Glossary

Anticonvulsant

Medication used to treat seizures and convulsions (for example in epilepsy).

Antidepressant

Medication used to treat depression. Antidepressants work by increasing the activity and levels of certain chemicals in the brain that help to lift a person's mood.

Antipsychotic

Medication that is sometimes used to treat serious changes in mental state (such as hearing voices and seeing things that are not real).

Asperger's syndrome

A type of autism. People with Asperger's syndrome usually have fewer problems with speaking and do not usually have a learning disability.

Assessment

A meeting or meetings with a healthcare professional in which they ask questions about a person's mental and physical health, their family background and everyday life, to establish what the condition or problem is, how severe it is and what care would suit them best.

Carer's assessment

An assessment by social services of a carer's physical and mental health, and their needs in their role as a carer. Every person aged 16 years and older who cares for someone on a regular basis has the right to request such an assessment. There should be a written carer's plan, which is given to the carer.

Casein-free diet

A diet that does not contain casein, which is a substance found in milk and cheese.

Crisis

A level of emotional distress that may make a person feel that they are unable to cope, and which sometimes requires an emergency response.

Electroencephalogram

(or 'EEG' for short) A recording of brain activity using small metal discs (called electrodes) which are placed on the head.

Genetic tests

A test to see whether any conditions or disorders have been passed down through a person's family. It involves looking at a chemical in the body called 'DNA'.

Gluten-free diet

A diet that does not contain gluten, which is a substance found in cereals such as wheat, barley and rye.

Ketogenic diet

A diet that has high amounts of fat, low amounts of carbohydrate and adequate amounts of protein.

Learning disability

A condition that affects intellectual ability and leads to problems in learning, developing new skills, communication and carrying out daily activities. A person with a mild to moderate learning disability may only need support in certain areas. However, a person with a moderate to severe learning disability may have no speech or limited communication, a significantly reduced ability to learn new skills and require support with daily activities such as dressing and eating. Learning disabilities are different from 'learning difficulties', like dyslexia, which do not affect intellect.

Primary care

A part of the healthcare service that provides care in the local community, including GPs, nurses, psychological therapists such as primary care mental health workers, or counsellors.

Psychological treatment

A treatment that involves meeting with a therapist to talk about feelings and thoughts and how these affect behaviour and wellbeing.

Self-harm

An expression of personal distress by an act of self-injury (such as cutting oneself) or self-poisoning (such as overdosing with drugs or swallowing a poisonous substance).

Sensory sensitivity

Being under- or over-sensitive to sound, light, colour, smell and taste.

Specialist autism team

A team of health and social care professionals providing expert care and support for people with autism, including psychologists, nurses, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, social workers and speech and language therapists and support workers.

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