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Special Needs Jargon Buster

For parents who are just starting on their autism/Asperger’s journey there is a lot to take in and understanding the terminology and abreviations for the various professionals, procedures etc can be confusing on top of trying to come to terms with their childs diagnosis. We have listed some of the abbreviations/terms you may come across below, however if there is something you think should be added please feel free to contact us so we can update this post.

Annual Review Meeting – If your child has a Statement or EHC plan this will be reviewed yearly at an Annual Review Meeting (people who should attend are parents, school SENCo, SALT, class teacher)

ADOS – Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. In order to get a diagnosis your child may have an ADOS test as part of their assessment. The test is carried out by a trained professional (usually a paediatrician) and usually takes around an hour.  They are looking for the prevalence of autistic behaviour and once completed the scores will be totted up and if the total is above a certain number it is likely that your child is on the spectrum. You should receive a detailed report which will also state where your child scored.

AS – Asperger’s Syndrome

ASC / ASD – Autistic Spectrum Condition/Disorder

CAMHS – Child and Adult Mental Health Services

Carers Allowance – A benefit which you can apply for if you are a parent/carer of a child who receives middle rate DLA and if you earn less than £100/week.

DLA – Disability Living Allowance. A benfit which you can apply for if your child has a disability (diagnosis not essential) and needs extra support over and above that of a typical child of the same age.

Dyspraxia – affects fine/gross motor skills and also organisation and planning ability (eg difficulty using knife and fork, slow and unsteady coming downstairs, cannot ride a bike, needs help to organise belongings etc)If you think your child may have Dyspraxia it is best to ask for referral to an OT. For further info see our useful links section.

EP / Ed Psych – Educational Psychologist. Most children with autism will have seen an Ed Psych as part of their original assessment. The Ed Psych can advise as to how the child can be best supported in school.

EHC Plan – Education, Health & Care Plan (brought in Sep 2014 to replace the Statement of SEN, this is a document issued when a child needs extra support at school over and above that of their peers)

Hypermobility – double-jointedness. Many children will have hypermobility, it can affect one joint or several. Most commonly seems to occur in fingers, elbows, hips and feet. Children may also have low muscle tone and may complain of aching legs when walking or sore hands when writing. An OT referral is the best route for diagnosis.

IEP – Individual Education Plan. A plan agreed between school and parents to help a child with a Statement/EHC to achieve their own personnal tagets. A paper copy is normally provided listing the targets and how they will be achieved. The plan is normally reviewed at least twice per year.

Irlen Syndrome – some children are reluctant to read or may lose their place a lot, misread words, skip words etc. It may be worth getting them assessed for Irlen Syndrome (certain opticians are able to do this). If the child is found to have Irlens they will be recommended overlays or even glasses in the specific colour which is appropriate to them.

LSA / TA – Learning Support Assistant/Teaching Assistant. If it is deemed that your child needs extra support in school they may be assigned an LSA/TA who will help them to access the curriculum.

OT – Occupational Therapist. If your child has coordination difficulties they may be referred to an OT for assessment. The OT can help with things like pencil grip, use of scissors, dressing etc. and can give advice on how to best help your child with their difficulties. See also SPD below re Sensory OT.

SALT / SLT – Speech and Language Therapy(ist). Many children with ASC will see a SALT, they help with understanding of words, knowing what to say, pronunciation, helping with stammers etc.

School Action. Help for a child using the schools own resources.

School Action Plus. Help for the child using extra (outside) resources.

SEN – Special Educational Needs. Any child diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s syndrome is considered to have SEN, even if they are very clever.

SENCo – Special Educational Needs Coordinator (every school should have an assigned SENCO)

SPD – Sensory Processing Disorder. Most children who have autism will have some degree of sensory processing disorder. They may be hyper or hyposensitive to things such as bright light, certain noises (hand-dryers being a common one), smells, tastes (picky eater or over eater?), being touched etc. Trafford has a Specialist Sensory OT (waiting list) but you can also see one privately. See our useful links section for a link to more info.

Statement – a document issued when a child needs support over and above that of their peers. The document states the childs diagnosis’ and what support is needed in order to help them achieve in an education setting.

For further information on some of the above please have a look at our Useful Links section or if not try Google or contact us.

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