Autism Spectrum Disorder

This page is designed to provide resources and supports for those working with students with ASD. The prevalence of ASD has increased across the country to one in 68 children (CDC, 2014). Data from the Michigan Department of Education indicates that in 1990, 1208 children between the ages of birth to 26 identified with ASD were receiving special education services; whereas at the end of 2015, 18,746 children were receiving services under the ASD eligibility (9.1% of the population of students receiving special education services).

Guiding Principles have been developed as we focus on evidence-based best practices and seek to effectively support students on the spectrum.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

ASD refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.

The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.

ASD is characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas.