Autism Spectrum Disorders

A hand writing the word Autism on a chalkboard under colorful puzzle piece drawings.

According to a published review of court decisions regarding FAPE and the LRE, almost a third of those cases involved disputes over services to children with autism.  Putting it another way, when comparing the actual incidence of children identified with autism to the incidence of litigation about those children,  schools were about ten times more likely to find themselves in litigation over a child with autism than over children with other disabilities.
Zirkel Article on Autism Litigation 2012

Perry Zirkel also wrote a more general article on “Legal Issues Related to Autism” in 2008
Zirkel (2008): Legal Issues Related to Autism

Zirkel Article on Autism Litigation 2011

Article about Zirkel’s Study 2011 (Web page)

There are a number of websites on the Internet that provide a sampling of those cases.   A sampling of those links (which provide a sampling of cases) are provided below.

Fox Special Education Law

Wrightslaw on Autism

Many  excellent resources cited on the Internet and even on our links page have not been updated to reflect the changes in the DSM 5.  The following article provides both the revised criteria and a discussion of their application.    While the language is not as parent friendly as some handouts in the past,  it is at least up to date .

See:   DSM-5 (ASD.Guidelines) Feb2013

On July 7, 2014 the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the United States Department of Health and Human Services  issued a Clarification of Services to  Children with Autism that expanded covered services to include (among other things) Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).

Federal Medicaid Policy Guidance

It is too early for us to be trying to  interpret the potential impact of these changes, but a number of national and state agencies have already weighed in with their opinions.   A representative sample follows.   As more definitive analyses become available, they will be added below.

Disability Scoop: Feds Clarify Medicaid Guidelines

California Healthline Comments on Medicaid Obligations

ASHA: CMS Issues Clarification


For additional information on our Sped Resources page, click on Autism Links