Autism Spectrum Disorders

General Information

MissionImage of little boy with a book looking up

Cumberland County School is committed to develop awareness and ensure the implementation of evidence-based practices with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the full continuum of services.  We are dedicated to improve the educational outcomes and prepare students to compete, connect, and succeed in an increasing connected world. 

The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th addition) diagnostic criteria for ASD include two domains:  Social-communicative impairment and restrictive and repetitive behaviors, interests, or activities.  It also includes severity levels which describe different levels of support and impact on the individual’s functioning level based on their adaptive functioning (i.e., conceptual, social and practical domain).   It is not based on IQ scores.   Level 3 requires very substantial support, Level 2 requires substantial support and Level 1 requires support.  It states that individuals with a “well established” diagnosis of autistic disorder, PDD-NOS, or Asperger’s Disorder should receive a diagnosis of ASD.  It also includes a new diagnostic category of social (pragmatic) communication disorder (SPCD).  SPCD includes impairment in verbal and nonverbal communication and essentially impact relationships and the ability to participate in school or at work.  They typically do not have the restrictive and repetitive behaviors. 

Some students are also diagnosed with additional disorders.  This can include anxiety and depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and intellectual disability. 

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex neurodevelopmental disability which results in distinct learning and behavioral characteristics.  Each student is different and unique.  Students may have difficulty with communication, socialization/social skills, restricted interests, sensory integration and/or behavior.  In the educational environment they may exhibit:

  • Difficulty with identifying important global concepts and elements of task
  • Difficulty processing auditory information – understanding, retaining, and retrieving
  • Difficulty generalizing skills – skills must be taught in context
  • Difficulty with sequencing information or steps in a task
  • Difficulty transitioning between different activities
  • Difficulty with time concepts and time management
  • Atypical and/or uneven academic, social, or emotional development
  • Atypical sensory/motor processing
  • Difficulty with reciprocal conversation
  • Difficulty with joint attention (i.e., ability to engage in verbal turn taking

The resources and links are designed to provide general educators, special education teachers and parents’ tools to assist in understanding and implementing evidence-based practices for individuals on the spectrum as they navigate through the educational system. 

Image of the Autism serving students logo

It is important that you understand the Procedural Safeguards (legal rights) provided for you and your child with a disability. Please access the links below to gather further information.

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Parents Rights Handbook

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Governing Children with Disabilities



Published by Shonda Virgil on June 28, 2018

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