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Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) - Guidance for Quality IEPs


Iowa Educational Definition

Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before the age of three, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance.  Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.  

Autism does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has a behavior disorder, as defined in 281--Iowa Administrative Code 41.50(2).  

A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after the age of three could be identified as having autism if the criteria in the first sentence of this subrule are satisfied.  This term includes all conditions described by the term “autism spectrum disorder,” which adversely affects the child’s educational performance. 281--Iowa Administrative Code 41.50(1)

Services and Placement

A medical diagnosis is not required for educational services to begin.  The diagnosis of Autism does not dictate a specific placement.  Autism may occur by itself or in association with other disabilities.  Educational placement decisions must be based on the assessments of strengths and weaknesses of the student and the educational needs rather than on reactions to the label of Autism.  Students with autism may be served in a variety of settings.

Educational Description of Autism and ASD

This educational description identifies Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders as a lifelong, developmental disability which typically appears in early childhood years.  Students with Autism may exhibit varying degrees of atypical behavior that significantly interferes with the learning process in the following areas:

  • Communication
  • Social participation
  • The repertoire of activities, interests, and imaginative  development
  • Developmental rater and sequences
  • Sensory processing
  • Cognition

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on July 27, 2016 at 11:26am.