IEP: Individualized Education Plan - An individual education plan for children who qualify for special education services (e.g., speech, OT). Children who qualify for services are required to have a plan that is created by the educational team and parents.  This plan is intended to help your child meet his/her educational needs.  It is meant to address unique learning needs and have specific educational goals.

RBT: Registered Behavior Technician - ​A professional member of the therapy team who has completed a training course and passed all requirements to receive this certification .  The therapist is under the direct supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA and is responsible for implementing skill building and behavioral programs.  

Conversation in the therapy world is filled with initials and acronyms.  For those new to therapy (and even for those of us not so new), things can get confusing.  We have added this glossary to help clarify some of these terms.  We always welcome new additions so please  contact us with any ideas. 


VB-Mapp: Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program - A comprehensive assessment focused on language and social interaction skills.  This assessment is one of the options therapists use during an evaluation to create the ABA program.

HIPAA:  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act - Passed by Congress in 1996 for protection and private handling of protected health information.  Health care providers are required to follow a variety of standards and practices to ensure your privacy.

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PECS: Picture Exchange Communication System - A form of alternative communication for individuals developing spoken language.  Simple pictures are exchanged to make request and comment.  A PECS book is collection of pictures stored in a portable book.

EI: Early Intervention - A combination of therapy services provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services for children ages 0-3 who are not developing in key areas (language, motor, cognition) as same age children.

SLP:  Speech Language Pathologist -A professional member of the therapy team specifically trained to assess and treat disorders related to speech and language.  Scope of practice includes sound production (e.g., articulation, apraxia of speech), voice (e.g., pitch, loudness), fluency (e.g., stuttering, cluttering) language (e.g., phonology, syntax, semantics), literacy (e.g., reading, writing, spelling), pragmatics (e.g., use of language, social use of language), prelinguistic (e.g., joint attention, intent), cognition (e.g., attention, memory, problem solving, executive functions) and feeding (e.g., oral motor, chewing, swallowing).  

BCBA:  Board Certified Behavior Analyst - A professional member of the therapy holding a master's degree or higher in psychology, ABA or a related field.  This individual has completed all educational and professional requirements for certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The BCBA is trained to assess, design and implement a variety of ABA programs.  The BCBA is responsible for training and ongoing supervision of the team to ensure programs are being implemented appropriately and consistently with your child.  The BCBA works directly with your child, leads parent training sessions, monitors and reports progress and results. .

Augmentative Communication - Any form of communication other than speech.  This type of communication is used in conjunction with verbal communication or to replace it.  Common types include pictures, communication devices, sign language and written words. 

ABA: Applied Behavior Analysis - the most common type of therapy prescribed and implemented for children with autism. It is supported with decades of research.  In general it looks at everything as a behavior - some are good and productive behaviors (e.g., talking, sitting at a dinner table), some are neither good nor productive (e.g., screaming, hitting).  

Every behavior requires two things to be repeated; the skill to complete the behavior and a pay-off so its worth repeating.  For example; if I scream and yell in the middle of a grocery store for a candy bar and you give me the candy bar to keep me quiet - my behavior paid off and is definitely worth repeating.  But what if that was the only way I knew how to ask - I don't have any words, I don't have a device or pictures, and I don't know how to sign.  If you taught me one or all of these things would I still need to scream in the grocery store?  

ABA evaluates a child's behaviors, skills and barriers (e.g., non-verbal, difficulty maintaining attention) and determines the function of the behaviors.  Was I screaming in the grocery store because I wanted a candy bar (need) or because the lights in the store were too bright (sensory) or simply because I wanted you to pay attention to me (attention).   A plan is then made to teach new skills, turn negative behaviors into positive behaviors and break down barriers so inappropriate behaviors don't need to be used.​​

ABLLS:  Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills - A comprehensive assessment covering 26 areas of development including areas such as requesting, spontaneous vocalizations, play skills, reading skills, and self help skills.  This assessment is one of the options therapist use during an evaluation to create the ABA program. 

ABA Therapist - A professional member of the therapy team who holds a bachelor's degree or higher in psychology, education or a related field*.  The therapist is under the direct supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA and is responsible for implementing skill building and behavior programs.

*Monarch Autism Therapy Services requires ABA therapist to have a bachelor's degree or higher, not all companies require this level of education.