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Learn about Autism

Educational Definition (Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA 2004)

Autism is a developmental disability that significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction. It is generally evident before age 3 and adversely affects a child's educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism include engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.

Autism does not apply if a child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance.

A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age 3 may be identified as having autism.