#ActuallyAutistic — A hashtag created to highlight the importance of Autistic voices and content about autistic people.

Ableism - Ableism means the practices of dominant attitudes by a society that devalue or limit the potential for people with disabilities. Ableism is the act of giving inferior value or worth to people who have different types of disabilities (physical, emotional, developmental or psychiatric). This includes people who are neurodiverse.

Accommodations - Techniques and materials that help students with ADHD or a learning disability learn or perform schoolwork more effectively. Some accommodations include extra time on tests, a lighter homework load, and permission to tape-record assignments.

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder -  ADHD is when a person has difficulty with attention span (inattention), activity levels (overactive) and impulsive actions.

ADHD Coaching - People with ADHD work with a specialised coach to better understand the impact and management of their condition by developing certain skills and strategies.

ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) - This is a standard used for diagnosing ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder/Difference) in children and is accompanied by information from parent observations.

Apraxia of speech - Also known as verbal apraxia or dyspraxia, this is a speech disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently.

ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) - ASD means that a person has neurological differences because of atypical brain connections affecting their development. These differences might lead to unusual development, challenges or special abilities. ASD is sometimes used synonymously with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and Autism Spectrum Difference (ASD).

Assistive Technology - Equipment or software that helps children compensate for learning impairments. Examples include electronic spell-checkers and audiobooks.

Auditory - Language processing skills: the abilities to listen and verbally communicate, acquired as one hears and perceives sounds and interacts with the environment.

Auditory Perception - The ability to receive, identify, discriminate, understand and respond to sounds.

Autism - Autism is a developmental disability that appears during early childhood. Autism can impact a person’s ability to self-regulate, communicate, socialise and form relationships. There are different types of autism, so some people refer to people as 'on the autism spectrum'.

Autist - Autist is used to describe an autistic person in the singular form.


Behaviour Intervention Plan (BIP) - A set of strategies developed by school personnel to help a child behave in a way that is appropriate to the classroom and that allows them to learn.

Body Awareness -  The mental picture of one’s own body parts, where they are, how they interrelate, and how they move.


CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) - CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps with creating solutions for sensory issues with light, touch, and more.

CARS -  Childhood Autism Rating Scale.

CBT - Cognitive Behaviour therapy.

Cognitive -  Pertaining to cognition, the process of being aware, knowing, thinking and learning.

Cognitive Behaviour therapy - A type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps patients understand the thoughts and feelings that influence Behaviours. CBT is commonly used to treat depression and anxiety.

Combined Hyperactive-Impulsive and Inattentive - A subtype of ADHD characterised by a combination of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness.


Depth Perception - The ability to see objects in three dimensions and to judge relative distances between objects, or between oneself and objects.

Differbility/Diffability - Differbility and Diffability is the combination of the words 'different' and‎ 'ability'. This is also used as an alternative to the word 'disability' which intends to remove the term’s negative connotations of disabilities.

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 of the 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.

Dyscalculia - Dyscalculia is when a person has difficulty with calculations and numbers.

Dysgraphia - Dysgraphia is when a person has difficulty spelling or putting thoughts together on paper.

Dyslexia - Dyslexia is when a person has difficulty reading. People with dyslexia may also have difficulty with comprehension, spelling and writing.

Dyspraxia - Dyspraxia is when a person has difficulty with movement and coordination. Many people with Dyspraxia also have ADHD or other sensory processing issues.


Echolalia - Echolalia is when a person with autism repeats something (words or phrases) they hear back to another person over and over again, without necessarily understanding their meaning.

Educational Psychologist - A psychologist who specialises in learning and in the behavioural, social and emotional problems that interfere with school performance.

Eye-Hand Coordination - The efficient teamwork of the eyes and hands, necessary for activities such as playing with toys, dressing, and writing.

Executive function - The ability to plan, organise and follow through, as well as the ability to inhibit actions, delay responses, make appropriate choices and shift attention. Individuals with ASD, ADHD, learning delays and other neurological conditions often have deficits in executive function, which is important to the attainment of goals.


Fine motor skills -  Activities that require the coordination of smaller body muscles, for example, writing.

Fight-Or-Flight Response - The instinctive reaction to defend oneself from real or perceived danger by becoming aggressive or by withdrawing.

Formal Assessment - A school-based evaluation of a student’s learning difficulties using standardised tests and other tools. A team of school professionals uses the assessment to determine a child’s eligibility for special education and related services.

Fixation - Aiming one's eye at an object or shifting one's gaze from one object to another.

Functional analysis - Process of carefully observing Behaviour to determine what sets off the chain of events that lead to a problem behaviour, such as tantrums or aggression


Gross motor skills - Body movements that utilise larger muscle groups such as sitting, kicking and jumping.


Hyperlexia -  Hyperlexia is when a person has the ability to read at a very young age.

Hyperactivity - A condition characterised by constant movement and excessive fidgeting and talking. In adults, this may take the form of exaggerated restlessness and an activity level that other people find tiring.

Hypersensitivity - (also Hyper-reactivity or Hyper-responsiveness). Oversensitivity to sensory stimuli, characterised by a tendency to be either fearful and cautious, or negative and defiant.

Hyposensitivity - (also Hyporeactivity or Hyporesponsiveness). Undersensitivity to sensory stimuli, characterised by a tendency either to crave intense sensations or to withdraw and be difficult to engage.


Idiosyncratic Language - A language that often has private meanings. Idiosyncratic language is used by people on the spectrum and only understood by people familiar with phrases and where they came from.

Impulsivity - A condition characterised by making important decisions and taking action without thought of potentially harmful or detrimental consequences

Individual education plan (IEP) - A document that delineates special education services for special needs students.

Intellectual disability - An impaired ability to learn, as measured by IQ score (<70) and associated difficulties in adaptive functioning. It's a condition that presents before the age of eighteen.





Mainstreaming - The concept that students with special needs should, when appropriate, be integrated with their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent possible.

Modification - An adjustment in the curriculum that creates a different standard for students with disabilities, as compared to others in the class.

Movie Talk -  When a person with autism repeats something they hear back from another person. It’s also referred to as, 'scripting' or 'echolalia'.

Multidisciplinary Team - A group of people who work together to develop and review a child’s IEP. The team might include the child’s classroom and special-education teachers, school administrator, school psychologist, therapist, educational advocate and parents.


The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) - The Australian Government's financial support to Australians with a disability, mental health issues, chronic illness and those who are Deaf.

National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) - The organisation that runs the NDIS.Neurodivergent (ND) — ND means a person who has atypical neurological configurations. (e.g., an Autistic person or someone with dyslexia).

Neurodiverse - What is neurodiverse? Neurodiverse is used to describe a group of people where some members of the group are neurodivergent.

Neurodiversity - What is neurodiversity? Neurodiversity is a relatively new term coined in 1998 by autistic Australian sociologist Judy Singer. The neurodiversity definition began as a way to describe people on the Autistic spectrum. Neurodiversity has since broadened to include people with:

Neurodiversity Movement - The Neurodiversity Movement is a social justice movement seeking equality, respect, inclusion, and civil rights for people with Neurodiversity.

Neurological - Having to do with the nerves or the nervous system.

Neurology -  The medical science that deals with the nervous system and disorders affecting it.

Neuropsychologist - A psychologist who specialises in the relationship between brain function and behaviour.

Neurotransmitter - A chemical messenger released from one nerve cell which makes its way to another nerve cell where it influences a particular chemical reaction to occur.

Neuroatypical - A person who does not have a neurological difference, like Autism.

Neurotypical - commonly abbreviated as NT and meaning having a neurocognitive functioning that is considered typical. The term NT is often used to describe people who are not autistic, though formally, the more accurate term is 'allist'.

Neurominority - Neurominority refers to an underrepresented group of Neurodiverse people who may face challenges or bias from society.

Neurominority Stereotype - A generalisation or bias towards people who are neurodiverse.

Neurovariance - Another way to describe neurodiversity or neurodivergent.

Non-stimulant Drugs - Medication typically prescribed when stimulant drugs are not effective in the treatment of ADHD. These drugs typically work by targeting levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.


Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - Disorder where a person has recurrent unwanted ideas (obsessions) and an urge (compulsion) to do something to relieve the obsession.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) - A condition characterised by hostile behaviour toward authority figures.

Occupational Therapy - Therapy that focuses on improving the development of fine and gross motor skills, sensory integration and daily living skills.

On the Spectrum - On the spectrum refers to someone who is on the Autism spectrum or with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).


People-First Language (PFL) — People-first language puts a person before a diagnosis or way of being. It describes what a person 'has' rather than saying what a person 'is'. (e.g., 'a person with Autism' vs. 'Autistic').

Perception -  The meaning the brain attributes to sensory input.

Pragmatics - Use of language in the social contexts.

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive - A subtype of ADHD characterised primarily by hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour, though some symptoms of inattentiveness may be evident.

Predominantly Inattentive - A subtype of ADHD characterised primarily by inattentiveness, though some signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness may be evident.

Proprioception - The unconscious awareness of sensations coming from one’s joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments; the 'position sense'.



Receptive Language - The ability to understand how words express ideas and feelings; language that one takes in by listening and reading.

Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) - an extreme emotional sensitivity and emotional pain triggered by the perception - not necessarily the reality - that a person has been rejected, teased, or criticised by important people in their life.


Savant — A person who has special talents, usually in math, art, or music.

Scripting —  When an Autistic person repeats something they hear back to another person. It’s sometimes called 'movie talk' or 'echolalia'.

Self-Help Skills - Competence in taking care of one's personal needs, such as bathing, dressing, eating, grooming and studying.

Self-Regulation - The ability to control one’s activity level and state of alertness, as well as one’s emotional, mental or physical responses to senses; self-organisation.

Stimming — Behaviors used by people on the autism spectrum to assist with concentration or calming. These behaviours include staring at lights, flapping or moving hands, rocking back and forth, making noises, spinning, or skipping, which is believed to provide some form of sensory stimulation. Stimming is also referred to as 'self-stimulatory behaviours'.

Self-stimulatory Behaviours - See 'stimming'.

Sensory Defensiveness - A person's behaviour in response to sensory input, reflecting severe over-reactions or a low threshold to a specific sensory input.

Sensory Diet - The multisensory experiences that one normally seeks on a daily basis to satisfy one’s sensory appetite; a planned and scheduled activity program that an occupational therapist develops to help a person become more self-regulated.

Sensory Integration - The normal neurological process taking in information from one’s body and the environment through the senses, organising and unifying this information, and using it to plan and execute adaptive responses to different challenges in order to learn and function in a person's daily life.

Sensory Integration Therapy - Therapy aimed to improve the way the brain processes and organises the senses.

Sensory Processing Skills - The ability to receive and process information from one’s sensory systems including touch (tactile), visual, auditory (hearing), proprioceptive (body position) and vestibular (balance). Behaviour, attention and peer interactions are greatly influenced by the person's ability to process sensory stimuli.

Somatosensory - Referring to the tactile-proprioceptive perception of touch sensations and body position; body sensing.

Spatial Awareness - The perception of one's proximity to, or distance from, an object, as well as the perception of the relationship of one's body parts.

Speech therapy - Therapy to support the development of speech, voice, language, communication and swallowing.

Stereotyped behaviours/Stereotyped language — When a person with autism excessively repeats an action or a phrase over time.

Stimulant Drugs - The most commonly prescribed type of medication for ADHD. These drugs stimulate the central nervous system, increasing the production and activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.


Tactile defensiveness - Extreme physical sensitivity to certain textures and sensations.

Theory of mind - Ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others and to understand what another person thinks, feels, desires, intends or believes.

Tic -  A repetitive movement that is difficult, if not impossible, to control.

Time Timer - An innovative visual timer designed to 'show' the passage of time through the use of a patented red disk that disappears as time elapses.

Tourette’s Syndrome - Tourette’s Syndrome is a condition that normally starts in childhood. It affects the brain and nerves, causing people to have uncontrollable motor or vocal tics.

Transition - A change from one activity to the next, or from one environment to another. People who are on the autism spectrum might struggle with transitions.



Vestibular -  Pertaining to the sensory system in the inner ear that governs posture and balance.

Visual-Motor Skills - The ability to visually take in information, process it and be able to coordinate your physical movement in relation to what has been viewed. It involves the combination of visual perception and motor coordination. Difficulty with visual-motor skills can result in inaccurate reaching, pointing and grasping of objects, as well as difficulty with copying, drawing, tracing and cutting.

Visual-Perception - The ability to perceive and interpret what the eyes see.

Visual Perceptual Skills - The ability to interpret and use what is seen in the environment. Difficulties in this area can interfere with a person's ability to learn self-help skills like tying shoelaces and academic tasks like copying from the blackboard or finding items in a busy background.

Visual Schedule — A tool that helps a person with autism know what to expect next in a series of activities.

Visual-Spatial Processing Skills - Perceptions based on sensory information received through the eyes and body as one interacts with the environment and moves one’s body through space. Including depth perception, directionality, form constancy, position in space, spatial awareness, visual discrimination and visual figure-ground.


Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - An IQ test.