Autism Terms

Here is a list of “autism-related” words that I commonly use in my posts.
Sources linked where available.

  • ABAApplied Behavior Analysis. The application of differnt conditioning to modify human behaviors as part of a learning or treatment process. BCBAs and ABA tutors focus on the observable relationship of behavior to the environment, including antecedents and consequences, without resort to “hypothetical constructs”. By functionally assessing the relationship between a targeted behavior and the environment, the methods of ABA can be used to change that behavior.
  • ABA Tutor – person who works with person receiving ABA to conduct the lesson plan created by BCBA.
  • BabyNet – state program in South Carolina set up to provide early intervention for qualifying kids under the age of three.
  • BCBABoard Certified Behavior Analyst. Individuals who have completed rigorous coursework and passed the exam set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
  • Bright Start – the name of the company that The Munchkin’s early interventionalist worked for in South Carolina.
  • Early Intervention – work done/therapy provided to help children who have not yet turned three improve on motor, speech, and/or other skills that they might be lacking.
  • Early Interventionalist – person who conducts early intervention sessions. (See early intervention.
  • Echolalia – the automatic repetition of vocalizations made by another person.
  • EFMP – Army program that helps families with a special needs member. It provides community support, housing, medical, educational, and personnel services.
  • ESY – abbreviation for Extended School Year, which is a program run by the public school district, during the summer, for kids who qualify for it.
  • Fine Motor Skills – the coordination of small muscle movements which occur in body parts such as the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes. In relation to motor skills of hands and fingers, the term dexterity is commonly used.
  • Gross Motor Skills – the coordination of large muscle movements like running or jumping, that generally develop in head-to-toe order. (Ex: Babies learn to lift their heads up before they learn to walk.)
  • IEPIndividualized Education Program. Every child with special needs has one of these, and it spells out any accommodations that need to be made for the child as well as the goals the school needs to work on throughout the year. It also spells out any extra services the school must provide for the child. The Munchkin has an accommodation that he needs to wear a weighted vest for 30 minutes over the course of the day, and that he gets speech and OT at least once during the school week. He also has four goals that they’re working on.
  • IEP Meetings – a meeting held to discuss a child’s IEP. They are held periodically to see if the child has met any goals, or to address if any changes need to be made. See IEP.
  • IFSPIndividual Family Service Plan. Similar to an IEP, but involves the family instead of the school. They expire at age three, because at that point, the child usually starts school, and an IEP takes over.
  • Motor Planning – the ability to conceive, plan, and carry out a skilled, non-habitual motor act in the correct sequence from beginning to end. The ability to motor plan is a learned ability which is generalized to all unfamiliar tasks so a child does not need to consciously figure out each new task he or she faces. The child with motor planning difficulties may be slow in carrying out verbal instructions and often appears clumsy in new tasks.
  • Neurotypical – an abbreviation of neurologically typical. A term coined in the autistic community as a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum. So…normal people.
  • OT – abbreviation for occupational therapy, which is a form of therapy in which patients are encouraged to engage in vocational tasks. They can work on fine or gross motor skills, as well as daily activities that involve these skills. (Like putting on socks.) The Munchkin also works with his therapist to regulate his sensory needs.
  • Peer model – A neurotypical child in a classroom setting who poses as an example for a child or children with special needs.
  • Occupational Therapist – person who performs occupational therapy. See above.
  • Pincher Grasp – the ability to hold things between your index finger and thumb, similar to how crabs “pinch” things with their claws.
  • Shared Enjoyment – when two people enjoy the same thing. A significant milestone for children, which can be observed when a child enjoys something, and then tries to get the attention of someone else to see if they saw it too.
  • Speech Therapy – therapy given to help those with deficits in their speech. See also Speech Pathologist.
  • Squeeze Machine – unofficial name given to a deep pressure machine that has four (or more?) rollers on it, and the user pushes him or herself through it. Pressure is applied to the rollers by elastic bands, and thereby onto the user’s body, with more able to be applied be applied by pushing slightly onto the rollers. The point of the machine is to apply deep pressure to the user’s whole body, and is great for people seeking sensory stimulation.
  • Stimming – slang for Self-stimulatory behavior. The repetition of physical movements, sounds, or repetitive movement of objects common in individuals with developmental disabilities, but most prevalent in people with autistic spectrum disorders. This is what I’m talking about when I mention any “Flapping” or “Verbal Stimming” in a post.

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