Eligibility and need for Autistic Support Service is determined through the Multidisciplinary Evaluation and the Individualized Education Program Plan process. Children with autistic characteristics are a diverse group of children with a wide range of abilities and needs. Autism may affect the development of language, communication, social cognition, behavior, and/or motor skills. The disability manifests itself differently in each person and there are no medical tests that can be used to make a diagnosis of autism. Diagnosis is made based on symptoms that are typically manifested prior to 36 months of age and include at least two of the following:
- Impairment in reciprocal social interaction
- Impairment in communication and imaginative activity, including verbal and non-verbal skills
- Markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests, often involving resistance to change and motor or verbal stereotypes
- Abnormal or inconsistent responses to sensory stimuli in one or more of the following areas: sight, learning, touch, balance, pain, smell, taste, posture, and motor behavior
Both indirect and direct services can be provided to benefit the student. Examples of indirect service may include, but are not limited to: IEP development; development and preparation of materials and resources; team meeting facilitation; and supports for school personnel. This type of support enables staff, families, and others to help the child achieve goals and objectives and experience success across settings and in a variety of activities. Autistic Support also provides direct intervention and instruction to the student as specified in the child's IEP.
Teachers who provide Autistic Support have training in the areas of autism and behavioral support.
Autistic Support provides services to a child who has been identified as having autism and in need of specially designed instruction, through the MDT process. This support/service is provided in the child's regular school environment. Services are designed to:
- Facilitate and train staff members and families in ways to support the child to achieve skills, knowledge, and independence.
- Facilitate team meetings to allow family and staff members the opportunity to provide positive feedback on the student's progress as well as brainstorm problem solving strategies to support the child in challenging situations.
- To provide opportunities for successful participation in activities of the school and community, to the maximum extent possible, with the least amount of adult support needed to participate with same-age peers, family members, and community members.
- To develop effective and appropriate modes of communication.
- To develop adaptive behaviors using an educative approach that will enable the child to be successful and participate independently in a variety of settings and activities.
- To increase the receptivity and capacity for learning.