School Aged (3-21 years)

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School Aged (3-21 years)

School districts are responsible for the education of a child with autism from the age of 3 to 21 if appropriate. They are also responsible for any related services the child may need to benefit from their special education. 


The Individualized Education Program or IEP is a document that lists all of the educational services that are to be provided to the child receiving special education. The IEP should:

  • Describe the child’s special education program in detail.
  • Describe how the child currently performs and his or her specific instructional needs.
  • Must include measurable annual goals and short-term objectives or benchmarks.

 A Parent’s Role in the IEP Process

IEP MeetingThe IEP is a legal and binding contract between the school district and the parents. It is important that parents collaborate with school staff to ensure that any services the parents deem necessary are included to allow their child to benefit from their education as appropriate.

The New Jersey Administrative Code states that parents are a part of the IEP team. As members of the IEP team, parents may provide input into the development and implementation of the IEP as well as placement considerations. 

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Diagnosis or at 2 ½ years old:

Contact the Child Study Team (CST) in your local school district in writing to refer your child for eligibility for special education services.

Age 3 or upon eligibility determination:

Develop your child’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) and determine appropriate educational placement.

Age 5 and every 3 years:

Re-evaluation: Contact your CST case manager to talk about any evaluations that need to be completed and to change your child’s disability classification (at age 5). 

Ages 14-16:

In the year that a child turns 14 years old, the IEP team should begin to  discuss transition plans for an individual. See Transition Planning for more information.

Every Year

The IEP will be reviewed and a new IEP will be developed. These meeting often happen simultaneously. Parents have the opportunity to provide significant input into the new IEP by providing information to be included in  the “Parental Concerns” section of the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP). Additionally parents may also contribute to the development of goals and objectives designed to address the areas of concern presented in the PLAAFP.  

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