Autism and Asperger's Syndrome Acronyms

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: