Those of us who’ve been kicking around the autism community for a while tend to abbreviate expressions, or use words not commonly found in general language. We don’t mean to be exclusive, we just forget other people don’t know what we’re talking about. Below is a glossary, and below that is a list of common social-media abbreviations.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: a condition that often goes together with Asperger’s syndrome.

Abbreviation for Asperger’s syndrome.

Autism Spectrum Disorder, or Autism Spectrum Condition.

Someone with Asperger’s syndrome. (Not everyone with Asperger’s likes this expression.)

Autie or Autist
Anyone with autism.

A condition that is often found in someone with another condition: such as ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome.

A doctor who has specialised in a particular area of medicine: in the UK s/he is the person to whom a normal doctor (a GP, see below) will refer a patient for further assessment.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: the benchmark for diagnosing autism (amongst other conditions) in the USA. The diagnostic criteria currently known as DSM IV is soon to be updated to DSM V, and there is a lot of controversy over the changes involved.

Abbreviation for “diagnosis”.

General Practitioner: in the UK, this is a normal doctor, who works in “general practice” (rather than specialising in any particular area of medicine). S/he is the first port of call for any ailment, and might refer a patient to a consultant (see above) for further assessment.

High Functioning Autism: similar to Asperger’s syndrome, but defined by a delay in speech development.

Also Hyposensitivity, were someone experiences an excess (or a dearth) of sensory input. E.g. a music volume that is comfortable for everyone else might be painfully loud to someone who is hypersensitive to noise. Hypersensitivity, when used in the context of autism issues, does not indicate an emotional weakness, merely a level of physical receptiveness.

Individual Education Plan, or Individualised Education Programme: a learning plan tailored to the needs of a child with special educational needs.

Autistic overload: often triggered by too much sensory input (e.g. too much noise); this is not the same as a tantrum (though can appear similar to one); a meltdown has a much more complex cause, and is not a case of a child (or adult) not getting what he/she wants.

Neurotypical (NT)
A person with typical neurology: someone who does not have autism.

Obssesive Compulsive Disorder: a condition that often goes together with Asperger’s syndrome

Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified: one of the five main categories of autism.

A doctor qualified to treat mental health issues.

Someone who has studied psychology, and can diagnose psychological issues.

Someone who campaigns for his/her own issues, e.g. an aspie who speaks up for autism awareness.

Special Educational Needs. Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator: a teacher (sometimes peripatetic) who offers extra support and guidance to children with special educational-needs.

Speech & Language Therapist

Stim / Stimming
A repetitive movement: e.g. rocking, weaving, hand flapping, jiggling a leg, twiddling hair, or repetitive fiddling with a pencil, etc. Autistic people (including aspies) might stim to cope with stress, anxiety or boredom.

If you know of (or are confused by) other abbreviations, etc., please mention them in the comments box, and I will add them to the glossary.

Common social media abbreviations:
@: the “at” mark, used before a twitter username to make a tweet to appear in that user’s feed.
#: hashtag, once required to flag twitter keywords. No longer needed, but still used, often in humour.
:o) smiling (look at it sideways).
:-D grinning or laughing.
:o( sad or disappointed.
~:o( angry.
:-p sticking tongue out.
<3 love (it’s a heart on its side).

AFAWK: as far as we know.
BTW: by the way.
DD: dear daughter.
DS: dear son.
DM: direct message (via Twitter’s private messaging system).
FB: facebook.
FF: follow Friday – when people list their favourite feeds.
FFS: for fcuk’s sake.
FWIW: for what it’s worth.
IMO, IMHO: in my opinion, in my humble opinion.
IRL: in real life (i.e. not online).
LMAO: laugh my arse off.
LOL: laugh out loud.
MT: modified retweet (editing someone else’s tweet before reposting.
NTS: note to self.
OH: other half, i.e. spouse or partner (alternatively, “overheard”). See also “SO”.
OMG: oh my god.
RL: real life.
ROFL: roll on the floor laughing.
RT: retweet (reposting someone else’s original tweet).
TY, TX: Thank you, or thanks.
SO: significant other (i.e. spouse or partner). See also “OH”.
Tweeps: people who use twitter.
WTF: what the fcuk?
YT: YouTube.
YW: you’re welcome.


3 thoughts on “Glossary”

  1. I believe I have just self diagnosed myself at 27 and if it’s true it explains a lot. It is hard to take because I’m not sure if I should accept it or not – I imagine you can’t confine someone to one definition but a spectrum. It seems no one is accepting of it in my family as their reactions haven’t acknowledged it and it’s very troubling. I want to know for sure but it doesn’t seem I have support. I am on my own?

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