My sister is a professor of nuclear science.
When she speaks to me about her work I nod my head and listen but I must confess I often have no idea what she is talking about.
It is like a foreign language, but to her it is everyday speak.
It is the same in the world of special needs. You find yourself scrolling through posts on any disability forum or social media page and you could easily feel like you are in another world.
So here is a list of the most commonly used acronyms in the UK among special needs families that I have found.
Feel free to share or use or even print out to refer to when you need.
AAC - lternative or augmentative communication (a means of communication without using speech)
ABA - applied behavioural analysis (a strategy used by some therapists to support children with autism)
ADHD - attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
ADOS - autism diagnostic observation schedule (a means of assessment for autism)
ASD (or ASC) - autism spectrum disorder or autism spectrum condition
BSL - British sign language
CA - carer’s allowance
CAMHS - child and adolescent mental health service
CBT - cognitive behaviour therapy (a type of therapy used to help reduce anxiety or depression)
CSP - co-ordinated support plan (a Scottish only legal support plan for children in education)
DLA - disability living allowance (a non means tested benefit for children who require extra care)
EBD - emotional and behavioural difficulties
ED. P - educational psychologist
EHCP - education and health care plan (English education plan for children with additional needs)
EP - enhanced provision (smaller classes for children with higher support needs)
GDD - global developmental delay (developmental delay in three or more areas)
GFCF - gluten free casein free (a diet that means no gluten or casein)
HFA - high functioning autism
HI - hearing impaired
IEP - individual educational plan (school support plan for children with additional needs)
LD - learning disability
MA - multi-agency (professionals from different fields)
MDT - multidisciplinary team (group of professionals from different fields)
NAS - national autistic society
NT - neurologically typical (not having autism)
OT - occupational therapist
PDD - pervasive developmental disorder
PDA - pathological demand avoidance (a particular type of autism)
PECS - picture exchange communication system (a means of communication using visuals)
PIP - personal independence payment (adult equivalent to DLA)
SDS - self-directed support (a means of financial support to pay for respite and support)
SEN - special educational needs
SENCO - special educational needs co-ordinator (England only)
SEND - special educational needs and disabilities
SLT (or SALT) - speech and language therapist
SM - selective mutism
SPD - sensory processing difficulties
SS - social services
SW - social worker
TAC - team around the child
TAF - team around the family
VI - vision impaired
If you come across others don't be stuck: just ask. At one point I had no idea what any of these meant and some I secretly googled in the hope of understanding more.
It's hard enough finding out your child has extra needs without also struggling to understand abbreviations.
With love from one special needs parent to others!
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