Glossary of Terms

Adaptive aids are devices, controls, or appliances that are necessary to address specific individual needs. They enable individuals to increase their abilities to perform activities of daily living, or to perceive, control, or communicate within the environment in which they live.

An alternate setting (education/school) may be required for students with exceptionalities. This is generally used for students who have attention concerns or who may require a quiet room. Using an alternate setting to manage behaviour in an instructional setting should be recorded under behaviour management plan.

Behavioural Management Specialists (BMS) Develops and oversees the delivery of home- and community-based intervention and prevention programs. They provides advice/direction and supports families, caregivers, and community organizations in meeting the needs of individuals who exhibit challenging behavior. They administer standardized developmental assessments; conduct comprehensive behavioral assessments based on learning theory; design individualized behavioral and skill teaching programs; provide group training events for caregivers and home support staff; train and assist families and caregivers in the implementation of individualized programs; prepare client reports.

Biomedical refers to a set of applied sciences applying portions of natural science or formal science, or both, to develop knowledge, interventions, or technology that may be of use in providing for an individuals healthcare needs.

Child Management Specialists (CMS) develop and oversee the delivery of home- based early intervention and prevention programs, including the Intensive Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) Home Therapy Program. They provide advice/direction and support for families, caregivers, and community organizations in meeting the needs of children with developmental challenges. They administer standardized developmental assessments; conduct comprehensive behavioural assessments based on learning theory; design individualized behavioural and skill teaching programs; provide group and individual training events for caregivers and support staff; train families and caregivers in the implementation of individualized programs; prepare client reports. They work closely with other relevant professionals in the social, health, and education fields and are partners with community agencies in promoting optimal development and community inclusion for individuals with developmental and behavioural challenges.

Curriculum compacting is used for students who are gifted and talented in order to add challenge to their programming. It involves pre-testing the outcomes of a prescribed course, documenting any which are previously mastered, and replacing them with more appropriate content. For content areas, it can involve increasing the pace of coverage to buy time for more challenging content. It may be used in conjunction with independent study

Developmental Milestones are markers or guideposts that enable parents and professionals to monitor a baby’s learning, behavior, and development. Developmental milestones consist of skills or behaviors that most children can do by a certain age. While each child develops differently, some differences may indicate a slight delay and others may be a red flag or warning sign for greater concern.

Developmental Paediatrician is an expert in the health and development of children, particularly those with developmental disorders. Paediatricians are often involved in the initial diagnosis of autism and offer follow-up support in some cases.

Dietician provides advice and information on nutrition and diet. Your GP or paediatrician can make a referral to a dietician. You may wish to see a dietician before introducing any dietary intervention (such as the gluten- and casein-free diet).

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR®) is a handbook used widely by medical professionals in diagnosing and categorizing mental and developmental disorders. It is published by the American Psychiatric Association and lists the criteria, or characteristics, of many disorders.

Echolalia is the repetition of words, phrases, intonation, or sounds of the speech of others. Children with ASD often display echolalia in the process of learning to talk. Immediate echolalia is the exact repetition of someone else’s speech, immediately or soon after the child hears it. Delayed echolalia may occur several minutes, hours, days, or even weeks or years after the original speech was heard. Echolalia is sometimes referred to as “movie talk” because the child can remember and repeat chunks of speech like repeating a movie script. Echolalia was once thought to be non-functional, but is now understood to often serve a communicative or regulatory purpose for the child.

Educational psychologists carry out psychological assessments including learning profiles and needs, usually in educational settings. They offer consultation, advice and support to teachers, parents and to the children, young people and adults concerned. They may also offer a follow-up service. They are usually employed by local education authorities.

Emotional Regulation is a child’s ability to notice and respond to internal and external sensory input, and then adjust his emotions and behavior to the demands of his surroundings. Emotional regulation includes the body’s involuntary reactions (heart rate, respiratory rate, etc.) to events or perceptions, as well as voluntary responses. Voluntary responses may be behaviors that the child does to soothe, or excite himself, such as spinning the wheel of a toy car, rubbing a smooth surface, rocking, or hand flapping. This may also include the use of communication to get help modulating emotion, such as reaching to request comfort when afraid. Many children with ASD have difficulties with emotional regulation and often have abnormal or inappropriate responses to the ordinary demands of their surroundings. They may also have problems adjusting to change, and transitioning from one activity to another, responding with strong negative emotions, tantrums, stereotyped, or even self-injurious behaviors.

Extended time (education/school) is appropriate for a student with an exceptionality who requires additional time on an ongoing basis. Copies of notes are provided on an ongoing basis by the classroom/subject teacher to students with exceptionalities that impede their note taking ability.

Functional Play is when a child uses objects for their appropriate or usual purpose, like rolling a toy car or ball, stirring with a spoon, or brushing a doll’s hair with a brush.

GP (General Practitioner) or family doctor can make referrals to relevant professionals for you. Although responsible for the general health of their patients, GPs do not usually offer specialist advice or treatment.

Hyperresponsiveness  is abnormal sensitivity or over reactivity to sensory input. This is the state of feeling overwhelmed by what most people would consider common or ordinary stimuli of sound, sight, taste, touch, or smell. Many children with ASD are over reactive to ordinary sensory input and may exhibit sensory defensiveness which involves a strong negative response to their overload, such as screaming at the sound of a telephone. Tactile defensiveness is a specific sensory defensiveness that is a strong negative response to touch.

Hyporesponsiveness is abnormal insensitivity or under reactivity to sensory input, in which the brain fails to register incoming stimuli appropriately so the child does not respond to the sensory stimulation. A child who appears as if deaf, but whose hearing has tested as normal, is under reactive. A child who is under reactive to sensory input may have a high tolerance to pain, may be sensory-seeking, craving sensations, and may act aggressively, or clumsily.

Individual Support Services Planning Process (ISSP) A program planning team may be initiated for a student with one or more exceptionalities. Parent/guardian involvement is a critical component of the program planning process. As such, parents/guardians are part of the program planning team along with professionals from the school and outside the school.

Individualized Educational Plan (IEP or ISSP) The individualized learning plan for a student with exceptionalities; it is drafted and signed by the IEP or ISSP team and includes the parent signature of knowledge approval. It is not amended or edited without the knowledge and involvement of the parent.

Instructional Resource Teachers (IRT) Provide information to the classroom/subject teacher regarding exceptionalities and the program planning process, and provide direct support to students, in the regular classroom setting or in separate, small-group sessions.

Joint Attention Children seek to share attention with others spontaneously during the first year of life. Joint or shared attention is first accomplished by the caregiver looking at what the infant is looking at. Infants learn early to seek joint attention spontaneously by shifting gaze between an object of interest and another person and back to the object (also called 3-point gaze), following the gaze or point of others, and using gestures to draw others’ attention to objects (e.g. holding out and showing an object or pointing to an object), either by pointing to it or by eye gaze. This desire to share attention on objects builds to sharing enjoyment by looking at others while smiling when enjoying an activity, drawing others attention to things that are interesting, and checking to see if others notice an achievement (e.g., after building a tower of blocks, looking up and clapping and smiling to share the achievement). Ultimately, children learn to talk and use language to share enjoyment, interests, and achievements and later to share ideas and experiences. Impairment in joint attention is a core deficit of ASD.

Modified Prescribed Course maintains the intent of the provincially prescribed curriculum. However, specific course outcomes are changed, deleted, added or extended. A modified prescribed course may be necessary to meet the strengths and needs of an individual student with a cognitive disorder or gifted and talented exceptionality. There may be rare instances where a modified prescribed course is appropriate for students with a severe learning disability, brain injury or an emotional, mental health, and/or behavioural disorder.

Naturopathy is a form of treatment that employs a wide array of “natural” modalities, including homeopathy and herbalism, as well as diet and lifestyle counseling

Occupational therapists are often concerned with the difficulties people have in carrying out everyday activities. They can help with therapeutic techniques, identifying sensory sensitivities, adaptations to the environment, and specialist equipment. They may work for the Health Authorities or privately.

Perseveration refers to repeating or “getting stuck” carrying out a behavior (e.g., putting in and taking out a puzzle piece) when it is no longer appropriate.

Perseverative Speech Children with ASD who learn to talk usually have repetitive use of language. Perseverative speech refers to repeating the same phrase or word over and over or bringing up the same topic repeatedly with a sense of “getting stuck” when it is no longer appropriate.

Pragmatics are social rules for using functional spoken language in a meaningful context or conversation. Challenges in pragmatics are a common feature of spoken language difficulties in children with ASD.

Program Planning Team A program planning team may be initiated for a student with one or more exceptionalities. Parent/guardian involvement is a critical component of the program planning process. As such, parents/guardians are part of the program planning team along with classroom/subject teachers. If the student is developmentally and emotionally ready, he or she should also be invited to participate as a team member. Other members may include: administrator, guidance counsellor, educational psychologist/itinerant assessor/educational assessment specialist, speech-language pathologist, instructional resource teacher, other education professionals (such as itinerants for vision or hearing loss, etc.) as required.

Prosody is the rhythm and melody of spoken language expressed through rate, pitch, stress, inflection, or intonation. Children with ASD can range from having no functional language (do not use words conventionally for communication) to having very proficient vocabulary and sentence structure. Usually, those who talk have odd intonation (flat, monotonous, stiff, or “sing songy” without emphasis on the important words), and those who do not yet talk make unusual sounds.

Reading of print material (education/school) entails the reading aloud of print text including assessment materials. This would be used for a student with an exceptionality that affects his or her ability to access print text. As appropriate, students should be moved toward more independent methods of accessing print such as text to voice software. Materials read aloud using assistive technology and/or alternate format materials would be recorded under those categories. Not all types of questions translate well into oral format. Depending upon the design of the assessment, this may require some changes to the format. Teachers should keep in mind principles of universal design when creating assessments.

Receptive Language is the ability to understand or comprehend words and sentences that others use. Typically by 12 months a child begins to understand words and will respond to his/her name and may be able to respond to familiar words in context. By 18 to 20 months a child will be able to identify familiar people by looking when named (e.g., Where’s mommy?), give familiar objects when named (e.g., Where’s the ball?), and point to a few body parts (e.g., Where’s your nose? Where’s your mouth?). Receptive language skills commonly emerge a little ahead of expressive language skills, but it is easy to overestimate what a child understands. Often young children figure out the message by responding to nonverbal cues (e.g., pointing gestures, or situational cues), and this may make it appear like they understand the words.

Scribing may be appropriate for a student with an exceptionality resulting in difficulty putting ideas on paper. It involves having a designated scribe record only what the student dictates, without prompting.

Self-Injurious Behavior About 10% to 15% of individuals with ASD engage in some form of self-injurious behavior (SIB), causing self-inflicted bodily harm, such as bruises, redness, or cuts. The most common forms of SIB include head banging, hitting the face, biting the hand or arm, and excessive scratching or rubbing. SIB can range from mild to severe, and can potentially be life threatening. A child who engages in SIB may be seeking attention, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, seeking self-stimulation, or may be hypersensitive to certain sounds. SIB may be biologically or neurologically based.

Senior Therapist (ABA only)  Regional CMS staff that are assigned to deliver the Intensive Applied Behavioural Analysis Program are known as senior therapists. These staff receive considerable training in applied behavioural analysis (skill teaching and principles of behaviour modification) and autism spectrum disorder. A senior therapist provides direct home-based training to families and home therapists, who will implement the individualized intensive skill teaching and behavioural programming.

Service Delivery Team (School) Each school is required to have a service delivery team. This team meets regularly to review and direct special education services in the school. The team should not be so large that it is ineffective as a problem solving group. It is comprised of:  administrator, guidance counsellor, representative classroom/subject teacher(s) for primary, elementary, intermediate, and secondary based on school configuration (large intermediate and high schools may choose representatives from subject area specialties), instructional resource teacher(s), educational psychologist and other itinerant teachers as required

Social Reciprocity is the back-and-forth flow of social interaction. The term reciprocity refers to how the behavior of one person influences and is influenced by the behavior of another person and vice versa. Social reciprocity is the dance of social interaction and involves partners working together on a common goal of successful interaction. Adjustments are made by both partners until success is achieved. The skills involved in social reciprocity in very young children begin with showing interest in interacting with others and exchanging smiles. This builds to being able to share conventional meanings with words, and later topics, in conversation. Impairment in social reciprocity may be seen in not taking an active role in social games, preferring solitary activities, or using a person’s hand as a tool or a person as if they are mechanical objects. This may lead to not noticing another person’s distress or lack of interest in the focus or topic of conversation.

Social worker and care managers are involved in assessing the care needs of people with autism and their families. They are also involved in arranging services to meet those needs.

Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) assess speech, language and communication abilities. They can carry out therapy to assist with specific difficulties, and may also be involved in teaching classroom teachers strategies to help improve student speech.

Student Assistant  the SA assists students with specific disabilities who require direct adult Supervision/intervention to access appropriate educational programs and attend classroom instruction (i.e. toileting, portering, behaviour management, etc.). S/he actively supports and facilitates student independence and participation in the educational program

Supervised breaks may be provided to students with exceptionalities who require a short break from instruction. These would occur under the supervision of a teacher.

Symbolic Play is where children pretend to do things and to be something or someone else. This kind of play typically develops between the ages of 2 and 3 years

Transcribing involves the student with an exceptionality writing his or her response to a question. A teacher then reads the student’s written answer back to the student. The student orally tells the teacher of any changes or additions required to his or her answer and the teacher records them.