70+ Special Needs Acronyms You Need to Know

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When you first become a special needs parent, you get A LOT of special needs acronyms thrown at you. Not only are you overwhelmed with your child’s diagnosis, but now you have to figure out what all these letters jumbled together even mean.

I wanted to create a list of some of the more common special needs acronyms that are used as a quick-start guide for helping new parents, grandparents, family, and friends of special needs children learn what these terms mean. I even googled them for you so you can quickly click and start reading about each one.

A Quick-Start Guide to Special Needs Acronyms


2E: Twice Exceptional
AAC: Alternative Augmentative Communication
ABA: Applied Behavioral Analysis
ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
APD: Auditory Processing Disorder
ARFID: Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder
AT: Assistive Technology


BD: Behavior Disorder
BI: Brain Injury
BIP: Behavior Intervention Plan
BP: Bipolar
BPD: Borderline Personality Disorder


CA: Central Apnea
CAPD: Central Auditory Processing Disorder
CAS: Childhood Apraxia of Speech
CD: Conduct Disorder
CF: Cystic Fibrosis
CP: Cerebral Palsy


DCD: Developmental Coordination Disorder
DD: Developmental Delay
DS: Down Syndrome
DX: Diagnosis


EBD: Emotional Behavior Disorder
ED: Emotional Disturbance
EDS: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
EI: Early Intervention
EOE: Eosinophilic Esophagitis


FASD: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
FBA: Functional Behavioral Assessment


GAD: Generalized Anxiety Disorder
GDD: Global Developmental Delay


HFA: High Functioning Autism


ICD: Impulse Control Disorder
IED: Intermittent Explosive Disorder
ID: Intellectual Disability
IEP: Individualized Education Plan
IFSP: Individual Family Service Plan


LD: Learning Disability


MA: Mental Age
MD: Multiple Disabilities
MDD: Major Depressive Disorder
MH: Mental Health


NT: Neurotypical
NPO: Nothing by Mouth


OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
ODD: Oppositional Defiant Disorder
OHI: Other Health Impairment
OSA: Obstructive Sleep Apnea
OT: Occupational Therapy


PANDAS: Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder
PBS: Positive Behavioral Supports
PD: Physical Disability
PDD: Pervasive Developmental Disorder
PDD-NOS: Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified
PT: Physical Therapy
PTSD: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


RAD: Reactive Attachment Disorder
RX: Prescription


SAD: Social Anxiety Disorder
SB: Spina Bifida
SI: Speech Impairment
SLP: Speech Language Pathologist
SM: Selective Mutism
SPED: Special Education
SPD: Sensory Processing Disorder
SSI: Supplemental Security Income


TBI: Traumatic Brain Injury
TS: Tourette Syndrome


VI: Visual Impairment

How many of these Special Needs Acronyms do YOU know?

Special Needs Acronyms

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