When reading or talking about autism and related topics, you might come across words and acronyms you’re not familiar with – even if you’ve been part of the autism community for a long time! Amaze has created this glossary to help you understand some commonly-used terms. 

If you can’t find the word you’re looking for, please let us know.

Term or Acronym Definition
ABA Applied Behaviour Analysis, a range of strategies to understand and change the behaviour of an autistic person.
ATSS Adult Training Support Service. ATSS is offered by disability support organisations to support adults with disabilities in their daily lives.
ASD Autism Spectrum Disorder. When diagnosing autism, health professionals use the term Autism Spectrum Disorder to describe the varied presentation of autistic individuals. These specific terms are also often required for funding purposes. Amaze refers to all Autism Spectrum Disorders as autism.
Assistive technology  Technology used to assist a person with a disability (for example, alpha smarts or computer programs) particularly within the Government school system.
Autism Spectrum Disorder A neurodevelopmental condition affecting three main areas – the ability of the individual to communicate, to socialise and to think flexibly or imaginatively. Amaze refers to all Autism Spectrum Disorders as autism.
Behaviour of concern Behaviours of concern are very difficult or serious behaviours that reach a level where an individual hurts themselves or others. For example, hitting, punching and biting, inappropriate sexual behaviour or wandering.
Case management Also called service coordination: assistance from a case manager/service coordinator, who helps individuals with disabilities and families to get support from the health care system.
CRU Community Residential Unit. A service providing supported accommodation for individuals with disabilities. Now replaced by Shared and Supported Accommodation.
Day Service Service providing a safe environment for individuals with disabilities and special needs.
DHHS Department of Health and Human Services
DET Department of Education and Training
Developmental delay The term used when a young child is slower to develop physical, emotional, social and communication skills than expected in children of that age.
DSM-5 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5. The latest version DSM-5 was released in May 2013, with supplemental updates released in October 2017. It is a US manual produced by the American Psychiatric Association to assist medical professionals in making a diagnosis of a mental condition. Autism Spectrum Disorder is described in this manual.
ECEI Early Childhood Early Intervention. Services and supports for children with a disability or developmental delay from birth to school entry and their families.
Functional Behaviour Assessment (FBA) Process of carefully observing behaviour to determine what sets off the chain of events that lead to a behaviour, such as tantrums or aggression.
HCWA Helping Children with Autism package. A funding package for autistic children under 7 years. HCWA has been replaced by the NDIS in Victoria.
ID Intellectual Disability
Incidence Incidence is the rate of new (or newly diagnosed) cases of a condition.
ISP Individual Support Package: disability services funds allocated to a person to meet their disability-related support needs.
Local Area Coordinator (LAC) The role of the Local Area Coordinator (LAC) is to assist people to navigate the NDIS, including planning and coordination.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) The new way the Australian Government provides financial support to Australians with disability, mental health issues, chronic illness and who are Deaf.
National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) The organisation that runs the NDIS.
Neurodevelopmental Relating to or involving the growth and development of the brain or central nervous system.
Neurodiverse/Neurodiversity Refers to differences like autism as variations in the way the human brain develops that can offer unique strengths and challenges.
Neurotypical Refers to people who do not display atypical patterns of thought or behaviour that are associated with autism and other neurological differences. Amaze will generally use non-autistic instead of neurotypical.
Occupational therapy Therapy based on engagement in daily life activities, such as self-care skills, education, work, shopping, or social interaction.
OSP Office of the Senior Practitioner (used to be the Intellectual Disability Review Panel – IDRP)
Prevalence The number of people who have a condition.
RDI Relationship Development Intervention
Respite Care provided to an individual with special needs so that their carer(s) can take a break
SDS Special Developmental School
Speech therapy Therapy to support the development of speech, voice, language, communication, and swallowing.
Shared & Supported Accommodation (Replaced CRU) A program aiming to provide high quality supported housing in the community where up to 5 people with disabilities share housing and are provided with supports such as household management, self-care, personal hygiene and participation in activities.
The 2 domains of impairment With the release of the DSM-5, autistic people are described as having a “dyad” or two areas of deficit – social communication and repetitive behaviours/sensory interests.
Wandering Wandering happens when a person who generally requires some level of supervision to be safe leaves a supervised, place and/or the care of a responsible person.
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