IANDS - IANDS A-Z - IntroductionPlease click on the links below to read further information.

Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)

Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) encompasses a wide range of developmental differences and looks different in every child. This is why it is commonly referred to as a spectrum.
Key areas of difference in children with ASC are:
  • Communication and interaction, e.g. a child can say many words but rarely asks for things they need or shares their experiences. Or they may have an unusual pattern of language development or no language at all. They may interact with others very little, or they may interact in their ‘own way’.
  • Behaviour and flexibility of thinking, e.g. a child may insist on things being done the same way, be very controlling, show unusual reactions to sound, taste, smell or have intense interests and a lack of varied pretend play.

ASC can look different in girls and can be harder to detect. This is thought to be because girls are more likely to have developed ways to ‘cover’ for their social difficulties. In Islington we have a special interest and expertise in the assessment of girls on the spectrum.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination, caused by a problem with the brain that occurs before, during or soon after birth.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy aren't usually obvious just after a baby is born. They normally become noticeable during the first two or three years of a child's life.
Symptoms can include:
  • delays in reaching development milestones – for example, not sitting by eight months or not walking by 18 months
  • seeming too stiff or too floppy
  • weak arms or legs
  • fidgety, jerky or clumsy movements
  • random, uncontrolled movements
  • walking on tip-toes
  • a range of other problems – such as swallowing difficulties, speaking problems, vision problems and learning disabilities

The severity of symptoms can vary significantly. Some people only have minor problems, while others may be severely disabled.

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a condition affecting physical co-ordination that causes a child to perform less well than expected in daily activities for his or her age, and appear to move clumsily. DCD is thought to be around three or four times more common in boys than girls, and the condition sometimes runs in families.
Early developmental milestones of crawling, walking, self-feeding and dressing may be delayed in young children with DCD, and drawing, writing and performance in sports are usually behind what is expected for their age.
Although signs of the condition are present from an early age, children vary widely in their rate of development, and DCD isn't usually definitely diagnosed until a child with the condition is around five years old or more.

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is a term that is used to describe difficulties with learning and using language which will be long term, but not associated with other conditions, such as cerebral palsy, or autistic spectrum condition.


Dietitian – work with babies, children and young people to promote nutritional wellbeing, treat disease and prevent nutrition related problems. They work in partnership with parents, carers and a wide range of professionals in a range of settings including nurseries, schools and health centres.

Down's Syndrome

Down’s Syndrome also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic condition that typically causes some level of learning disability and certain physical characteristics.
Most babies born with Down's syndrome are diagnosed soon after birth and may have:
  • floppiness (hypotonia)
  • eyes that slant upwards and outwards
  • a small mouth with a tongue that may stick out
  • a flat back of the head
  • below-average weight and length at birth
  • their palm may have only one crease across it

Children with Down's syndrome will have some degree of learning disability, but this will be different for each person.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills – the coordination of small muscles in movements. Usually involving the coordination of hands and fingers with the eyes. Children use fine motor skills writing, holding small items, buttoning clothing, turning pages, eating, cutting with scissors and using computer key boards.

Flat Feet

Flat Feet: Flat feet are completely normal in young children as the structure of the foot is not yet rigid. Young people with very flat feet and also pain may consider insoles to help with this. The podiatry service assesses children to see if insoles would be beneficial.
The referral form can be found on the Whittington Health Podiatry website page - https://www.whittington.nhs.uk/default.asp?c=35726

Global Developmental Delay or Developmental Delay

Global Developmental Delay or Developmental Delay is a term used to describe when a child takes longer to reach certain developmental milestones that other children their age. This may include learning to walk, talk, movement skills, learning new things and interacting with others socially and emotionally.

Language Disorder

Language Disorder A child could be described as having a Language Disorder if they have significant difficulties understanding and using spoken language. They may have difficulty with some or all of the following:
  • Difficulty saying what they want to, even though they have ideas
  • Struggle to find the words they want to use
  • Talk in sentences but be difficult to understand
  • Sound muddled; it can be difficult to follow what they are saying
  • Find it difficult to understand words and long instructions
  • Have difficulty remembering the words they want to say
  • Find it hard to join in and follow what is going on in the playground

(Source: ICAN Fact Sheet, Developmental Language Disorder)

These difficulties are likely to carry on into adulthood. They can impact negatively on social relationships, academic attainment, and future job prospects if the right support or environment is not in place. Children with Language Disorder can present in different ways and there is no one type of approach that will be suitable for all.
Children with a Language Disorder may also have an existing diagnosis such as Autism, a genetic condition such as Down Syndrome or hearing loss.

Manual Dexterity

Manual dexterity – ability to use hands in a co-ordinated way to grasp and manipulate objects and make small precise movements.

NG - Naso Gastric Tube

NG – Naso Gastric tube, a tube that goes through the nose and into the stomach. An NG tube is used to give nutrition when someone is not able to eat or drink safely or manage the amounts they need to grow at the right pace.

Non IgE Medicated Allergy

Non IgE mediated allergy – delayed reaction to foods caused by other parts of the immune system apart from IgE antibodies. Usual management is to avoid the suspected problem foods for a short period of time and monitor symptoms and then reintroduce the suspected food and monitor if symptoms return. A dietitian can help families to manage this process to ensure it is done in a safe and objective way.

Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapist – work with babies children and young people to help them with independence skills in everyday living tasks as well as enabling participation in activities which are meaningful such as playing and learning. Occupational therapists also assess the physical environment and may recommend adaptations and equipment to support the child and young person to engage in meaningful occupations.

PEG - Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy

PEG – Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy, a tube that is placed directly into the stomach. A PEG is used to give nutrition when someone is not able to eat or drink safely or manage the amounts they need to grow at the right pace. A PEG is a long term feeding option.


Physiotherapist – works with babies, children and young people to enable and encourage development and facilitate recovery. They work in partnership with parents, carers and a wide range of professionals to maximise physical abilities and independence.


Preterm is a baby born more than three weeks before their due date. Premature or low birth babies may have medical needs which require admission to a neonatal unit.


Plagiocephaly is when one side of a baby’s head is flattened. It is caused when a baby spends a lot of time lying in the same position. As babies’ skulls are soft, they are susceptible to being ‘moulded’ into a flat shape. The ear on the flattened side may be pushed forward and the face may be asymmetric. This normally resolves with some activities to even out the pressure across the skull. Please see leaflet in our resources section.

Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism - a severe anxiety disorder where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations, such as with classmates at school or to relatives they don't see very often. They don't refuse or choose not to speak, they're literally unable to speak. However, they are able to speak freely to certain people, such as close family and friends, or in places where they feel most comfortable, such as at home.

Sensory Processing

Sensory processing – the process that organises sensation from one’s own body and the environment making it possible to use the body effectively within the environment. Gives meaning to what is experienced by sifting through all the information and selecting what to focus on (such as listening to a teacher while blocking out the noise of a busy classroom).

Special School Nurse

Special school nurse – works within the special school setting to support the health and development of children and young people with additional needs. The team provides health education to promote healthy lifestyles. They support teaching staff with children and young people’s medical needs and administration of medication.

Speech and Language Therapist

Speech and Language Therapist – provides treatment, support and care for babies, children and young people who have difficulties with communication or with eating drinking and swallowing. They work in partnership with parents, carers and a wide range of professionals and are based in a range of settings including Bright Start, Health Centres, nurseries and schools.


Torticollis: In babies with torticollis, a muscle on the side of the neck (called the sternocleidomastoid muscle) is shorter or tighter on one side. This means that they lie with their head tilted to one side and rotated to the other. Usually, with treatment, the muscle will grow and stretch.

Last updated16 Dec 2020
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