State of Wisconsin Eligibility Criteria for Children with Disability


1. Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting a child’s social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects learning and educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual re sponses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance, as defined in par. (g).

2. The results of standardized or norm–referenced instruments used to evaluate and identify a child under this paragraph may not be reliable or valid. Therefore, alternative means of eval-uation, such as criterion–referenced assessments, achievement assessments, observation, and work samples, shall be considered to identify a child under this paragraph. Augmentative communication strategies, such as facilitated communication, picture boards, or signing shall be considered when evaluating a child under this paragraph. To identify a child under this paragraph, the criteria under subd. 2. a. and b. and one or more criteria under subd. 2. c. through f. shall be met.

    a. The child displays difficulties or differences or both in in-teracting with people and events. The child may be unable to establish and maintain reciprocal relationships with people. The child may seek consistency in environmental events to the point of exhibiting rigidity in routines.

    b. The child displays problems which extend beyond speech and language to other aspects of social communication, both receptively and expressively. The child’s verbal language may be absent or, if present, lacks the usual communicative form which may involve deviance or delay or both. The child may have a speech or language disorder or both in addition to communication difficulties associated with autism.

    c. The child exhibits delays, arrests, or regressions in motor, sensory, social or learning skills. The child may exhibit preco-cious or advanced skill development, while other skills may de-velop at normal or extremely depressed rates. The child may not follow normal developmental patterns in the acquisition of skills.

    d. The child exhibits abnormalities in the thinking process and in generalizing. The child exhibits strengths in concrete thinking while difficulties are demonstrated in abstract thinking, awareness and judgment. Perseverant thinking and impaired ability to process symbolic information may be present.

    e. The child exhibits unusual, inconsistent, repetitive or unconventional
    responses to sounds, sights, smells, tastes, touch or movement. The child may have a visual or hearing impairment or both in addition to sensory processing difficulties associated with autism.

    f. The child displays marked distress over changes, insistence on following routines, and a persistent preoccupation with or at-tachment to objects. The child’s capacity to use objects in an age appropriate or functional manner may be absent, arrested or delayed. The child may have difficulty displaying a range of interests or imaginative activities or both. The child may exhibit stereotyped body movements.

Copies of all appropriate eligibility criteria are to be provided by the case manager to all IEP team members at the IEP meeting.

For further inquiries regarding special education, please contact Nissan Bar Lev, Director of Special Education CESA #7, telephone (920) 849-9384, or check the CESA #7 special education web site at:

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