Autism Guide for Parents: Slang, Acronyms and Jargon

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What to do after your child was diagnosed with autism?

Your child has just been diagnosed with autism. Congratulations! You are now one of us. Did you receive that overwhelming Autism Guide? An autism diagnosis isn’t a condemnation nor a death sentence – you’re just taking a different route that you’d imagined.  Your life as you dreamed it may not happen the same way, but you’ll soon discover the beauty of that new life that was just presented to you. Remember, different is not less than.

Before you start your new adventure, there are things you’ll want to know. If your child was just diagnosed, you probably feel a mix of emotions: sadness, fear, uncertainty, relief, anger, confusion… I’ve felt all of these emotions myself and more. It’s definitely overwhelming.  To start off, I recommend reading this short text from Emily Pearl Kingsley that I love. It’s beautiful, well-written, and it’ll make you feel like you’re not alone. You’re not!

Parents Autism guide for beginners

Since I started sharing our journey with autism, I’ve received many messages and questions. I’m so happy to read your messages, so glad that reading my posts has helped people. Keep them coming! For that reason, I decided to write a simple autism guide for people who are looking for support in their new adventure.What parents really need is a simple guide, something easy to understand: Autism for Beginners. An ELI5 (Explain like I’m 5) Autism guide! I’m working on it! This is part 2, you can find part 1 here: What to do after an autism diagnosis, 10 tips for raising an autistic child.

There are many free resources available for parents and children on the autism spectrum but I’m lucky that I’ve met the right people during our autism journey. Charlie’s therapists are amazing. Not only they do an incredible job with Charlie but they’ve taught me a lot. Now it’s my turn to share what I’ve learned.

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Autism Jargon: say that again?

Another thing I wish they had given us after Charlie was diagnosed with autism is a little book that explains what all those autism acronyms mean. 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 two 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. Furthermore, it may be helpful for the general public trying to learn more about autism.

Autism Guide Part 1: 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

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There are many more but these are the expressions you’ll hear the most and right away.

Tell me, what do you wish they had told you after your child was diagnosed with autism? Is there anything you’d like to know more about?

Autism Guide Part 3 coming soon…

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