Many adopters pepper their writing and speech with acronyms which, to the uninitiated, are completely bewildering.

Here is a handy guide to help you decipher them. Not all the acronyms are directly related to adoption per se, but they are ones that you may well come across.


ACE: Adverse Childhood Experiences

AD: Adopted Daughter

AD: Attachment Disorder

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder

AS: Adopted Son

ASD: Autistic Spectrum Disorder

ATU: Assessment and Treatment Unit


BF: Birth Father

BM: Birth Mother


CAMHS: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

CBT: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CCG: Clinical Commissioning Group


DDP: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

DOL: Deprivation of Liberty


EAP: Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy

EHCP: Educational Health and Care Plan

EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (Therapy)

EP: Educational Psychologist


FASD: Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

FC: Foster Child/Carer

FD: Foster Daughter

FS: Foster Son


GBB: Great Behaviour Breakdown (Bryan Post)


IEP: Individual Education Plan

IFA: Independent Fostering Agency

IRO: Independent Reviewing Officer


LA: Local Authority

LAC: Looked After Child

LEA: Local Education Authority

LO: Little One


MASH: Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub

MIM: Marschak Interaction Method (assessment of carer/child relationship)

MLD: Moderate Learning Difficulty

MSI: Multi-Sensory Impairment

MST: Multi Systemic Therapy


NRP: Non-responsible Parent

NVR: Non Violent Resistance


ODD: Oppositional Defiant Disorder

OH: Other Half

OT: Occupational Therapy/ist


PD: Physical Disability

PDA: Pathological Demand Avoidance

PDD (NOS): Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified)

POTATO: Parents of Traumatised Adopted Teens Organisation

PR: Parental Responsibility

PRU: Pupil Referral Unit

PT: Physiotherapy/ist

PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


RAD: Reactive Attachment Disorder

RAMP: Reducing Anxiety Management Programme

RP: Responsible Parent


SALT/SLT: Speech and Language Therapy/ist

SEN: Special Educational Needs

SENCo: Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator

SEND: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

SG: Special Guardian

SGO: Special Guardianship Order

SLCN: Speech, Language and Communication Needs

SLD: Severe Learning Difficulty

SPD: Sensory Processing Disorder

SpLD: Specific Learning Difficulties

SS: Social Services

STAPS: Specialist Teacher and Psychology Service

SW: Social Worker


TA: Teaching Assistant

TAC: Team Around the Child

TP: Therapeutic Parenting


WALOA!: What a Lot of Acronyms!

WTT: Working Together Team (outreach)


Copyright © 2017 Sheila Hanly



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