Autism Terms Glossary

Choose a letter or browse the list below...
  1. A

    • ABC Data:

      Antecedent (A,) Behavior (B,) Consequence (C,) data collected and analyzed to determine a hypothesized function of behavior which drives clinical rationale for the treatment plan and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).

    • Adaptive Skills:

      Functional skills including daily living, self-care, community living, domestic, etc.

    • Antecedent Strategies:

      Strategies that are used prior to known triggers which involve modifying the environment to reduce the likelihood that a learner will engage in challenging behaviors. Strategies include priming, Premack principle, choice-making, etc.

    • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA):

      A scientific approach to understanding behavior and how it is influenced by the environment with a focus on enhancing socially significant behaviors.

    • Autism:

      A pervasive developmental disorder that commonly manifests in early childhood, characterized by impaired communication, excessive rigidity, and emotional detachment: now considered one of the autism spectrum disorders.

    • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2):

      A diagnostic instrument specifically determined to be empirically valid for accurately identifying autism, along with measures of adaptive behavior and social emotional functioning. It was developed in the 1980’s as a tool for autism research and is considered the gold standard for a clinical diagnosis of ASD.

  2. B

    • Baseline Data:

      Data collected prior to any intervention or teaching taking place. Shows an individual’s skill level prior to any outside influence from the treatment program.

    • Behavior Analyst:

      The supervisor of the program and your go-to regarding all questions, rationale, ideas, and input that you might have. They will oversee the program, the implementation of the teaching of the goals, and constantly be assessing what is and isn’t working.

    • Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP):

      Developed after an FBA is completed and includes positive behavior supports to decrease problematic behaviors while increasing desired/replacement behaviors related to the functions of behavior.

    • Behavior Technician (BT):

      The 1:1 staff that will come to your home and/or school with your child for the previously arranged schedule and implement the goals and teaching strategies decided upon by the Behavior Analyst. They will provide the clinically recommended hours per week that were prescribed by the assessor.

    • Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA):

      An undergraduate-level certification in behavior analysis. Professionals at this level provide behavior-analytic services that must be supervised by a BCBA or BCBA-D (doctoral-level BCBA).

    • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA):

      A graduate-level certification in behavior analysis. Professionals certified at the BCBA level are independent practitioners who provide behavior-analytic services.

  3. C

    • Caregiver Education:

      An essential piece of an ABA program which incorporates specific goals for the caregiver(s) of the learner. These goals include teaching the foundational knowledge of ABA and specific strategies and decision-making that can be learned and implemented outside of ABA sessions and after the conclusion of ABA services.

    • Central Reach:

      The online, cloud-based platform used both during and outside of sessions for data collection, programming, scheduling, and conversion of sessions.

    • Challenging Behaviors:

      Also referred to as maladaptive behaviors, are any behaviors that present a barrier to an individual’s autonomy in their environment.

    • Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS):

      Observes a child’s behavior and uses a 15-point scale to evaluate a child’s relationship to people, body use, adaptation to change, listening response, and verbal communication.

    • Client Partnership Agreement (CPA):

      An annual document distributed to current clients detailing company policies and procedures.

    • Clinical Prescription:

      Therapy hours recommended after the FBA process is completed, including the clinical recommendation for the direct hours that a child will need to receive to make adequate progress toward behavior reduction and skill development. This recommendation also includes supervision hours and parent education hours.

    • Clinical Team:

      The Clinical Team is compromised of all individuals assigned to work with your child in differing capacities, such as a behavior analyst, behavior technician, and/or program manager.

    • Comorbidity:

      The simultaneous presence of two or more medical conditions in a patient.

    • Consequence Strategies:

      Strategies used after the learner engages in either a challenging or appropriate behavior which involve minimizing reinforcement for challenging behavior and increasing reinforcement for appropriate behavior.

    • Coordination of Care:

      Typically driven by the ABA Clinical Team, coordination of care exists when differing service providers (OT, PT, SLP, etc.) work together to share strategies and best practices for providing support to a learner across all their environments and service providers.

  4. D

    • Developmental Domains:

      Interdependent domains of childhood development in which progress is tracked through developmental milestones. The seven domains include: language, cognitive, gross motor, fine motor, self-help and adaptive, social and emotional, and spiritual and moral.

    • Direct Instruction:

      A systematic approach to teaching and maintaining skills through the implementation of carefully designed and individualized curriculum.

    • Discrete Trial Training (DTT):

      A teaching method that focuses on breaking skills down into smaller sub-skills while using clear instructions and reinforcement to develop learning.

  5. E

    • Echolalia:

      The persistent repetition of words or phrases.

    • Error Correction:

      A teaching procedure used to increase motivation in learning situations by preventing mistakes and creating more opportunities for reinforcement.

    • Expressive Language:

      An individual’s ability to communicate thoughts and feelings through words, gestures, signs, and/or symbols.

    • Extinction Burst:

      An increase in a challenging behavior is demonstrated following the discontinuation of previously provided reinforcement (extinction procedure).

    • Extinction Procedure:

      When reinforcement of a challenging behavior is no longer provided and the behavior begins to decrease as a result.

  6. F

    • Function of Behavior:

      Applied Behavior Analysis follows the idea that there are four functions or reasons an individual engages in any given behavior. These four functions are: sensory stimulation, escape, access to attention, and access to tangibles. All treatment plans and BIP’s are driven from the hypothesized function of behavior.

    • Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA):

      A systematic procedure that is used to identify problem behaviors and the specific circumstances under which the behaviors are more likely and less likely to occur.

    • Functional Communication Training (FCT):

      This is used to teach an alternative communicative response that produces the same reinforcer that maintains a challenging behavior. As such, use of the alternative communicative response produces the reinforcer and the challenging behavior is put on extinction.

  7. G

    • Generalization:

      Achieved when a child is able to demonstrate a skill that was learned in a specific environment and/or context in a new environment and/or context.

  8. H

    • Hour Recommendations:

      Therapy hours recommended by an assessor are treated similarly to a medical prescription given by a doctor. These include hours that your child will receive directly, supervision hours, and parent education hours that will assist in your child making adequate progress.

  9. I

    • Individualized Education Plan (IEP):

      A legal document created under United States law that is developed for a child who is enrolled in public school and determined eligible for special education. This document outlines individualized goals for your child as well as identifies who will be considered a part of the child’s “team.”

    • Interdisciplinary Care:

      Different therapies such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and/or Physical Therapy are provided in a purposefully coordinated manner.

  10. J

    Coming soon.

  11. K

    Coming soon.

  12. L

    • Learning Environment:

      Creating a quiet and calm environment in your home during your child’s therapy sessions. Remove any distractions that may impede your child’s ability to learn or affect their focus, such as a loud television, phone calls and visitors.

    • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE):

      An educational term that refers to the most typical environment in which a learner can make academic and social progress. This is determined by the IEP team and is individualized for each learner.

  13. M

    • Maintenance:

      The continued demonstration of a learned skill across time, people, and settings after all teaching has ceased.

    • Misconception:

      A misunderstanding about the facts. Stereotypes are often caused by misconceptions but can also be caused by past experiences and the media, among other influences.

    • Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised with Follow-Up (M-CHAT-R/F):

      A brief checklist of yes/no items for early detection among children 16 to 30 months of age.

  14. N

    • Natural Environment Teaching (NET):

      Teaching occurs in the natural environment and using naturally occurring events. It leads to an individual being able to learn skills in one environment and generalize them to other environments.

    • Neurodiversity:

      Variation in the human brain regarding developmental skills including learning, attention, sociability, etc.

    • Neuroplasticity:

      The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.

  15. O

    • Occupational Therapy:

      A therapeutic intervention that helps people across their lifespan to do the things they want and need. By promoting health and living better with injury, illness, or disability, the intervention focuses on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person and their abilities.

    • Operational Definition:

      Defines what the behavior of interest looks like in a way that is observable, measurable and repeatable. It should include examples of what the behavior is and what the behavior is not.

  16. P

    • Pairing Process:

      The process in which staff pairs themselves with reinforcing/preferred items and/or activities so that a client associates them with these things.

    • Parallel Play:

      A skill in which individuals, typically toddlers (ages 2-3 years old), play alongside each other in similar activities without obvious communication or interaction.

    • Peer-Mediated Instruction and Intervention (PMII):

      Educates and trains children without an autism or related diagnosis to be ‘peer mentors’. Peer mentors then work with their classmates with autism on specific social tasks or play interactions.

    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)::

      Equipment used by the Clinical Team to minimize the spread of bodily fluids or for safety purposes. Examples include gloves, face masks, and arm guards.

    • Program Manager:

      A Master’s Level supervisor that is provided oversight for all their work by a BCBA. A Program Manager is typically working toward their BCBA license.

    • Progress Report:

      Typically written every 6 months, this report demonstrates a child’s progress using developmental assessments, graphs, and data analysis to show which goals have been met and continue to be worked on by the Clinical Team. A Behavior Intervention Plan is also included to show progress toward behavior reduction and increasing replacement behaviors.

    • Punishment:

      Occurs when a behavior decreases as a consequence of either adding or removing something from the environment.

  17. Q

    Coming soon.

  18. R

    • Receptive Language:

      The ability to understand and comprehend language that an individual hears or reads.

    • Redirection:

      This strategy involves using a prompt to direct a child’s behavior to a more appropriate behavior. A redirection can be a verbal instruction, an indirect statement or question, a gesture, a modeled response or a physical prompt.

    • Registered Behavior Technician (RBT):

      A paraprofessional certification in behavior analysis. RBT’s assist in delivering behavior analysis services and practice under the direction and supervision of a BCBA.

    • Reinforcement:

      Occurs when a behavior increases because of the consequence of either adding or subtracting something from the environment.

    • Replacement Behaviors:

      Things a child can do instead of challenging behaviors to get their needs met. Replacement behaviors include teaching functional communication skills so the individual can ask for help, access, or to withdraw from situations without engaging in the challenging behaviors.

    • Response Blocking:

      This procedure involves interrupting the child as he or she begins to engage in a challenging behavior to prevent completion of the challenging behavior. It aims to use the least amount of physical contact possible and/or a verbal prompt to stop the challenging behavior.

  19. S

    • Self-Stimulatory Behaviors:

      Also known as ‘stimming,’ these behaviors are often described as repetitive and can include body movements, the manipulation of objects in a rigid manner and/or vocal repetition. These behaviors can occur for a variety of reasons, beginning with self-regulation.

    • Sensory Play:

      A type of play that stimulates a child’s senses.

    • Session Notes:

      Anecdotal data documented at the end of each session by the Clinical Team to record progress made during session, describe challenging behaviors, and/or any pertinent information reported by caregivers that is deemed important to notate.

    • Shaping:

      A tool used in ABA for reinforcing gradual steps toward a desired skill or behavior. It breaks complex tasks into smaller pieces, making it easier for the learner to master.

    • Sleep Assessment Training Tool (SATT):

      A tool that is utilized to collect data about a child’s sleep habits that can be used to establish a plan for sleep training.

    • Sleep Training:

      A wide variety of methods and techniques that can be applied and integrated into a child’s bedtime routine to improve sleep.

    • Social Play:

      Any play in which children of a similar age play and interact with each other. Play is often structured and can incorporate elements of pretend or imagination.

    • Social Skills Training (SST)::

      Can help autistic children develop social skills in a structured way. SST implements a wide range of interventions and instructional methods to help an individual understand and improve social skills.

    • Social Story:

      A narrative of an everyday social situation written from the child’s perspective.

    • Solitary Play:

      One of the earliest stages of play development in which a child plays with toys or items in their environment alone.

    • Speech and Language Therapy:

      A treatment that can help improve communication skills, eating, drinking, and swallowing.

    • Stereotype:

      A generalization about an entire group based on race, gender, age and so on.

    • Stereotypy:

      Vocal Stereotypy in the context of autism refers to repetitive vocal output that is not functional for daily communication. It’s considered a form of stereotypic behavior, which is a diagnostic criterion for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as per the DSM-5. These vocalizations can be non-contextual or nonfunctional speech, including singing, babbling, repetitive grunts, squeals, and phrases unrelated to the present situation.

      For example, a child with autism might repeatedly make a sound like “ee, ee, ee, ee” outside the context of a vocal imitation task or laugh in the absence of a humorous event. This behavior serves an internal purpose for the individual, such as self-stimulation or regulation, even though it may not have an apparent external function

  20. T

    • Task Analysis:

      The process of breaking down a skill into smaller, more manageable components. Often used to teach adaptive skills such as brushing teeth, washing hands, dressing, etc.

    • Telehealth:

      The mode of delivering health care services via information and communication technologies (i.e., web-based) to facilitate consistent delivery of services, supervision, etc.

    • Token Economy:

      A reward system used in behavior modification programs involving providing tangible rewards for appropriate behaviors.

  21. U

    Coming soon.

  22. V

    • VB-MAPP Assessment:

      The Verbal Behavior Milestones and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) is a comprehensive assessment tool that is updated every 6 months to demonstrate skill-tracking and the development of a child specifically related to verbal and related skills.

    • Video Modeling:

      An effective social skills training method which uses video as a tool to teach social concepts. The child watches a video demonstration of a behavior and then attempts to perform the particular social skill immediately after.

    • Vineland Assessment:

      The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS or Vineland-3) is a standardized assessment tool that utilizes a semi-structured caregiver interview to measure adaptive behavior and support the diagnosis of intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, and developmental delays.

    • Visual Supports:

      These help the child understand and predict upcoming events, activities, rules, and instructions by utilizing visual cues. This strategy can greatly enhance learning for children who are stronger visual learners than they are auditory learners.

  23. W

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  24. X

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  25. Y

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  26. Z

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  27. 0

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  28. 1

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  29. 2

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  30. 3

    • 3-Tier Model:

      A supervision model delivered which includes a Program Manager/Senior Program Manager with oversight provided by a Behavior Analyst/Senior Behavior Analyst.

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