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Autism Spectrum Disorders


The term, Autism Spectrum Disorders (“ASD”), refers to a group of developmental brain disorders which significantly affect verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, which adversely affect a student’s educational performance. ASDs include:

  • Autistic disorder (classic autism)
  • Asperger’s disorder (Asperger syndrome)
  • Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)

Children on the spectrum vary widely in their abilities and intelligence and present with diverse symptoms and behaviors.  Their characteristics range from the mild to the very severe.  For instance, some children may not speak while others have advanced verbal skills. Those with advanced skills frequently focus on a narrow group of topics, and most have difficulty with abstract concepts and pragmatic skills. Other common characteristics include repetitive or stereotyped behaviors, impaired social skills and unusual responses to sensory information.


Depending upon the degree and severity of their disabilities, children with ASD are provided with different forms of special education services. Some may be educated in classrooms partially or fully integrated with non-disabled children, while others require substantially separate classrooms within the regular school or even specialized out-of-district placements designed for children with special needs. Some students benefit from Applied Behavioral Analysis (“ABA”) services to help them learn.

While there is currently no cure for ASD, research shows that early intervention treatment services can greatly improve a child’s development. ASDs can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. Early intervention services can include therapy to help the child talk, walk, and interact with others. Therefore, it is important to initiate early intervention services as soon as possible.  Under the IDEA, children under the age of 3 years who are at risk of having developmental delays may be eligible for services.

Knowledgeable and experienced school lawyers

We have experience advocating for appropriate placements and services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. If you need help advocating for your child, please contact us. We understand the steps that are necessary to get your child the free appropriate public education he or she is legally entitled to receive.

We know the importance of your child’s education and we appreciate your confidence when you choose us to help protect your child’s rights. It will always be our goal to provide effective and efficient legal representation in a highly responsive manner to improve your child’s education.