Happy Learners Glossary

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Glossary of terms and abbreviations E - F

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The act of repeating heard speech and sometimes signs or gestures. It can often occur as response to not understanding what is being communicated. It can be immediate or delayed. Sometimes individuals will repeat over and over phrases heard on radio and television such as adverts.


The act of repeating the gestures and movements of others. This can be common in individuals with Tourette Syndrome.

Elective Mutism

Where the child is unwilling to talk in most contexts though they have normal ability to do so.


The medical term for when a child generally above 5 years of age who has repeated difficulty with controlling urination. Diurnal (day time) enuresis tends to affect more girls than boys. Nocturnal (night time) enuresis affects 3 times more boys than girls.


Educational Psychologist

Episodic Memory

A component of long term memory, specifically part of declarative memory, and is concerned with remembering personal experiences. These memories are usually anchored to a specific person or place e.g. remembering a wedding day.


The balance sense. The balance organs are contained within the inner ears and are sensitive to movement of the head. Individuals vary in how they process sensory information from the balance organs and this can influence social behaviour. Children with less sensitive equilibrioception often like activities that involve more extreme movements such as roundabouts, theme park rides etc. Individuals with more sensitive equilibrioception are more likely to experience motion sickness. Equilibrioception is part of the vestibular system which links with other senses such as proprioception to process and coordinate balance and movement.

Excoriation Disorder

The psychiatric term for skin picking. Chronic skin picking is linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Also known as Dermatillomania.

Expressive Language

The ability to express ideas in communication either verbally through speech, through writing, or through other means such as sign language or using assistive communication devices.

Executive Functioning

A capacity within the brain to process, manipulate and analyse stimuli and generate, plan and evaluate a response. In speech and listening it is the part which interprets what has been heard e.g. "Do you take sugar in your tea?" and thinks of a response "No, just milk please."

Explicit memory

A component of long term memory concerned with remembering facts e.g. that the Battle of Hastings was in 1066.

Extrinsic motivation

This is doing things because of the rewards earnt, social pressures to behave in a certain way or to avoid negative attention or punishments. Extrinsic motivation is therefore determined by forces from outside you. Compare to intrinsic motivation.



Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

An umbrella term for a range of conditions where normal development has been affected by the effects of maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

A condition resulting from maternal consumption of alcohol where sufferers have retarded growth, some dysfunction of the central nervous system and some facial dysmorphology.

Flashbulb memory

A type of long term memory which is triggered by an emotionally arousing event e.g. remembering what you were doing on "9-11"


One of the basic behavioural responses to anxiety, fear and danger. The child becomes angry and/or agitated leading to verbal or physical aggression. See also flight, flock and freeze.


One of the basic behavioural responses to anxiety, fear and danger. This can be seen in children most obviously when they run away and/or hide but also in avoidance and refusal to do activities. See also fight, flock and freeze.


One of the basic behavioural responses to anxiety, fear and danger. We can feel safer when part of a group. Flocking can be seen when children flee back to parents or other safe adults, siblings and friends. See also fight, flight and freeze.

Fluctuating Conductive Hearing Loss

Fluctuating Conductive Hearing Loss is mainly caused by glue ear (otitis media) which reduces the transmission of sound through the middle ear.


When anxious our cognitive ability can become impaired leading to difficulty with decision making, planning and problem solving. In a classroom this can be seen as careless errors; word finding difficulties; slow processing and not completing tasks.

Focussed Attention

The ability to direct our conscious thoughts and pay attention to specific sensory input for more than a few moments. This is required in order to sustain our engagement with a task through to completion.

Formal Assessment

In the UK a formal assessment is made for a child with significant Special Educational Needs and their needs can not being sufficiently met from within the mainstream school's resources. If a successful application is made then the child is awarded an Education Health Care Plan which is expected to meet their needs. This is usually additional funding to provide additional access to staffing or resources but can also be provision at specialist school.

Forward digit recall

The number of digits that can be correctly remembered and repeated back. Tests of this abililty are used to measure verbal short term memory.

Fragile-X Syndrome

A defect in the X chromosome. As males have only one X chromosome the condition is predominantly found in boys. The condition can have varying levels of severity in terms of overall development and include delayed speech and language as well as attention and concentrations difficulties. Autistic traits are frequently seen in Fragile X Syndrome individuals and about a quarter may have autistic spectrum. Epilepsy is also seen in 1 in 5 individuals.


One of the basic behavioural responses to anxiety, fear and danger. Freezing or 'playing dead' can be seen when the child refuses to move or communicate. See also fight, flight & flock.