Literature Review Chapter: Autism Is a Developmental Disorder

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[. . .] In this way, they can play an influential role when it comes to the implementation of an education plan as per the child's requirements. However, the role and participation of parents may vary on the basis of their own expertise, educational background, the time they take out and other various factors. At many occasions, parents often lack the knowledge about their child because of which they might be unable to communicate or help even in the case of their dissatisfaction with the learning approach being adopted. For this reason, in order to deal with the legal difficulties which arise between parents and the school, IDEA has included the provision of providing procedural safeguards which was made a part of the act at the time when several children with disabilities were left out of the public schools. As a result, many people view IDEA as a legislation which would readdress the issue of denying the basic right of public education to children with disabilities. Therefore, if the family of the disabled child is of the opinion that the school districts are not providing the appropriate education to their child or violating the requirements as stated by the law, the procedural safeguards as mentioned previously, gives them a right to readdress these issues via hearings and a proper judicial process (Volkmar, F. 2005).

The provisions of IDEA also hold true for children with the autistic spectrum disorder. As a matter of fact, the procedure of early identification and the provision of services play a crucial role for the development of these children. It could be seen that before 1990, majority of the local school districts as well as the states did not adopt and implement the specific educational policies which would focus on children with autism. However, things have changed since 1990 as educating the autistic children has become an issue of concern for the school districts. This change of concern may be attributed to determinants such as the increased level of awareness and identification of children suffering from autistic disorder, the educational and learning strategies being publicized and thereby being advocated by the parents, the cost associated with providing special extensive services, and the shortage of expertise. Consequently, these factors along with other causes, the policies and the practices of the local educational agencies along with the state have emerged and directed their focus in meeting these new evolving educational needs and the associated parental concern.

The provisions of IDEA incorporate the task of identifying and evaluating the child with disabilities on the basis of eligibility criteria. In other words, these children would get free and appropriate education if they meet the eligibility criteria as stated by the act. For this reason, in order to receive the education, a child must meet the defined criteria of having disabilities due to which he would qualify for the special education and other essential required services.

IDEA states almost 12 categories of disabilitiy out of which Autism is one of the disabilities which is referred to as a developmental disability that affects the verbal as well as nonverbal communication along with social interaction. However, according to the act, this developmental diability adversely affects the educational ability of the child and the disorder is noticeable by 3 years of age. This definition as stated by IDEA also includes a number of other characteristic features which identify Autism. Due to these laid characteristics, LEAs as well as the courts are of the opinion that these diagnostic features hinder the services being provided to autistic children who pass the age of 3 years. As a result, another provision was added in the act in 1997 which clarified that those children who were not diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder till three years of age, were eligible for the services if they met the other parts of the Autism definition. However as a matter of fact, IDEA doesn't elucidate the services which a child would receive as the LEA has not prescribed a specific list of services for children with autism or other disabilities. Instead, the team in charge must analyze and evaluate the individual needs of the child and then provide the right services. In this regard, the children who meet the eligibility criteria as set by IDEA would ultimately receive their Individualized Education Program (IEP) which is a specially designed learning program in order to meet their specific needs. They would also receive the related services such as the corrective, developmental and other services which are required for the child with disabilities. There are a number of services which are present in the IEP program such as the psychological services, the physical therapy, parent counseling and many others. These might vary according to the disability of the child. For this reason these services are not fixed or exhaustive and are determined by the team of IEP. For instance, the Autistic children may require art or music therapy to aid in improving their social skills. Even the United States Supreme Court has clearly analyzed IDEA and the courts consider the act to provide the basic level of special service and education to children with disabilities (Volkmar, F. 2005).

As mentioned before, the Individualized Education Program must be developed for each child with disabilities who is eligible for receiving the free approporiate education. In this regard, IEP is basically the framework of the education of child as it entails his current level of performance and emphasizes on the objectives which would actually help the child to do better in a general education environment. IEP should also focus on the specific education and the supplementary services which the child would receive. However, these services must play an influential role in a way that the child is able to progress and achive his goals along with being efficient at living up to the requirements of the general curriculum and also excelling at the extracurricular activities. He must be moulded in a way that he is able to participate with other children who are disabled and those who are not. Therefore, the IEP accommodates these children so that they can completely benefit from the learning program being provided to them. It also accommodates children with disabilities in the district as well as in the statewide assessments. The IEP must actually be based upon the unique and specific educational needs of each and every child rather than fitting them to a general program which is predetermined or universal. The team which is in charge of formulating the service and making decisions usually include the parents of the disabled child, the general education teacher as well as the special education teacher, the child if he is receiving education in a general education environment, the experts and other qualified individuals. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) also gives the space to a student with disabilities to study according to the general education classroom while he is placed in a special education setting. Regardless of the provisions and the formulation of laws, these classrooms are in actual quite overcrowded having children of different ages with various different needs. Regardless of the fact that the special education teachers have a more idea and training about educating children with difficulties as compared to the general education teacher, it is quite difficult for the special education teacher to cover the curriculum with having a number of different students to deal with (Melisa, D. 2005).

However, while talking about the IEP of an autisitic child, a problem arises as the parents of the autistic child are not completely included in making the educational decision. Although IEP is a part of IDEA which stresses on the importance of parent involvement, LEAs do not have the permission to include parents when conducting the routine discussions or the informal meetings. The parents can only be involved in the formal meetings. Furthermore, another provision of IDEA is the least restrictive environment, a term which says that the state must ensure that the children with disabilities to study with the children without disabilities in a general public school environment. In addition, the idea of separating these children from the regular school environment thereby creating special schools would only occur if the nature of the disability is to such an extent that the child requires the supplementary aid and services which would not be properly gven in a regular school (Fouse, B. 2000). For this reason, the parents as well as the teachers must continuously review the progress and the condition of the child with disabilities because on its basis he would be placed in a regular school, a special classroom or a school, at home, or at other institutes. These placement decisions must be reviewed at least on yearly basis in accordance with the IEP. It must also be ensured that the child is accommodated at such a place which is near to his home as this distance plays an influential role in the child's learning and improving… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Autism Is a Developmental Disorder.  (2012, September 7).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from

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"Autism Is a Developmental Disorder."  7 September 2012.  Web.  22 July 2019. <>.

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"Autism Is a Developmental Disorder."  September 7, 2012.  Accessed July 22, 2019.