Special education services are legally required "to ensure that [a child] with [autism has] available to [him or her] a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet [her or his] unique needs and prepares [him or her] for further education, employment and independent living" and the public school system is required by law to provide such services. This is required by Federal special education law as defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004, 20 U. S. C. Section 1400 (d). * To accomplish these goals, special education and related services must be defined in a child's Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), if he or she is 0-3 years old; or in an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) if she or he is 3 - 22 years old. If a child with autism is not prepared for "further education, employment and independent living" when he or she leaves high school, then that child's public school system has failed to meet the legal requirements of a special education as outlined in IDEA and it may face legal consequences. If you question whether or not your child is receiving the special education services needed for life after high school please contact me for consultation or for legal questions contact a special education lawyer in your area.
*Peter Wright, Pamela Wright, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2006, page 48
NOTE: Bright Futures: Autism and Early Intervention has no official or unofficial relationship with Wrightslaw.