ADHD and Mental Health Acronyms

When you or a family member is diagnosed with ADHD, everything changes. There is a surge of emotions- anxiety, depression, fear of the unknown and more. But for many, it also is the first step in understanding chronic problem behaviors in relationships, work, school, etc. 

Many people wisely choose to learn as much as possible about ADHD, and there is a lot written about it. But have you found acronyms that simply don’t make sense? If you’re hooked into the school system because your child needs support, you will find many acronyms in special education. 

This guide is to help you sort out what these acronyms mean:


  • “504":  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act
  • ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder. The “old” term that is now replaced with the current proper term AD/HD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
  • AD/HD: Currently the formal and proper term for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
  • AI: Autistic Impairment
  • APD: Auditory Processing Disorder; also: antisocial personality disorder
  • APE: adaptive physical education
  • AS: Autistic Spectrum
  • AS: Aspergers Syndrome
  • ASD: Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • AT: assistive technology
  • AYP: Adequate/Annual Yearly Progress
  • BD: Behavioral Disorder
  • BIP: Behavioral Intervention Plan
  • BP: Bipolar Disorder
  • CA: Chronological Age
  • CAPD: Central Auditory Processing Disorder
  • CARS: Childhood Autism Rating Scale
  • CBI: Community Based Instruction
  • CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Treatment
  • CD: Conduct Disorder; also Chemical Dependency
  • CI: Cognitive Impairment
  • CMH: Community Mental Health
  • CNS: Central Nervous System
  • COPAA: The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
  • CST: Child Study Team
  • DD: Development Disorder
  • DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • DX: Diagnosis
  • EFD: Executive Functioning Disorder
  • EI: Early Intervention or Emotional Impairment
  • ESL: English as a Second Language
  • ESY: Extended School Year
  • FAPE: Free Appropriate Public Education
  • FAS: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • FBA: Functional Behavior Assessment
  • FDA: Food and Drug Administration
  • FERPA: Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • FOIA: Freedom Of Information Act
  • GE: General Education
  • GT/LD: Gifted and Learning Disabled
  • HFA: High Functioning Autism
  • HG: Highly Gifted
  • HI: Hearing Impaired
  • IDEA: Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
  • IEE: Individual Education Evaluation
  • IEP: Individualized Education Plan
  • IEPT: Individualized Education Program Team
  • ISD: Intermediate School District
  • LD: Learning Disability/Difference
  • LEA: Local Education Agency
  • LLD: Language-based Learning Disability
  • LRE: Least Restrictive Environment
  • MDD: Major Depressive Disorder
  • MET: Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team
  • MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • NCLB: No Child Left Behind
  • NIH: National Institutes of Health
  • NIMH: National Institute of Mental Health
  • NLD: Nonverbal Learning Disability
  • NOS: Not Otherwise Specified, usually seen as PDD-NOS
  • NT: Neurotypical
  • OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • OCR: Office of Civil Rights
  • ODD: Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • OG: Orton Gillingham (reading method)
  • OHI: Other Health Impairment
  • OSEP: Office of Special Education Programs
  • OT: Occupational Therapist
  • OVR: Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • P&A: Protection & Advocacy
  • PAC: Parent Advisory Committee
  • PDD:  Pervasive Developmental Disorder
  • PDR : Physician's Desk Reference
  • PI: Physical Impairment
  • PL: Public Law
  • PLP:  Present Levels of Educational Performance
  • PP: Paraprofessional
  • PSYCH: Psychologist
  • PT: Physical Therapist/therapy
  • PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • PWN: Prior Written Notice
  • RRT: Resource Room Teacher
  • SA: Substance Abuse
  • SD: School District
  • SI: Sensory Integration
  • SLD: Specific Learning Disability
  • SLI: Speech/Language Impairment 
  • SLP: Speech Language Pathologist
  • SPED : Special Education/Teacher
  • SSI: Supplemental Security Income
  • SSRI: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (class of meds, including Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil)
  • SSW: School Social Worker
  • STO: Short Term Objective
  • SW: Social Worker
  • TBI: Traumatic Brain Injury
  • TC: Teacher Consultant
  • TS: Tourette’s Syndrome
  • VQ: Verbal IQ
  • Voc. Rehab: Vocational Rehabilitation Services
  • WAIS: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
  • WIAT: Wechsler Individual Achievement Test
  • WISC: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
  • WPPSI: Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale in Intelligence

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