English Glossary for Autism Spectrum Disorders


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A

A-B-C analysis

An approach to understanding behavior by examining the Antecedent (the cause), the Behavior, and the Consequence (the result).

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

abstract language

Any vocabulary or phrases with meanings that are not clearly stated. Examples include idioms like, "it's raining cats and dogs" or "break a leg" where the intended meaning does not match the literal meaning. There are also many examples of this in books and poetry where the author may describe something using abstract language like "it felt like a weight on my chest."

Source: Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


adaptive behavior

Includes communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work. These are skills that help the person be successful in their environment and are learned skills rather than innate abilities.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


age of majority

The age established under state law when an individual is no longer a minor and has the right to make certain legal decisions without consent. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

anxiety disorder

A pattern of constant worry or tension under many different circumstances. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the name of a professional field that uses principles of learning to increase performance of socially desirable behaviors. ABA practitioners carefully observe and measure behaviors and the context in which they occur in order to individualize teaching plans to improve specific behaviors. ABA is commonly used as one component in interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

A disorder that shows up in the areas of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. It is evidenced by frequent shifting from one activity or focus to another, having difficulty organizing and completing tasks correctly, impulsive response, or failure to follow rules. It may occur with or without hyperactivity which includes behaviors such as excessive running, talking, fidgeting, and/or restlessness.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

audiologist

A specialist who evaluates for hearing loss as a potential cause or contributor to developmental delay, and designs/supports interventions to minimize the impact of hearing loss when it is found. Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

augmentative and alternative communication

Any method of communicating without speech, such as by signs, gestures, picture boards, or electronic or non-electronic devices. These methods can help individuals who are unable to use speech or who need to supplement their speech to communicate effectively.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


autism spectrum disorder

A neurodevelopmental disorder. ASD symptoms are typically evident before a child is three years of age. The symptoms range from mild to severe—and individuals often have varied skills levels in different domains of functioning. Autism affects the person's overall development in two primary areas:

  1. social communication, or the way a person uses gestures, body language, and language to communicate and interact socially and relate with others;
  2. the presence of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities (e.g., repetitive motor movements, echolalia/repeating speech, idiosyncratic phrases, extreme distress at small changes/difficulty with transitions, strong attachment to unusual objects/topics, adverse or intense responses to sensory input)

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP.


aversive

An unwanted stimulus designed to change an individual's behavior through punishment. These should rarely be used in the treatment of autism Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

B

behavior intervention plan

A plan to improve an individual's behavior, created based on the results of a functional behavioral assessment.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

behavioral disorder

A condition in which behavior significantly deviates from acceptable norms. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

biomarker

An indicator of a certain biological state. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

bipolar disorder

A brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks; also known as manic-depressive illness. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

A professional certified to provide ABA therapy by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

body language

A form of non-verbal communication that is an important part of social communication. It includes things like gestures (head nodding or shaking), personal space, facial expressions, and eye contact.

Source: Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


C

case manager

A professional from a school or service agency such as the Department of Developmental Disabilities who serves as a direct contact for families and helps gather resources, team members and ideas. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

catatonia

A state in which a person does not move and does not respond to others. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

cell

The structural unit of the body and of all living things, whether plant or animal. Body cells vary in size from one hundredth of a millimetre to about a tenth of a millimetre. They are engaged in constant physical, biochemical and genetic activity. The central nucleus contains the DNA genetic blueprint for the reproduction of the cell and for the synthesis of enzymes.

Source: Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed.. (2005). Retrieved August 4 2022 from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/cell


challenging behaviors

Behaviors that are destructive and harmful to the individual or others (e.g. hitting, biting, running away), that prevent learning and cause others to label or isolate the individual for being odd or different.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012


chromosome

Thread-like structures located inside the nucleus of cells. In humans, there are 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46 chromosomes. Each chromosome is made of a long strand of DNA, which carries genetic information.


chromosome abnormality

a missing, extra, or irregular portion of chromosomal DNA.[1] These can occur in the form of numerical abnormalities, where there is an atypical number of chromosomes, or as structural abnormalities, where one or more individual chromosomes are altered.

Source: The Free Dictionary by Farlex, July 12, 2022.


civil commitment

A legal process in which an individual experiencing a mental health crisis is ordered into treatment against his or her will, including to a hospital. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

cognitive behavioral therapy

Type of therapy designed to help improve an individual's inappropriate or challenging behaviors by replacing the negative thoughts that cause these behaviors with positive thoughts.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012


cognitive development

How children learn to think, interpret information, make decisions, and solve problems. Areas of cognitive development include verbal reasoning (using language), non-verbal reasoning (using visual/spatial information), as well as executive control/functioning.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


communication

The developmental area that involves skills which enable people to understand (receptive communication) and share (expressive communication) thoughts and feelings. Waving goodbye, smiling, nodding, making eye-contact, using spoken language, following directions, and reading and writing are examples of communication.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


communication disorder

Difficulty with understanding and/or expressing messages. Communication disorders include problems with hearing, with making speech sounds (articulation), with having a clear voice (voice disorders), stuttering (fluency disorders), difficulty learning, knowing and using grammar (language disorders), difficulty using language to get things done (social communication or pragmatic language disorders), and using language to learn (language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia).

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


comorbid

Pertaining to a disease or disorder that occurs simultaneously with another. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

compulsion

The drive to do something in particular or in a particular way, such as the need to straighten all the forks at the dinner table. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

conservatorship

The legal right given to a person to be responsible for the assets and finances of a person deemed fully or partially incapable of providing these necessities for himself or herself. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

crisis plan

A document that outlines in specific detail the necessary strategies and steps that must be taken when a crisis occurs. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

D

data analysis

The process of thoroughly inspecting information related to challenging behaviors in order to draw out useful information and conclusions that may result in strategies to improve behavior. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

de-escalation

The process of stopping a challenging behavior or crisis from intensifying, and calming the situation. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

depression

A mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for an extended period of time. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

developmental assessment

A structured evaluation of a child's development in one or more areas including cognitive, language, motor, social/emotional, and adaptive. Professionals that conduct developmental assessments include: developmental behavioral pediatricians, psychologists, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, educators, and audiologists. Types of tests that are used during developmental assessments include interview, observation, questionnaires, standardized tests, and non-standardized tests Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

developmental delay

The term used to describe the condition of an infant or young child who is not achieving new skills in the typical time frame and/or is exhibiting behaviors that are not appropriate for his or her age. Some children who are developmentally delayed eventually have a specific diagnosis of a particular developmental disability. Other children with delays catch up with their typically developing peers Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

developmental disability

A severe chronic disability that is attributed to a physical or mental impairment, other than the sole diagnosis of mental illness, or to a combination of mental and physical impairments, is manifested before the individual attains the age of Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP, is likely to continue indefinitely, results in the inability to live independently without external support or continuing and regular assistance, reflects the need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services that are planned and coordinated for that individual.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


developmental pediatrician

Also known as a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, these professionals have training and experience to assess and treat a wide range of medical and psychosocial aspects of a child's developmental and behavioral difficulties. Their expertise may make them a good choice for children with complicated medical or developmental problems. Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

differential diagnosis

Distinguishing between two or more diseases with similar symptoms to identify which is causing distress or challenging behavior. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

disruption

An event that causes an unplanned deviation from a situation. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

DNA

The material that carries the genetic information of a cell. It provides the instructions used in the development, functioning and reproduction of the organism of which it is a part. If you could stretch out the DNA of a chromosome and look at it through a microscope, it would look like a long ladder that is twisted into a spiral. The ‘sides’ of the ladder are made up of alternating phosphate and sugar groups. The ‘rungs’ are various combinations of two nitrogen bases: Adenine-Thymine and Cytosine-Guanine. Individual sections of DNA that code for specific traits/functions are called genes. (deoxyribunucleic acid)


Down syndrome

The most common and readily identifiable chromosomal condition associated with intellectual disability. Children with Down syndrome typically have developmental delays, but this can range from mild to severe. Common physical signs of Down syndrome include: Decreased muscle tone; short neck; flattened facial profile and nose; small head, ears, and mouth; upward slanting eyes; white spots on the colored part of the eye (called Brushfield spots); wide, short hands with short fingers; a single, deep, crease across the palm of the hand; a deep groove between the first and second toes.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


dual diagnosis

The identification of an additional mental health disorder individuals with developmental disabilities. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

dysarthria

A term used to describe the impact on speech production of muscle weakness and/or reduced muscle control due to neural damage. Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

dyspraxia

A condition characterized by a difficulty with planning and performing coordinated movements although there is no apparent damage to muscles. Dyspraxia can impact any motor system, and will be described based on the motor system affected (e.g., upper limb dyspraxia, speech/verbal dyspraxia). The term "apraxia" is often used as a synonym for dyspraxia.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


E

early intervention

Programs or services designed to meet the developmental needs of infants and toddlers (birth to three years old) and their families.

echolalia

The immediate and involuntary repetition of words or phrases just spoken by others, often a symptom of autism or some types of schizophrenia. Also called echophrasia

Source: The American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary. Copyright 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.


elopement

A situation in which an individual leaves a safe place, a caretaker, or supervised situation, either by 'bolting,' wandering or sneaking away. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

epilepsy

A brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures (episodes of disturbed brain activity or convulsions) over time. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

escalating

Increasing or worsening rapidly. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

evidence-based practice

A teaching strategy or practice that has been proven through research studies to improve skills or behaviors for a certain population Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd

executive functioning

A group of skills that helps people plan, organize, control behavior, focus on multiple streams of information at the same time, self-monitor, and revise action plans as necessary. Acquiring these skills is one of the most important tasks of the early childhood years.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


extinction

A response used to eliminate a behavior that involves ignoring a mild behavior when it is used for attention. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

extinction burst

Short term response to extinction in which there is a sudden and temporary increase in the response's frequency, followed by an eventual decline. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

F

face blindness

An impairment in the recognition of faces. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

fading

Gradually reducing the number of prompts or types of prompts to encourage more independence for the learner

Source: Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


fecal digging

The process in which an individual puts his fingers into his rectum. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

fecal smearing

The process in which feces are spread on property or the individual himself. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Children whose mothers drank during pregnancy, and who have developmental impairment may be diagnosed with one of several FASDs. The developing brain is the organ most vulnerable to prenatal alcohol exposure, but the range of impact of prenatal alcohol exposure includes both physical and neurodevelopmental impairment. These can include growth difficulty, minor facial anomalies, general developmental delays, seizures, learning disabilities, ADHD, executive functioning and processing challenges, as well as mental health or behavioral challenges. The most severe FASD is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), but other FASDs are far more common.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


fetal alcohol syndrome

A permanent birth defect syndrome caused by maternal drinking during pregnancy. FAS is characterized by growth deficiency; a cluster of 3 minor facial abnormalities including a thin upper lip, a smooth philtrum (i.e., the groove between nose and upper lip); small eyes; and significant abnormalities in brain development. FAS is the leading preventable cause of intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental conditions.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


Fragile X Syndrome

A genetic disorder, and the most common form of inherited intellectual disability causing symptoms similar to ASD. The name refers to one part of the X chromosome that has a defective piece that appears pinched and fragile when viewed with a microscope. Fragile X syndrome results from a mutation on a single gene. Around 1 in 3 children who have Fragile X syndrome also meet the diagnostic criteria for ASD, and about 1 in 25 children diagnosed with ASD have the mutation that causes Fragile X syndrome.

Source: Autism Empowerment, https://www.autismempowerment.org/understanding-autism/co-existing-conditions/ Retrieved August 4, 2022


function of behavior

The purpose or reason behind a specific behavior for an individual. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

functional behavior analysis

The process of systematically determining the function of behaviors, usually inappropriate, that are displayed by people. Behaviors are defined, measured and analyzed in terms of what happened before and after their occurrence. Over time the events before and after the behavior occurs are systematically changed in order to determine the function of the behavior for the person displaying it

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


functional communication

Effective and appropriate communication that an individual uses across his daily activities to meet his or her needs. Can be verbal or non-verbal.

 Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012


G

gene

A specific sequence of DNA that codes for one or many functions within the cell and body.


gene variant

A gene variant is a permanent change in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene. This type of genetic change used to be known as a gene mutation, but because changes in DNA do not always cause disease, it is thought that gene variant is a more accurate term. Variants can affect one or more DNA building blocks (nucleotides) in a gene.

Source: https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/mutationsanddisorders/genemutation/


generalization

The ability to use a target skill or behavior across the intervention timespan or timeframe, setting, and individuals (e.g. teachers, peers, parents). For example, when teaching a child to greet others, a teacher may initially implement the intervention when the student first enters classroom. Although the child may begin to independently greet others in the context of entering the classroom, she may not be able to do so when coming home from or entering a different room in the school. If she can greet others across settings and individuals, then she has engaged in generalization of the skill.

Source: Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


genetics

The branch of biology dealing with the phenomena of heredity and the laws governing it.

Source: Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. (2003). Retrieved July 12 2022 from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/genetics


genotype

The entire genetic constitution of an individual.

Source: Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. (2003). Retrieved August 4 2022 from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/genotype


gestures

Body and hand movements used to communicate. Examples include pointing, waving, opening arms to demonstrate something is "big," banging a fist on a table to emphasize a point or show anger, etc

Source: Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


guardianship

The legal right given to a person to be responsible for the food, health care, housing, and other necessities of a person deemed fully or partially incapable of providing these necessities for himself or herself. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

H

hypersensitivity

Overly intense or exaggerated response to sensation. It may include defensive responses (like covering ears in anticipation of a sound, pulling away quickly when touched lightly) or disliking or avoiding of certain situations that involve an undesirable sensory experience (like avoiding public restrooms because the toilet flushing is aversive)

Source: Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


hyposensitivity

Under-exaggerated response to sensation. May include lack of response entirely or a reduced or slower response than expected. A child with hyposensitivity may not stop working and turn around when their name is called, may not seem to notice that another child ran into them, may smile, or laugh several seconds after you tickle them, may cry several seconds after getting hurt or not at all, etc

Source: Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


I

idiosyncratic language

Using language in unusual ways that may not be obvious to the communication partner. This includes using scripts from previous conversations or media applied to different contexts like saying "C is for cookie" to express that they like something. Or "Dora loves waterfall!" to request to take a bath/shower

Source: Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


incontinence

The (usually) involuntary passing of feces or urine, generally not into a toilet or diaper. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

individualized education program

A written statement of a child's current level of development (abilities and impairments) and an individualized plan of instruction, including the goals, the specific services to be received, the people who will carry out the services, the standards and time lines for evaluating progress, and the amount and degree to which the child will participate with non-handicapped peers at school. The IEP is developed by the child's parents and the professionals who evaluated the child. It is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for all children in special education, ages three years and up. Also called an individualized education plan.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


individualized family service plan

A written plan describing the infant's or toddler's current level of development, the family's strengths and needs related to enhancement of the infant's or toddler's development, goals for the child and the other family members (as applicable), including the criteria, procedures and time lines used to evaluate progress (the IFSP should be evaluated and adjusted at least once a year and reviewed at least every six months), and the specific early intervention services needed to meet the goals (including the frequency and intensity and method of delivering services, the projected date of initiating services and the anticipated duration of services). The IFSP is developed and implemented by the child's parents and a multidisciplinary early intervention team (IFSP Team). The Individualized Family Service Plan is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for all infants and toddlers receiving early intervention services.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The federal law reauthorized in 2004 that amends the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142). Part C of the law focuses on services to infants and toddlers who are at-risk or have developmental disabilities.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


intellectual disability

Characterized by significantly impaired intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

interdisciplinary evaluation team

A group of health care professionals from diverse disciplines who form a team to work collaboratively in conducting a cohesive patient evaluation Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

intervention

A strategy or process put in place in order to improve or modify an individual's behavior (i.e. medication, Applied Behavior Analysis). Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

involuntary commitment

A legal process in which an individual experiencing a mental health crisis is ordered into treatment against his or her will, including to a hospital. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

J

joint attention

A set of early social communication skills used to show and/or share interest about an outside object or event with a communication partner. They include initiating joint attention where the child shifts their gaze and/or gestures toward an object with the goal of getting another person to notice it. They also include responding to gaze shifts and gestures from other people so that they can learn what others find interesting

Source: Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


K

karyotype

The characterization of the chromosomal complement of an individual, including number, form, and size of the chromosomes.

Source: The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary. (2007). Retrieved July 12 2022 from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/karyotype


L

language delay

A disorder in which a learner's ability to understand and/or use language is behind what would be expected based on their age Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd

language disorder

In children, this could mean trouble getting their meaning or message across to others (expressive language disorder), or understanding messages coming from others (receptive language disorder), as well as difficulty using language to get things done (pragmatic language/social communication disorder)

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


learning disability

A disorder that affects how a person learns and understands primary skills such as reading, writing and math Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

least restrictive environment

The educational setting that permits a child with disabilities to derive the most educational benefit while participating in a regular educational environment to the maximum extent appropriate. It is presumed that a child with a disability will be educated in the general education classroom, with appropriate supports, unless the IEP Team deems another setting as more appropriate. LRE is a requirement under the IDEA

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


M

maladaptive behavior

A type of behavior that is often used to reduce anxiety, but whose result does not provide adequate or appropriate adjustment to the environment or situation. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

Medicaid

A government program that provides healthcare coverage for low-income families and individuals with disabilities in the United States. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

medical home

A team based healthcare delivery model led by a physician that provides comprehensive and continuous medical care to patients. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

mental health hold

Involuntary hospitalization due to a mental health crisis. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

motor skill

The learned ability to perform movements, such as holding the body upright to sit, using the hands to manipulate small items, scooping food onto a spoon and bringing it to the mouth, and moving the lips and tongue to articulate different sounds. Fine motor skills involve use of the small muscles of the body while gross motor skills are associated with large muscle movements Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

N

neurodevelopmental conditions

Problems affecting the development of the central nervous system or brain, resulting in delayed or unusual motor, speech, social or learning deficits.

neurotypical

adjective: Not having a neurodevelopmental disorder, especially autism spectrum disorder.
noun: A person who is neurotypical.

Source: The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company.


nonverbal communication

Any form of or attempt at unspoken or "physical" communication. Examples are temper tantrums, gestures, pointing and leading another person to a desired object.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

nucleotide

Any of the organic molecules that link together to form the building blocks of DNA.

Source: Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. (2008). Retrieved August 4 2022 from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/nucleotide

A base pair consists of two complementary DNA nucleotide bases that pair together to form a “rung of the DNA ladder.”"

Source: National Human Genome Research Institute, https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Base-Pair


nutritionist

Nutrition services are provided by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs). The nutritionist evaluates the child's growth, energy intake, and nutritional status to make sure they are getting appropriate nutrients from their diet. Often, a nutritionist will work with a feeding therapist (e.g., speech or occupational therapist), to develop a plan when feeding problems are suspected Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

O

obsession

A repetitive thought or feeling dominated by a particular idea, image or desire, such as a person who only wants to talk about elevators. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

obsessive compulsive disorder

An anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions). Also called OCD.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012


occupational therapist

A skilled healthcare provider that assists people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Occupational therapy benefits individuals who have physical, developmental or cognitive limitations. With children, treatment is geared toward development of fine motor skills (e.g. writing, cutting), gross motor skills (e.g. climbing stairs, jumping), self-care (e.g. dressing, eating), and play. OT is the primary profession that addresses sensory processing differences.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


ototoxic

Damaging to the ears, causing sound sensitivities, dizziness or balance issues. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

overcorrection

A punishment mechanism for a challenging behavior that involves requiring an individual to engage in repetitive behavior to an excessive extent in an attempt to prevent the behavior from reoccurring. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

P

pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections

A subset of children and adolescents who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and/or tic disorders, and in whom symptoms worsen following infections such as "Strep throat" and Scarlet Fever. Abbreviated as "PANDAS."

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012


phenylketonuria

An inherited disorder that increases the levels of a substance called phenylalanine in the blood. Phenylalanine is found in food proteins and in some artificial sweeteners. If PKU is not treated, phenylalanine can build up to harmful levels in the body, causing intellectual disability and other serious health problems such as seizures, delayed development, behavioral problems, and psychiatric disorders.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


physical therapist

A health care team member who treats conditions that limit the ability to move and perform functional activities of daily life. Physical therapists provide services to improve body structures (e.g. muscles), enhance functional activities (e.g. walking), and promote improved participation in daily life. Goals for children may include developing improved strength, range of motion, coordination, balance, and acquisition of new motor skills.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


pica

An eating disorder that involves eating things that are not food (i.e. dirt, plastic). Pronounced "PIE-kuh."

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012


picture exchange communication systems

A unique augmentative/alternative communication intervention package that involves teaching an individual to give a picture of a desired item to a "communicative partner," and goes on to teach discrimination of pictures and how to put them together in sentences.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012


polypharmacy

The use of multiple medications by a patient. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

positive behavior supports

An approach to helping people improve their difficult behavior by understanding what is causing it, and then developing strategies to increase positive behaviors.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

Related concept: Positive behavior intervention and supports (PBIS)


post-traumatic stress syndrome

An anxiety disorder that can occur after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Also called post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012


prematurity

A premature birth is a birth that takes place more than three weeks before a baby is due. Normally, a pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks so a premature birth is one occurring before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


prompting

Any help given to a learner to assist in using a specific skill or behavior. Prompts can come in many different forms including visual, verbal, gestural, models, and partial or full physical.

Source: Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


prosody

The set of speech variables, including rhythm, speed, pitch, and relative emphasis, that distinguish vocal patterns.

Source: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved November 11 2021 from https://www.thefreedictionary.com/prosody


proxemics

The study of spatial distances between individuals in different cultures and situations.

Source: WordNet 3.1


psychologist

Someone with a PhD or PsyD, trained in the evaluation, study and/or treatment of psychiatric and cognitive disorders. A school psychologist is a professional trained in psychology and education who collaborates with children, educators, parents and other professionals to create healthy and supportive learning environments for students based on careful evaluation of cognitive, executive, and adaptive skills Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

psychosis

A loss of contact with reality that usually includes delusions and hallucination). Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

psychotropic

A medication or intervention that affects brain activity, behavior or perception. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

puberty

The process of physical changes that occur when a child's body matures into an adult. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

R

red flags

Behaviors that cause caregivers concern in an area of a child's development. They warn you to stop, look, and think, and then observe and document Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

reinforce

To strengthen with additional material or support. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

reinforcement strategies

Methods used to promote or increase positive behavior by providing motivating reinforcers, such as praise, a favorite toy, a cookie, or a preferred activity. Also called a "reward" or an "incentive."

resilience

An ability to recover from or adjust easily to change or a difficult situation. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

respite care

A service that provides short-term breaks that can relieve stress, restore energy, and promote balance for caregivers. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

response blocking

Response blocking is a common intervention strategy that is used to reduce interfering behaviors. With response blocking, teachers/practitioners prevent learners with ASD from engaging in interfering behaviors when they occur. Blocking, when used by itself may induce aggression or lead to increases in other interfering behaviors. For this reason, researchers have combined response blocking with redirection to create Response Interruption/Redirection (RIR). With this practice, teachers/ practitioners prompt learners to use alternative behaviors after preventing them from engaging in interfering behaviors.

Source: Neitzel, J. (2010). Response interruption/redirection for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders: Online training module. Retrieved from https://studylib.net/doc/6626237/response-intervention




restraints

Physical restrictions immobilizing or reducing the ability of an individual to move their arms, legs, body, or head freely. This can be someone holding a person so they cannot move or it can be a an item that restrains their body such as a device that holds their hands or bodies down. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests

Topics or tangible items that individuals with autism pursue with great intensity and focus for long durations of time DSM-IV, 1994.

Rett Syndrome

A neurodevelopmental disorder that affects girls almost exclusively and is first noticed in infancy. It is characterized by normal early growth and development followed by a slowing of development, loss of purposeful use of the hands, distinctive hand movements, slowed brain and head growth, problems with walking, seizures, and intellectual disability.

Source: Autism Empowerment, https://www.autismempowerment.org/understanding-autism/signs-symptoms/rett-syndrome/ retrieved August 4, 2022.


reward

A prize, token, or preferred activity given to an individual for good behavior, designed to promote the same behavior in the future.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012


risk factor

Conditions that increase the likelihood of aggression. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

ritual

A repetitive behavior that a person appears to use in a systematic way in order to promote calm or prevent anxiety, such as arranging all the pillows in a certain way before being able to settle in to sleep.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012


rumination

The practice of (voluntarily or involuntarily) spitting up partially digested food and re-chewing it, then swallowing again or spitting it out. Rumination often seems to be triggered by reflux or other gastrointestinal concerns. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

S

schizophrenia

A chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that makes it hard for individuals to think clearly and tell the difference between what is real and not real. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

screening test

An evaluation tool designed to identify children who are at-risk for having or developing a developmental disability. This is different from a diagnostic tool that is used to determine if a person has, or does not have a neurodevelopmental disability.

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP


seclusion

A situation in which an individual is isolated in a room in response to a behavior they have exhibited. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

sedating

Calming, sleep-inducing, numbing an individual experiencing challenging behaviors or struggling during difficult situations. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

seizure disorder

A seizure disorder, which can also be called epilepsy, is a disorder in which brain activity is disturbed and causes seizures. There are many types of seizures. Some involve uncontrollable jerking movements or losing awareness, but some can just look like a staring spell.

Source: Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd


self-advocacy

The ability of an individual to communicate his or her wants and concerns, and make his or her own decisions. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

sensory avoidance

Blocking or staying away from something that is painful or bothersome.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

sensory defensiveness

A tendency to react negatively or with alarm to sensory input which is generally considered harmless or non-irritating. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

sensory input

Any source that creates sensation and activates one or more of the senses -vision, smell, sound, taste, and touch.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

sensory issues

General term for challenges related to processing sensory input (information from the five senses). May include some combination of sensory avoidance, sensory defensiveness, sensory-seeking behavior and stimming, or sensory processing disorder.


sensory processing disorder

Refers to difficulty detecting, organizing, or responding to sensory information received and interpreted in the brain via all seven senses and that interferes with participation in daily life, development, behavior, and social interactions Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

sensory-seeking behavior

Behaviors caused by a need for additional stimulation of certain senses as a way of maintaining attention or achieving a calmer state.

Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

sight translation

Sight translation is the oral rendition of text written in one language into another language and is usually done in the moment. Central to sight translation are the following skills: the ability to comprehend written text in one language (reading skills) and the ability to produce an oral or signed rendition in another language (speaking or speech production skills). Sight translation is often requested of an interpreter during an interpreting assignment.

Source: National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, SIGHT TRANSLATION AND WRITTEN TRANSLATION: Guidelines for Healthcare Interpreters (2009)


sleep apnea

A usually chronic, common disorder in which an individual has one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths up to 30 or more times per hour during sleep, and results in daytime sleepiness. Source: Autism Speaks, Inc., "Challenging-Behaviors-Glossary" 2012

sleep disturbances

Sleep disturbances can include a variety of issues including difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep, being on different sleep rhythms (e.g., awake at night), or needing increased amounts of sleep Excerpted from Steinbrenner, J., Sam, A., Chin, J., Morgan, W., & AFIRM for Paras Team. (2019). Introduction to ASD. FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/introduction-asd

social communication disorder

Applies to children who have deficits in the social use of language, but do not have the restricted interests or repetitive behavior commonly found in autism spectrum disorders Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

social reciprocity

The primary component of healthy social development—acts of kindness—interactions. It is about "joint attention" where there is purposeful language including body language and pretend play. Lack of social reciprocity is a key red flag, whether the child is not engaged in the world around him or her. This concern should not be ignored

Source: "Glossary of Terms Related to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities" by John Thorne, PhD, CCC-SLP



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