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Glossary Item Description

The M-CHAT is an acronym for the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, a screening tool for toddlers between 16 and 30 months of age.

Macrophage Activating Factor

Macrophage activating factors (MAF) are  natural substances (such as lymphokines)  that prime macrophages so that they become toxic to tumours, pathogens and other harmful cells in the body.


Macrophages are important cells of the immune system that are formed in response to an infection or accumulating damaged or dead cells.


MAF is an ancronym for macrophage activating factors, natural substances (such as lymphokines) that prime macrophages so that they become toxic to tumours, pathogens and other harmful cells in the body.


Magnesium is a mineral found in a wide variety of foods. The richest sources are green leafy vegetables (such as spinach) and nuts. Good sources include bread, fish, meat and dairy foods. It is sometimes taken as a supplement.

Magnesium Sulphate

Magnesium sulphate is a chemical which is used for a variety of medicinal purposes including as an anticonvulsant, a cathartic, and an electrolyte replenisher.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.

Mainstream Medicine

Mainstream medicine is another term for standard  healthcare or conventional medicine, the medicine practiced by doctors and by allied health professionals which is based on sound scientific evidence.

Major Tranquillisers

Major tranquillisers is another term for antipsychotics, a class of psychoative drugs used to treat a range of mental health problems including psychosis, anxiety and dementia.


Makation is a language programme which uses signs and symbols to teach communication, language and literacy skills to people with communication and learning difficulties.

Managing Repetitive Behaviours Programme

The Managing Repetitive Behaviours Programme is a multi-component programme designed to help parents deal with repetitive and restricted behaviours in children on the autism spectrum.


Mand is a term used within the verbal behaviour approach meaning to request or ask for something.

Mand-Model Approach

The mand-model approach is an extension of the incidental teaching model. 

Manic Depression

Manic depression, is another term for bipolar disorder, a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another.


Manipulation-based interventions include a range of treatments and therapies in which someone other than the patient manipulates or moves the patient's body or parts of it.

Manipulative and Body-Based Practices

Manipulative and body-based practices focus primarily on the structures and systems of the body, including the bones and joints, the soft tissues, and the circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Manual Signing

Manual signing is another term for sign language, any language which uses manual communication instead of sound to convey meaning.


MAOIs is an acronym for monoamine oxidase inhibitors, a type of antidepressant drug used to treat a range of conditions, including anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.

Martial Arts

Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons including self-defence and spiritual development.


Maruxa is a brand name for memantine, a drug in a class of medications called NMDA receptor antagonists.

About This Glossary

This glossary is designed to explain some of the jargon and gobbledygook used by some people when they talk about autism or research..

You may be able to find more information, including links to other parts of this website, by clicking on the title of an item.

If you know of any other items we should include in this section, please email info@informationautism.org.

Please note that we reserve the right not to include an item if we feel that it is not appropriate.


The fact that an intervention is listed in this glossary does not necessarily mean that we agree with its use. Nor does it necessarily mean that there is any scientifically valid or reliable evidence behind it.