ABA BCBA Behavior Analyst

Key Autism Acronyms To Understand

Caregivers that are tasked with helping their child through and after an autism diagnosis are not only faced with the challenges of managing their child's behavior and teaching their little one new skills using specialized approaches; they are faced with learning a new language – the language associated with autism, related diagnoses, therapies, professional titles, ABA therapy and assessments. Parents will quickly notice in their early research of autism and related disorders, during the diagnostic process, and preparing for and beginning therapeutic and educational services, professionals are all using unfamiliar language riddled with acronyms.

At Behavior Essentials, we always define a term before and after using the acronym to help you prepare for future communication with professionals. When you transition from our services, you will have mastered these terms and feel comfortable using them on a daily basis. For now, we want to provide a resource of acronyms commonly used in the world of autism to aid parents education.

ADOS: Autism Diagnostic ObservationSchedule
ADOS is used to diagnose autism spectrum disorders across age, development all level, and language skills through a sequence of play and social activities. It’s just one element of an autism diagnosis. It classifies three different levels of severity.

BCBA: Board Certified Behavior Analyst
A BCBA works with individuals to provide behavior analysis services. They create and oversee implementation of techniques and treatments used to teach new skills and replace problem behaviors. There are Bachelor level behavior analysts, known as BCaBA’s that require direct supervision from a BCBA in order to practice.

BIP: Behavior Intervention Pan
The behavior intervention plan (BIP) is based on the functional behavior assessment (FBA). It’s goal is to replace the problem behaviors with appropriate ones. It includes description of the behavior, its function, and strategies to address it.

DD: Developmental Disability
Developmental disabilities are a group of chronic conditions that are due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, and/or behavior areas.

DTT: Discrete Trial Training.
DTT is a structured ABA intervention method that breaks down skills into small components. The therapist uses DTT to systematically teach skills one by one.

FAPE: Free and Appropriate Public Education
Requires schools to create individualized educational programs designed to meet a child's unique needs and prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living.

FBA: Functional Behavior Assessment
This assessment is used for obtaining information about the function(s) of a problem behavior. The results are used to guide the design of an intervention to decrease the problem behavior and increase appropriate behavior. If you’ve ever wondered “why” does my child do a particular behavior, this assessment reveals the purpose of behavior.

GARS: Gilliam Autism Rating Scale
GARS is one of the most widely used instruments for the assessment of autism spectrum disorder. It assists teachers, parents, and clinicians in identifying autism and estimating its severity.

HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
HIPAA is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge.

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
American legislation that ensures students with a disability are provided withFree Appropriate Public Education that is tailored to their individual needs.

IEP: Individualized Education Plan
It’s a legal contract between you and the school. An IEP is a document that describes the special services your child will get to meet their educational needs. An IEP meeting is held with a team of professionals and parents to develop the plan collaboratively.


LBA: Licensed Behavior Analyst
An LBA is a behavior analyst credential specific to the state. An LBA provides behavioral health treatments for clients with autism and related disorders. There are Bachelor level licencend behavior analysts, known as LaBA’s that require direct supervision from a BCBA/LBA in order to practice.

NET: Natural Environment Teaching
NET is method of teaching in the “natural environment” or in real-life settings. It is frequently used with individuals who are on the autism spectrum to help with generalization skills.

ODD: Oppositional Defiant Disorder
ODD is part of a group of behavioral disorders that are classified as disruptive behavior disorders. Individuals with ODD have a pattern of disobedient, hostile, and defiant behavior directed toward authority figures.

OT: Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, injury rehabilitation, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
(American Occupational Therapy Association)

RBT: Registered Behavior Technician
RBTs are paraprofessionals who implement ABA treatment plans created by board certified behavior analysts (BCBA).

SLP: Speech-Language Pathologist
SLP can assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, feeding and swallowing disorders. Many do not know that speech therapist work on much more than just proper pronouncing of words.