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Glossary Item Description

Actos is a brand name for pioglitazone, a drug which is used with a diet and exercise programme and sometimes with other drugs to treat type 2 diabetes.


Acupressure is an intervention which involves placing physical pressure on different acupuncture points on the surface of the body.


Acupuncture is a therapy which involves inserting and manipulating needles into "acupuncture points" on the body.

Adaptive Behaviour

Adaptive behaviour is sometimes defined by the extent to which a person is capable of being self-sufficient in real-life situations, including the functional use of communication, socialisation, daily living and motor skills.


Adderall is a brand name of a stimulant composed of mixed amphetamine salts, which is used to treat inattention and hyperactivity.

Additive-Free Diet

The additive-free diet requires you to avoid additives, such as colourings, flavour enhancers, sweeteners and preservatives.


ADH is an acronym for antidiuretic hormone, which is another term for vasopressin.


ADHD is an acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a condition in children who have three main kinds of problems, overactive behaviour (hyperactivity), impulsive behaviour, and difficulty in paying attention.


ADI is an acronym for the the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI) is a clinical diagnostic instrument for assessing autism in children and adults.


ADOS is an acronym for the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, a diagnostic tool designed to assess behaviours related to autism spectrum disorders.

Adrenergic Agonists

Adrenergic agonists are a type of drug used to treat a range of conditions including high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart disease.

Adrenergic Antagonists

Adrenergic antagonists are a class of drug used to treat a range of conditions including hypertension, angina, irregular heart beat, heart failure and heart attack.

Advancing Social-Communication and Play

Advancing Social-Communication and Play (ASAP) is an intervention designed help preschool children with autism learn and practice joint attention and play in a peer-led programme run in mainstream schools.


Advocacy means taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need.


An advocate is someone who helps other people to say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need.


AEDs is an acronym for antiepileptic drugs - which is another term for anticonvulsants - a group of drugs designed to prevent or reduce the severity of fits (convulsions) in various types of epilepsy.


Aerobics is a form of physical exercise that combines rhythmic aerobic exercise with stretching and strength training routines in order to improve an individual's fitness.


Aetiology is the science that deals with the causes or origin of disease, the factors which produce or predispose toward a certain disease or disorder

Affective Atunement

Affective Atunement is another term for holding therapy, an intervention which consists of forced holding by a therapist or parent until the child stops resisting or until a fixed time period has elapsed

Affective or Mood Disorders

Affective disorders (also known as mood disorders) are mental conditions (such as depression) characterised by dramatic changes or extremes of mood.

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.