Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) represents a complex developmental disability that is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain. ASD impacts an individual’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others. The term autism spectrum disorder is used because the range of symptoms can occur in any combination and can range from mild to very severe. Every individual with ASD is unique in their abilities and challenges.
A child may be found eligible for special education and related services as a child with autism if there is an adverse effect on the child’s educational performance due to documented characteristics of autism spectrum disorder. Children with a medical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders must be found eligible for special education and related services under IDEA before an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed.