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Glossary

ABA – Applied Behavior Analysis – a professional field that uses principles of learning to increase performance of socially desirable behaviors. It always relies upon the collection of objective data to measure performance and the effectiveness of an intervention. ABA is used in industry, business and education as well as in the field of disabilities. The term “ABA” is sometimes used to refer to a one-on-one therapy that is named discrete trial training. Some educational professionals as well as parents will use the term ABA when referring to this type of one-on-one therapy.

AS -Asperger’s Syndrome – Condition found in the DSM-V manual under Autism Spectrum Disorders.  The essential features are severe and sustained impairment in social interaction and the development of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and activities. Additional criteria are listed in the DSM-V.

AAC – Augmentative & 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.

ASD – Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder – Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that affects functioning of the brain, autism and its associated behaviors occur in approximately one in every 68 children.

Behavioral Assessment – Gathering (through direct observation and by parent report) and analyzing information about a child’s behaviors. The information may be used to help the child change unwanted behaviors. Variables that are noted include when a behavior occurs as well as its frequency and duration. See Functional Behavior Assessment.

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.

Expressive Language – Refers to the language that the individual can communicate to others. Generally, when referring to oral expressive language, it indicates the individual’ ability to express thoughts, feelings, wants, and desires through oral speech. Expressive language may also refer to gestures, signing, communicating through pictures and objects, and writing. Compare to Receptive Language.

FBA – Functional Behavior Assessment – 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. Based on information gathered a judgment is made about the possible communicative function of the behavior(s). Functional assessments are usually performed in order to develop behavior interventions and supports that address challenging or inappropriate behaviors.

Generalization – The ability to take a skill learned in one setting, such as the classroom, and use it in another setting like the home or community.

IEP – Individualized Education Plan – 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 a child will participate with non-handicapped peers at school. The IEP is developed by the child’s parents and 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.

IFSP – Individualized Family Service Plan  – A written plan describing the child ages 0-5’s current level of development; the family’s strengths and needs related to enhancement of the child’s development; goals for the child and the other family members (as applicable), including the criteria, procedures and time lines used to evaluate progress,  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. The IFSP should be evaluated and adjusted at least once a year and reviewed at least every six months. The IFSP is required by the IDEA for all children receiving early intervention services.

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.

PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) – An alternative communication system that uses picture cards.

Receptive Language – The ability to understand what is being expressed, including verbal and nonverbal communication. Compare to Expressive Language.

Reinforcement – A pleasant event that occurs immediately as a direct result of an action and that increases the strength of the action or the likelihood that the action will be repeated.

SIB – Self-Injurious Behavior – Abnormal behaviors that are harmful to oneself, such as head-banging or scratching or biting oneself.

Self-Stimming, Self-Regulatory and Self-Stimulatory Behavior – Defined as unusual behaviors that interfere with the individual’s ability to pay attention or participate in meaningful activity, such as head banging, watching fingers wiggle or rocking side to side. Unpurposeful play with a toy can be self-stimulating, such as repetitively spinning the wheels of a toy truck instead of exploring the different ways it can be used. In children, self-stimulation is most common when there is a diagnosis of mental retardation, autism or a psychosis.

Task Analysis – Process of breaking a skill down into smaller steps. 

Visual Supports/Visual Adaptations – Written schedules, lists, charts, picture sequence, and other visuals that convey meaningful information in a permanent format for later reference. Visual supports allow the person with autism to function more independently without constant verbal directions.

IEP – Individualized Education Plan – 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 a child will participate with non-handicapped peers at school. The IEP is developed by the child’s parents and 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.

IFSP – Individualized Family Service Plan  – A written plan describing the child ages 0-5’s current level of development; the family’s strengths and needs related to enhancement of the child’s development; goals for the child and the other family members (as applicable), including the criteria, procedures and time lines used to evaluate progress,  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. The IFSP should be evaluated and adjusted at least once a year and reviewed at least every six months. The IFSP is required by the IDEA for all children receiving early intervention services.

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.

PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) – An alternative communication system that uses picture cards.

Receptive Language – The ability to understand what is being expressed, including verbal and nonverbal communication. Compare to Expressive Language.

Reinforcement – A pleasant event that occurs immediately as a direct result of an action and that increases the strength of the action or the likelihood that the action will be repeated.

SIB – Self-Injurious Behavior – Abnormal behaviors that are harmful to oneself, such as head-banging or scratching or biting oneself.

Self-Stimming, Self-Regulatory and Self-Stimulatory Behavior – Defined as unusual behaviors that interfere with the individual’s ability to pay attention or participate in meaningful activity, such as head banging, watching fingers wiggle or rocking side to side. Unpurposeful play with a toy can be self-stimulating, such as repetitively spinning the wheels of a toy truck instead of exploring the different ways it can be used. In children, self-stimulation is most common when there is a diagnosis of mental retardation, autism or a psychosis.

Task Analysis – Process of breaking a skill down into smaller steps. 

Visual Supports/Visual Adaptations – Written schedules, lists, charts, picture sequence, and other visuals that convey meaningful information in a permanent format for later reference. Visual supports allow the person with autism to function more independently without constant verbal directions.

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart." 
-Helen Keller