4) “Children with disabilities” means children who require special education because of: autism; communication disorders; deafblindness; emotional disturbances; hearing impairments, including deafness; mental retardation; orthopedic impairments; other health impairments; specific learning disabilities; traumatic brain injuries; or visual impairments, including blindness.
a) “Autism” means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics that may be 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. Essential features are typically but not necessarily manifested before age three. Autism may include autism spectrum disorders such as but not limited to autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder — not otherwise specified, and Asperger’s syndrome. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance. However, a child who qualifies for special education under the category of autism may also have an emotional disturbance as a secondary disability if the child meets the criteria under emotional disturbance.
(b) “Communication Disorder” means the impairment of speech articulation, voice, fluency, or the impairment or deviant development of language comprehension and/or expression, or the impairment of the use of a spoken or other symbol system that adversely affects educational performance. The language impairment may be manifested by one or more of the following components of language: morphology, syntax, semantics, phonology, and pragmatics.
Criteria for Evaluation and Eligibility Determination
For the disability categories below, subsection (a) sets forth the evaluation that shall be conducted, subsection (b) sets forth the minimum criteria the child shall meet and subsection (c) sets forth the requirement that the team shall determine whether a child needs special education.
(1) Autism Spectrum Disorder:
(a) If a child is suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder, the following evaluation shall be conducted:
(A) A developmental profile that describes the child’s historical and current characteristics that are associated with an autism spectrum disorder as described in subsection (1)(b) of this rule;
(B) At least three observations of the child’s behavior one of which involves direct interactions with the child. The observations shall occur in multiple environments, on at least two different days, and be completed by one or more licensed professionals knowledgeable about the behavioral characteristics of autism spectrum disorder.
(C) An assessment of communication to address the communication characteristics of autism spectrum disorder which includes but is not limited to measures of language semantics and pragmatics completed by a speech and language pathologist licensed by a State Board of Examiners in Speech Pathology and Audiology or the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission;
(D) A medical statement or a health assessment statement indicating whether there are any physical factors that may be affecting the child’s educational performance;
(E) An assessment using an appropriate behavior rating tool or an alternative assessment instrument that identifies characteristics associated with an autism spectrum disorder.
(F) Assessments to determine the impact of the suspected disability:
(i) On the child’s educational performance for a school-age child; or
(ii) On the child’s developmental progress for a preschool child; and
(G) Additional evaluations or assessments that are necessary to identify the child’s educational needs.
(b) For a child suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder, the child shall meet all of the following minimum criteria:
(A) The team shall have documented evidence that the child demonstrates all of the behaviors in subsection (1)(b)(B). Each of these behaviors shall be:
(i) Characteristic of an autism spectrum disorder;
(ii) Inconsistent or discrepant with the child’s development in other areas; and
(iii) Documented over time and/or intensity.
(B) The child shall exhibit the following:
(i) Impairments in communication;
(ii) Impairments in social interaction;
(iii) Patterns of behavior, interests, and/or activities that are restricted, repetitive, or stereotypic; and
(iv) Unusual responses to sensory experiences.
(c) For a child to be eligible for special education services as a child with an autism spectrum disorder, the eligibility team shall determine that:
(A) The child’s disability has an adverse impact on the child’s educational performance; and
(B) The child needs special education services as a result of the disability.
(d) A child may not be eligible for special education services on the basis of an autism spectrum disorder if the child’s primary disability is an emotional disturbance as set forth in section (4) of this rule. However, a child with autism spectrum disorder as a primary disability may also have an emotional disturbance as a secondary disability.
This page was posted on August 13, 2004.