abbreviation of applied behavioral analyst that is a therapy in which children’s are trained to display a desired response toward a stimulus.

Aberrant 

A behavior that is different from norm is referred to as aberrant.

Across Modalities 

The ability to apprehend information that is acquired through different stimuli.

Adaptive Behavior

It refers to the acquisition of skills that help a person to cope in the environment.

Adaptive Equipment

All the tools and equipment that assist in acquiring adaptive behavior are termed as adaptive equipment.

Alert Program

It refers to a kind of readiness to acquire sensory information required to complete a task.

American with Disabilities Act

It is a law that was enforced in 1990 to mitigate the difference arising due to disabilities.

Analysis of Verbal Behavior

It is a technique to analyze verbal skills in an autistic child.

Angelman Syndrome

It is a severe genetic condition that affects the nervous system causing learning and physical disabilities.

Anticonvulsant

It refers to the pharmacological agent that is used to reduce bipolar disorders as well as epileptic seizure.

Antipsychotic Drug

The psychotherapeutic medicine that is used in the treatment of psychotic  and bipolar disorders.

Anxiety 

It refers to the negative emotions that arise due to stress and tension.

Aphasia 

It is a kind of disorder that is caused due to brain damage resulting in partial or permanent loss of ability to understand language.

Applied Behavioral Analysis

It is a technique of applying scientific principles to measure and observe the behavior.

Apraxia 

It refers to the loss of ability to move by muscle coordination. It is caused by brain damage.

Articulation

It refers to speaking in a normal way.

Assistive and Augmentative Communication 

It refers to the use of additional devices when a person doesn’t communicate well.

Assistive Technology

The technologies that are used to assist people with disabilities are referred to as assistive technologies.

Asperger’s Syndrome

It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes difficulty in socializing and in non verbal communication.

Attention

A process of mind that helps to focus on one phenomena while neglecting the other. 

Attention Deficit Disorder

It refers to distraction or an excessive difficulty faced by a person when concentrating on a thing.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

It is a term that is used for those who have attention deficit disorder and who do not have power of concentration.

Atypical Autism 

It is a term used to classify an autistic person whose autistic syndrome does not meet all  the three criterias of autism.

Auditory Memory

It is a process of storing information gathered through a sound medium and recalling it when asked.

Auditory Integration Training

It is a therapeutic technique that assists an autistic patient to retain, understand and recall the information taken through a sound medium.

Auditory Processing Disorder

It refers to the impairment of the brain to store, process and recall the information that is taken from a sound source. 

Autism

A disorder that causes a rapid delay in social skills, language learning and behavioral skills. 

Autism Behavior Checklist

It refers to a detailed behavioral assessment of a child having autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule

It refers to a standardized assessment of social interaction, language learning and manipulation of objects.

Autism Observational Scale for Children

It is a scale used to assess the sin of autism in high risk children ages 8 to 12 months.

Autism Savant

It refers to an extraordinary quality of a child having autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

The term refers to the neurodevelopmental disorder that is caused due to some genetic defects.

Autistic Disorder 

It is a term used for people having autism.

Aversives 

It is an event or an incident that a person with autism wants to avoid.

B

B Vitamins 

The vitamins that are used in the treatment of autism.

Baseline

It is a cognitive level of child response that is before clear instructions.

Behavior Based Programs

The treatment of autism that is based on behavioral science.

Behavior Consultant 

A person that organizes an intervening plan for the treatment of autistic children.

Behavior Interventionist

A person or a caregiver that is selected by parents of autistic child that helps to manipulate the plan set by the behavioral consultant to achieve the goal.

Behavior Modification

The techniques used to change a behavior are called behavioral modifications.

Behavior Plan of Intervention

A plan that is set by a behavior consultant to achieve the desired goal of treatment.

Behavioral Therapy

The use of conditioning and reinforcement techniques in the treatment of behavioral disorders.

Berard Auditory Integration Training 

It is a technique that helps the people with autism spectrum disorder to treat auditory problems.

C

Central Auditory Processing Disorder 

The disorder in which brain and auditory organs do not collaborate.

Childhood Autism Rating Scale

It is a rating scale that helps to rate the problem and helps in the treatment of autism.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

It is a disorder in which social, intellectual and language learning skills deteriorate.

Central Coherence

It is the ability of a person to manipulate something through details.

Central Nervous System

It is a control room of the body that is composed of the brain and spinal cord.

Cerebellum

It is a part of the brain that controls coordination, voluntary actions in the body.

Cerebral Cortex

It is a part of the brain that controls thoughts, retains information in memory and controls all voluntary actions.

Child Psychologist

A specialist that assesses and treats the emotional, psychological and behavioral problems in children.

Childhood Autism Rating Scale

It is a behavioral rating scale that helps to assess autism and assist in its treatment.

Chromosome

A thread-like structure that is located in a cell nucleus that contains DNA that has all the necessary information of a person’s inherited  characteristics.

Coexisting Disorder

The disorder that causes more than one illness in a person. 

Cognition

A mental process of understanding and intellectualizing by getting information from the environment.

Cognitive Ability

An ability of a person to process information that is obtained from the environment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

 A behavioral therapy in which negativity of thoughts is altered by positive feelings.

 Co morbidity

It refers to more than one symptom that coexists with a specific symptom of a disease.

Communication Disorder

It is an ailment in which a person feels difficulty in verbal and non verbal communication.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

These medicines are used in addition to the specific medicines used for the particular ailment

Compulsion 

It is a condition of being forced to do a particular work.

Congenital Condition

It is referred to as a birth disorder.

Convulsion

A movement of the body due to involuntary muscle movements.

Consultation 

A process of discussing causes and treatment of a particular ailment.

Cue

It refers to a suggestion to a problem.

D

Daily Schedule

It refers to a daily routine of an artistic person.

Data Collection

It is a process of gathering and measuring information of targeted variables. 

Developmental Delay

An autistic child has a disability due to which he shows some developmental delays in intellectual, social, and emotional skills.

Developmental Disability

A disability occurring during the developmental period of a child that causes delays in his skills is referred to as developmental disability.

Developmental Language Disorder 

A disorder that causes difficulty in speaking and understanding language is referred to as developmental language disorder.

Developmental Level 

It refers to the stages of development of a child where he has to achieve certain milestones for healthy growth.

Developmental Milestone

These are age specific tasks that one has to achieve for normal growth.

Developmental Regression 

It refers to a form of autism in which a child loses language and other skills due to his disease.

Diagnosis

It is to identify illness by observing systems of the disease..

Diagnosis Overshadowing 

Observing new behavior in a previously diagnosed disease is called diagnosis overshadowing.

DIR/Floortime 

It is a technique of addressing child individual differences and developmental level individually without comparing with others.

Discrete Trial

It is a technique of teaching new skills to a child that makes learning easy. It is a process in which a teacher repeats a behavior until a child learns it.

Dopamine 

It is a chemical in the brain that affects the ability of feeling pleasure and pain and helps in controlling movements.

Down Syndrome 

It is the presence of extra genetic material that is acquired during cell division that causes indifference in growth.

Due Process Hearing

It is a process of resolving issues that arise due to disabilities in autistic children.

Dyspraxia 

It is a condition that arises due to ailment that affects physical coordination.

E

Ear Tubes

Hollow cylindrical tubes that are inserted in a child year that helps to drain the liquid are recommended for recurring ear infections.

Echolalia

It is an autism related defect in which a child repeats each and everything he hears unintentionally.

Electroencephalogram 

It is a technique to record brain waves by placing electrodes on the child brain.

Engagement

It refers to the attraction between parent and child due to which the child responds to certain gestures.

Environmental Engineering 

It is a technique of changing the physical environment in a way to enhance learning.

Epilepsy

It refers to a sudden seizure that occurs due to a sudden burst of electrical energy in the brain.

Etiology 

It is a study that searches out the causes of a disease.

Evaluation Criteria

It refers to a technique to record observation in a child’s intellectual, social behaviour due to certain conditions.

Executive Functioning 

These are the skills that are utilized to solve a problem.

Expressive Language

A language through which a person communicates is known as an expressive language; it can be verbal as well as non verbal.

F

Facilitated Communication

It is a learning with some support as in this method a facilitator helps in learning and it gets complex with time when the facilitator minimizes the support.

Family Centered Focused Model 

It is a model that aims to empower families of autistic people to give support to their child in the boundaries of his house.

Fine Motor Skills

This refers to the ability to move, making a movement of small muscles.

Fluency Training 

It is a kind of training that is used with other programs to enhance and facilitate learning.

Fragile X-Syndrome 

It is caused by x chromosomes that is an inherited mental retardation and give rise to many other diseases related to brain functioning, it is reported that it infects females more than their mail counterparts.

Functional Analysis

It is a process to assess the reason behind the behavioral problem in a child with autism spectrum syndrome.

Functional Behavioral Assessment

It is a precise technique to assess the behavior and the factors behind it and it helps to implement a plan to minimize and control those factors that result in a specific behavioral problem.

G

Gene

Gene is a unit of heredity found on a DNA of chromosome it has information of all characteristics of a person.

Genetic Syndrome 

It refers to all those ailments or diseases that occur due to some genetic defects.

Gentle Teaching 

It is a therapeutic technique to resolve many learning as well as behavioral issues and it relies upon student and teacher bonding’s.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder 

A disorder that causes prolonged anxieties related to daily problems.

Gestalt Language Processing

It refers to a technique acquired by an autistic child to learn a whole phrase instead of remembering parts.

Gestalt Learner

Almost all of the children with autism are gestalt learners; they learn the whole phrase as a chunk and use it in a more formal way.

Global Delay 

Global delay refers to the delay in almost all the abilities acquired by a child.

Gluten Free Diet

It is a diet that is reported to help in minimizing defects caused by autism.

Gross Motor Skills

The skills that help in coordinating muscle, it helps in movement.

H

High Functioning Autism

It is a disorder in which a person has near average to above average abilities and it is reported that the person with high functioning autism can communicate and express himself easily.

Hyperactive 

It refers to a person that is overactive or abnormally active.

Hyperlexia 

It is an ability to read at early ages but without linking the words with each other.

Hypersensitivity

It refers to an over reaction to everyday stimuli like see, smell, taste, hear and touch. The person with this disorder becomes overly sensitive.

Hypertonia 

It refers to the disorder in which muscles get tensed and become over stiff.

Hypotonia

It refers to the disorder in which muscles get less stiff and are low in tone.

I

Identification

It is to evaluate and observe the abnormality in a child.

Inclusion

It is a concept to integrate disable and healthy children.

Inclusive Education 

It refers to the policy that all children have equal rights to get education and skill without considering any abnormality.

Incontinence

It refers to lack of control over urine and bowls.

Independent Education Evaluation

It is an assessment of a child other than school, conducted on parent insistence.

Individual with Disabilities Act

It refers to a public law that was established in America to ensure that every child get all the facilities and education without any discrimination.

Individual Transition Plan

It is a technique to transfer a child from one classroom to another, one school from another to ensure that he gets a proper environment.

Individualized Education Plan

It is a plan of learning that is designed to achieve the goal of learning.

Intellectual Disability

It refers to the abnormality in which a child has an IQ below then an average it is also called as mental retardation.

Intelligence Score

It is to measure the ability of a person with reference to other scores.

Intensive Behavioral Intervention

An intervention that helps to achieve positive behaviour is termed as intensive behavioral intervention.

Intervention 

It is a process to interfere to some extent to attain desired outcomes.

Irlen Syndrome

It is referred to as visual perception disorder. Usually many children with autism spectrum disorder have it due to their brain development. 

J

Joint Attention

It is to share the experiences of attending an object or a situation and share the responses with others.

K

Karyotype 

It refers to a complete set of chromosomes that are found in cells.

Ketogenic Diet 

It is a diet that is taken to control diseases such as epileptic seizures.

Kinesthetic 

It is a quality to analyze body positioning with reference to the surrounding.

L

Learning Disability

It refers to the disability in acquisition language and problems faced during reading, writing, learning and retaining the information.

Low Functioning Autism 

It is a severe autistic disorder in which a person has an IQ below than average.

M

Magnetic Reasoning Imaging 

It is a technique of getting a brain image by using magnetic qualities of body chemicals.

Main Streaming

It is to integrate disable students with their health fellows.

Medical Home

It is a perfect model “ a perfect home” that serves as a model delivering all the facilities to a disable child.

Melatonin 

It is a sleep control hormone that affects the normal sleep cycle.

Mental Age

It is an ability of the child brain with reference to other children and is expressed in years.

Mental Retardation 

A mental disability that affects normal growth and functioning of a person.

Motor Planning

It is the ability to perceive and think by perceiving information  through stimulus.

N

Natural Language Paradigm

It refers to the environmental factors that can help in assisting learning.

Neurotransmitters 

It is a chemical in the brain that transmits messages from one part to the other.

New Variant Autism 

It is a condition in which children with autism deteriorate with time and get other diseases.

No Child Left Behind Act

It was a public law established in 2002 that aimed at providing educational facilities and improving schools and teachers so each child gets quality education.

Nonverbal Communication 

It is communication without using language, it is to communicate through facial expression, bodily gestures and eye contact.

Nonverbal Learning Disability

It is a disability mostly found in children having autism spectrum disorder they don’t communicate and interact easily.

Neuro Motor

It is a process that involves brain and muscle coordination.

O

Objectives

It refers to the goal that targets once have to achieve.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 

It is a neurological disorder in which obsessive thoughts with compulsive action causes trouble for a person.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder 

It refers to the behavioral problems, child uncooperative, oppositional and hostile behaviours toward others.

Oral Motors

It is a process that involves oral muscles.

P

Paraprofessional 

These are skilled professionals that provide meaningful support to the disables.

Perceptual Problems 

The problems related to perceiving sensory information are referred to as perceptual problems.

Perseveration 

It is a repetitive behavior, speech and movements of autism spectrum disordered children. It is stuck on a certain thought, idea or a listened phrase.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified

A disorder with some not all defined symptoms is called Pervasive developmental disorder- not otherwise specified.

Picture Exchange Communication System

It is a technique used to teach children how to communicate their thoughts by showing them pictures with objects, signs or figures.

Performance IQ

This is an evaluation derived from the scores attained through non verbal assessments.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder

It is referred to a s autism spectrum disorder with all the symptoms of the disease.

Physical Therapy 

It is a kind of supportive therapy that rejuvenates the muscle.

Pica 

Eating substances other than food for example; mud, clay, dirt, sand and paint.

Picture Exchange Communication Technique 

It is a technique to enhance mental growth in autistic children by exchanging pictures to them.

Pivotal Response Training

It is a therapy that helps to evoke responses for the stimulus.

Positive Behavioral Support 

It is a kind of intervention that helps autistic children to acquire positive and socially acceptable behavior.

Processing 

Processing means to manipulate information acquired through different stimuli.

Prognosis 

The possible symptoms and outcomes related to a disease.

Proprioceptive 

It is alertness of body muscles in response to a stimulus.

Public Law 94-152

It refers to the law that was established in 1975 to ensure free education to all children having autism spectrum developmental disorders.

R

Receptive Language

Manipulation of written and spoken language is referred to as receptive language.

Registry of Service Provider for the Autism Funding

It refers to a list of registered facility providers to people with autism spectrum developmental disorder.

Regression

It is the loss of already acquired skills mostly happened to autistic children; they forget with time what they already leant.

Relationship Development Intervention 

It is a supportive interference by a closed person to rehabilitate a person with autism.

Respite Care

It refers to the care and support provided by the family and institution to a disabled person.

Retts Disorder

It is a genetic disorder in which the head does not grow normally and remains underdeveloped.

Reverse Mainstream 

It is a technique in which children with autism spectrum syndrome get an opportunity to meet and interact with their neuro-typical peers.

Risperdal 

A medicine that helps to reduce the symptoms of aggression.

S

SCERTS Model 

It is a model developed by Dr. Barry to enhance communicational, intellectual and behavioral skills.

Seizure

An abnormal movement occurs due to an imbalance in brain chemicals.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor 

It is an antidepressant drug used to minimize the psychotic and anxiety disorders.

Self Help Skills

Skills that are necessary to survive in daily life such as dressing, bathing, brushing.

Self Injurious Behavior 

Behavior of an autistic child to harm his own self.

Self Stimulatory Behavior

It is found in persons with autism that refers to involuntary body movement such as jumping, flaming hands and repetitive movement of objects.

Sensory Defensiveness 

It is a condition when a person becomes over sensitive to tactile stimulus.

Sensory Hypersensitivity 

It is a condition when a person becomes over sensitive to visual and auditory stimulus.

Sensory Integration Therapy

It is a therapy that uses stimulus to increase focus in children. 

Sensorimotor

It refers to voluntary action purely controlled by the brain.

Serotonin 

It is a chemical in the brain that helps to communicate information within the brain.

Shared Attention and Meaning

It is something like joint attention in which a child shares his feeling to certain activities and sensory information with others.

Special Education

It refers to the Education that is for children having disabilities.

Spectrum Disorder

A disorder that has ranges that can be mild to severe.

Speech Language Pathologist 

A person who is specialized in the field of human communication.

Speech Language Therapy

A therapeutic treatment to enhance language and communication skills.

Stereotype Behavior 

A repeated behavior of a person having autism spectrum disorder.

Syndrome 

A cluster of symptoms that are associated with an abnormality are called syndrome.

T

Tactile Defensiveness

It refers to sensitivity to a stimulus of touch.

Theory of Mind

The cognitive ability to manipulate information are referred to as theory of mind.

Treatment and Education of Autistic Handicapped Children

It is a program to provide services to parents, teachers and caregivers that treat the people with ASDs.

V

Verbal Behavior 

It is a behavioral approach to help teach language and communication.

Verbal I.Q

It is an evaluation obtained through different verbal assessments.

Vestibular System 

It is a structure of the inner year that helps to acquire balance.

Visual Processing 

Manipulating information attained by a visual stimulus is referred to as visual processing.

Visual Spatial Skill 

These are skills that help to perceive the environment and the surroundings.

Visual Support

These are visual tools that assist in visual processing to autistic children’s.

W

Weighted Vest 

It is a therapeutic technique of pressuring the body so that the sensory stimulus works.

The Wilbarger Protocol

It helps the people facing sensory challenges especially those that have sensory defensiveness. This technique involves brushing the patient’s body with a small surgical tool.

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children

It is a clinical tool that helps in assessing the intelligence level of autistic children.

Weschsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence Revised 

It is an instrument that assists in measuring intelligence in autistic children.

The Conclusion of Terms for Autism

Autism is a complicated disorder, but with these Autism Glossary of Terms you’ll be able to better understand the symptoms and challenges that come along with it. If you have any questions or would like more information about autism, please comment below! We are happy to help in any way we can.

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CraftyThinking is a company that strives to inspire creativity in children by providing them with the opportunity to explore their creative side through art and crafts. We are about helping parents give their child an outlet where they can explore their creativity without worrying about the mess or time commitment!

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