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 Home > News > GAO Publishes Special Education: Children with Autism (January, 2005)

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GAO Publishes Special Education: Children with Autism

In January 2005, the Government Accountability Office published Special Education: Children with Autism. This publication answers four questions submitted by Congress about special education for children with autism.

1. What is the trend in numbers of children with autism receiving services under IDEA?

2. What services are provided in educating these children?

3. What are the estimated per pupil expenditures for educating children with autism in public schools?

4. What approaches are used in educating children with autism?

The GAO cited Educating Children with Autism, the report from the National Research Council (NRC), that there is a general consensus in treatment programs about what services are essential to a successful intervention for children with autism:

* Early intervention as soon as an autism spectrum disorder is seriously considered.

* Intensive instructional programming– a minimum of a full school day, at least 5 days (25 hours)/week, full year.

* Repeated teaching organized around short intervals with one-to-one and very small group instructions.

* Inclusion of a family component.

* Mechanisms for ongoing evaluation of program and children’s progress, with adjustments made accordingly.

Special Education: Children with Autism includes recommendations about special education programs for children with autism. IEP should include educational objectives that are:

* observable and measurable
* accomplishable within 1 year
* affect a child’s participation in education, community, and family life

The child's progress should be monitored frequently and objectives adjusted accordingly.

You may download Special Education: Children with Autism (GAO-05-220) from

You can save paper by ordering a hard copy online at: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/ordtab.pl

Additional Resources

Educating Children with Autism by National Academy Press

Children with autism have difficulty interacting with other people, communicating ideas and feelings, and imagining what other people think or feel. Although education is the primary form of treatment for autism, educators are often poorly equipped to deal with these children. Educating Children with Autism describes effective educational practices, programs, and strategies.
You will learn:

* How children's specific diagnoses should affect educational assessment and planning
* How to support the families of children with autism
* Features of effective instructional and comprehensive programs and strategies
* How to prepare teachers, school staffs, professionals

How to Compromise with Your School District without Compromising Your Child by Gary Mayerson, Esq.

Parents learn how educational bureaucracies work - or don’t - for children with special educational needs. Includes strategies on how to prepare for an IEP meeting, what to do when a child does not get crucial services, and how to avoid due process. The practical approaches in this guide are applicable to children with all disabilities.

Behavioral Intervention for Young Children With Autism: A Manual for Parents and Professionals.

What is Lovaas therapy? How does it work? This is the only treatment backed up with empirical research data . . . it is a credible and effective treatment method . . . there is hope for these children and this book shows how.

How Well Does Your IEP Measure Up?

This is is a step-
by-step guide to writing IEPs for children with autistic spectrum disorders. The book includes sample goal & objective templates for areas of functioning typically neglected in IEPs including oral-motor skills, executive function, theory of mind, & critical thinking. Includes recommendations for teaching strategies, educational programming formats & useful resources.

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