Early identification & intervention
State “child find” policy requires that children be screened for autism and other developmental disorders at regular intervals. Identifying autism early in children has the potential to improve their developmental trajectory and have a positive impact on their life’s outcomes. Difficulty in timely identification and getting children into proper services can result in missed opportunities for many children. Improvements are needed to help the growing number of autistic children who later go on to be autistic adults.
Special education (IDEA)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that guarantees a free and appropriate public education for children with disabilities in the U.S. who qualify for special education and related services. The IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.
While IDEA guarantees education for children with disabilities through high school, accommodations to support higher education are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or the ADA. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. The ADA guarantees a set of accommodations for a growing number of students with disabilities going to college. Access to higher education is a vital part of the ADA’s larger social goal to promote equal access and full participation in all aspects of US society; especially considering that higher education is a requirement for many jobs in this country.