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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism2001

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Subscribe to stay informed of xMinds events, opportunities for advocacy, relevant news articles, and regional programs, lectures, and workshops to help parents and educators improve the educational experiences of students on the autism spectrum.

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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism2001




Understanding Autism
Diagnostic and Educational Disability Criteria


Educational Disability Criteria
Categories of Disability under IDEA Law

Following are the disabilities criteria (as published in the 2007 Montgomery County Public Schools Special Education Procedures Handbook) by which students with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome are often identified. Remember that many students are not always identified correctly, and may be obtaining special education services under a variety of disabilities.

Even if the IEP Team determines that the student meets one or more of the IDEA disability criteria, it must also determine whether the disability adversely affects the student's educaito. To be eligible under IDEA as a “child with a disability” the student must require specialized instruction such as the adaptation of the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction. If the Team determines that the disability has educational impact, they also determine whether the student requires related services.

Autism
A developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3 that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance. A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age 3 could be identified as having autism if the criteria described above are satisfied. (IDEA does not differentiate high-functioning autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and PDD-NOS.)

Developmental Delay
This categorical option is used in Montgomery County with children with disabilities ages 3 through 5 or entry to Grade 1, whichever comes first, who are experiencing at least a 25 percent or greater delay, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development; and who by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.

Emotional Disturbance
A  condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a student’s educational performance: an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. Includes schizophrenia; does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

Other Health Impairment
Having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

Specific Learning Disability
A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. The term includes conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; mental retardation; emotional disturbance; or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Speech or Language Impairment
A communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

Improving the educational experiences and outcomes of students on the autism spectrum in grades K-12

 
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