Copy of `The National Autistic Society - glossary`

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The National Autistic Society - glossary
Category: Health and Medicine > Autism
Date & country: 07/01/2008, UK
Words: 274


Placing request
Where a parent makes a written request to the education authority for their child to attend a particular school. Often used if a parent does not want their child to attend the school suggested by a local authority. Some authorities have placing request forms for parents to fill in.

Portage
An early intervention programme devised to encourage mothers to stimulate deprived children in Wisconsin, USA. It consists of a developmental checklist which focuses attention on strengths and needs and a set of guidelines and suggestions about what to teach next.

Portage
Planned, home-based educational support for pre-school children with special educational needs usually provided by the local education authority.

Power
Used in education law to describe an education authority's discretion to do or provide something, where there is no legal obligation to do so (see Duty).

Pragmatics
Study of language use independent of language structures, rules and principles, which relates to the structure of language and its use.

Pre-school education
The education provided to a child before starting primary school which could be in a nursery school or class, family centre, community childcare centre or playgroup. Children aged approximately three and four years old are entitled to free pre-school education or nursery.

Pre-school home visiting service
Qualified teachers experienced in working with babies and young children who provide a home visiting service for pre-school children with additional support needs. Contact your education authority for details.

Presumption of mainstream
Term used to describe an education authority's duty to educate all children, including those with additional support needs, in mainstream schools, unless particular circumstances apply.

Prevalence
One of the main ways to measure the frequency of a disease in a particular population - it is the total number of cases that are present at any one time - covering both old and new cases.

Prognosis
A forecast as to the probable result of an illness, particularly with regard to the prospect of recovery.

Proposed Statement
A statement issued by the Local Education Authority (LEA) in draft form. It is issued after a statutory assessment or re-assessment or when an amendment has been made to the statement. Parents can negotiate with the LEA with regards to what is written on the proposed statement. A school in Part 4 will not be named on a proposed statement. A propose …

Psychiatric disorders
Disturbances of the mind.

Psychopharmacotherapy
Treatment of psychiatric disorders by psychological methods with the use of drugs.

Psychotherapy
Psychological rather than physical method for the treatment of psychological and psychiatric disorders.

Public school
A school managed by a local authority in Scotland.

Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)
Any school established and maintained by a local education authority under section 19 (2) of the Education Act 1996 which is specially organised to provide education for pupils who would not otherwise receive suitable education because of illness, exclusion or any other reason.

Receptors
Organs which may consist of one cell or a small group of cells which respond to different forms of external or internal stimuli by conveying impulses down nerves to the central nervous system, alerting it to changes in the internal and external environment.

Record of Needs
The Record of Needs was a means of assessing, planning, and providing for a child or young person with special educational needs under the old legal system. Records of Needs have now been discontinued. However, education authorities must make arrangements for children and young people who had a Record of Needs before the new law came into force and …

Reference
If a parent or young person wishes to challenge an authority's decision at tribunal, they must fill in a reference form and submit it to the tribunal administration. The form contains details of their disagreement with the authority.

Regression
To go backwards. This usually refers to the loss of skills previously acquired, especially those basic skills related to early childhood.

Repetitive behaviour
Abnormally intense preoccupation with one subject or activity; distress over change; insistence on routines or rituals with no purpose; repetitive movements, such as hand flapping.

Request
In education law, where a parent or young person has the right to request something from an education authority, this request must be made in a permanent format, such as in writing, via email, audio or video format and include reasons for making the request.

Respite care
Provision of care, relief or support to carers of physically or mentally disabled persons.

Rett syndrome
A profoundly disabling neurological disorder which only affects girls. The girls appear normal at birth and acquire infant skills to the 9 to 12 month level. A slowing of development then occurs and regression, with loss of skills in speech and hand use and social withdrawal, begins at around one to three years. Motor development is severely impair …

Review
The review of educational plans, such as individualised educational programmes (IEPs) or co-ordinated support plans (CSPs) which an education authority must make. IEPs should be reviewed each term and CSPs must be reviewed every 12 months or earlier if a child's additional support needs change.

Ritualistic behaviour
Ranges from simple stereotyped movements such as spinning objects, picking threads from carpets, flicking pieces of string, opening and shutting doors, spinning the wheels of toys through motor mannerisms - such as rocking, hand flapping or flicking - to more sophisticated and complex behaviours as IQ levels rise.

Rubinstein Taybi syndrome
A genetic disorder where children usually have normal birthweights, but subsequent growth is poor and developmental delay is usual. The most striking feature is broad, sometimes angulated thumbs and first toes.

Savants
Individuals with moderate or profound learning disabilities, who possess special talents, usually in the areas of music, mathematics, drawing or calendrical calculations.

Schizophrenia
A serious mental illness which usually develops in the late teens or early twenties, where thoughts, feelings and actions are somewhat disconnected from each other. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, loss of energy and loss of interest in life.

School Action
When a class or subject teacher identify that a pupil has special education needs they provide interventions that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the schools usual differentiated curriculum offer and strategies. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) will usually be devised. See information sheet on Getting extra help at s …

School Action Plus
When the class or subject teacher and the Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) are provided with advice or support from outside specialists, so that alternative interventions and additional or different strategies to those provided for the pupil through School Action can be put in place. The SENCO usually takes the lead although day-to-day …

School age
Generally considered to be five to 15 years (inclusive). However, a young person can remain at school until their 18th birthday. In practice, this may be extended beyond 18 years, particularly in special schools.

Script fading
This refers to a process by which children with communication disorders are taught how to initiate conversations or social interactions with peers. They are provided with a script about recently completed, current and future activities. At first children have the full script to use to help their initiation skills. Gradually the script is faded so t …

SEED
The Scottish Executive Education Department. The department has a Support for Learning Division.

Self injurious behaviour
Self-directed violence including hitting the head with a clenched fist, banging the head against hard objects, skin picking and eye gouging.

Self stimulation
Behaviours which are thought to be used to provide stimulation to the individual. These occur more commonly in people who have severe learning disabilities, especially if they have autistic traits or are understimulated.

Semantics
The science of language dealing with the meanings of words.

SEN Toolkit
This document is published in conjunction with the Code of Practice. It provides practical suggestions on ways in which the statutory guidance in the code can be implemented.

Serotonin
A major neurotransmitter involved in depression and anxiety. A quarter to a third of people with autism show abnormally high levels of serotonin in the blood.

Smith Magenis syndrome
A genetic disorder where common characteristics include some degree of self-injury, sleep disturbance, developmental delay, short stature, decreased sensitivity to pain, hyperactivity and destructive or aggressive behaviour.

Social behaviour
An individual's social abilities such as establishing and maintaining satisfactory interpersonal skills, displaying behaviour within reasonable social expectations and making personal adjustments.

Social cognition
Cognitive processes and activity that accompany and mediate social interactions.

Special educational needs
A child has special needs if he or she has learning difficulties that need special educational help.

Special educational needs (SEN)
Term that was used to describe children and young people with learning difficulties who required special educational help. This has been replaced with the term 'additional support needs' and includes a much broader range of young people, not just those with learning difficulties.

Special school
A school which is specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with special educational needs.

Special school
A school which provides education that is specially suited for pupils with additional support needs. This also includes specialist classes or units within public schools.

Specialist unit
Some schools may have a specialist unit attached to or within the main school that caters for pupils with additional support needs, including autistic spectrum disorder. For example, a communication disorder unit (CDU).

Speech and language therapy
The role and aim of which is to enable adults and children with speech, language and communication difficulties (and associated difficulties with eating and swallowing) to reach their maximum communication potential and achieve independence in all aspects of life. The NAS maintains a small list of Independent Speech and Language Therapists with exp …

Speech and language therapy
The role and aim of speech and language therapy is to enable adults and children with speech, language and communication difficulties (and associated difficulties with eating and swallowing) to reach their maximum communication potential and achieve independence in all aspects of life.

Speech therapy
Professional assistance in diagnosing and treating a whole spectrum of acquired and developmental communication disorders.

SPELL
An educational approach to overcome or reduce the disabling effects of autism, creating an atmosphere which has Structure, Positive approaches and expectations, is Empathetic, Low arousal and maintains vital Links. It emphasises consistency of approach and the importance of mainstream opportunities and settings.

Staged intervention
Some schools may use different stages to identify and provide for pupils with additional support needs. The approach recognises that there is a continuum of additional support needs and that, where necessary, increasing levels of specialist input should be used to meet the educational needs of the child or young person.

Statementing
Preparation of a formal document that specifies any additional input or support required to best meet the learning needs of an individual child.

Statutory Assessment
It is a formal procedure undertaken by the Local Education Authority. It is a detailed investigation to find out what your child's special educational needs are and what provision is needed to meet those needs. A number of professionals such as an Educational Psychologist will be involved. It may lead to a statement of special educational needs. Se …

Stereotypy
Repetitive actions lacking curiosity and creativity.

Strike out
A tribunal may strike out an appeal (bring it to an end) if the Local Education Authority has applied for the appeal to be brought to an end, (or the president has directed that the appeal should be brought to an end) because it is not valid. In either case you can write to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal with comments or ask …

Sulphation
Within the biochemical theory of autism there is concern over the very low levels of plasma sulphate in the bodies of individuals with autism. This seems to affect their ability to inactivate/remove neurotransmitter amines in the blood. Sulphation is a biochemical process which should maintain a healthy balance in the body.

Supporter
Person who accompanies a parent or young person to meetings with an education authority, education appeal committee or at tribunal. Supporters can be friends, relatives or professionals from an organisation.

TEACCH
Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children is a whole-life approach to helping children and adults with autism spectrum disorders, developed by Eric Schopler in North Carolina. The principles and concepts of the TEACCH system are improved adaptation; parent collaboration; assessment for individualised treatme …

Theory of mind
A philosophical concept of the understanding one has that another person has an individual perspective on states of affairs, that this consciousness depends in part on information which they may have which is not available to oneself and vice versa.

Tourette syndrome
A condition characterised by multiple tics characteristically involving the facial area (twitches, blinking, nodding) as well as phonic (vocal) tics. The onset of symptoms usually occurs between the ages of 2 and 21.

Transition
Describes a period of change that a child or young person may experience in education, such as starting nursery, primary or secondary education and changing or leaving school. There are also transitions which may not be planned, such as an exclusion from education and school closures. Education authorities must help children and young people with a …

Transition Plan
A plan devised following the year 9 annual review and updated at subsequent annual reviews. The purpose of the plan is to draw together information from a range of individuals within and beyond the school, in order to plan coherently for the young person's transition to adult life. See information sheets on Annual reviews and Transition plan at the …

Triad of impairments
Impairments affecting social interaction, social communication and imagination which are essential features of an autism spectrum disorder.

Tribunal hearing
The meeting at which an appeal is considered.

Tryptophan
An amino-acid in proteins which is essential for optimal growth in infants. It is a precursor to serotonin.

Tuberous sclerosis
CaF directory of specific conditions and rare syndromes. Tuberous (swellings or enlargements) sclerosis (the hardening of an organ or tissue) is a complex heterogeneous genetic disorder which may affect many of the body systems. Typical manifestations occur in the brain, skin, eye, kidney, bones, lungs and intestine.

Turner's syndrome
CaF directory of specific conditions and rare syndromes. A chromosomal condition affecting 1 in 2,500 girls where the second X chromosome is absent or abnormal. Turner's syndrome is generally characterised by short stature and non-functioning ovaries, usually leading to absence of pubertal development and infertility.

West's syndrome
CaF directory of specific conditions and rare syndromes. Condition usually commencing between 3 and 8 months of age characterised by infantile spasms and often associated with a change in behaviour and a slowing of development of the child.

Williams syndrome
CaF directory of specific conditions and rare syndromes. A genetic condition causing developmental delay. Features include facial similarities (prominent cheeks, upturned nose, wide mouth, irregular teeth) and hypersensitivity to loud noises. Children may have a heart problem and some develop hypercalcaemia (low calcium levels) within the first 2 y …

Witness citation
A document that orders a witness to go to a tribunal hearing.

Witness summons
A document that orders a witness to go to a tribunal hearing.

Working day
In education law, a working day is normally any day apart from a Saturday, Sunday, bank holiday, 27-31 December inclusive, or any day in July. It is useful for families to bear these in mind when working out time limits and deadlines. Families who require assistance with calculating deadlines may wish to refer to the NAS Advocacy for Education Serv …

Young person
In education law this refers to anyone aged 16 or 17 years old. When a child turns 16 they become a young person and have certain rights in relation to their education. If the young person is not able to understand the nature and possible consequences of actions and decisions, the parent retains any rights.