Adaptive Assessment - assessment tools that are used to gather information about the personal and social proficiency of individuals from birth to adulthood. Assessments most commonly look at the individual’s functioning across a variety of domains including: communication, daily living skills, socialization, and motor skills.

Antecedent - an environmental event that precedes a behaviour (often referred to as something that is known to “trigger” the behaviour).

Cognitive Assessment - assessments used to gain measurable or quantifiable data about how learners interpret or process, recall and use various forms of information. These assessments are also commonly known as developmental, intelligence or IQ tests and typically provide a measure of verbal, nonverbal and overall thinking abilities.

Collaborative Classroom - many Regional Autism Intervention Programs have Section 23 Agreements with the district school boards and are currently operating classrooms in schools in collaboration with school boards. The intervention goals of these classrooms are individualized and based on each learner’s strengths and needs and the principles of applied behaviour analysis are employed to target these goals.

Curriculum Assessment - an assessment procedure that is used to assess and monitor the learner’s performance in skills which are included in their current or future instructional program. Most curriculum assessments encompass various domains in which the learner is to be assessed including visual-spatial, communication and language, academics, self-care, fine and gross motor ability, and play and social skills.

Direct Instruction - a specialized instructional program and content sequence for teaching language and various academic skills including reading, math, and spelling. Programs are designed to purposely control the identified variables that make a difference in how students learn. More specifically, the programs incorporate scripted content, fast pace of instruction, multiple repetitions of target skills, feedback by the instructor, and planned generalization and maintenance sequence so that concepts being taught within structured lessons can be applied to new untaught situations requiring the application of the concepts.

Discrete Trial Training - a behaviourally-based method of teaching which involves breaking functional skills into component parts and teaches these target behaviours using a clear instruction which elicits the target behaviour. Reinforcement is provided contingent on the learner engaging in the correct behaviour.

Dyad - intensive behavioural intervention delivered by one instructor therapist to two children.

Functional Assessment - the process of gathering information to develop a hypothesis about the function that a behaviour serves for an individual; in other words, to figure out why an individual engages in a particular behaviour.

Functional Communication Training - an approach to teaching that focuses on reinforcing a communication response and thereby discourages problem behaviours (e.g. the learner asks for a “cookie” instead of throwing a temper tantrum to get a cookie).

Generalization - the occurrence of behaviour outside of a formal training context after formal training has occurred (i.e. in the presence of different people, in a new environment, in the presence of different instructions, in the presence of novel teaching materials).

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) - The Goals of IBI are to: (i) Change the child’s developmental trajectory or rate of learning, based on clinical markers, (ii) achieve clinically significant changes according to certain regular timelines, and (iii) increase readiness for participation in an educational program.

Incidental Teaching - instruction that capitalizes on naturally occurring opportunities that arise in the learner’s natural environment without prior arrangement of the environment.

Maintenance - the continuation of the occurrence of a behaviour that has been taught after the termination of training/intervention program.

Natural Environment Teaching - structured instruction that is driven by the learner’s motivation for items and activities that are delivered in environments that closely resemble the learner’s natural environment. The environment is arranged so as to capture and sustain the learner’s motivation, in order to facilitate teaching functional communication, social and play skills.

Pivotal Response Training - a teaching approach that provides intervention in pivotal areas that result in widespread changes in a large number of target behaviours. Pivotal behaviours are behaviours that, when changed, result in collateral changes in other behaviours. Proponents of PRT suggest that teaching learners with ASD functional and social skills will result in improvements in other behaviours including more normalized attending behaviours (i.e. joint attention), self-help skills, academics, pragmatics, and language skills.

Positive Behaviour Supports - a teaching approach dedicated to improving the support of individuals, in order to reduce behavioural challenges, increasing independence, and ensure the development of constructive behaviours to meet life goals in the areas of social relationships, employment, academic achievement, functional life-skills, self-determination, health, and safety. PBS employs strategies that are compassionate, constructive, and educationally-oriented.

Reciprocal Imitation Training - a naturalistic approach to teaching imitation and spontaneous use of gestures that involves interacting with the child and teaching through natural reinforcements.

Reinforcers - a stimulus that follows the occurrence of a behaviour, and that results in an increase in the probability of that behaviour occurring again.

Verbal Behaviour - is based on the teachings of Applied Behaviour Analysis but expands to include a functional account of language based on Skinner’s analysis of language in his book Verbal Behavior (1957). This teaching approach focuses on teaching learners the various functions of language (i.e. request, label, identify, conversation skills etc) and combines highly structured as well as more naturalistic approaches to teaching to facilitate language acquisition.