ABA – This acronym stands for Applied Behavior Analysis. It is a science which attempts to understand and predict human behavior. ABA is the education therapy of choice for many kids with PDD. By using reinforcement a child is provided many opportunities to learn new behaviors. ABA is also used for modifying and/or reducing challenging behavior.

Asperger’s Syndrome – Is a pervasive developmental disorder that is characterized by near normal language acquisition accompanied by marked delays in the social domain. Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome have normal to above normal intelligence and tend to have restricted areas of interests. Many people/professionals refer to High Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) as one in the same. There is still a lot of controversy as to whether AS and HFA should be two distinct disorders. It is important to note though that some children diagnosed with classic Autism at an early age can gain so much skills that by the time they are adolescents they do not fit the criteria for Autism according to the DSM IV, but Asperger’s Syndrome.

ASD – Is an acronym for Autism Spectrum Disorder. It implies that Autism is a neurological disorder that affects individuals differently and in varying degrees.

Autism – Is a pervasive developmental disability (PDD) that is usually diagnosed within the first three years of life. The major areas of development impacted are the child’s ability to communicate, and acquire social skills.

Behavior Intervention – Is another word for Applied Behavior Analysis.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) - Is a pervasive developmental disorder that is characterized by typical development for at least the first two years of life followed by a marked regression in at least two of the following areas: expressive or receptive language; social skills or adaptive behavior; bowel or bladder control; or play or motor skills.

CPSE – Is an acronym that stands for Committee on Pre-School Special Education. This is the group of people who decide on a child’s education plan at the pre-school level.

CSE - Is an acronym that stands for Committee on Special Education. This is the group of people who decide on a child’s education plan at the school-age level.

Discrete Trial Training (DTT) – DTT is often times what many people erroneously think ABA is. Discrete Trial Training is a teaching technique that incorporates the principles of ABA, some of which include positive reinforcement, reinforcement schedules, shaping, prompting, differential reinforcement, etc. It is not in itself ABA. DTT is a strategy used to teach a child new behaviors in a one-to-one setting. In DTT, larger concepts are broken down into smaller concepts.

DSM IV- Is an abbreviation for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition. It was published by the American Psychiatric Association in 1994 and is the main diagnostic reference of Mental Health professionals in the U.S. Although the name might imply that it only contains information on mental disorders; it does however also contain diagnostic information on developmental disabilities.

Educational modifications – Are modifications to a child’s class work, homework, and/or tests based on the child’s specific learning characteristics and style.

FAPE – As noted in the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), FAPE stands for Free Appropriate Public Education for all eligible students with disabilities. The key word here is “appropriate”.

Floor Time - Developed by Stanley Greenspan, it uses play therapy to help the child gain developmental appropriate skills by following the child’s lead during play activities. During the play activities, the child’s skills in all developmental domains are gradually expanded.

IDEA – An Acronym that stands for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

IEP – is an acronym that stands for Individual Education Plan. A child with a disability is given an IEP by their local school district once the child turns 3 years of age. It outlines the child’s classroom setting based on LRE, educational modifications, classification, related services, annual goals and objectives, etc.

IFSP – Is an acronym that stands for Individual Family Service Plan. This is the name given to the individual education plan for children under three years old.

LRE – Is an Acronym that stands for Least Restrictive Environment. It refers to the educational placement of individuals with disabilities as per the IDEA. For example, an integrative classroom setting is a less restrictive environment than a self-contained classroom setting.

Natural environment teaching/incidental teaching – This refers to teaching a child while in their home or community. It refers to teaching a child new skills while in the natural context or “in the moment”. Teaching a child in the natural environment helps a child to make sense of what they learn during formal instruction and also helps them generalize new skills.

PDD-NOS – This is an acronym that stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. This is basically the diagnosis that children get when they do not fit the criteria according to the DSM IV for Autism disorder, Rett’s disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD). PDD-NOS is also sometimes referred to as Atypical Autism, High Functioning Autism or Mild Autism.

PDD - Is an acronym that stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder. The PDD’s are Autism Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified, Rett’s Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD).

PECS – Is an acronym for the Picture Exchange Communication System. It is a communication program that assists children in using words to communicate. It is widely used with non-verbal individuals with Autism. It was developed at the Delaware Autistic Program. It uses pictures to help a child request for items or activities. The child initiates a request by giving an adult a picture of what they want.

Rett’s Disorder - Is a pervasive developmental disorder that is characterized by loss of specific developmental skills following a period of normal development after birth. The child develops characteristic hand wringing or washing following a period of purposeful hand movement. The child becomes more disinterested in the social environment and has significant delays in expressive and receptive language skills. The child’s gross motor development worsens and the rate at which his head grows in size slows down.

Sensory Integration Therapy - Many individuals with PDD are either hypo or hyper sensitive to different stimuli. For example, they might be very aversive to the noise that scissors make when a barber cuts their hair. Sensory integration therapy is usually given by an Occupational therapist. The therapist attempts to de-sensitize the individual to aversive stimuli by systematically introducing aversive stimuli to him.

Social Stories – Developed by Carol Gray, social stories are simple stories that describe social events and situations that are difficult for a child with a PDD to understand. For example, a social story might be written about birthday parties if the child appears to have a difficult time understanding what is expected of him or how he is suppose to behave at a birthday party.

TEACH – TEACH stands for (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped). It was developed at the School of Medicine at the University of California in the 1970s. Its main teaching premise is that the environment should be adapted for the child, not the child to the environment. It also focuses on the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Frequent use of visual aides, schedules, and other environmental accommodations are implemented to promote a better learning environment.

Reference: Autism Society of America