Autism acronyms: words you hear all the time

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Jude, Charlie’s little brother.

Autism Jargon: say that again?

One thing I wish they had given us after Charlie was diagnosed with autism is a little book with all those autism acronyms we were going to be hearing all the time. The week following the diagnosis, we met with many many professionals (neurologist, therapists, pediatrician, insurance agents…). They were all using these acronyms I had never heard before, I felt like they were speaking a different language. It was overwhelming.

Now, I’m guilty of using them too much. Though, I realize that people who are not familiar with autism probably have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s become natural to me but like I said it was gibberish to me just three years ago. Hence the reason why I decided to write a list of jargon, slang and acronyms commonly use in the autism community. I hope it’ll help parents whom children were just diagnosed with ASD. It may also be helpful for the general public trying to learn more about autism.

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Autism Acronyms and Vocabulary 

  • AAC: Alternative Augmentative Communication
  • ABA Therapy: Applied behavior analysis
  • ADOS: Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale
  • ARD: Admission, Review, Dismissal
  • ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • AS: Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Aspie: A person with Asperger’s Syndrome
  • BCBA: Board Certified Behavior Analysis
  • CARS: Childhood Autism Rating Scale
  • DAS: Developmental Apraxia of Speech
  • DSM: Diagnostic Statistical Manual
  • Dx: Diagnostic, Diagnosed
  • ECI: Early Childhood Intervention
  • EI: Early Intervention
  • GARS: Gilliam Autism Rating Scale
  • HFA: High Functioning Autism
  • IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • IEP: Individualized Education Plan
  • M-Chat:Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (Autism screening tool)
  • NT: Neurotypical
  • OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • OT: Occupational therapy/therapist
  • PDD NOS: Persuasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
  • PECS: Picture Exchange Communication System
  • PPCD: Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (in Texas)
  • PT: Physical Therapy or Therapist
  • SLP: Speech and Language Pathologist
  • SPD: Sensory Processing Disorder
  • ST: Speech therapy/therapist

What words do you use all the time? Comment below and I’ll add them to this autism acronyms list.

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