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Issues Related to Eligibility

Diagnosis and Eligibility

Assessment in the public schools is conducted for the purposes of identification or establishing eligibility for special education services and to assist in planning an individualized education program (IEP). In Texas, assessment for identification requires that a licensed or certified specialist, such as a licensed specialist in school psychology or a speech/language pathologist, be involved in the assessment. Evaluation for programming, on the other hand, can be conducted by educational professionals. It is the responsibility of the public schools to provide an assessment when a student demonstrates characteristics consistent with an autism eligibility at no expense to the family.

The contrast between diagnosis and eligibility is subtle. The term “diagnosis” is used most often in assessments conducted in the private sector. In the United States, diagnosis is based on the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders –Fifth Edition (DSM‐5), (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In other countries, the International Classification of DiseasesTenth Revision (ICD‐10) (World Health Organization, 2014) serves as the diagnostic guide.

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Differential Diagnosis


Other Conditions That May Share Some Characteristics with Autism Spectrum Disorders




Texas Eligibility Criteria for Autism