(1) The student may be identified as having autism if the results of a comprehensive evaluation document significant difficulties in social communication; social interaction; and in restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests. A student must have at least one characteristic in each of these three areas and a total of eight or more characteristics to be identified as a student with autism.
(2) The characteristics below are those which most frequently occur with the student but may not occur in every situation.
(a) Significant difficulties in social communication must be documented for at least one of the following characteristics:
(i) initiating or maintaining eye contact while interacting with others;
(ii) use of facial expressions to communicate with others;
(iii) identifying and/or understanding the communicative intent of another person's facial expressions;
(iv) using gestures to direct attention to an object (for example, showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest);
(v) using gestures for communication;
(vi) responding to or interpreting other's use of gestures;
(vii) noticing or interpreting other's use of body language;
(viii) use of own body language for communication;
(ix) expressive verbal or alternative communication;
(x) receptive verbal communication or;
(xi) interpretation of other’s verbal communication (often concrete and literal; for example: does not understand idioms or sarcasm).
(b) Significant difficulties in social interaction must be documented for at least one of the following characteristics:
(i) seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with others;
(ii) initiating social interaction unless seeking preferred items or help;
(iii) responding to social interactions initiated by others;
(iv) initiating a conversation on non-preferred topics;
(v) sustaining a conversation on non-preferred topics;
(vi) explaining another person's perspective. (for example, what other people are thinking or feeling);
(vii) joining play activities of others (solitary play preferred);
(viii) play lacks elements of make-believe (for example, using blocks or other objects as food, a car, a phone or an animal);
(ix) participating in make-believe play with others;
(x) engaging in social imitative play (for example, playacting, fantasy characters, animals, pretending adult role).
(c) Significant difficulties resulting from restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests must be documented for at least one of the following characteristics:
(i) makes repeated vocalizations or verbalizations (for example, repeats same word, phrase, or sound);
(ii) persistent preoccupation with specific objects or parts of objects;
(iii) engages in repeated, repetitive movements with objects such as sticks or string, lining up toys, flipping objects, spinning objects;
(iv) preoccupation with particular interests causes difficulties in social interaction and/or academic performance;
(v) resists when asked to discontinue preferred or special interest activity;
(vi) prefers consistency and resists expected and/or unexpected changes (for example: changing activities, leaving activity unfinished, changes in routine or daily schedule); or
(vii) engages in repetitive physical behaviors such as body rocking, spinning self, finger flicking, and/or hand flapping.