Glossary of terms

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder -(ADHD) – Affects a child’s ability to focus and concentrate and may be characterised by impulsive or hyperactive behaviours. Is often found in children with autism.

Alternative Communication – there are many forms of alternative communication for people who do not use spoken language. Sign languages such as BSL and Makaton are alternative communication, as are eye-pointing screens, PECs, and communication books.

Annual Review – a process that must be completed before the annual anniversary of the EHCP being issued. It must assess the child’s progress and any changes in their required support and must take into account the views of the child and their parents as well as the school.

Autism – (ASD, ASC) – this is the umbrella term for the lifelong condition that affects individuals in different ways. A diagnosis of autism will always include social interaction and communication difficulties as well as repetitive or restrictive behaviours or thoughts.

BSL – (British Sign Language) – BSL is a language program which uses signs, facial expressions, and body language.

DLA – (Disability Living Allowance) – a government provided payment for under 16’s to help with extra living costs.

Dyscalculia – difficulty in understanding numbers, which can affect a person’s mathematical skills.

Dyslexia – a learning disability that affects a person’s ability to read, write and spell.

Dyspraxia – difficulty in co-ordinating movement.

Echolalia – This is where a person repeats phrases or words, sometimes immediately, and sometimes at a later point. This can be a method of communication.

Educational Psychologist – a psychologist who specialises in child development and education.

EHCP – (Early Health and Care Plan) a legal document that states the needs of the child and the provision that must be made to meet these needs. The EHCP is valid from the moment it is written until the child leaves education or is 25.

Hypersensitivity – a heightened sensitivity to tastes, textures, light, sound, touch and other senses.

Hyposensitivity – a reduced sensitivity to tastes, textures, light, sound, touch and other senses.

IEP (Individual Education Plan) – a method of planning, teaching, and reviewing the child’s progress, needs and the strategies that help them. This may be used with or without an EHCP.

Irlens Syndrome – a visual processing disorder that affects the person’s ability to process visual information.

Makaton – Makaton is a language program that uses sign language, symbols and speech to communicate. It is particularly used with children and people with disabilities.

Meltdown – (or crisis) – the response to overwhelming sensory overload or input resulting in severe distress. This cannot be helped or controlled and is not the same as a tantrum. Rather, it is the only way that person can express their discomfort or fear. It may result in violent behaviours, screaming and shouting, or a shutdown, where the person becomes silent and/or refuses to respond.

Needs Assessment – (EHCNA) will help the child to understand and live more easily with their specific needs.

Occupational Therapist – (OT) – OT’s help a person with autism to learn functional skills such as self care, self regulation and leisure skills. They will work with the person’s sensory needs to help them to self-regulate.

Ordinarily Available Provision. – the range of additional help and resources that should be offered by the school in order to meet the child’s needs. these should be available as standard practice and are not part of the requirements of an EHCP.

Paediatrician – a medical professional who specialises in children’s care.

PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) – a communication system with visual symbols in place of spoken language, where the symbols are exchanged to communicate wants and needs.

Pica – this is where a person eats non-edible items. This can include leaves and stones, faeces, uncooked food, paper, or any other non-food items.

PIP – (Personal Independence Payment) – a government provided payment to help with extra living costs. PIP can be claimed from the age of 16.

Processing delay – a delay in the ability to process information which may mean a person misses information, struggles to follow instruction, or concentrate.

Reasonable adjustments – changes that the school must make to reduce disadvantages to the child because of their disability.

Resource Base – a resource base offers additional specialist help within a mainstream school. They may be used by a child for all or part of their learning day.

Selective Mutism – may be linked to social anxiety and can be different in different environments. The person may be unable to speak in certain situations such as at school or in social groups.

SenCo – Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, usually a teacher in the school. They are in charge of making sure the child’s needs are met.

Sensory Processing Disorder – where a person processes their sensory input in an unusual way.

Specialist School – a specialist school is a school that is designed specifically for children with learning difficulties or physical disabilities. There will be more adult helpers per child, intervention spaces and specially designed classrooms and playgrounds.

Speech and Language Therapist – offers help for people with speech and communication difficulties. They may also help with eating, drinking, and swallowing issues.

Stimming – repetitive actions that may take the form of movement or noises, which can help a person to feel self-regulated or calm. Flapping, spinning, grunting, squeaking, coughing, biting fingers or clothes or tapping are also forms of stims.

Tribunal – a meeting, often run with the help of a mediator, to resolve dispute.