ASD Eligibility

Eligibility for Special Education under designation of Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE) define eligibility for special education services within thirteen categories of disability.

R 340.1702 Student with a disability defined.
Rule 2. “Student with a disability” means a person who is determined by an individualized education program team or a hearing officer to have 1 or more of the impairments specified in this part that necessitates special education or related services, or both, who is not more than 25 years of age as of September 1 of the school year of enrollment, who has not completed a normal course of study, and who has not graduated from high school. A student who reaches the age of 26 years after September 1 is a “student with a disability” and entitled to continue a special education program or service until the end of that school year.

R 340.1715 Autism spectrum disorder defined; determination.
Rule 15. (1) Autism spectrum disorder is considered a lifelong developmental disability that adversely affects a student’s educational performance in 1 or more of the following performance areas:

  • (a) Academic.
  • (b) Behavioral.
  • (c) Social.

Autism spectrum disorder is typically manifested before 36 months of age. A child who first manifests the characteristics after age 3 may also meet criteria. Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by qualitative impairments in reciprocal social interactions, qualitative impairments in communication, and restricted range of interests/repetitive behavior.

(2) Determination for eligibility shall include all of the following:

(a) Qualitative impairments in reciprocal social interactions including at least 2 of the following areas:
(i) Marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction.
(ii) Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level.
(iii) Marked impairment in spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people, for example, by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest.
(iv) Marked impairment in the areas of social or emotional reciprocity.

(b) Qualitative impairments in communication including at least 1 of the following:
(i) Delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime.
(ii) Marked impairment in pragmatics or in the ability to initiate, sustain, or engage in reciprocal conversation with others.
(iii)  Stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language.
(iv) Lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level.

(c) Restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped behaviors including at least 1 of the following:
(i) Encompassing preoccupation with 1 or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus.
(ii) Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals.
(iii) Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms, for example, hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements.
(iv) Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.

(3) Determination may include unusual or inconsistent response to sensory stimuli, in combination with subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) of subrule 2 of this rule.

(4) While autism spectrum disorder may exist concurrently with other diagnoses or areas of disability, to be eligible under this rule, there shall not be a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia or emotional impairment.

(5) A determination of impairment shall be based upon a comprehensive evaluation by a multidisciplinary evaluation team including, at a minimum, a psychologist or psychiatrist, an authorized provider of speech and language under R 340.1 745(d), and a school social worker.


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