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Community Report on Autism 2018

Glossary

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Autism spectrum disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is caused by differences in how the brain functions. People with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in different ways. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and usually last throughout a person’s life (3).

  • Autistic disorder is often associated with more severe symptoms of ASD, such as difficulties with communication. Autistic disorder is no longer diagnosed separately but rather included as part of ASD.
  • Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) often has some but not all symptoms of ‘autistic disorder’. Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified is no longer diagnosed separately but rather included as part of ASD.
  • Asperger disorder is often associated with milder or fewer symptoms of ASD. Although symptoms are present early in life, Asperger disorder is usually diagnosed when a child is school-aged or later. Asperger disorder is no longer diagnosed separately but rather included as part of ASD.

Comprehensive developmental evaluation
A comprehensive developmental evaluation is a thorough review of how a child plays, learns, communicates, acts, and moves, and whether those characteristics have changed over time. A range of professionals can conduct developmental evaluations, including teachers, social workers, nurses, psychologists, doctors, and speech-language pathologists. Specialists, such as developmental pediatricians, often use the results of a developmental evaluation to determine if a child has ASD.

Community provider
A community provider is a medical or educational professional who works with children with developmental disabilities (including psychologist, physician, teacher, learning specialist, speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, nurse, social worker, etc.) within the ADDM Network communities. In this report, the term ‘community provider’ is used, for example, to help distinguish between whether children have been identified as having ASD in their specific communities by a community provider or whether they have been identified as having ASD by the ADDM Network based on symptoms documented in their records.

Developmental delay
A developmental delay is a persistent delay experienced by a child in reaching one or more developmental milestones—how children grow, move, communicate, interact, learn, and play.

Healthy People 2020
Healthy People 2020 provides science-based, 10-year national objectives across a variety of health topics with the aim of improving the health of all Americans.

Prevalence
Prevalence is a scientific term that describes the number of people with a disease or condition among a defined group at a specific period in time. Prevalence is usually expressed as a percentage or proportion of the defined group.

Intellectual disability
Intellectual disability means that a person has difficulty learning at an expected level and functioning in daily life. In this report, intellectual disability is measured by intelligence quotient (IQ) test scores of less than or equal to 70.

  • Borderline range intellectual functioning means that a person has lower than average intelligence but does not have intellectual disability. In this report, borderline range is defined as IQ test scores of 71 to 85.
  • Average or above average intellectual ability means that a person can learn at an expected level and function in daily life. In this report, average or above average intellectual ability is defined as IQ test scores of greater than 85.

Special education eligibility
Special education eligibility is the specific category in which a child is included as part of their eligibility for special education and related services at school under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Those categories include autism, deaf-blindness, developmental delay, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment.

Surveillance (also known as ‘tracking’)
In public health, surveillance is defined as the continuous, systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health-related data.

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