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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism2001

Related Services
Related services means transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes speech- language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. Related services also includes school health services and school nurse services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training. (34 CFR 300.34)

Speech and Language Services
The goals of Speech and Language services are to diagnose and remediate communication disorders, facilitate the development of compensatory skills, and enhance the development of language, vocabulary, and expressive communication skills to suppport student access to the general education curriculum. The type and frequencey of services provided are determined by individual student needs. For students with less intensive needs, educational strategies are provided to the student’s general education teachers and parents for implementation within the classroom and home environments. Students with more intensive needs receive services individually or in small groups. (MCPS website 9/23/09)

Services for Students with Physical Disabilities/Occupational/Physical Therapy
Occupational and physical therapy provide comprehensive supports that facilitate access to the general education curriculum for students with physical and health-related disabilities. These services address the needs of students whose physical disabilities are causing a significant impact on educational performance in the general education class. Students exhibit needs in motor development and information processing. Services include special education instruction, consultation with classroom teachers, and occupational and physical therapy. Occupational and physical therapy services are provided as related services to students with other educational disabilities. These services are provided at elementary, middle, and high schools throughout MCPS. (MCPS website 9/23/09)

Autism Consult
During an Autism Consult, a staffmember from the Autism Unit observes a child in his/her educational setting and writes recommendations for strategies and accommodations to help the student become successful in his/her current classroom. An Autism Consult can be identified as a service on a child’s IEP and initiated as needed. Additionally, a parent can ask the IEP Team to request a consult from the Autism Unit, even if this service is not on the child’s IEP. An Autism Consult can be requested whether or not the child has been coded 14 (Autism). The request is officially initiated by the child’s IEP Team. A form must be completed by the IEP Team and initialed by the Special Education Cluster Supervisor, who forwards it to the Autism Unit. Typically, a phone consult is attempted first and if the issues can’t be addressed, an observation is scheduled. The purpose of an observation is to see what is and isn’t working for the child in the classroom. Recommendations are written by the consultant and submitted to the IEP Team. If necessary, a second observation can be scheduled to see whether the child is more successful in the educational setting and whether the strategies need to be refined.

Examples of services that can result from an Autism Consult:
  • The consultant might teach staff strategies to help students be more successful.
  • The consultant might assist staff with conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) to collect and analyze data about the student’s behavioral triggers.
  • The consultant might assist staff with implementing a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), based on the data from the FBA. A Behavior Intervention Plan consists of strategies to help a student with challenging behaviors. A BIP incorporates positive strategies that reward good behavior (token system) and that encourage a child to monitor his/her behavior (a behavior contract).
  • The consultant might attend the child’s IEP meeting.

Improving the educational experiences and outcomes of students on the autism spectrum in grades K-12

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