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A Helpful Glossary Of Terms

| Hgrant |

Professionals that work with children and adults with autism often get used to a manner of speaking with other professionals that might sound a little foreign to outsiders. They use their own set of terms that can be confusing. Particularly if your child has just recently received a diagnosis of autism, the language can be very confusing. At Lexington Services, we are always trying to be a resource for the community that we serve. This glossary contains some common terms and their definitions to make communication easier and aid parents and caregivers in developing a greater understanding of what’s going on with their loved one.


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) –

A teaching method which analyzes behavior and seeks to measurably change behavior through a system of reinforcement.

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) –

A 1990 civil rights law created to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities in regard to employment, public service, and accomodations.

Adaptive Skills –

Skills used in daily living like eating, dressing and toileting.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) –

A disorder among children characterized by persistent impulsiveness, hyperactivity and a short attention span.

Aphasia –

Loss of the ability to use or understand words.

Apraxia –

Apraxia is a disorder of voluntary movement, where a person is partially or fully incapacitated to perform purposeful movements.

Autism –

A disability characterized by language and communication struggles, a lack of normal relatedness, engagement in self-stimulating behavior, and a lack of neurotypical functional skills.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) –

A term that encompasses autism and other similar disorders on the spectrum. Asperger’s syndrome is now included in ASD.

Community-Based –

Instruction and services that happen in a neutral or comfortable environment, rather than a school or institution.

Developmental Delay (DD) –

A child who develops skills after the “expected” age to achieve cognitive, adaptive, physical, communication and social skills.

Early Intervention –

Early intervention is the remedial or preventative inclusion of services and education for children with autism early in their development to promote better outcomes.

Fine Motor –

Related to the use of small muscles of the body like those of the hands, feet, fingers and toes.

Gluten-Free/ Casein-Free (GF/CF) –

Refers to a gluten-free or casein-free diet.

Gross Motor –

Relates to the use of the large muscles of the body.

High-Functioning Autism (HFA) –

Refers to the cognitive abilities of a person with autism.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) –

A federal law that provides comprehensive protection for the privacy of health information.

Hyperlexia –

A condition where an individual has an above average ability to read with a below average ability to understand spoken language.

Hypersensitive –

Being overly sensitive to touch, movement, sights, or sounds.

Hyposensitive –

Being under responsive to touch, movement, sights, or sounds.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) –

An annual education plan written by support providers, parents, therapists and teachers for students with disabilities which directs their goals for the year.

Individualized Service Plan (ISP) –

Similar to the IEP, the Individualized Service Plan is written by service providers, therapists and parents to set goals and provisions for DDD services.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) –

A child with disabilities should be educated in the least restrictive environment for their needs.

Neurodiversity –

One of the newer and more controversial terms, Neurodiversity is the idea that neurological differences like autism and ADHD are the result of normal and natural variations in the human genome.

Neurotypical –

A term coined to refer to people who experience the world in a more prevalent way.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) –

An anxiety disorder which is characterized by recurrent, time-consuming obsessive or compulsive behaviors that cause stress or impairment.

Occupational Therapy (OC) –

Therapy that focuses on daily living skills, sensory integration, adaptive behavior and fine motor skills.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) –

A communication system which uses an exchange of picture cards and other visual aids to communicate and individuals needs or desires.

Post-Secondary Goal

Goals for people with disabilities outlined in their IEP after the age of 14 that set goals for two areas: post-secondary education and employment.

Self-Stimulatory Behavior (Stimming) –

A behavior that is done primarily to stimulate one’s senses, such as rocking back and forth or hand-flapping.

Sensory Integration –

Refers to an individual’s ability to absorb and process information through their senses of touch, movement, small, taste, vision, and hearing.

Also may refer to the curriculum and classroom diversity practiced at
Lexington to integrate sensory needs into lessons to help students learn.

Social Skills –

Positive and appropriate social behaviors needed to communicate and interact.

Speech Therapy

Therapy designed to diagnose and treat disorders of speech and language, as well as voice disorders.

Transition/ Transition Goal –

These are similar terms. Transition is the process by which a child with autism is prepared for and eventually progresses to a new level of education or independence.

Lexington Specific Terms

Attendant Care (ATC) –

Services provided to assist a person manage their essential and regular personal care needs

Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) –

The DDD is an organization that provides support and services to individuals with disabilities to foster independence and growth.

Day Treatment for Adults (DTA) –

A Lexington Program to provide care and support for adults in the community with special needs in one of our many centers.

Day Treatment & Training Summer (DTS) –

Lexington programs for young people with special needs similar to DTT that take place during the summer between class breaks.

Day Treatment & Training (DTT) –

A Lexington Program that provides support and care for young people with special needs in one of our excellent centers

Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) –

A division of support through Lexington Services that provides care in home or in comfortable locations to make provide comfort to our members.

Habilitation (HAB) –

Services that help members with special needs to perform adaptive skills such as eating, dressing and toileting.

Individually Designed Living Arrangement (IDLA) –

A program offered through Lexington designed to assist members that demonstrate the ability to live on their own as they foster their own independence.

Pre-service Provider Orientation (PSO) –

Required training for providers that Lexington Services makes every provider go through to make sure our members come first.

Release of Information (ROI) –

An information release for members to appear in media for Lexington Services.

Respite (RSP) –

A service provided to family and caregivers of members with special needs allowing them to recuperate and relieve the stress of caregiving.

We hope that these terms help you in conversations with providers and teachers in regard to your loved ones. As always, feel free to contact a member of our staff here at Lexington Services by calling 480-900-1009.

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