Information for the public

Terms explained


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


Medication used to treat depression.


Medication used to treat serious changes in mental state (such as hearing voices and seeing things that are not real). At the time of publication antipsychotic medication did not have a licence in the UK for treating behaviour that challenges in children with autism. Medicines need to have a licence before they can be marketed. To get a licence, the manufacturer of the medicine has to provide evidence that shows that the medicine works well enough and is safe enough to be used for a particular condition and for a particular group of patients. A medicine can be prescribed 'off-label'. This means the prescriber wants to use it in a different way than is set out in its licence. This could mean using the medicine for a different condition or a different group of patients, or it could mean a change in the dose or that the medicine is taken in a different way. There is more information about licensing medicines at


A meeting or meetings with a health or social care 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. Professionals might want to assess children and young people in different situations, such as at home or at school.

Auditory integration training

A procedure that involves listening to music that varies in tone, pitch and volume.

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.


A substance found in milk and cheese.

Cognitive behaviour therapy

A psychological therapy that is based on the idea that the way we feel is affected by our thoughts and beliefs and by how we behave.


Expressing or sharing ideas and feelings through speech and other means such as facial expression, body language (for example, shrugging or nodding), tone of voice, signs, gestures and pictures or writing.


A substance found in cereals such as wheat, barley and rye.

Learning disability

A condition that affects intellectual ability and leads to problems in learning, developing new skills, communication and carrying out daily activities. Learning disabilities are different from 'learning difficulties', like dyslexia, which do not affect intellect.

Omega‑3 fatty acids

A type of fat found in fish and plant oils.


Monitors brain activity usually with electrodes placed on the head. The person being treated can see their brain activity on a screen and is taught how to change it (such as making it more regular).

Psychological therapy

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


Someone who can assess children's psychological functioning, emotional wellbeing and development, and provide help with behavioural, emotional and mental health problems.

Respite care

Support for parents and carers so that they can take a break from caring for a short while. This may involve the child or young person being looked after by someone else in residential or nursing care, or in the family home.

Social care assessment

An assessment carried out by social care services to find out what help and support people need, such as help at home.

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