Common Acronyms used In Autism


The special needs and developmental disability field contains so many acronyms  it is impossible to write them all. Many are formed at the State level from various educational programs while others are more medically defined.  As the number of children diagnosed with autism increase, it appears the same holds true for new words and terminology. Below I have added a list of words more likely used in the autism community.

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AAC-Assistive Augmentative Communication

ABA- Applied Behavior Analysis

ADA-Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

ADD-Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD-Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder

ADOS-Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule

APE-Adaptive Physical Education

AS- Asperger’s Syndrome

ASA- Autism Society of America

ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorder

ASHA- American Speech and Hearing Association

ASL-American Sign Language

ASPIE- A person with Asperger’s Syndrome

CARS- Childhood Autism Rating Scale

CDC-Center for Disease Control

COTA- Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant

DD- Developmental Disability


EI-Early Intervention

ICF-Immediate Care Facility

ID-Intellectual Disability

IDEA-Individuals with Disabilities Act

IEP- Individualized Education Plan

IFSP- Individualized Family Service Plan

LFE- Least Restrictive Environment

M-CHAT- Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers

NOS- Not Otherwise Specified


ODD-Oppositional Defiant Disorder

OSEP0 Office of Special Education Programs

OT- Occupational Therapy

OVR-Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

PECS- Picture Exchange Communication System

PDD-NOS- Pervasive Developmental Disorder

PICA-Ingestion of non-edible items

PT-Physical Therapy

SI-Sensory Intergration

SIB-Self-Injurious Disorder

SLP- Speech-Language Disorder

TEACCH-Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children


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