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Autism is a developmental disability that can severely impair a child’s abilities. Students with autism have unique abilities and needs which require special considerations in designing, implementing and evaluating their educational programs. There are also different learning techniques and environments that will be more effective for certain children with autism than for others. Therefore, it is essential that school personnel and families work closely together to identify and develop quality programs to address the individual needs of each child.

Research supports the need for early identification of children on the autism spectrum and the provision of appropriate education programs and services to support their learning and development. Physicians and family care providers have a primary role in assisting families to identify the needs of their children to obtain appropriate supports. Some of the early signs that a child may be on the autism spectrum include:

no babbling or pointing or other gestures by 12 months of age;
no single words by age 16 months;
no two-word spontaneous (not echolalic) phrases by 24 months; and
any loss of any language or social skills at any age.

Resources for Families and Training Related to Autism