Common Acronyms Used in Autism


All contents of this resource were created for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, therapist, or other qualified health providers with any questions or concerns you may have.

Navigating autism can be filled with unknown acronyms. The following is a collection of some common acronyms and abbreviations used in educational and medical settings for autism.

1:1– One-to-one aide or caregiver

2e– Twice Exceptional

504– Section 504 Plan


AAC – Augmentative and Alternative Communication

ABA – Applied Behavior Analysis

ABLLS – Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills test

ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act

ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADL– Activity of Daily Living

ADOS – Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule

APD – Auditory Processing Disorder

APE – Adaptive Physical Education

ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

AS – Asperger’s Syndrome (with the release of DSM-5, AS is no longer a diagnosis)

ASD – Autistic Spectrum Disorder

AT – Assistive Technology

ATEC – Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist

AuDHD– Autism and ADHD dual diagnosis

AYP– Adequate Yearly Progress


BCBA – Board Certified Behavioral Analyst

BD – Behavioral Disorder

BIP – Behavior Intervention Plan

BOE– Board of Education


CAPD – Central Auditory Processing Disorder

CARD – Center for Autism and Related Disabilities

CARS – Childhood Autism Rating Scale

CBA– Curriculum Based Assessment

CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CD – Conduct Disorder

CF – Casein Free

CFD – Cerebral Folate Deficiency

CI – Community Integration

CLA – Community Living Arrangement

CMMS – Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

CPT – Current Procedural Terminology (procedure codes used for insurance billing)

CVPD – Central Vision Processing Disorder


DAS – Developmental Apraxia of Speech

DAS – Differential Abilities Scales

DCD – Development Coordination Disorder

DD – Department of Disabilities/Developmentally Delayed/Developmental Disorder

DDD – Department of Developmental Disabilities

DHHS – Department of Health and Human Services

DID– Department of Intellectual Disability

DIR – Developmental, Individual-differences, Relationship-based Model

DREDF – Disability Rights Education Defense Fund

DS – Developmental Services

DSM – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (by the American Psychiatric Association)

DTT – Discrete Trial Training

Dx – Diagnosis, diagnosed


EBD – Emotional Behavioral Disorder

ECI – Early Childhood Intervention

ECSE – Early Childhood Special Education

ED – Emotional Disturbance

ED – Executive Dysfunction

EDS – Ehler’s- Danlos Syndrome

EFA – Essential Fatty Acids

EFD – Executive Functioning Disorder

EI – Early Intervention

EIBI – Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention

EMF – Electromagnetic Field

EPSDT – Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (Medicaid Program)

ESY – Extended School Year


FAPE – Free Appropriate Public Education

FBA – Functional Behavioral Assessment

FC – Facilitated Communication

FCT – Functional Communication Training

FDSS – Family Driven Support Services

FERPA – Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act

fMRI – Functional MRI (examines the brain’s functional anatomy)

FMT – Fecal Microbiota Transplant – also called MTT (Microbiota Transfer Therapy)

FSP – Family Support Plan

FSS – Family Support Services

FXS – Fragile X Syndrome


GAD – Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GAF – Global Assessment of Functioning Scale

GARS – Gilliam Autism Rating Scale

GF – Gluten Free

GFCF – Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet

GFCFSF – Gluten-free, Casein-Free, Soy-Free Diet

GI – Gastrointestinal


HCBW – Home and Community Based Waiver

HFA* – High Functioning Autism

HHS– Health and Human Services

HL/HxL – Hyperlexia


IACC – Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

IBD – Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome

ICF – Intermediate Care Facility (Medicaid benefit)

ID – Intellectual Disability

I/DD – Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IEE – Independent Educational Evaluation

IEP – Individualized Education Plan/Individualized Education Program

IFL – Identify First Language (e.g. autistic)

IFSP – Individualized Family Service Plan

IHP – Individualized Habilitation Program

IQ – Intelligence Quotient


LD – Learning Disability, Learning Disabled

LEA – Local Education Agency

LFA* – Low Functioning Autism

LRE – Least Restrictive Environment


M-CHAT – Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers

MNRI – Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration

MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging

MSDD – Multisystem Developmental Disorder

MTT – Microbiota Transfer Therapy – also called FMT (Fecal Mucosal Transplant)


ND– Neurodiverse/Neurodivergent

NIH– National Institutes of Health

NLD/NVLD – Nonverbal Learning Disability

NT – Neurotypical


OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCR– Office for Civil Rights

ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder

OHI – Other Health Impairment

ORS – Office of Rehabilitation Services

OSEP – Office of Special Education Programs

OSERS – Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

OSP – Office of Social Programs

OT – Occupational Therapy/Therapist

OVR – Office of Vocational Rehabilitation


PALS – Peer-Assisted Learning System

PANDAS – Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Strep

PANS – Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome

PBS – Positive Behavioral Supports

PDA – Pathological Demand Avoidance

PDD/ PDD-NOS – Pervasive Developmental Disorder/ Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified (with the release of the DSM-5, PDD is no longer a diagnosis.)

PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System

PFL – People First Language (e.g. person with autism)

PLAAFP – Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance

PLOP/PLP – Present Levels of Performance

POA – Power of Attorney

PROMPT – Speech therapy technique used to teach individuals how to correctly move their jaw, lips, and tongue to form words.

PRT – Pivotal Response Training

PT – Physical Therapy/Therapist

PWN – Prior Written Notice


QEEG – Quantitative Electroencephalogram


RBT – Registered Behavior Technician

RDI – Relationship Developmental Intervention

RPM – Rapid Prompting Method

RTI – Response to Intervention

Rx – Prescription


S2C – Spelling to Communicate

SCD – Specific Carbohydrate Diet

SCD/SPCD – Social Communication Disorder/ Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder

SDM – Supported Decision Making

SIB – Self-injurious behavior

SLP – Speech and Language Pathologist

SM – Selective Mutism

SPD – Sensory Processing Disorder

SPED – Special Education

SPM – Sensory Processing Measure

SSD – Social Security Disability

SSDI – Social Security Disability Income

SSI – Supplemental Security Income


TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury

TOPL – Test of Pragmatic Language


VB – Verbal Behavior

Voc-Ed – Vocational Education

VQ – Verbal IQ

VR – Vocational Rehabilitation


WAIS – Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale

WIOA – Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

WISC – Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children

WPPSI – Weschler Preschool Primary (evaluation for children less than six years old)

*Functioning labels are considered offensive. Please learn more by reading TACA’s article on Presuming Competence in Autism


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