Washington Definition and Eligibility Criteria for Special Services for Autism

August 31, 2004

“Autism” means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance and requires specially designed instruction. If a student manifests characteristics of autism after age three, that student still could be diagnosed as having autism if the criteria in this section are satisfied.

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.

The term does not apply if a student’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional/behavioral disability, as defined in this chapter. The category of autism includes students with pervasive developmental disorders.

All students being considered for eligibility for special education and any necessary related services under this category shall be evaluated in all areas of suspected disability and in accordance with the procedures in WAC 392-172-106 through 392-172-111 .

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.155.090(7), 28A.300.070 and 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. 99-24-137, § 392-172-146, filed 12/1/99, effective 1/1/00. Statutory Authority: Chapter 28A.155 RCW. 95-21-055 (Order 95-11), § 392-172-146, filed 10/11/95, effective 11/11/95.]

WAC 388-825-030 Eligibility for services.

(1) A developmental disability is a condition which meets all of the following:

(a) A condition defined as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, or another neurological or other condition as described under WAC 388-825-030;

(b) Originates before the individual reaches eighteen years of age;

(c) Is expected to continue indefinitely; and

(d) Results in a substantial handicap. . . .

(5) Autism is a condition evidenced by:

(a) A specific diagnosis, by a board-eligible psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist, of autistic disorder, a particular diagnostic subgroup of the general diagnostic category pervasive developmental disorders; and

(b) A substantial handicap shown by:

(i) The presence of significant deficits of social and communication skills and marked restriction of activities of daily living, as determined by one or more of the following persons with at least one year’s experience working with autistic individuals:

(A) Licensed psychologists;
(B) Psychiatrists;
(C) Social workers;
(D) Certified communication disorder specialists;
(E) Registered occupational therapists;
(F) Case managers;
(G) Certificated educators; and
(H) Others; or

(ii) Meeting the requirements under subsection (6)(b) of this section; and

(c) Meeting the requirements under subsection (1)(b) and (c) of this section.

This page was posted on August 31, 2004.