About Autism

What is Autism?
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex Neurodevelopmental disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The other ASD’s are PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified) and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Today, it is estimated that 1 in every 88 children is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined.

Unable to learn naturally from the environment as most children do, the child with autism shows little interest in the world or people around him/her. While all children with autism develop some normal and even advanced skills, they exhibit a wide range of behavioral deficiencies and excesses.

What are some of the symptoms of Autism?

  • Disturbances in the rate of appearance of social, language/communication and motor skills
  • Atypical responses to sensations, such as sight, hearing, touch, balance, smell, taste, reaction to pain and the way a child holds his or her body
  • Absent or delayed speech and language, although specific thinking capabilities may be present
  • Atypical way of relating to people, objects or events

Autism occurs in children from all racial, geographical and socioeconomic backgrounds. Disproportionately affecting males, it is four times more prevalent in boys than girls.

What are some effective treatments for Autism?
Though there is no cure yet for autism, there is hope through prompt and science-based intervention rooted in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

What do all these acronyms mean – IEP? ABA? FAPE?
Learn about them, here

My child just received an Autism diagnosis, what should I do next?

  1. Call or email FEAT of Washington’s Family Resource Coordinator at 425-463-4790.
  2. Visit our Resource Guide to find resources in your area
  3. Download Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit to find out what to do the first 100 days after a diagnosis.
  4. Contact a Birth-to-Three program if your child is three years or younger or contact your school district to help get services and build an IEP
  5. Access your child’s deficits and find ABA, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy depending on your child’s specific need.
  6.  Stay involved throughs social media: Visit our Facebook group, Twitter and Yahoo Email listserv .

Whom should I contact in Washington State to mediate disputes with my school district regarding my child’s IEP?
If you have questions or need support with services that your child is receiving in your school, first contact the Special Education department within your school district. If you find that you need more support, the OSPI Special Education Ombudsman assists families and students who have questions about special education issues. The OEO Ombudsman assists all public school students and their families, including those with disabilities.

Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO): The Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO) promotes equity in education and the academic success of all students attending elementary and secondary public schools in Washington by providing information to students, families, and communities regarding the school system, promoting family and community involvement in education, helping resolve conflict between families and schools, and by providing policymakers with recommendations to improve the education system.  Contact: Kristin Hennessey, (360) 725-6075, kristin.hennessey@k12.wa.us

Where can I find comprehensive information about the IEP process?

Writeslaw – learn about special education law: http://www.wrightslaw.com/