top of page

Jargon Buster

A very wise person, Joan Bill - former Parent Partnership Officer (IASS Information Advice and Support Service), once told me to always "challenge abbreviations and terms you do not recognise".

Professionals have a habit of talking in short hand and forget that not everyone is fluent in

SEN (Special Education Needs) yet. It takes time and practice to learn the language.

It also helps to make sure that you are talking about the same things. 

ASC - Autistic Spectrum Condition A special education need which impacts on social communication, social interaction, interests and behaviour.

ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder 

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder A behavioural disorder which includes symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder

ADOS - Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule is an assessment of social communication, social interaction and play used on children and adults suspected of having autism spectrum disorder. For more information here 

Annual review 

APD - Auditory Processing Disorder is where you have difficulty understanding sounds, including spoken words. There are things you can do that can help.

Symptoms of auditory processing disorder (APD)

APD often starts in childhood but some people develop it later.

If you or your child have APD, you may find it difficult to understand:

  • people speaking in noisy places

  • people with strong accents or fast talkers 

  • similar sounding words

  • spoken instructions

APD is not a hearing problem. People with the condition usually have normal hearing. Seek advice from your GP or paediatrician.

Baseline Assessment  - A standardised teacher assessment designed to establish the attainment level of children at a significant point

CAF - Common Assessment Framework (Lancashire CAF forms and guidance)


CAMHS - Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Lancashire CAMHS services are provided by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

CCG - Clinical Commissioning Group commission most of the hospital and community NHS services in the local areas for which they are responsible. Commissioning involves deciding what services are needed for diverse local populations, and ensuring that they are provided. 

CIN - Child In Need 

Children in need are defined in law as children who are aged under 18 and:

  • need local authority services to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development

  • need local authority services to prevent significant or further harm to health or development

  • are disabled

The local authority must keep a register of children with disabilities in its area but does not have to keep a register of all children in need.


Code of Practice - Government guidance on the duties of local authorities, schools, colleges, health services and others who support children and young people with special educational needs (SEN). The full Code of Practice can be downloaded here

CP - Child Protection is part of the safeguarding process. It focuses on protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.

CP - Clinical Psychologist a mental health professional with highly specialised training in the diagnosis and psychological treatment of mental, behavioural and emotional illnesses, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

CSC - Children's Social Care The Lancashire Social Care Hub details can be found here or ring 0300 123 6700

CWD - Children With Disability 

DCDDevelopmental Co-ordination Disorder also known as dyspraxia, is a condition affecting physical co-ordination. It causes a child to perform less well than expected in daily activities for their age, and appear to move clumsily.

DCD is thought to be around 3 or 4 times more common in boys than girls, and the condition sometimes runs in families. See also here

DDADisability Discrimination Act link here

DfEDepartment for Education

DISCO - Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Problems is a schedule for the diagnosis of autistic spectrum and related disorders and assessment of individual needs. It enables information to be recorded systematically for a wide range of behaviours and developmental skills and is suitable for use with all ages and levels of ability. In addition to helping the clinician to obtain a profile of each individual's pattern of development and behaviour, the DISCO also enables identification of specific features found in autistic spectrum disorders that are relevant for use with established diagnostic systems. Further information here 

DLA - Disability Living Allowance Please see the Benefits page on this website for more information here

DLD Developmental language disorder  is a type of speech, language and communication need (SLCN) that affects the way that children understand and use language. DLD increases the risk of a range of negative impacts on education, employment, and social and emotional problems, but appropriate support can make a difference. DLD affects 7.58% of children. Speech and language therapists (SLTs) teach strategies to children with DLD and those around them, which aim to reduce the impact of their difficulties and develop their language abilities to their maximum potential.


DP - Direct Payments Instead of receiving support arranged by your council or trust, you have the ability with a direct payment to choose and purchase the services you feel you need, as agreed by them. For example, you may wish to employ someone directly to help manage the care of the person you’re looking after. Further information here 

DX - Diagnosis

EALEnglish as an Additional Language

EBSA - Emotional Based School Avoidance 

Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment - A formal assessment carried out by a local authority to decide how much extra support a child or young person needs. The EHCP page on this website may help further.


EHE - Elective Home Education further info can be found at 


EOTAS - Education Other Than At School

ELPEnhanced Learning Provision

EP - Educational Psychologist. Educational psychologists work within local authorities or privately, in partnership with families and other professionals, to help children and young people achieve their full potential. Educational psychologists support schools and the local authority to improve all children’s experiences of learning.

EWOEducation Welfare Officer

EYFS - Early Years Foundation Stage

FSMFree School Meals webpage link here

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Universal Credit with a household income of less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

  • Income-Based Jobseekers' Allowance

  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Child Tax Credit, not entitled to Working Tax Credit and household income less than £16,190

  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit

  • Income Support

  • Working Tax Credit 'run on' – the payment you receive for a further four weeks after you finish work

If your child is currently eligible for free school meals, that eligibility will be protected until Universal Credit is introduced (expected March 2022) even if your circumstances change. If your child is still in education on this date, they will be eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they are in.

GDD - Global Developmental Delay

Graduated Approach - Assess, Plan, Do, Review. This is part of the process to ensure all needs are met in a timely and efficient manner. The Early Help page on this website may help further.

HIHearing Impairment (Page on this website here )

HLTA - Higher Level Teaching Assistant

IASS - Information, Advice and Support Service. see also SENDIAS

IBP - Individual Behaviour Plan see the page on Behaviour that concerns here


ICP - Individual Care Plan Individual healthcare plans are documents drawn up involving people who might be required to contribute to a child's care while at school. This could include the head teacher, the class teacher, care or support staff, other staff members who might need to provide medical or emergency care, you and your child. Other people from outside the school might also be involved, depending on the level of your child's needs, such as the GP or school health service.

The plan is intended to set out what sort of support your child needs to participate in school life just like other children. It's a written document that specifies what sort of help the school can provide for your child – for example, what medicines they can administer, and what to do in a medical emergency. Healthcare plans should be kept confidential, but your child's school will need to share the information with anyone who might need to deal with an emergency involving your child (for example, midday supervisors who monitor the dining hall and playground at lunchtime). The headteacher should discuss who will need to see the plan with you (and your child, if they are old enough to understand).

Individual healthcare plans are not the same as education, health and care (EHC) plans, which set out the support needed by children with special educational needs, although some children may have both types of plan.


IEP - Individual Education Plan - a set of targets for child to work towards in school which is reviewed either termly or half termly with the class teacher and / or SENCO and parent/carer as part of the Assess, Plan, Do review cycle. 

LALocal Authority - i.e. Lancashire County Council

LACLooked After Child 

According to the NSPCC : A child who has been in the care of their local authority for more than 24 hours is known as a looked after child. Looked after children are also often referred to as children in care, a term which many children and young people prefer.

Each UK nation has a slightly different definition of a looked after child and follows its own legislation, policy and guidance. But in general, looked after children are:

  • living with foster parents

  • living in a residential children's home or

  • living in residential settings like schools or secure units.


LD - Learning Disability  Mencap says : A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people. 

LEA - Local Education Authority

Local Offer - Information published by the local authority about the education, health and social care support available in the area for children and young people with SEN and disabilities. Lancashire's Local Offer 


LSA - Learning Support Assistant

MDT - Multi Disciplinary Team 

MLDModerate Learning Difficulty


NCNational Curriculum

OTOccupational Therapist

Outcomes - The benefit or difference that a particular bit of help makes to a child or young person.

PALS - Patient Advice and Liaison Service offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters. They provide a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers. 


PECS - Picture Exchange Communication System was developed specifically as a communication tool for non verbal children with Autism Spectrum Conditions. Although this system was designed for use with ASC’s it has been successful in supporting individuals with a wide range of learning and physically disabilities. See also here

Personal budget - An amount of money which can be used to buy support described in an EHC plan. A young person or their family can have a say in how the budget is used.

PIP - Personal Independence Payment. See the Benefits page for more information here

PMLD - Profound Multiple Learning Disabilities 

A person with PMLD has a combination of a severe learning disability and other disabilities and may require 24- hour extensive and complex care. They are more likely to have conditions such as respiratory diseases, epilepsy, coronary heart disease and Osteoporosis.

PMLD has a significant impact on a person’s ability to live independently as they may have severely reduced mobility, difficulties with communication as well as seeing and hearing. As a result, people with PMLD may need support with everything from eating, going to the toilet, dressing and washing.

Although people with PMLD are among the most disabled in society, they can form relationships, enjoy activities and engage with the world around them.

Preparing for adulthood  is the term used to describe the support given to children and young people to prepare them for the new responsibilities, new experiences and new challenges of the next stage of their education, training and employment. Everyone has a part to play in preparing children and young people for adulthood from the earliest stage. For example, raising the aspirations of children and young people and their parent/carers, supporting pupils to achieve the best possible outcomes in education and employment, independent living and participation in society.


SaLTSpeech and Language Therapy


Safeguarding Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.

Safeguarding means:

  • protecting children from abuse and maltreatment

  • preventing harm to children’s health or development

  • ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care

  • taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.

SEMH - Social, Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Blog and website for families and professionals

SEN - Special Education Needs

SEND - Special Education Needs and Disabilities


SENDIAS - Special Education Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service (Lancashire SENDIAS)

The service is free, impartial, and confidential. It can help you to gather, understand and interpret information and apply it to your own situation.

We can provide information around the following areas in relation to SEND:

  • rights, roles and responsibilities

  • health and social care processes, regulations and guidance

  • support from other agencies and organisations

We can also support to families in:

  • managing mediation appeals, to the First-tier Tribunal

  • exclusion from school

  • liaising between you, your nursery, school or college and other professionals

Young people aged 16-25 can access the service independently from their parents.

We may offer one to one support by telephone, email or meetings depending on your circumstances.

SENCO - Special educational needs coordinator: a qualified teacher in a mainstream nursery or school who arranges the extra help for pupils with SEN.

SENDO - Special Education Needs Designated Officer 


SEN support - The first level of extra support in mainstream education settings for children and young people with SEN. It replaced school action/action plus in September 2014. SEN support is the term used to describe the support that schools provide for pupils who have been identified as having SEN but who do not need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment. Pupils at SEN Support are given support that is additional to and different from the majority of children and is paid for out of the school's resources. Most pupils with SEN in mainstream schools are provided for at SEN Support

Social care provision - The support that someone receives to help them at home or in the community.

Special educational needs (SEN) - A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability that makes it harder for them to learn that it is for most people of their age.

Special educational provision - A general term for any extra help given to children or young people with SEN that is over and above the help normally given to pupils of their age in mainstream education settings.

SPD - Sensory Processing Disorder also known as sensory integration dysfunction) is a condition where multisensory integration is not adequately processed in order to provide appropriate responses to the demands of the environment. Sensory processing disorder is present in almost all people with autism spectrum disorders.

SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty  The term ‘Specific Learning Difficulty’ (SpLD) is a term that refers to a difference or difficulty with particular aspects of learning. The most common SpLDs are dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. An individual may have one of these independently or they can co-exist as part of a wider profile. Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) exist on a continuum from mild to moderate through to severe. There are common patterns of behaviour and ability, but there will be a range of different patterns of effects for each individual. 

TATeaching Assistant

TAC / TAF - Team Around the Child / Family describes the professionals and family supporting the child. A TAF meeting is usually held every 6 weeks when a CAF is opened when an area or areas of needs are identified for a child. 

VIVisual Impairment 

bottom of page