Challenging behaviour and special educational needs can often be a bewildering forest of abbreviations and acronyms, here is a brief guide to some of the more common terms. Do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of others we’ve missed or want any more information about any of them. HTH!
|Abbreviation||What it means|
|Attachment disorder is a broad term intended to describe disorders of mood, behavior, and social relationships arising from a failure to form normal attachments to parents or primary carers in early childhood. Such a failure would result from unusual early experiences of neglect, abuse or abrupt separation between 6 months and three years of age, frequent change or excessive numbers of caregivers, or lack of caregiver responsiveness to child communicative efforts resulting in a lack of basic trust. A person's attachment style is permanently established before the age of three. A problematic history of social relationships occurring after about age three may be distressing to a child, but does not result in attachment disorder.|
|ADD||Attention Deficit Disorder|
|The 'predominantly inattentive subtype' is similar to the other presentations of ADHD except that it is characterized primarily by problems with inattention or a deficit of sustained attention, such as procrastination, hesitation, and forgetfulness. It differs in having fewer or no typical symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsiveness. Lethargy and fatigue are sometimes reported.|
|ADHD||Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder|
|Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder of the neurodevelopmental type. It is characterized by difficulty paying attention, excessive activity and acting without regards to consequences, which are otherwise not appropriate for a person's age. Some individuals with ADHD also display difficulty regulating emotions.|
|ADOS||Autism Processing disorder schedule|
|Sensory processing problems are usually identified in children. But they can also affect adults. Sensory processing problems are commonly seen in developmental conditions like autism spectrum disorder. Sensory processing disorder is not recognized as a stand-alone disorder.|
|ALENCo||Additional Learning Educational Needs Coordinator|
|All schools have an Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo). The ALnCo is responsible for managing Special Educational Needs (SEN) within the school. The ALNCo, with the Headteacher and Governing Body, plays a key role in the development of the SEN policy and provision in the school.|
|ALN||Additional Learning Needs|
|The term 'additional learning needs' has a legal definition and refers to children and young people with learning, physical or sensory needs that make it harder to learn than most children of the same age. A child is said to have 'additional support needs' if they need more, or different, support to what is normally provided in schools or pre-schools to children of the same age. Children might need extra help to be able to take part in school or get the most from their education.|
|APD||Auditory Processing Disorder|
|Auditory processing disorder (APD), rarely known as King-Kopetzky syndrome or auditory disability with normal hearing (ADN), is an umbrella term for a variety of disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory information. Individuals with APD usually have normal structure and function of the outer, middle, and inner ear (peripheral hearing). However, they cannot process the information they hear in the same way as others do, which leads to difficulties in recognizing and interpreting sounds, especially the sounds composing speech. It is thought that these difficulties arise from dysfunction in the central nervous system.|
|ASD||Autism Spectrum Disorder|
|Autism spectrum, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a range of mental disorders of the neurodevelopmental type. It Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) includes autism and Asperger.
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behaviour. Parents often notice signs during the first three years of their child's life. These signs often develop gradually, though some children with autism experience worsening in their communication and social skills after reaching developmental milestones at a normal pace.
|BDD||Body Dysmorphic Disorder|
|Other names; body dysmorphia, dysmorphic syndrome, dysmorphophobia. Body dysmorphic disorder, occasionally still called dysmorphophobia, is a mental disorder characterized by the obsessive idea that some aspect of one's own body part or appearance is severely flawed and therefore warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix it.|
|BSS||Behaviour Support Service|
|The Behaviour Support Service (BSS) works mainly with children and young people experiencing Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties.
|CAMHS||Child and Adolescent Mental Health service|
|Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is the name for NHS-provided services in England and Wales for children, generally until school-leaving age, who are having difficulties with their emotional or behavioural well-being. CAMHS services are organised locally, and the exact services provided may vary, often by local government area|
|CBT||Cognitive Behavioural Therapy|
|Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve mental health. CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions (e.g. thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) and behaviors, improving emotional regulation and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems.|
|Conduct disorder (CD) is a mental disorder diagnosed in childhood or adolescence that presents itself through a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate norms are violated. These behaviors are often referred to as "antisocial behaviours". It is often seen as the precursor to antisocial personality disorder, which is per definition not diagnosed until the individual is 18 years old. Conduct disorder is estimated to affect 51.1 million people globally as of 2013|
|DCD||(Dyspraxia) Developmental Co-Ordination Disorder|
|Developmental coordination disorder (DCD), also known as developmental motor coordination disorder, developmental dyspraxia or simply dyspraxia, is a chronic neurological disorder beginning in childhood. It is also known to affect planning of movements and co-ordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body. Impairments in skilled motor movements per a child's chronological age interfere with activities of daily living. A diagnosis of DCD is then reached only in the absence of other neurological impairments like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson's disease.|
|EBD||Emotional And Behavioural Difficulties|
|Emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), also known as behavioral and emotional disorders, refer to a disability classification used in educational settings that allows educational institutions to provide special education and related services to students who have displayed poor social and/or academic progress.
The classification is often given to students after conducting a Functional Behavior Analysis. These students need individualized behavior supports such as a Behavior Intervention Plan
|EOTAS||Education Other Than at School|
|Education Other Than at School (EOTAS), homeschooling, also known as home education, is the education of children at home or a variety of places other than school. Home education is usually conducted by a parent, tutor, or an online teacher. Many families use less formal ways of educating. "Homeschooling" is the term commonly used in North America, whereas "home education" is commonly used in the United Kingdom|
|An educational psychologist is a psychologist whose differentiating functions may include diagnostic and psycho-educational assessment, psychological counseling in educational communities (students, teachers, parents and academic authorities), community-type psycho-educational intervention, and mediation, coordination, and referral to other professionals, at all levels of the educational system.|
|EWO||Education Welfare Officer|
|Education welfare officers work with schools, children, their parents/carers and other agencies to ensure that children are able to benefit fully from all the educational opportunities available to them. They have particular responsibility for promoting regular school attendance, dealing with absenteeism and working with those children who are at risk of exclusion.|
|GAD||General Anxiety Disorder|
|Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about events or activities. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, and sufferers are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friendship problems, interpersonal relationship problems, or work difficulties.Symptoms may include excessive worry, restlessness, trouble sleeping, feeling tired, irritability, sweating, and trembling.|
|GDD||Global Developmental Delay|
|Global developmental delay is an umbrella term used when children are significantly delayed in their cognitive and physical development. It can be diagnosed when a child is delayed in one or more milestones, categorised into motor skills, speech, cognitive skills, and social and emotional development.|
|In the medical profession, a general practitioner (GP) is a medical doctor who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education to patients.|
|Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is a partial or total inability to hear. A deaf person has little to no hearing. Hearing loss may occur in one or both ears. In children, hearing problems can affect the ability to learn spoken language and in adults it can create difficulties with social interaction and at work. In some people, particularly older people, hearing loss can result in loneliness. Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent.|
|IBP||Individual Behaviour Plan|
|An individual behaviour support plan, which documents supports and strategies based on students' unique and individual characteristics, will benefit students with behaviour challenges.|
|IDP||Individual Development Plan|
|An individual development plan (IDP) is a document that outlines the projected growth for an employee. It's an agreement between an employee and employer that certain skills should be improved or learned or that overall performance should meet a certain standard by a specified time.|
|IEP||Individual Educational Plan|
|An IEP or Individual Education Plan is a plan or programme designed for children with SEN to help them to get the most out of their education. An IEP builds on the curriculum that a child with learning difficulties or disabilities is following and sets out the strategies being used to meet that child's specific needs.|
|Learning disability, learning disorder or learning difficulty (British English) is a condition in the brain that causes difficulties comprehending or processing information and can be caused by several different factors. Given the "difficulty learning in a typical manner", this does not exclude the ability to learn in a different manner. Therefore, some people can be more accurately described as having a "learning difference", thus avoiding any misconception of being disabled with a lack of ability to learn and possible negative stereotyping. In the United Kingdom, the term "learning disability" generally refers to an intellectual disability, while difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia are usually referred to as "learning difficulties"|
|LEA||Local Education Authority|
|Local education authorities (LEAs) are the local councils in England and Wales that are responsible for education within their jurisdiction. The term is used to identify which council (district or county) is locally responsible for education in a system with several layers of local government|
|LSA||Learning Support Assistant|
|A Learning Support Assistant, teaching assistant or teacher's aide (TA) or education assistant (EA) or team teacher (TT) is an individual who assists a teacher with instructional responsibilities|
|LSS||Learning Support Service|
|Department within the Educational Authority responsible for providing support and advice for schools and pupils with additional learning needs.|
|MLD||Moderate Learning Difficulty|
|Children with moderate learning difficulties (MLD), or global learning difficulties, experience great difficulty following the curriculum, despite receiving additional help and intervention. They have general developmental delay resulting in attainments significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum, ie below level 2 of the National Curriculum at the start of senior school. There may be other, associated special needs such as dyspraxia.
Children with moderate learning difficulties may appear immature and find it difficult to mix with their regular peer group. Many are vulnerable and may experience bullying as a result. Often they are needy with an over-reliance on adult help and support.
|Neurodevelomental team providing specialist knowledge and skills for children and young people with complex neurodevelopmental conditions (including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Tourette’s Syndrome) and their families|
|OCD||Obsessive Compulsive Disorder|
|Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which a person feels the need to perform certain routines repeatedly (called "compulsions"), or has certain thoughts repeatedly (called "obsessions"). The person is unable to control either the thoughts or activities for more than a short period of time. Common compulsions include hand washing, counting of things, and checking to see if a door is locked. Some may have difficulty throwing things out. These activities occur to such a degree that the person's daily life is negatively affected, often taking up more than an hour a day.|
|ODD||Oppositional Defiance Disorder|
|Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is listed in the DSM-5 under Disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders and defined as "a pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness" in children and adolescents. Unlike children with conduct disorder (CD), children with oppositional defiant disorder are not aggressive towards people or animals, do not destroy property, and do not show a pattern of theft or deceit.|
|Occupational Therapists (OTs) are health care professionals who utilize evidence-based practice, research, scientific evidence, and a holistic perspective to promote independence, meaningful occupations, and patients' functional ability to fulfill their daily routines and roles. OTs ensure their patient-oriented interventions are effective.|
|PDA||Pathological Demand Avoidance|
|Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) is a proposed sub-type of autism spectrum disorder. Characteristics ascribed to the condition include greater refusal to do what is asked of the person, even to activities the person would normally like|
|PDD||Pervasive Developmental Disorder|
|The diagnostic category pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), as opposed to specific developmental disorders (SDD), is a group of five disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication. The pervasive developmental disorders are autism, Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS, i.e. all autism spectrum disorders), Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) and Rett syndrome.
The first four of these disorders are commonly called the autism spectrum disorders; the last disorder is much rarer, and is sometimes placed in the autism spectrum and sometimes not.
|PMLD||Profound And Multiple Learning Difficulty|
|A profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD) is when a person has a severe learning disability and other disabilities that significantly affect their ability to communicate and be independent. Someone with PMLD may have severe difficulties seeing, hearing, speaking and moving.|
|PSP||Pastoral Support Plan|
|A Pastoral Support Plan (PSP) is a school based programme which is meant to help a child to improve their social, emotional and behavioural skills. The PSP will identify precise and specific targets for the child to work towards and should include the child and parents in the drafting process.|
|PTSD||Post Traumatic Stress Disorder|
|Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, child abuse, or other threats on a person's life.
Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a person thinks and feels, and an increase in the fight-or-flight response.
These symptoms last for more than a month after the event. Young children are less likely to show distress, but instead may express their memories through play. A person with PTSD is at a higher risk for suicide and intentional self-harm.
|SALT||Speech and language therapist|
|Speech-language pathology is a field of expertise practiced by a clinician known as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or a speech and language therapist, both of whom may be known by the shortened description, speech therapist.
SLP is considered a "related health profession" or "allied health profession" along with audiology, optometry, occupational therapy, rehabilitation psychology, physical therapy, behavior analysis and others.
|SEN||Special Educational Needs|
|Special educational needs (SEN), also known as special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in the United Kingdom refers to the education of children with disabilities.|
|SENDA||Special Educational Needs Disability Act|
|The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (c.10), also known as SENDA, is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is intended as an adjunct to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which legislated to prevent the unfair treatment of individuals, in the provision of goods and services, unless justification could be proved. This legislation was deemed necessary as the previous Act did not encompass educational organisations. This was further replaced by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005.
The act required schools, colleges, universities, adult education providers, statutory youth service and local education authorities to make 'reasonable provisions' to ensure people with disabilities or special needs were provided with the same opportunities as those who were not disabled
|Selective mutism (SM), also known as situational mutism, is an anxiety disorder in which a person normally capable of speech cannot speak in specific situations or to specific people. Selective mutism usually co-exists with social anxiety disorder. People with selective mutism stay silent even when the consequences of their silence include shame, social ostracism, or punishment|
|School nursing, a specialized practice of public health nursing, protects and promotes student health, facilitates normal development, and advances academic success. School nurses, grounded in ethical and evidence-based practice, are the leaders that bridge health care and education, provide care coordination, advocate for quality student-centered care, and collaborate to design systems that allow individuals and communities to develop their full potentials|
|SPD||Sensory Processing Disorder|
|Sensory processing disorder (SPD; also known as sensory integration dysfunction) is a condition where multisensory integration is not adequately processed in order to provide appropriate responses to the demands of the environment.|
|SPLD||Specific Learning Difficulty|
|In the UK, terms such as specific learning difficulty (SpLD), developmental dyslexia, developmental coordination disorder and dyscalculia are used to cover the range of learning difficulties. The Lancet defines 'learning disability' as a "significant general impairment in intellectual functioning acquired during childhood", and states that roughly one in 50 British adults have one|
|Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses. Some also include those who have a decreased ability to see because they do not have access to glasses or contact lenses.
Visual impairment is often defined as a best corrected visual acuity of worse than either 20/40 or 20/60. The term blindness is used for complete or nearly complete vision loss. Visual impairment may cause people difficulties with normal daily activities such as driving, reading, socializing, and walking