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In relation to
autism, this refers to an intense and focused interest in a particular subject
or topic, which may in some cases seem unusual or eccentric. Autistic people
often have just one or two special interests which they pursue for a long time.
They may acquire very detailed knowledge or skill and approach their interest
with an intensity that tends to exclude other subject matter. Yet evidence
suggests that special interests can be beneficial.
A school or
stand-alone unit whose main purpose is to provide education tailored to the
additional support needs of children and young people with significant special
educational needs. Some special schools are designed specifically for children
on the autism spectrum, while others cater for a range of special needs. This
definition refers to the UK, but similar provision exists in some other
Speech and Language Therapist (SLT)
A health professional
whose role is to assess and treat children and adults with speech, language and other communication difficulties.
This is where an individual has a skill in one specific area, such as numeracy or art, which does not characterise their overall abilities or level of functioning. For example, an individual with a low IQ may nonetheless be able to complete complex jigsaw puzzles. Very exceptional levels of such skill are referred to as savant talent. (See also savant talent.)
Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
A legal document in Wales or Northern Ireland drawn up by the local authority, after specialist reports are obtained, which specifies the school-related support needs for a child or young person up to age 19.
A term meaning that the result from an experiment or evaluation of an intervention is highly unlikely to have occurred by chance. If the statistical probability of a chance result is calculated to be sufficiently low, the researcher may reasonably conclude that the result is due to the influence under investigation. For instance, the researcher may conclude that an intervention really has helped the individuals who have participated, or that autistic and neurotypical people really do differ in how they respond to sounds.
A short-hand term for self-stimulatory behaviour or self-stimulation. The repetition of physical movements and sounds, and the repetitive manipulation of objects, which are common in individuals with developmental conditions, and especially in autism, are thought to have pleasant self-stimulatory effects.
The use of emphasis within speech to mark particular words or phrases. Stress plays a role in communication, and may be atypical in people on the autism spectrum. (See also non-verbal communication.)
A survey is a research method in which questionnaire responses are gathered from a large sample of people. These responses are then analysed statistically, to establish trends in those sampled.