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Treatment - Programs for School-Aged Children

From the age of 3 through the age of 21, every child diagnosed on the autism spectrum is guaranteed a free appropriate public education supplied by the local education agency. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal mandate that guarantees this education. Whatever the level of impairment, the educational program for an individual on the autism spectrum should be based on the unique needs of the student, and thoroughly documented in the IEP (Individualized Education Program). If this is the first attempt by the parents and the school system to develop the appropriate curriculum, conducting a comprehensive needs assessment is a good place to start. Consult with professionals who are well versed in the spectrum of autism and related conditions about the best possible educational methods that will be effective in assisting the student to learn and benefit from his/her school program. Educational programming for students with ASD often addresses a wide range of skill development, including: academics, language, social skills, self-help skills, behavioral issues, and leisure skills.

Parents can and should be an active and equal participant in deciding on an appropriate educational plan for their child. Parents know the child best and can provide valuable information to teachers and other professionals who will be providing educational services. Collaboration between parents and professionals is essential; open communication will certainly lead to better evaluation of progress and improved outcomes for the student.

To learn about other services specific to an area, contact resources in the community, such as the local ASA chapter, a local University Affiliated Program for Developmental Disabilities, the local ARC, Easter Seals, or Parent Training and Information Center. Be persistent but be patient it may take days or weeks to find the information you need. If a local resource is not able to provide the information or services sought, ask for a referral to another agency or local resource that may be helpful.


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Jeff, Age 35