An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student with autism spectrum disorder when: all of Criterion 1: Section A are met; at least two of the four symptoms are required in Criterion 1: Section B; Criterion 1: Section C when applicable; and, all other criteria (Criteria 1: Sections D & E and Criteria 2-5) are met and marked “yes.”
Criterion 1: Section A:Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently, or by history: (All three eligibility criteria must be met.)
1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.
2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.
3. Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.
Criterion 1: Section B: Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities manifested by at least two of the following: (Two of the four criteria must be met.)
1. Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypies, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).
2. Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns or verbal and nonverbal behavior (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, need to take same route or eat same food every day).
3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g., strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interest).
4. Hyper- or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).
Criterion 1: Section C: Although symptoms for children with autism are typically present in the early developmental period, some symptoms may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities. If this exception applies, an explanation is needed. Also note the IDEA regulations state, “A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism,” if all other criteria are satisfied.
Criterion 1: Section D: Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning. (This criterion must be met.)
Criterion 1: Section E: These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability or global developmental delay. (This criterion must be met.)
Criterion 2: The student is diagnosed as having autism by a psychiatrist, physical, licensed psychologist, or school psychologist and the evaluation report is attached. (This criterion must be met.)
Criterion 3: The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance. (This criterion must be met.)
Criterion 4: The student needs special education. (This criterion must be met.)Criterion 5: The student’s educational performance is not adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional/behavioral disorder as defined in Policy 2419. (This criterion must be met.)