The links provided do not imply an endorsement of the materials; however, every effort has been made to ensure that the resources provided herein are accurate and timely.
Autism Definition and Eligibility for Special Education Information
A medical diagnosis is another avenue for identifying the presence of autism, which is defined in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Individuals who demonstrate communication, social and behavioral difficulties that are seen by a practitioner such as a pediatrician, neurologist, psychiatrist, or clinical psychologist and are found to have the conditions specified in the definition receive a diagnosis of autism.
A diagnosis does not automatically establish eligibility for special education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) describes the procedural regulations for determining eligibility. To receive special education in the school setting, an educational team that includes the parents will review all of the documentation about the child, which can include the medical diagnosis, to determine the impact of the disability on the child’s performance in the educational setting. The team will document how the disability is affecting the child’s ability to participate in the educational setting at grade level and whether additional testing is necessary. The review of the documents and all of the data about the child takes place before placement in special education.
If you have questions about this process please contact the special education director in your school or the ADE/Exceptional Student Services.
Early Identification of Autism
Within Arizona, family support centers such as Raising Special Kids, and other research and resource organizations share early detection strategies that point toward improved outcomes:
- First Signs – website to assist early educator teams, parents and other professionals to learn about autism
- Learn the Signs. Act Early – track you child’s development and act early if you have a concern
- Detecting, studying, and treating autism early: the one-year well-baby check-up approach. -PubMed, NCBI
- Intervention in 6-month-olds with autism ameliorates symptoms, alleviates developmental delay. -UC Davis MIND Institute
- Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center on early detection of Asperger’s Syndrome- ThinkAsperger’s which is now part of ASD.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital is providing training and support for regional autism assessment teams across the state of Arizona. Each team consists of one pediatrician (PCP), an Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) provider and a school representative. Development of these regional teams will help to significantly increase access to intervention, therapies and school services for hundreds of children across the state. If you are interested in participating, or would like additional information, please contact Early Access to Care-Arizona.
Evidence Based Practices
- Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules (AFIRM) – modules are designed to help learn step-by-step process of planning for, using and monitoring an EBP with learners with ASD from birth to 22 years of age. Available modules:
- Autism Internet Modules (AIM) – designed to provide high-quality information and professional development for anyone who supports, instructs, works with, or lives with someone with autism.
- The IRIS Center – Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Overview for Educators
Training and Technical Assistance
- Arizona State Autism Project (AzSAP) – In collaboration with ADE’s Early Childhood Unit, Professional Learning and Sustainability (PLS) is offering a capacity building opportunity to school teams for trainings designed to improve instruction and support for students with autism in Pre-K through High School. The project is currently training districts using Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research (STAR) program. The program teaches children with autism the critical skills identified by the 2001 National Research Council and uses many of the evidence-based practices identified in the 2009 National Standards Report and 2014 National Professional Development Report. Check out the districts that have participated in this project.
For more information, contact Lisa Kunz and check out districts that participated in this project.
- ADE’s Assistive Technology (AT) team provides training on such topics as Autism, Video Modeling, Visual Supports and iPads in the Classroom. For more information visit the AT webpage.
Autism and Safety
The National Autism Association’s Caregiver Toolkit provides information and awareness materials. A checklist for planning and responding to wandering behaviors is included with suggestions for safety tools, first responder profile forms, social stories and caregiver logs.
- Choices When I Am Frustrated
- Functional Behavioral Assessment
- Rewards Systems: How to Templates
- The Incredible 5-Point Scale
- Token Economy
Autism and Low Incidence Disability
Professional Learning and Sustainability