Autism Program
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The Autism program is designed to serve students who have been identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  To learn more important details about this program at our school visit the Minneapolis Public Schools District Website.





What is autism?
Autism, part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. The disorder is characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social abilities, and also by repetitive behaviors. Symptoms range from mild to severe. One milder form of the disorder is known as Asperger Syndrome. Other developmental disorders that fall under the Autism Spectrum Disorders are Rett Syndrome, PDD NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors in their child or their child's failure to reach appropriate developmental milestones. Some parents describe a child that seemed different from birth, while others describe a child who was developing normally and then lost skills.

What does it mean to be "on the spectrum"?
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means it manifests itself in many different forms. A diagnosis can range from mild to severe, and though children who have it (i.e. are on the spectrum) are likely to exhibit similar traits, they're also as individual as the colors of a rainbow, each one managing a grab bag of symptoms. While one child may rarely speak and have difficulty learning how to read and write, another can be so high-functioning he's able to attend classes in a mainstream school. Yet another child may be so sensitive to the feel of fabric that all tags must be cut off before he wears a piece of clothing, while his friend who's also autistic may not have any sensory issues at all.

How common is autism?
As many as 1 in 150 children are autistic, according to the Centers for Disease Control (2007). That adds up to almost 1.5 million people in the United States. Also, government statistics suggest the rate of autism is rising 10-17 percent annually. Unfortunately, the numbers appear to be continuing their upward climb. In fact, it is the most prevalent developmental disorder to date; according to the Centers for Disease Control, of the approximately 4 million babies born every year, 24,000 of them will eventually be identified as autistic. Also, recent studies suggest boys are more susceptible than girls to developing autism. In the United States alone, 1 out of 104 boys are suspected of being on the spectrum, with perhaps more going undiagnosed to this day. That said, girls appear to manifest a more severe form of the disorder than their male counterparts.