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Formal acknowledgment that an organisation or service is committed to
understanding autism and making appropriate adjustments to accommodate it.
The ability to employ the practical, everyday skills needed to function, including the skills necessary to effectively and independently take care of
oneself and to interact with other people.
A term used for what
happens to children with autism once they have become adults. It encompasses
psychological and social outcomes, including changes in language processing and
use, independence and mental health.
A natural liking for and understanding of someone or something
The use of domestic
and wild animals (pets or dolphins for instance) to reduce stress, focus
attention and improve communication in people with autism. As yet the evidence
that this is effective is unclear, although it may be beneficial for some.
Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA)
A group of comprehensive
behavioural interventions evolved from an approach pioneered by Ivar Lovaas and
based on the work of Skinner. ABA employs operant conditioning and
reinforcement to shape the person’s behaviour, aiming to increase ‘desirable’
behaviours and reduce ‘undesirable’ behaviours. (See also operant conditioning and reinforcement).
term which has been used in the diagnosis of people on the spectrum who are
intellectually capable and with many intact language skills. The main
diagnostic classifications, DSM and ICD, are relinquishing this and other
sub-types of autism, following recognition that they cannot be reliably
The use of
technological aids, such as smartphones, video modelling or robots, to assist
people with autism or learning difficulties in daily living or to learn new
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
characterised by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Although not
linked to intelligence, ADHD may disrupt learning.
Attention to detail
A cognitive style especially
associated with autism characterised by focusing closely on the specifics or
details of task rather than the overall picture.
Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised (ADI-R)
An interview designed
for use with the parents of children or adults who are being assessed for an
autism spectrum diagnosis. The ADI comprises questions about the offspring’s
current skills and behaviours, as well as how these behaviours were manifested
at age four to five years or at any point during development. The original
version of the instrument (the ADI) was often used to verify diagnoses for
research purposes. The revised version, designed for diagnosis in clinical
settings, was published in 2003.
Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
assessment tool used in making autism spectrum diagnoses. It consists of four
separate modules, each comprising tasks designed for use with children of
different ages and different levels of development and language.
Autism Rights Movement
A network of people with autism that advocates that autism is a form of
human variation (a neurodiversity), rather than a disorder to be cured, and
that society needs to be accepting of autistic behaviours, teaching coping
skills rather than trying to make autistic people neurotypical. The movement
also organises social events where autistics can ‘be themselves’.
A description of the
fact that whilst all individuals with autism share some core characteristics,
they also have their own unique profile of strengths and weaknesses.
Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)
A term favoured over
Autism Spectrum Disorder by some professionals and people in the autism
community as it avoids the negative connotations of ‘disorder’.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
The term used in
formal diagnosis, and by many professionals in the context of clinical practice
for diagnoses on the autism spectrum. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a
neurodevelopmental condition characterised by moderate to profound difficulties
in social communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests.