ment, and a contact person to explain the findings if they wish, and should indicate that they will have the opportunity to present their concerns. Early during the IEP meeting, parents should be given an opportunity to voice their questions, concerns, and perspectives about their child’s development and educational programming.

2–2

As part of local educational programs and intervention programs for children from birth to age 3, families of children with autistic spectrum disorders should be provided the opportunity to learn techniques for teaching their child new skills and reducing problem behaviors. These opportunities should include not only didactic sessions, but also ongoing consultation in which individualized problem-solving, including in-home observations or training, occur for a family, as needed, to support improvements at home as well as at school.

2–3

Families that are experiencing stress in raising their children with an autistic spectrum disorder should be provided with mental health support services. Under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which addresses family support and service coordination, including private service providers, services should be extended to include families of children at least up to age 8 years.

GOALS FOR EDUCATIONAL SERVICES

Conclusions

At the root of questions about the most appropriate educational interventions lie differences in assumptions about what is possible and what is important to give students with autistic spectrum disorders through education. The appropriate goals for educational services are the same as those for other children: personal independence and social responsibility. These goals imply continuous progress in social and cognitive abilities, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, adaptive skills, amelioration of behavioral difficulties, and generalization of abilities across multiple environments. In some cases, reports have suggested that particular treatments can foster permanent “recovery”. However, as with other developmental disabilities, the core deficits of autistic spectrum disorders have generally been found to persist, to some degree, in most individuals.

Research concerning outcomes can be characterized by whether the goal of intervention is broadly defined (e.g., “recovery” or “best out-



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