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Eligibility Criteria for Autism – WV State Board Policy 2419

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An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student with autism when the following criteria are met.
Autism - Documentation the student meets ALL of the following (1-5):

1. Documentation will assure that the student meets a total of six (or more) items from a., b., and c., with at least two from and one each from b and c:
a. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

1. Marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures and gestures to regulate social interaction;
2. Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level;
3. A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing or pointing out objects of interest);
4. Lack of social or emotional reciprocity.
b. Qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:

1. Delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime);
2. In individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others;
3. Stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language;
4. Lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

1. Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus;
2. Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals;
3. Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements);
4. Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.

2. The student is diagnosed as having autism by a psychiatrist, physician, licensed psychologist or school psychologist.
3. The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance.
4. The student needs special education.
5. The student’s educational performance is not adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional/behavioral disorder as defined in this chapter.

It is important to recognize that a diagnosis of PDD-NOS, Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism, alone is not enough to qualify your child for special education services. WV Policy 2419 defines a student eligible for special education as a student who (1) has a disability or disabilities, (2) whose disability(ies) adversely affects educational performance and (3) whose unique needs cannot be addressed exclusively through education in general education classes with or without individual accommodations. The third part means a student requires specially designed instruction. Specially designed instruction is organized and planned instructional activities, which adapt, as appropriate, the content, methodology or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs that result from a student’s disability. To meet the three eligibility components above a comprehensive evaluation of the student must be conducted.

IDEA entitles families to be actively involved in making decisions about their children’s education.

Diana Whitlock
Autism Coordinator
dwhitloc@k12.wv.us
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