Jargon buster

Acute
An illness that develops quickly and has a severe impact on the person's life. Acute illnesses last a short period, unlike chronic illnesses.

Additional support for learning (ASL)
When a child or young person needs more assistance at school. The law states that the child or young person does not need a diagnosis to access additional support.

Additional support needs (ASN)
When a child or young person needs more assistance to take part in tasks or activities.

Advocacy
Advocates can support parents and children to have their voices heard. This may involve attending meetings, writing letters on the person’s behalf, or speaking on the phone.

Asperger syndrome
Asperger syndrome is an autistic spectrum disorder, often referred to as high functioning autism. A key feature of Asperger syndrome is the lack of intuitive ability to adapt socially and fit in with others. Language may be used in a stilted and stereotyped manner. People with Asperger syndrome have no general cognitive delay, meaning their overall IQ is in the normal range or above.

Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
A type of ADHD that does not cause hyperactivity but still causes impulsiveness and difficulty with attention.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition – which means it is part of the make-up of the brain. A person with ADHD will almost certainly have difficulties with impulsiveness, inattention and hyperactivity. They may be unable to sit still, plan ahead, finish tasks or (because of their short attention span) be unaware of what is going on around them.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that appears early in life, generally before the age of three. Children with autism may have problems with relating to others, difficulties with communication, and limited imagination. Autistic traits persist into adulthood, but vary in severity.

Carer
Any person, regardless of age, who provides support to another person who is struggling to cope due to illness or disability. Carers may be paid or unpaid and may or may not be related to the person they care for.

Cerebral palsy
A group of disorders that are present from birth and affect the individual's ability to move and use some of their muscles. The condition will affect the person for their entire life.

Child planning meeting/young person’s planning meeting (CPM/YPPM)
A meeting of the professionals involved in a child or young person's care and education to discuss how extra support can be given.

Cognition
Processes that take place in the brain, such as thinking, learning, memory and understanding.

Complex needs
When several factors (eg, medical and social needs) combine to decrease the ability of an individual to participate and engage in daily tasks.

Comprehension
To be able to understand and make sense of something.

Coordinated support plan (CSP)
A plan created for children and young people with additional support needs who need extra support with their education. This approach helps coordinate a child or young person's education when multiple professionals are involved, and provides a measure of the child's current ability and their targets for the future. The CSP is a legal document – local authorities must make sure that they support the child to achieve the goals laid out in the plan.

Coordination
Using more than one body part at the same time in an effective manner.

Development Coordination disorder (DCD)
Developmental Coordination Disorder, often referred to as dyspraxia, is a neurodevelopmental condition – it is part of the make-up of the brain. It is characterised by specific difficulties with coordination, motor planning and motor control that can affect any or all movements, including those required for speech (verbal dyspraxia).

Developmental milestones
Key stages that typically-developing children master as they grow older and develop. An example of a milestone for a younger child may be learning to walk or feed themselves.

Dietician
A professional who can give advice about diet and nutrition.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
This is a payment made by the Government to assist people who are disabled. It is gradually being replaced by the Personal Independence Payment.

Dysgraphia
Difficulty with writing, which may include poor handwriting, difficulty with spelling and trouble converting ideas into written words.

Dyskinesia
Involuntary movements of muscles of the body or the face.

Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a condition characterised by specific problems in learning to read and write. It is best described as a combination of abilities and difficulties that affect the learning processes in reading, spelling and/or writing but are not due to intellectual impairment.

Early intervention
Support given as soon as a problem is identified with a child, young person or family.

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
A fortnightly financial sum paid directly by the Government to young people who are in further education. Only young people who come from a household with an annual income below a particular level qualify.

Education officer
Each local authority will have a named education officer (or somebody with a similar title) who is responsible for ensuring all children and young people in the area are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential within education.

Exclusion
When a child is removed from school for a fixed period of time. Exclusion can only take place for one of two reasons: the child's parent is not following school rules, or is not allowing their child to follow them; or by staying in school the pupil would affect the school's order and discipline, or the other pupils' educational well-being.

Executive function
A group of abilities that the brain typically begins to develop during early childhood and continues developing into adolescence. These skills allow the child or young person to regulate their emotions, pay attention, and plan – key tasks for learning.

Fine motor skills
Movements that require the use of the small muscles of the body, often in coordination with the eyes. Examples would be holding a pen, playing with Lego, or using a knife and fork.

Flexi-schooling/education
When a child is educated partly within a school setting and partly at home.

Fragile X
A genetic condition that is one of the most common inherited causes of intellectual impairment, and the most common known genetic cause of autism.

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)
An approach taken by the Scottish Government with a view to improving the wellbeing of the nation's children and young people. All school and healthcare professionals must keep GIRFEC in mind when offering support to a child.

Gross motor skills
Movements that require the use of the large muscles of the body - walking and running are examples.

Home schooling/education
When the decision is made to educate a child outside the school environment (eg, at home or within an alternative community setting). The parent of the child or a tutor may act in place of a teacher.

Inclusion
A model of education in which children with additional needs spend the majority of their time at school being educated with children who do not have additional needs.

Independent school
A school that is not funded by and is, therefore, not reliant on Government money.

Individualised Education Programme/Plan (IEP)
An IEP provides strategies and resources that parents and professionals can use to support a child or young person to reach their goals. The plan will also include how the child or young person can be supported to reach these goals.

Information processing
A process that takes place in the brain as new information is acted upon, stored, and retained.

Integration
Children and young people with additional support needs in mainstream education, but without enough support for them to be truly included. Children and young people with additional support needs are in mainstream education, but their needs are not met.

Interventions
The action or input to support a child or young person.

Learning difficulty
Any learning or emotional problem that affects, or substantially affects, a person’s ability to learn, get along with others and follow convention.

Learning disability
A significant, lifelong condition that starts before adulthood, affects development and leads to help being required to understand information, learn new skills and cope independently.

Mediation
When a neutral third-party becomes involved in a disagreement with the intention of helping both sides come to a resolution.

Mental health
We all have mental health in the same way we have physical health. Sometimes we can have poor mental health and may need support to become healthy again.

Multi-disciplinary/multi-agency input
When several professionals from different areas work together to support a person. These professionals may be from social work, health and education.

Multi-sensory
When more than one sense is used at any one time. For example, hearing and seeing are used to watch television. Senses include smell, touch, taste, sight, hearing and movement.

Neurodevelopmental
The development of the brain. This term is often found when describing a disorder that affects how the brain grows and functions.

Neurological
Relating to the brain and nervous system.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
An anxiety disorder characterised by repetitive, intrusive and unwelcome thoughts, images, impulses and doubts that the sufferer finds hard to ignore. Sufferers try to fight these thoughts with mental or physical rituals (the compulsions), which involve repeatedly performing actions such as washing, cleaning, checking, counting and hoarding.

Occupational therapy/Occupational therapist
Occupational therapists support individuals affected by injury, illness or disability to participate and engage in meaningful, age-appropriate everyday activities. Tasks that occupational therapists may help with include developing independence with dressing, self-care and fine motor tasks, such as handwriting or using cutlery.

Package of care
The mix of services that are offered to a person to support them in meeting their needs.

Pathway (in relation to diagnosis and assessment process)
The stages a person passes through as they are assessed for a particular difficulty or disability.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
A new benefit that has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people with a disability who are aged 16 to 64. The payment helps with the additional financial outgoings, which may come with having a long-term disability or health condition

Physiotherapy/physiotherapist
Physiotherapists provide support to improve movement and function when an individual of any age is affected by injury, illness or disability.

Placing/placement request
A placing request is used when a parent or carer wants their child to attend a school other than the one offered by the local authority.

Psychiatrist
A medical doctor who has undergone additional training to assist them in supporting people with mental health problems. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication, unlike psychologists.

Psychologist
A person who can help with mental health and behaviour. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication and may use talking therapies to help people.

Quality improvement officer
A professional whose role is to identify and implement strategies that help schools improve the support they can offer children and young people.

Respite
When a child or young person spends time with specially-trained workers to give their main parent/carer a chance to relax or catch up on other tasks.

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN)
A network of professionals whose aim is to provide guidelines for the medical treatment of patients within Scotland.

Self-directed support (SDS)
A payment that allows people to choose how the support that they require is delivered.

Social work/social worker
Social workers make sure vulnerable children and adults are protected from harm and can live the best possible lives they can in the circumstances they are in.

Special educational needs (SEN)
When a young person needs extra support or adjustments to help them learn. This term is rarely used in Scotland where the term 'additional support needs' is more common.

Special school
Schools that specialise in the education of children and young people with complex learning needs.

Speech and language therapy/therapist
A professional whose role is to support the improvement of communication for children with acquired and developmental communication disorders.

Stimming
Behaviour that is used to self-stimulate. Stimming is often associated with autism but can be found in other neurodevelopmental conditions. Behaviours may include hand flapping, hair pulling, biting own skin and scratching own skin.

Support for Learning (SfL)
Support for children and young people to help them overcome any barriers that they may have to learning. Schools often have a Support for Learning base.

Tic
A repetitive movement, sound or act that occurs outside the control of the person.

Tourette syndrome
A complex neurodevelopmental condition that is not emotional in its origin. It is a condition in which the person loses control over the movements and sounds they make. These involuntary movements or sounds (tics) may come and go, and vary in severity.

Transition
Moving from one service/location/school to another. This term is most often used when a young person moves from primary school to secondary school, and from children's services to adult services.

Tribunal
If you disagree with the decision of the local authority about the care or education of your child, you may decide to go to a tribunal. An independent group of people will then decide if the local authority acted appropriately. A tribunal should be used only after all other options have been exhausted.

Well-being assessment and plan
The assessment process that leads to a clear plan to support a child/young person over all domains, including health and education.

Young carer
A person under the age of 18 who helps to look after someone who needs additional support. This may be their parent or sibling.

Young person
Typically used to refer to a person who is between 14 and 17 years of age.