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A formal evaluation of an intervention, with more participants than a
pilot study. Typically it would involve two groups of participants on the
autism spectrum, matched for level of symptoms, age and IQ. One group receives
the intervention and the other receives no intervention or treatment as usual. Comparing
the groups’ skills and behaviours after the study permits efficacy of the
intervention to be evaluated.
Coordinated Support Plan (CSP)
A legal document in
Scotland drawn up by the local authority, after specialist reports are
obtained, which specifies the support a child or young person up to age 19
needs in school.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
Complex molecules in cells that contain the
instructions necessary in the development and functioning of all living
organisms. DNA consists of long twisted strands, each composed of a precise
sequence of units. Sections of these units form genes.
Describes a condition
or process which unfolds during child development. Development may reflect a
typical pattern in which certain skills and behaviours are attained, following
broadly the same time frame in different children. In atypical development, for
instance in autism, certain key processes such as language and communication
develop at a different rate, in a different way or not at all. (See also
A term for the
developmental sequence. This emphasises two facets of typical development: (1)
There is a characteristic sequence of 'milestones' such as crawling, sitting up
and walking. (2) Early developmental skills such as pointing and looking are
thought to lay the foundations for later more sophisticated skills such as play
with siblings, friendships with peers, or the complex relationships of the
teenage years and adulthood. The idea of an atypical developmental trajectory
is an important concept in work on autism.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
Psychiatric Association's formal system for the classification and diagnosis of
psychiatric, mental health and developmental conditions, which includes
criteria for diagnosing autism. The 5th edition, published in 2013, dispensed
with the diagnostic sub-types of autism (e.g. Asperger Syndrome) seen in
earlier versions. The DSM-5 approach to classifying and diagnosing autism treats
it as a continuous spectrum and uses severity scores and specifiers to characterise
each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
of medical, psychiatric and developmental conditions, used in making diagnoses.
The criteria comprise a list of symptoms or features that an individual must
have for a condition or problem to be diagnosed, and in some cases specify
additional symptoms that should not be present. (See also DSM and ICD.)
A set of systematic procedures
used to diagnose conditions like autism, for which no medical test can be
applied. Diagnostic instruments involve questionnaires, observations of the
person and interviews with the family (where possible). The instruments are
designed such that the diagnostic criteria are applied in a standard consistent
Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO)
An interview designed
for use with the parents of children or adults who are being assessed for an
autism spectrum diagnosis. The interview offers a 'dimensional' framework,
allowing for ‘graded’ evaluation of how closely an individual matches the
criteria for a pervasive developmental disorder, as defined in the ICD and DSM
A specific developmental
condition characterised by problems with reading, writing and spelling as a
result of underlying difficulties in processing and remembering information. It
is not linked to intelligence.