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Autism is a developmental disability, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a student's educational performance and significantly affects developmental rates and sequences, verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction and participation. Other characteristics often associated with autism are unusual responses to sensory experiences, engagement in repetitive activities and stereotypical movements and resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines. Students with autism vary widely in their abilities and behavior. The term does not apply if a student's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional and behavioral disorder. [refer to 34 CFR 300.7(c)(1)(i)]

The term of autism may also include students who have been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, Rett's Disorder, or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder provided the student's educational performance is adversely affected and the student meets the eligibility and placement requirements. Autism may exist concurrently with other areas of disability.

Autism Early Intervention Project

The Autism Early Intervention Project is currently partnering with the Marcus Autism Center’s Educational Outreach program, which is dedicated to the provision of community viable models of professional development.  This project enhances the capacity of each system served, resulting in better outcomes for children and their families.  The project focuses on disseminating the most current social neuroscience related to social, communication and emotional development in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  Social and emotional frameworks provide a mechanism to enhance the provision of educational programming for all children by creating a universal design for learning. The program is designed to engage a multidisciplinary audience as a means to build capacity within each system for in-service training, coaching, and peer-to-peer mentorship using focus schools sites within the system as a mechanism for building capacity. A particular focus is placed on financial sustainability and reducing the impact of disparities created by socioeconomic status and geographic location (i.e., urban vs. rural) by supporting the development of internal coaching teams and utilizing web-based learning for ongoing mentorship.  Through the State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG), three Language Strategies for Parents videos have been developed.  See the SPDG website for details about the Autism Early Intervention Project.  

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Sleep

Studies have shown upwards of 80% of young people diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder are not getting the necessary amount of sleep.  Attached is a new guide that provides a comprehensive overview of ASD, how it affects sleep, expert sleep management information for people with ASD and additional beneficial resources.

Staff Contacts

Debbie Reagin, Ed. D.
Education Program Specialist
1866 Twin Towers East
205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-6244
Fax: (770) 359-4729


Online Resources