AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) – methods of communication which can be used by adults and children who find difficulty in communicating because they have little or no clear speech. It adds to or replaces spoken communication and may include low tech as well as high tech methods. Low tech includes signing, pointing to pictures in a Communication Book, Picture Exchange Communication System etc.  High tech devices normally work electronically.

ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) www.addiss.co.uk – a condition where the individual finds it difficult to maintain attention and is easily distracted.  A paediatrician or psychiatrist would identify this.

Acquired brain injury – brain damage caused by events after birth rather than as part of a genetic or congenital disorder and can result from either traumatic brain injury (e.g. physical trauma due to accidents, falls, assaults, neurosurgery etc.) or non-traumatic injury derived from either an internal or external source (e.g. stroke, brain tumours, infection).

Articulation – process of controlling speech organs (e.g. tongue, lips, palate etc) to produce speech sounds.

Articulatory/Verbal Dyspraxia – a motor-programming disorder, which involves difficulties in coordinating the sequence of articulatory movements needed to produce continuous, running speech.

ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder www.autism.org.uk www.autism.com– a spectrum of disorders that involve impairment in social interaction, social communication, flexibility of thought and often sensory issues.

Asperger’s Syndrome www.aspergerfoundation.org.uk – a condition under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorders.

Attention control – the ability to control focus on a task or activity.

Auditory discrimination – the ability to hear the difference between sounds.

Auditory memory – The ability to remember information that is heard.

Auditory perception – the recognition and understanding of information and stimuli received through the ears.

The Child & Family Service  (also known as CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) – part of Specialist Children’s Services within Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust. The team consists of a range of specialists (psychiatrists, mental health nurses, mental health workers, therapeutic social workers, psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, occupational therapist, speech & language therapist) and work with children and their families who are experiencing emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties.

Cerebral Palsy ucp.org – neurological condition that affects movement, posture and coordination.

Chunking – giving information in small amounts, one piece at a time, by pausing between each idea. Each piece of information can then be allowed processing time.

Cleft lip www.clapa.com – a structural abnormality, where there is a split in the upper lip, which occurs during foetal development, sometimes associated with cleft palate.

Cleft palate www.clapa.com or www.cleftline.org – a structural abnormality whereby the roof of the mouth is not closed completely during foetal development, which may cause associated problems with eating, breathing, articulation and hearing.

Cognitive skills – these are the skills required for all aspects of thinking including the processes of perception, memory, reasoning, language and some types of learning.


NAD = No abnormality detected.
DiagNotMade = Diagnosis not made.
NoNeurodevCond = No neurodevelopmental condition detected.
NoNeurdisCond = No neurodisabling condition detected.
MedUnexp = Medically unexplained symptoms

Cleft palate See http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Cleft-Lip-and-Palate.htm
CAHead = congenital anomaly of the head, including craniofacial anomalies.
Craniosyn = Craniosynostosis

Comprehension – understanding (spoken words or written text).

Conductive hearing loss – a hearing impairment caused by a difficulty in transmitting sound through the outer or middle ear.

Developmental levels of visual recognition – there are 8 stages of visual recognition to consider, from the actual object to the written word. When choosing visual cues to support the child’s understanding, the developmental level of the child’s visual recognition needs to be considered e.g. from being able to recognise real objects and photographs to line drawings, to more abstract features such as symbols and words.

DIAGNOSES Intellectual abilities

LDiff = Learning difficulties.

This includes all learning disabilities and specific learning disabilities and is a high-level term to be used when the exact nature of the learning difficulty or disability has not been further elucidated. This should be a prompt for referral for further expert assessment to define the difficulties more precisely e.g. with the specialist teacher in the learning support service or educational psychologist.

TypIAA = Typical intellectual abilities for an age. Synonym of IQ normal (this is the term that is accepted by terminologists).

BordIA = Borderline intellectual ability (IQ 70-85)
MildIDD = Mild Intellectual Developmental Disability (IQ 50-70)

SLD = significant learning disability = learning disability that is more severe than Mild learning disability as defined above. This includes moderate, severe and profound learning disabilities as defined below and should be used where it is not possible to be more precise about the exact level of the learning disability.

ModLD = Moderate Intellectual Developmental Disability (IQ 35-49)
SevIDD = Severe Intellectual Developmental Disability (IQ 20-34)
ProfIDD = Profound Intellectual Developmental Disability (IQ <20)

IDunknown = IDD/EDI unknown cause = Intellectual developmental disability/early developmental impairment (learning disability, mental retardation) for which no cause has yet been identified.

SpLD = Specific Learning Disability This is the parent terminology that encompasses the group of specific learning disabilities, that can be further subdivided into Dyslexia = Specific learning difficulties affecting accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Includes difficulties with phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.

Dyscalculia = Specific learning difficulties affecting the ability to acquire arithmetical skills.

Dysgraphia = Specific learning difficulties affecting the written word, with extreme difficulty with fine-motor skills in spite of having an age-typical intellectual ability.

Down’s Syndrome www.downs-syndrome.org.uk – a chromosomal condition in which extra genetic material causes a delay in the child’s development. SLCN may be a part of that delay and symptoms vary from child to child and can range from mild to severe.

Dysfluency www.stammering.org or www.stammeringcentre.org – difficulty in producing smooth, fluent speech and the terms stammering (UK) or stuttering (USA) are frequently used.

Dyslexia – the word ‘dyslexia’ is derived from two Greek words: ‘dys’ meaning ‘difficulty’ and ‘lexia’ meaning ‘words’. The literal meaning is therefore ‘difficulty with words’. The symptoms of dyslexia can differ from person to person, and each person will have a unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses. For further information, refer to the Worcestershire Dyslexia Pathway.

Dysphagia – difficulty with eating and drinking in a smooth and coordinated manner.

Dyspraxia (or Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk – dyspraxia is generally recognised to be an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of planning of coordinated movements. Associated with this may be problems speech, language, perception and thought.

ECAT (Every Child a Talker) – a programme that aims to raise children’s achievement in early language, practitioners’ skills and knowledge and to increase parental understanding and involvement in children’s language development.

ECERS (Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale) http://www.ersi.info/ecers.html – an internationally recognised tool which enables early years settings to evaluate their environment and provision, and to identify clear steps for development in order to improve outcomes for children.

Echolalia – the repetition of words or phrases heard without understanding and may be delayed or immediate.

Expressive language – the use of words and sentences to express ideas.

FraX = Fragile X Syndrome. Fragile X syndrome is the most common identifiable cause of inherited intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders. It arises from changes on the X chromosome in a specific gene that normally makes a protein necessary for brain development. Boys are usually more severely affected than girls as they have only one X chromosome. Girls have a second X chromosome, which can compensate for problems with the faulty one.  However, some girls can be quite severely affected while some boys are only mildly affected.

Friendship stop – a designated place where children can come when they have no one to play with. Other children are encouraged to regularly stop by and interact with the child that has no one to play with.

Global development delay – delay in all areas of development i.e. physical, language and communication, learning, social etc.

Hearing Impairment – may be: sensori-neural hearing loss (permanent); conductive hearing loss (of middle ear origin); fluctuating hearing loss

IDP (Inclusion Development Programme) http://www.idponline.org.uk/ – it is a programme of continuing professional development (CPD) to support schools and Early Years settings through web-based materials.

Information processing skills – taking in information, storing this information in memory and retrieving it when needed.

Language – system for expressing thoughts and ideas using a set of symbols e.g. speaking.

Language Delay – an individual with language delay presents with language development that follows the normal sequence and pattern but at a slower rate.

Language Disorder – an individual with language disorder presents with language development that does not follow the normal pattern, giving rise to complex language problems in one or more specific areas of language.

Language Link www.speechandlanguage.info – a universal screening tool to identify children with receptive language difficulties.

Learning Disability – a condition where an individual has difficulty learning according to the typical pattern.

Learning Walk – a focused visit through learning areas, followed by feedback and reflection. It is about the next steps in improving practice and developing setting or scschool-widerovision.

LLI (Primary/Specific Language Impairment) – a primary and specific, persistent receptive or expressive language disorder/impairment, in the absence of any other difficulties. It does not include children who do not develop language because of intellectual or physical disability, hearing loss, emotional problems, environmental deprivation or Autistic Spectrum disorder.

Morphology – the grammatical rules of words and parts of words including patterns of inflections and derivation.

Multisensory – using two or more senses simultaneously so that the stronger sense can support the weaker. The visual, auditory and kinaesthetic senses are the most frequently used.

Multi-sensory Impairment – a combination of vision and hearing loss, which creates a unique pattern of learning difficulties, that significantly impact on the development of communication, access to the environment and mobility.

NAS- National Autistic Society

NF1 = Neurofibromatosis type 1.Neurofibromatosis is the general name for a number of genetic conditions that cause tumours to grow along your nerves.

Non-verbal communication – communication without using spoken words or sentences e.g. pointing, gesture.

PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) http://www.pecs.com/ – system of visual communication using pictures, symbols or photos, developed by Lori Frost and Andy Bondy in 1995.

Phonological awareness – awareness of speech sounds in words and the ability to manipulate them. Includes awareness of rhyme and alliteration.

Phonological delay – an individual with a phonological delay presents with phonological development that follows a typical pattern, but at a slower rate.  Phonological processes appear to persist beyond the age at which they should disappear.

Phonology – the speech sound system of a language – the rules that govern how sounds are organised in words in order to convey different meanings.

Plagiocephaly is a disorder that affects the skull, making the back or side of a baby’s head appear flattened. It is sometimes called deformational plagiocephaly. Positional plagiocephaly is much more common now.

Pragmatics – the use of language in social situations, including conversational skills and the understanding and use of non-verbal communication.

Processing (speech) – the ability to perceive, discriminate and analyse speech sounds in spoken language (input) and to remember and select correct sounds for talking (output).

Provision map – this is a management tool, which maps out the range of provision the school makes for children with special educational needs, and how the school is allocating resources to and among pupils with special educational need.

Receptive language – understanding language. Understanding of what is said or written, including vocabulary, grammar, instructions, stories, others’ non-verbal communication, etc.

SDP (School Development Plan) -a plan that includes a strategy for improving school and student performance in identified targeted areas.

Selective Mutism/Talking – a social anxiety disorder/phobia. The child does not speak in certain situations e.g. school, but can speak in others, e.g. home.

SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) – identified person responsible for coordinating teaching and learning needs, as well as key support services within a setting or school for children with additional needs.

Sensori-neural hearing loss – a hearing loss arising from the cochlear and 8th auditory nerve.

Sequencing – the ability to place pictures, writing, events, activities or thoughts in a logical order.

Short-term memory – this is an earlier term for ‘working memory’. The working memory can be defined as the mental space in which we hold information for a relatively short time while we do something with that information. The term working memory makes it clear that there is active processing taking place, such as the execution of instructions or the addition of two numbers.

Signalong www.signalong.org.uk– a signing system which is used in a number of settings and schools across Worcestershire and offers children a valuable aid to communication through sign-supported speech.

SLCF (Speech, Language & Communication Framework) www.slcframework.org.uk – a clear and detailed framework of the skills and knowledge in SLCN which are important for everyone who works with children and young people.

SLCN (Speech, Language and Communication Needs) – SLCN is an ‘umbrella’ term covering children who do not develop speech and language as expected.

Social and functional use of language – this can also be described as ‘pragmatic’. It involves understanding the meaning of words and the conventional rules and hidden meaning in language: knowledge of the rules of conversation and the ability to follow them, when to listen, take turns, etc.; knowledge of social rules, how to gain attention and show empathy; as well as the ability to interpret both verbal and non-verbal rules of communication.

Social Communication Skills – the use of language in social situations, including conversational skills and the understanding and use of non-verbal communication.

Speech – sounds that are made and combined in a set way to express language.

Stammering (Stuttering) – see dysfluency.

Symbols – visual/auditory or kinaesthetic representation of a concept. e.g. picture of an apple that represents an apple.

Ten Second Rule – children with SLCN often need more ‘processing time’ to get their thoughts together and formulate a response. Allow the child up to 10 seconds to respond before repeating the question.

Tourette Syndrome www.tourettes-action.org.uk – a neurological disorder, characterised by involuntary movements or sounds called tics.

Visual timetable – a visual timetable enables children to understand what they are doing over a period of time. It gives structure to the day and can reduce anxiety levels. Symbols are used to represent the tasks, activities or lessons.

Visuals/visual aids – pictures, photos or real objects to support communication and learning.

Visual Impairment – visual Impairment is a reduction in visual acuity affecting near and/or distance functional vision, field loss and other specific visual difficulties, which are not fully corrected by glasses.

Voice disorder – medical conditions affecting the production of speech.