Welcome to the Aubilities Glossary of Terms. We are aware that many individuals, groups of people and organisations provide different definitions for common terms linked to Neurodiversity. We have provided our take on a glossary of terms, all having been reviewed and approved by our Co-Production Board, who are ND themselves and/or parents/carers of ND Children.

Term Description
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) ABA stands for Applied Behaviour Analysis and refers to interventions that are developed from behaviour analysis to change behaviour of social significance.
Accommodations An accommodation is a change or intervention that removes a barrier to learning or getting work done. It can describe an alteration of environment or equipment that allows an individual with a disability to gain access to content and/or complete assigned tasks.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ADHD stand for ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’ and sometimes known as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is characterized as differences with regulating attention and executive functioning.
Adjustments An adjustment is a change or intervention that removes a barrier to learning or getting work done. It can describe an alteration of environment or equipment that allows an individual with a disability to gain access to content and/or complete assigned tasks.
Asperger’s Asperger’s is an outdated term now encompassed within the Autism Spectrum (see Autism).
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) Auditory Processing Disorders, such as CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder), are neurological processing issues that affect the way the brain perceives and processes sounds. They occur when, for some reason, the brain doesn’t detect and process sounds in a typical or efficient manner. They are not measured in decibels or detected by a standard hearing test and are difficult to identify and diagnose accurately. They are often mistaken for ADHD because they affect concentration. Many people with an APD test within the normal hearing range.
Autism (ASD, ASC) Autism Spectrum Condition/Disorder (ASC/ASD) is often characterized by differences with social interaction and communication, and a possible tendency for repetitive behaviour.
Autistic Burnout The intense physical, mental or emotional exhaustion, often accompanied by a loss of skills, that some autistic adults experience. Many autistic people say it results mainly from the cumulative effect of having to navigate a world that is designed for neurotypical people. Burnout may especially affect autistic adults who have strong cognitive and language abilities and are working or going to school with neurotypical people.
Condition A preferred term over 'disorder'. A general term used to describe any difference of neurological experience.
Disability In the UK, Disability under the Equality Act 2010 is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on the ability to do normal daily activities. Many countries around the world have an equivalent act, protecting disability characteristics.
Dyscalculia Dyscalculia results in differences learning or comprehending arithmetic, including understanding numbers and performing mathematical calculations.
Dysgraphia Dysgraphia is differences in a person's ability to write due to differences on a physical level of hand functioning and also sequencing of words and sentences.
Dyslexia Dyslexia is a learning difference which primarily affects reading and writing skills. Dyslexia is about information processing.
Dyspraxia Dyspraxia is a difference in the learning of motor skills, leading to differences with movement and co-ordination.
Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is for children and young people in the UK, aged up to 25, who need more support than is available through special educational needs support. It is a legal document issued by the child or young person's local authority/council which describes their special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve.
Fine Motor Skills Fine motor skills involve using your hands and fingers to control small objects
Gross Motor Skills Gross motor skills involve using the large muscles in your body to make large movements
Hyperactivity Hyperactivity is a state being unable to be still or silent, continually acting impulsively and being easily distracted.
Hypersensitivy Hypersensitivity is to have significantly increased awareness of stimulation to one or more senses.
Hyposensitivity Hyposensitivity is to have significantly reduced awareness of stimulation to one or more senses.
Impulsivity Impulsivity is to tend to act without thinking things through properly first.
Inclusion Inclusion is about offering the same activities to everyone, while providing support and services to accommodate people's differences.
Interoception Interoception is a sense that provides information about the internal condition of our body—how our body is feeling on the inside. Interoception allows us to experience many body sensations such as a growling stomach, dry mouth, tense muscles or racing heart. The interoceptive system can be impacted in autistic individuals, with studies showing that some autistic people have significantly lower awareness of their interoceptive signals.
Intersectionality Intersectionality is a term initially created by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw back in 1989 and which now refers to the concept that all oppression is linked, such as race, class, sexual orientation and gender - the term acknowledges how systems of disadvantage or discrimination are interdependent.
Irlen Syndrome Irlen Syndrome (also referred to at times as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Visual Stress) is a problem with the brain’s ability to process visual information. This problem tends to run in families and is not currently identified by other standardized educational or medical tests. This is a largely unknown and undiagnosed disorder. Irlen Syndrome is treated using coloured spectral filters or overlays. (
Mainstream The term ‘mainstream’ refers to educating children with special needs in regular education classes (as opposed to special needs classes).
Meltdowns Meltdown is an intense reaction to the mind or body feeling overwhelmed.
ND Abbreviation of Neurodiverse/Neurodivergent.
Neuro-inclusion Neuro-inclusion is acknowledging different neurological perspectives and making the environment, processes, and other factors comfortable for neurodivergent people.
Neurodivergent Refers to an individual who has less than typical cognitive variation, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia etc.
Neurodiverse Is a recognition that not all brains think or feel in the same way and that these differences are natural variations in the human genome. A group of people are neurodiverse, an individual is not.
Neurodiversity “Neuro” relates to the brain. “Diversity” relates to the state of being varied. The concept of ‘neurodiversity’ therefore recognizes that no two brains are alike.
Neurominority A neurominority is a population of neurodivergent people who share a similar form of neurodivergence. Examples of neurominority groups include autistic people and dyslexic people.
Neurotype A type of brain, in terms of how a person interprets and responds to social cues, etc.
Neurotypical Refers to an individual of typical development and intellectual/cognitive functioning.
NT Abbreviation of Neurotypical.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. It can be distressing and significantly interfere with life.
Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is a profile of autism spectrum disorder and a proposed sub-type. Characteristics ascribed to the condition include greater refusal to do what is asked of the person, even to activities the person would normally like, due to extreme levels of anxiety and lack of autonomy.
Proprioception A set of sensory receptors in our joints and muscles shape the proprioceptive system, responsible for building full-body awareness. The proprioceptive system has an important regulatory role in sensory processing as proprioceptive input can assist in controlling responses to sensory stimuli. Autistic individuals often seek proprioceptive input in order to regulate their emotional and behavioural responses to sensory stimulation. Examples include: Biting/chewing on objects e.g. sleeve of jumper, pen/pencil; banging body parts e.g. hands together, jaw with hand; holding objects with excessive pressure e.g. pencil; writing heavily on a page; preferring to run, jump or stamp heavily when they should be walking.
Reasonable Adjustments In the UK, reasonable adjustments are changes that organisations and people providing services or public functions have to make - as directed by the Equality Act 2010 - if a person's disability puts them at a disadvantage compared with others who are not disabled. The duty is anticipatory which means that plans must be made in advance to ensure accessibility by disabled people. See ‘Adjustments’.
Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) People with rejection sensitive dysphoria have an emotional reaction to negative judgments, exclusion, or criticism beyond what most people feel. Other people may see those with RSD as overly perfectionistic, over-sensitive, or overly reactive to even the mildest types of criticism.
SENCO SENCo stands for ‘Special Education Needs Coordinator. SENCos are Heads, Deputy Heads. or teaching staff who are responsible for delivering the special educational needs provision within a school. Every school in the UK is required to have a SENCo to ensure that every child who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) are supported as well as to help them reach their full educational potential.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and covers a range of different disabilities and conditions such as specific learning difficulties like dyslexia and dyspraxia, recognised disabilities such as having a hearing impairment, emotional and social difficulties as well as speech and language difficulties. The needs of children with SEND vary from requiring very little additional support through to needing significant support and adjustments. They may require support for a short period or throughout their educational careers.
Sensory Meltdown A sensory meltdown is a fight, flight or freeze response to sensory overload
Sensory Overload Sensory overload occurs when one or more of your five senses becomes overstimulated. For instance, a person’s sense of hearing may become overloaded when music is too loud or their vision may be impaired if lights are too bright. Anyone can experience sensory overload, but it is most common with people who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are autistic, or have a sensory processing and/or other neurodevelopment disorders.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Sensory Processing Disorder occurs when the brain perceives and processes sensory information in an atypical or inconsistent manner. A person with SPD will demonstrate hyper or hypersensitivity in one or more of the senses or a combination of both. SPD often occurs concurrently with other forms of neurodivergence, such as autism, ADHD, and more.
Shutdowns Shutdown is when a person’s brain goes into protective mode due to increased levels of anxiety and distress.
Stimming Self-Stimulation. The repetitive performance of certain physical movements or vocalizations, as a form of behaviour by autistic persons or those with other neurodevelopmental conditions; This behaviour is thought to serve a variety of functions, such as calming and expression of feelings.
Support Worker A support worker is someone who helps a person with one or more aspects of their day to day life.
Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) is a condition of the nervous system. TS causes people to have “tics”. Tics are sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly.
Trigger Warning A trigger warning is a statement cautioning that content may be disturbing or upsetting.