Autism and Asperger's Syndrome Acronyms

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

If you have a child with autism or Asperger's syndrome (AS) you probably have come across acronyms that you don't understand. I have compiled a list of some of the most common acronyms to help you better understand when talking with medical professionals and educators.

AAC - Assistive Augmentative Communication - communication using a picture board, recorded messages and other non-verbal communication methods

ABA - Applied Behavior Analysis - analysis and tracking of behavior to help develop strategies

ABC - Applied Behavior Checklist - checklist used during applied behavior analysis

ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act - Federal law protecting the rights of those with disabilities in the workplace and other institutions who receive federal funding

ADD - ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - a neurobiological disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity

ADOS - Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale - test used by medical professionals to screen for autism

AIT - Auditory Integration Training -
a type of therapy used to improve symptoms of auditory processing problems

AS - Asperger's syndrome - An autism spectrum disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, repetitive behaviors and special interests

ASA - Autism Society of America - a national advocacy organization

ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorders - a umbrella term used to describe the five types of autism disorders, from mild to severe

ASL - American Sign Language - a language using sign patterns consisting of hand gestures and shapes

CARS - Childhood autism rating scale - test developed by TEACCH to diagnose autism

CHAT - Checklist for Autism in Toddlers - a checklist used by General Practitioners at around the age of 18 months to screen for autism

DAS - Developmental Apraxia of Speech - a motor speech disorder

DD - Developmental Disabilities - general term used for all developmental disabilities, including autism and Asperger's syndrome

DH - Developmentally Handicapped - cognitively impaired or intellectual functioning significantly below average

DSM - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - extensive manual published by the American Psychiatric Association listing all mental illnesses with diagnostic criteria

EEG - Electrocephalogram - a test recording brainwaves used to test and identify seizures

EI - Early Intervention - Services provided by counties and states beginning at birth and continuing until the age of 3

FAPE - Free and Appropriate Education - educational, special educational and related services provided to students at no cost based on state and federal laws

FC - Facilitated Communication - communication through a keyboard or other device to communicate with the help of a facilitator supporting the hand or arm

GARS - Gilliam Autism Rating Scale - a rating scale used to diagnose autism

HFA - High Functioning Autism - individuals who are academically capable and verbal but still have symptoms of autism

IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Act - federal law mandating a free and appropriate education for all students with disabilities from the age of 3 up to 21

IEP - Individualized Education Plan - a written document written by parents and educational professionals detailing services needed to help a child with disabilities in school

IFSP - Individualized Family Service Plan - A written plan used in early intervention services

LD - Learning Disabled - classification of a number of conditions which result in difficulty learning

LRE - Least Restrictive Environment - used in educational purposes, a child is entitled to be educated in the least restrictive classroom

MR - Mentally Retarded - a term referring to cognitive impairment along with deficits in adaptive behaviors

NICHCY - National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities - a national information source for children with disabilities

NIH - National Institutes of Health - U.S. medical research center

NT - Neurologically typical - term used to refer to those individuals who do not have autism or AS

OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - an anxiety disorder characterized by compulsions and obsessions

ODD - Oppositional Defiant Disorder - disorder characterized by ongoing uncooperative, defiant or hostile behaviors

OT - Occupational Therapy - therapists who may work with children with autism using play therapy, find ways for coping with sensory processing disorder and other daily activities

PDD - Pervasive Development Disorder - a group of five disorders characterized by delays in development of basic functioning

PECS - Picture Exchange Communication System - a form of communication using pictures and symbols

PEP or PEP-R - test to assess for autism and provide information on treatment strategies

PT - Physical Therapy - therapy for those with limited abilities to move and perform functional actiities

RDI - Relationship Development Intervention - a therapeutic approach where therapists and parents take on the role of coach

SI - Sensory Integration - therapy to help those with sensory difficulties better manage these issues

SLP - Speech Language Pathologist - a speech therapist with at least a master's degree and who is certified and licensed

SPD - Sensory Processing Disorder - commonly seen disorder in children with autism spectrum disorders

SPED - Special Education - special education services provided by schools

TEACCH - Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children - An educational approach developed for children with autism


Medical Abbreviations Dictionary:

"Medical Acronyms, Abbreviations and Symbols," Date Unknown, Staff Writer, The University of Memphis:

"Some Common Abbreviations," Date Unknown, Staff Writer, MedlinePlus:

Eileen Bailey
Meet Our Writer
Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is to provide readers with relevant and practical information on health conditions to help them make informed decisions regarding their health care.