Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)

AAC refers to any form of communication other than speech that is used to express thoughts, needs, wants and ideas or any forms used to enhance the understanding of the spoken word. AAC includes gestures, facial expressions, symbols, pictures, signs, and writing as well as other technology based devices.


An education adjustment is something that the school does specifically to help your child access education.

Advisory visiting teacher (AVT)

Teachers with specialist knowledge and skills, who support the educational programs of students with disability.


Somebody who supports or speaks up on behalf of someone else.

Adjustment Information Management System (AIMS)

Online database used to collect information on students with disabilities.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Developmental disability affecting the three main areas of communication, reciprocal social interaction, and stereotyped or repetitive behaviours (flexible thinking and imagination). Covers a range of subgroups including Asperger Syndrome, Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-nos).

Assessment for learning

A process of assessment throughout the learning process (not just at the end) used to adjust teaching. Provides information about student progress that teachers can use to inform their teaching.

Assessment of learning

Assessment at the end of learning process used to summarise what a student can demonstrate at that time.

Assistive technology

All devices used to support individuals with disabilities to demonstrate greater independence with and perform functions which otherwise may be difficult or impossible for them.

Auditory memory

The memory for spoken information; many individuals with ASD have a very short auditory memory and can only retain one word or one single piece of spoken information.



A child's level of functioning or performance prior to the introduction of intervention or teaching.


A software program that you can purchase that allows you to create visual supports and resources with images, photos and can also include interactive components, video, sound effects and animation.



Individuals, families or communities who are culturally and linguistically diverse in comparison to the main population.

Case Manager

The person who is responsible for coordinating the planning and implementation of transition practices within the transition period.

Chat book

A tool used to scaffold and prompt communication. Images, photos or sentences can be used to encourage individuals to share information, retell experiences develop narratives. The chat book can be particularly useful to support individuals with ASD to share what has happened at school with their families and or what has happened at home/on the weekend with school staff and peers.

Cognitive processing

The mental processes used to think, learn, problem solve, make sense of and remember information.

Compulsory schooling phase

The time when it is compulsory to go to school, i.e. from when the child is at least six years and six months to when they turn 16 or complete Year 10 (whichever comes first).

Concrete cues

Objects or people in the situation that give a clue to what is being said.

Conveyance allowance

An allowance for driving your child to school.

Curriculum Plan

A plan of teaching and learning activities for a class.



Deputy Principal.

Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

The Queensland Government department for Disability Services (DSQ)


The Department of Education


The identification of the disorder or disability. Must be made by a medical professional (e.g. Paediatrician, Psychiatrist or Developmental Neurologist).


Action taken by teachers to adjust teaching and learning experiences to the strengths and needs of the learner to ensure access to the curriculum. Includes adjustments made to support understanding, use interests and changes to the environment and how students may demonstrate their learning.

Disability Services Support Unit (DSSU)

A DoE unit that provides a range of advisory and support services to staff working with students with disability in schools across Queensland.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 4 (DSM-IV)

Provides the current internationally accepted diagnostic criteria for ASD.


Education Adjustment Program (EAP)

The process used by EQ to identify and respond to the needs of students with disability.

Early Childhood Development Program (ECDP)

EQ program or service based at a school to support children with a diagnosed or suspected disability from birth to the start of school.

Early Intervention (EI)

Programs and services for infants and young children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families to develop the child and the family's skills and future options.

Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)

Includes education and care programs for children such as Kindergarten, long day-care and early intervention programs.


The repetition of phrases, words, intonation and sounds immediately or delayed (e.g. repeating language learnt in one context at a later stage). Can serve a range of purposes: to learn language, indicate confusion, or as an attempt to communicate or request.

Education team

The student, the student's parents or carers, teachers, teacher aides, and specialist support personnel.

Education Queensland (EQ)

The division of the Department of Education (DoE) responsible for providing state education.

Executive functioning

The ability to plan, organise, and carry out tasks to achieve goals as well as the ability to monitor and change behaviour to respond to changes in the social environment.

Expressive language

How a child expresses their needs and wants, thoughts and feelings. Includes verbal (speech) and non-verbal means including use of signs, picture exchange systems, gestures, visual means, ICT use, or written communication.


Fine motor skills

The use of hands and fingers to manipulate small objects to complete activities e.g. writing, cutting, opening and closing, tying shoelaces, play and self-care tasks.

Finished box

A tool used to teach and support the development of independent work skills. A student may be taught to use a finished box to pack equipment, items or visual representations into when finishing a task or activity. Assists with the development of smooth transitions between activities and tasks.

Foundation curriculum

The curriculum content for the year before Year 1. This is the Prep year in Queensland. It outlines specific content that should be taught across key learning areas.

Functional Behavioural Analysis (FBA)

The observation and analysis of challenging or problematic behaviours in order to determine the causes or function of behaviour.


Gross motor skills

The use of large muscles to complete activities. Includes balance, strength and coordination.

Guidance Officer (GO)

A teacher with qualifications in guidance and counselling or psychology who works within the school setting with students, families, and teachers to enhance the educational opportunities for children.


Head of Curriculum (HOC)

A teacher who assists in leading, coordinating the maintenance, review and implementation of curriculum frameworks, pedagogy, programs and assessment and reporting.

HoSES - Head of Special Education Services

The teacher in charge of a special education program in a school.


ICT (Information and Communications Technologies)

A term used to describe the use and integration of digital information systems and technologies. May also be called ICLT (Information, Communication and Learning Technologies).

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

An individual education plan developed with parents and specialist staff (special educators, therapists) containing priority goals, implementation strategies and assessments for the child. An IEP is required for students who attend an ECDP.

IEP Process

The process of collaboratively planning for the individual needs of a student to determine the student's current level of performance, educational needs and future learning priorities. Includes parents, teachers, specialist support staff and the student (if appropriate).

Individual Learning Plan (ILP)

An individual learning plan for six months developed for a student who requires curriculum at a level higher or lower than his or her year-level for some or all of the learning areas. Includes any supports or strategies already provided to the student, the year-level curriculum provided, areas requiring focused teaching and any additional or other support provided or required.

Inclusion Support Subsidy (ISS)

Funding that supports education and care services (long day care, Kindergarten, OSHC, vacation care etc) to include children with disabilities in their programs or services.


Joint attention

When two people share an object, information or focus. The ability to gain another person's attention and tell/show/share is required. An important early skill in the development of social and communication skills.


Multi-disciplinary team

A team of professionals working as a team sharing information, observations, expertise and problem solving for the benefit of the individual with ASD. Multi-disciplinary team members may include speech language pathologists, psychologists, physiotherapists, teachers and occupational therapists.


Non-school organisation (NSO)

An organisation funded by the department to provide programs that support children in their educational setting.


Outside School Hours Care (OSHC)

Care provided to your child onsite before and after school hours at a standard fee.

Occupational Therapists (OT)

Help people to improve their ability to do everyday tasks.



Parents and Citizens' Association.


Medical professionals who specialise in the treatment of children.


As defined under Section 10 of the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006,a parent of a child is any of the following persons:

  • the child's mother
  • the child's father
  • a person who exercises parental responsibility for the child
  • a person under Aboriginal tradition who is regarded as a parent of the child
  • a person under Torres Strait Islander custom who is regarded as a parent of the child
  • a person granted guardianship of a child under the Child Protection Act 1999
  • a person who exercises parental responsibility under a decision of order of a Federal or State court.


Picture Exchange Communication System. A patented low-tech AAC.


Therapists who help people develop their physical abilities and functional skills.

Positive Behaviour Support (PBS)

An evidence-based practice in the management of challenging behaviour. PBS works to reduce instances of challenging behaviour through teaching new skills and behaviours that assist an individual to have their needs and wants met, adjusting the environment to promote positive behaviour and removing punitive consequences. PBS relies upon teachers having a clear understanding of the challenging behaviour and why it occurs.

Prep year

A non- compulsory five day per week program where children stay all day (usually from 9am to 3pm) available at primary schools. Prep gives children the best start to formal schooling (Year 1). Children need to be five by 30 June in the year they enrol in Prep.

Principal Advisor, Education Services (PA, ES)

The key contact person at the regional level for enrolling students in special school.

Principal Education Officer, Student Services (PEO, SS)

The primary contact person at the regional level for parents of children with disability.


An item or toy that will encourage and support a child's imaginative play or communication.


Relating to stimuli that are produced and perceived within an organism, especially those connected with the position and movement of the body.


A medical professional who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatrists may also prescribe medication for their patients.

Psychologist/Clinical psychologist

A therapist who works with people to understand, prevent and relieve their psychologically based problems. A psychologist may assist with strategies to manage emotions, behaviour, support learning or develop social skills, assessments and observations, and support for the whole family.


Receptive language

How a child understands information given via speech, signs, body language, and visually (written words, images, photos, symbols).


In Education Queensland, there are seven regions throughout the state.

Routine cues

Predictable sequences habits, orders or activities which give a clue or warning as to what will happen next and thus what the individual will be required to do e.g. a school bell or predictable routine can be a routine cue.


School transport assessor

A trained person in a school who liaises with parents about school transport assistance matters and assesses whether a student is eligible for the School Transport Assistance Program for Students With Disabilities.


School of Distance Education.

Self-care skills

Skills for dressing, feeding, toileting, eating, applying sunscreen and managing personal belongings.


Tasks of daily living carried out by a person e.g. dressing, toileting, washing hands, blowing nose, applying sunscreen.

Self-stimulatory behaviour

Seeking activities or sensations for the purpose of calming themselves or gaining a particular sensation.

Sensory processing

How sensory information is taken in and processed by the brain.


Special Education Program.


Senior guidance officer.

Shoebox tasks

Patented structured activities that support children to use their visual and sequential strengths. Tasks can be the size and shape of a shoebox (hence the name) and generally all the elements of the task can be contained in the box. Shoebox tasks 'show' what the child has to do rather than relying on language and actively involve the child (he or she has to make, sort, post, match, trace, connect items) supporting understanding.

Social Stories

Provides a description of an event or situation and seeks to provide social information regarding perspectives, cues, and appropriate responses. Social stories follow a set format in their design and construction.

Special Education Programs

Programs that give specialist support to students with disability in state schools.

Special Education Teachers

Teachers with specialist knowledge and skills, who support the educational programs of students with disability.

Special school

A school that only provides education to students with disability.

Speech-language pathologists

Therapists who assists students with special needs in communication.


Done in the same way each time.

Story-based intervention

A written or visually represented sequence of information designed to assists the reader to understand the how what, when, where, who, and why of a situation. Information is provided in a story format and seeks to provide the reader with skills to respond appropriately to specific situations.

SWPBS Schoolwide Positive Behaviour Support

A proactive, team-based system approach and decision making framework that guides selection, integration and implementation of evidence-based practices for improving academic and behavioural outcomes for all students in a safe school environment.


Tablet application

A program or "app" which may be used on a hand held tablet device. It is important to determine what the purpose of the apps is. Apps can be used to teach specific content or skills, support understanding, and help with organisation, remembering and prompting or for the purpose of a game, break or motivator.

Theory of mind

The ability to infer and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that may differ from our own.

Transition time

The supported movement of students between home and/or educational settings (Prep school, ECEC setting), where they are introduced to new surroundings, routines, roles and expectations.



A student's disability has been confirmed by a member of the EQ verification team as meeting the department's criteria.

Vertical schedule

A vertical group of symbols, pictures, words or objects depicting the major transitions and activities of the day or session.

Visual cueing system

Cues or sequences that help children understand language, organise themselves, remember information and participate in activities and interactions. Includes checklists, schedules, cue cards, real objects, story based interventions, work systems, and visual reward systems.


Wiki Library

A wiki library is a document library in which users can easily edit any page.

Work system

A visually clear means of presenting tasks (often horizontally left to right) that systematically shows what needs to be done, where to start, how much is to be done and what to do when finished. Can be shown via images, symbols, words or activities. Helps develop independence.

Last updated 29 September 2020