Glossary of Terms Military Special Needs Children


Asperger syndrome - developmental disability that affects a person's ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others.

Autism - developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3

Autism spectrum disorders - categorical term that encompasses the various syndromes related to autism. Often used interchangeably with autism and pervasive developmental disorders.


Board certified behavior analyst - behavior analyst certified through the Behavior Analysts Certification Board


Childhood disintegrative disorder - developmental disability in which children develop normally until ages 2 to 4, but then demonstrate a severe loss of social, communication and other skills.


Department of Defense Education Activity - a field activity of the Office of the Secretary of Defense with the mission to plan, direct, coordinate and manage the education programs for eligible dependents of U.S. military personnel and civilian personnel of the Department of Defense

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - publication of the American Psychiatric Association that contains the diagnostic criteria for all mental health disorders for children and adults, including autism. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition is the current edition.

Dispute resolution - under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, parents have the right to request mediation, file an administrative complaint or request a due process hearing to resolve special education conflicts with school districts


Emotional/behavior disorder - disability category under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in which a child's emotional functioning significantly impairs the ability to learn. See Emotional Disturbance.

Evidence based practices - educational practices supported by research findings or demonstrated as being effective through a critical examination of current and past practices

Exceptional Family Member Program - component within the military that provides support to military families that include members with exceptional needs, including autism spectrum disorders. Each branch of the military administers its own Exceptional Family Member Program for its members.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - federal law that requires public school districts to identify children with disabilities and provide them with a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment

Intellectual disability - "...characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18"(American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities).


Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission - created to address education transition issues faced by military families when they are reassigned so they are afforded the same opportunities for educational success as other children


OCONUS Directory of Special Needs - provides information about the level of special education services available in overseas military communities


Pervasive developmental disorder - categorical term that encompasses several developmental disorders, such as autism or Asperger syndrome, characterized by severe deficits in social interaction and communication or by the presence of repetitive, stereotyped behaviors


Rett syndrome - rare genetic disorder that affects the way the brain develops, occurs almost exclusively in girls


Special education - instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability


TRICARE - health care program serving active duty service members, National Guard and reserve members, retirees, families and survivors worldwide