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ASERT does not offer crisis services through our Resource Center. If you or someone you love is experiencing mental health distress or thoughts of suicide please call or text 988 for support.

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Common Abbreviations in Autism Services and Special Education


This resource, developed by ASERT, provides a guide to common abbreviations you may come across when receiving autism services and supports.

AAC: Augmentative/Alternative Communication

AAW: Adult Autism Waiver

ABA: Applied Behavior Analysis

ACAP: Adult Community Autism Program

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

ADOS: Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule

ASA: Autism Society of America

ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder

ASL: American Sign Language

BCBA: Board Certified Behavior Analyst

BCaBA: Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst

BSC: Behavioral Specialist Consultant

BSE: Bureau of Special Education

BT: Behavioral Technician

CAP: Client Assistance Program

CASSP: Child & Adolescent Service SystemProgram

CBWA: Community Based Work Assessment

DD: Developmental Disabilities

DHS: Department of Human Services

DSM-5: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition

EI: Early Intervention

ER: Evaluation Report

ESY: Extended School Year

FAPE: Free Appropriate Public Education

FBA: Functional Behavioral Assessment

FBS: Family Based Services

IBHS: Intensive Behavioral Health Services

ID: Intellectual Disability

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IEP: Individualized Education Program

IFSP: Individualized Family Service Plan

ISP: Individual Support Plan

IU: Intermediate Unit

LEA: Local Educational Agency

LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker

LRE: Least Restrictive Environment

LSW: Licensed Social Worker

MA: Medical Assistance

MT: Mobile Therapist

NOREP: Notice of Recommended Educational Placement

ODP: Office of Developmental Programs

ODR: Office for Dispute Resolution

OLTL: Office of Long Term Living

OMHSAS: Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

OSEP: Office of Special Education Programs

OSERS: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

OT: Occupational Therapy

OVR: Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

PaTTAN: Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network

PANDAS: Pediatric Autoimmune Neurological Disorder Associated with Strep

PBIS: Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports

PBSP: Positive Behavior Support Plan

PCA: Personal Care Assistant

PDD-NOS: Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

PDE: Pennsylvania Department of Education

PECS: Picture Exchange Communication System

P/FDS: Person/Family Directed Supports Waiver

PUNS: Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services

RBT: Registered Behavior Technician

SC: Supports Coordinator

SDI: Specially Designed Instruction

SLP: Speech/Language Pathologist

SMI: Significant Mental Illness

SSDI: Social Security Disability Insurance

SSI: Supplemental Security Income

STAP: Summer Therapeutic Activities Program

TEACCH: Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children

TSS: Therapeutic Staff Support

VB: Verbal Behavior

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.