1. Adaptations
    Adjustments of parenting styles and expectations, family schedules, teaching strategies, educational support systems and other environmental elements to match the needs and maximize the development of an individual learner. Making positive adaptations usually results in behavioral benefits not only to the child, but to family life, school adjustment and other personal interactions outside home and school.
  2. Adaptive Behavior
    The ability of the individual to apply previously learned skills to new situations. Adaptive behavior involves the expansion of cognitive and behavioral skills required for generalization. Structured and guided assistance in using previously acquired skills in new situations can serve as a base for making more frequent and independent behavioral generalizations.
  3. Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule
    A systematic schedule of observations of a child in both natural and arranged situations. Recording and analyzing the results of these observations can help a diagnostician determine if a child’s usual behavior encompasses the criteria for an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The detail and summary results of the observations may also serve as a baseline for the evaluation of future development as well as the basis for prescriptive intervention actions by family, school and therapist.
  4. Advocate
    To take action on someone’s behalf (verb); A person or group taking action on behalf of another (Noun). Parents of children with developmental delays often organize to advocate for their youngster’s schooling, medical or therapeutic interventions and other needs. Local advocacy groups are often identified in the phone book yellow pages and on the internet.
  5. Alternative Communication
    Any approach used to support, supplement or enhance the communication of someone who may not be able express themselves orally. Alternative communication systems may include sign language, pictures, computer displays, manipulation of objects, voice output devices and other methods. Such approaches are sometimes referred to as Augmentative Communication or jointly as Alternative/Agumentative Communication (ACC).
  6. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
    The identification and teaching of specific skills by using methods derived from theories of behavioral psychology. Behavioral psychology is based upon an assumption that observable behaviors and events are the only qualities that can be measured and, therefore, can and should be the focus of therapeutic interventions. A second basic assumption of ABA is that reinforcement, both positive and negative, adequately model the way the world works. Therapeutic practices based on these principles are sometimes referred to as Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI). Both long and short-term studies have demonstrated significant positive effect of ABA and IBI when used systematically as an intervention in working with children with autism.
  7. Apraxia
    A neurological disorder involving the loss of the ability to carry out purposeful actions even though the desire and ability to do so are present. There are several types of apraxia. Paraxia of speech is the ability to understand spoken language and/or written language, and yet, be unable to produce speech. In children speech apraxia can interfere with personal verbal interactions as well as with planning and executing unfamiliar tasks. Other types of aparaxia include ideomotor (inability to carry out a motor command such as, “Touch your toes.,” limb-kinetic (making precise movements of the limbs), ideational (inability to create plans), oculomotor (difficulty with eye movements), and verbal (inability to plan movements required for speech).
  8. Asperger Syndrome (AS)
    A disorder which falls within the range of Autism Spectrum Disorders, but at the higher end of the scale for personal functioning. Asperger may present itself in numerous ways, some of which may be very positive. Children with Asperger may go undiagnosed or be incorrectly diagnosed with various learning and/or personal-social disabilities. Often children with Asperger Syndrome appear to be quite normal or even higher than normal in intelligence and achievement. They may, however, be lacking in social skills involving the give and take of conversation and responding to nonverbal communication cues. Sometimes persons with Asperger may be lacking in empathic expression. For some individuals, Asperger is accompanied by noticeably awkward physical movements.
  9. Assessment
    The collection and organization of a wide range of cognitive, social, educational and personal information about a child organized so as to present a fair representation of his/her behavior. An individual assessment may involve direct observations in different contexts, family/school interviews and observations, formal and informal educational evaluations, norm-based sociological and psychological testing as well as data analysis. The end result of the assessment process is usually a written report which clearly describes the child’s strengths and areas of need. Assessment results can serve as a basis for clear specification of plans and strategies for capitalizing on strengths and meeting needs. It is of utmost importance that assessments prepared by professionals be made available to parents. Parents should also have the opportunity to discuss and question the professional regarding the significance and practical implications of the assessment. As with results of a Diagnostic Schedule, Assessment result may also serve as a baseline for the measurement of on-going development and the effectiveness of therapies.
  10. Attachment Disorders
    Functional disorders having a basis in failure to having formed strong, dependable and nurturing bonds with a consistent, significant and caring figure during infancy and early childhood. Abuse and/or early neglect may contribute to the possibility that attachment disorders may develop. Attachment disorders in later life are often characterized by difficulty in establishing intimate bonds involving friendships and family relationships.. Because of the lack of the significant and positive nurturing and guiding figure(s) during early life, some persons fail to develop a sense of “right and wrong” and may exhibit symptoms of sociopathy including lack of empathy and lack of the understanding of the role that truth-telling and concern for others plays in maintaining positive social relationships.
  11. Audiologist
    An individual professionally trained in the study of hearing disorders, including evaluation of function and rehabilitation for individuals with hearing deficits. The training, skills and advanced audiometric evaluation instruments of an audiologist reach far beyond those of “gross hearing screeners” who report simple pass/fail results which often have a high margin of error. Children who have had persistent ear infections or other illnesses that are known to be associated with auditory problems should probably be referred to an audiologist for evaluation.
  12. Audiometric Chamber
    A small fully sound-proof room which provides complete isolation from outside sounds and other extraneous stimuli. An audiometric chamber helps provide diagnostic hearing evaluations that eliminate variables other than sounds systematically introduced into the chamber. Most often the individual being tested wears headphones through which sounds are presented by an audiologist sitting outside the chamber. The audiologist carefully selects and presents stimuli representing various sound qualities. Results are usually graphically presented at the end of the test period and report full descriptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the reception of auditory stimulation present in the human environment and within the auditory range of reception.
  13. Auditory
    Having to do with the sense of audition (hearing). The sense of audition is made up of three major divisions. The Conductive Mechanisms include the Outer Ear and the Middle Ear. The Sensorineural Mechanisms involve the Inner Ear and the Auditory Nerve while the Central Auditory Mechanism includes the Central Auditory Pathway which transmits messages to the auditory cortex in the brain.
  14. Auditory Brain Stem Response Testing (ABR)
    A noninvasive test of audition which relies upon the measurement of neural impluses recorded from the auditory nerves and the brain. The neural transmissions are measured through the use of small electrodes placed behind each ear and on the forehead. This type of testing is most often recommended by an audiologist who has performed a hearing screening in the newborn nursery. The test is also used for youngsters with serious communication deficits which make traditional audiometric testing difficult or impossible.
  15. Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
    A nonspecific term generally referring to a group of disorders that may be pervasive and include difficulty with social interactions and communication as well as cognitive functions. In some instances ASD may be accompanied by repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. Some forms of autism become evident in the first few years of life while other, usually less extreme variations, are not diagnosed until much later. While numerous causes for autism have been and are being investigated, no specific causal relationships have been scientifically isolated as yet. There is general consensus, however, that autism is a brain disorder, not having origin in the social environment.
  16. Behavior
    An observable action. Behaviors may be responses to things in the environment and/or to internal states such as level of understanding, feelings, emotions and variations in biological states. Most likely some simple and most complex behaviors are the result of the interaction of two or more causes. Since behaviors are observable, when they are carefully recorded and summarized (Functional Analysis/Assessment), they may help to better understand an individual’s approach to social interactions, communication and learning. Functional Analysis may serve as the basis for developing strategies for behavioral change.
  17. Best Practices/Treatment Protocol
    Teaching techniques, parenting techniques, therapeutic practices, or other systematic approaches which have been consistently shown through research and evaluation to reliably produce desired results. Parents, experienced teachers, therapists, medical practitioners and other behavioral specialists rely upon their knowledge of Best Practices/Treatment Protocols to more efficiently work with their children or clients.
  18. Broca’s Area
    A specific area of the brain roughly located in the lower left frontal lobe. Broca’s area is central to language processing and comprehension as well as speech production. Broca’s area is neurally linked to Wernicke’s area which is also crucial in functional human language production and processing. Individuals who suffer damage to Broca’s area may develop a condition called Broca’s aphasia which makes it difficult to produce complex sentences (telegraphic speech). With Broca’s aphasia, comprehension can remain largely in tact while speech production may be limited. This can create an extremely frustrating circumstance for the individual afflicted.
  19. Brushing Therapy
    A therapy developed to aid in reducing tactile defensiveness by using the process of desensitization. Soft brushes similar to the finest of surgical brushes are used to lightly brush the arms, legs and back of individuals who show debilitating signs of tactile repulsion. A program of this sort should begin with such small steps that the problem behavior does not occur, i.e. the point of beginning the therapy should be at such a low intensity as to not evoke the defensive response. Increasing intensity must be done in extraordinarily small steps. Careful design and supervision by a therapist specifically trained in the use of this therapy should always be followed.
  20. Childhood Autism Test (CHAT
    A screening tool developed for pediatricians for use during a child’s 18-month checkup. Based on observations during the checkup, the pediatrician assesses five behaviors and also asks parents to answer,”yes/no” to an additional nine questions. While CHAT is not intended to be a diagnostic instrument, it can alert a pediatrician to the possible need for professional assessment. CHAT is only one of several screening tests for autism.
  21. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
    A rare condition described many years before autism, but only recently recognized in professional diagnostics. The condition usually has its onset in the later stages of early childhood (3-5 years) after a rather extended period of “normal” development. Typically interest in the social environment and sometimes self-care abilities are diminished. Language usage declines as well as general responsiveness to most aspects of the environment. Although no specific medical cause has been identified, some evidence suggests that its origin stems from an unknown central nervous system pathology.
  22. Co-existing Disorders
    Some individuals who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders may also have other disorders. Co-existing conditions that may present with ASD include obsessive-compulsive behavior, poor impulse-control, seizures, mood disorders, anxiety, psychoses and developmental delays of various types.
  23. Cognitive Abilities
    The mental faculties used in receiving, storing and processing information so as to produce an observable outcome or a covert increased capability for reasoning.
  24. Communication
    The imparting or exchange of information, thoughts and/or opinions through speech, writing or signs.
  25. Consequence
    The direct result of an action. Consequences can be pleasant and reinforcing or unpleasant and punishing. Pleasant consequences (positive reinforcers) tend to strengthen the link between an action and its consequence while unpleasant or punishing consequences (punishment) usually weakens the link. Behaving in ways so as to avoid unpleasant consequents is considered negative reinforcement. The consensus of psychological research concludes that children learn and progress best when the dominant reinforcement pattern is positive. Research also indicates that persistent use of punishment tends to produce negative behaviors and attitudes.
  26. Counter Conditioning
    A technique used to change unwanted behavior through teaching a youngster to display a behavior that is counter to or mutually exclusive of the unacceptable behavior. Counter conditioning and desensitization are often used together. Careful planning and implementation are required and should most likely be undertaken under the direction of a therapist skilled in these techniques.
  27. Consultant Therapy
    A method of service delivery in which a service facilitator who is knowledgable in an area brings together professionals to work to identify the needs of a youngster. Once needs are identified, specific behavioral goals should be set and a design to work toward them spelled out. Usually, oversight of the initial assessment, the identification of goals, design of a workable plan and its execution are among the consultant therapist’s responsibilities. When contracting with a consultant therapist, parents should make sure that they are provided and agree with the basic assessment of their youngster. Parents should also receive a written proposal regarding goals set and specific plans to reach them. Another integral part of the contract should be the specification of techniques that will be used to evaluate progress and how results are to be reported to the parents and other identified significant persons.
Card Set
Definition On Autism