CA Dept. of Education


Autism Spectrum Disorder 2016-17


Ann England, M.A. CCC-SLP-L
Speech-Language Pathologist
Assistant Director Diagnostic Center, Northern California

Ann has 27 years of special education experience and has extensive training and certification in the assessment and teaching of students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (e.g., TEACCH, PECS, ADOS, etc.) She participates on a multidisciplinary assessment team at the Diagnostic Center to determine if students have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. She also provides the all day training “Teaching Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder” to school staff throughout northern California. Additionally, she provides onsite consultation and mentoring to school district administrators and teaching teams to assist in the development and implementation of evidence-based public school programs for students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ann has served on several California Department of Education committees related to Autism Spectrum Disorders and most recently was invited to participate on the Task Force on Education and Professional Development of The Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism.

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  • new!ASD: Autism; Self-Regulation


I have a student who is dependent on others for most everything especially when he gets upset or dysregulated. Any suggestions?

Thank you for any help!


This is such a great question and timely, too!

A new federal report (see reference below) recommends that schools emphasize building children’s “self-regulation” skills in order to increase opportunities for student success in a number of areas. For individuals with ASD we have an EBP (evidence-based practice) called Self-Regulation and you can learn more about that EBP and how to implement it with fidelity using the tools and resources through the free online AFIRM learning modules (see reference below).

Check out the following information about self-regulation that the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute has given us permission to print here:


    AFIRM Modules (Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules)
    Self-Management Evidence-Based Practice Online Learning Module:

  2. REPORT: Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress: Implications for Programs and Practice

  • ASD and the Holidays


What are some suggestions for managing the holidays with an individual with ASD?
Thank you for any suggestions!


Yes, the holiday season can be an especially challenging time for all families and especially more so when a family member has ASD. However, planning and preparing for the holidays and implementing the Evidence-Based Practices we know are effective during other times of the year can be really helpful.

Check out the Autism Speaks website link that has lots of real-life helpful tips and resources to help make this holiday time of year enjoyable. There are ideas for decorating, preparing for holiday travel, purchasing toys, and lots more!

Best of luck,


Supreme Court To Weigh FAPE Mandate

by Michelle Diament | September 29, 2016


The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case centering on what level of educational benefit public schools must provide children with disabilities under the IDEA. (Thinkstock)

 “For the first time in more than three decades, the U.S. Supreme Court says it will consider how much educational benefit schools must provide students receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The nation’s high court said Thursday that it will hear arguments in a matter known as Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District.

At issue is the IDEA’s mandate that public schools provide children with disabilities a free appropriate public education, or FAPE.

The case was brought by parents known in court papers as Joseph F. and Jennifer F. who pulled their son with autism out of his Colorado school district and sent him to a private school. They then sought reimbursement from the Douglas County School District arguing that the boy, Drew, was not provided FAPE.

Both a hearing officer and the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado found in favor of the school district, saying that FAPE was provided because the boy received “some” educational benefit.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit agreed prompting the parents to appeal to the Supreme Court, citing differing standards from courts across the country.

“Some courts, including the Tenth Circuit … hold that an IEP satisfies the (IDEA) if it provides a child with a just-above-trivial educational benefit, while others hold that the act requires a heightened educational benefit,” the parents said in their petition to the Supreme Court. “Resolving the conflict among the circuits will ensure that millions of children with disabilities receive a consistent level of education, while providing parents and educators much-needed guidance regarding their rights and obligations.”

The Douglas County School District argued that it would be up to lawmakers to impose a higher standard in asking the high court to decline the case.

The Supreme Court’s decision to take up the matter comes at the urging of the Obama administration. In a brief issued last month, the U.S. solicitor general agreed with the parents that the IDEA requires schools to provide more than minimal benefit to students with disabilities.

“This court should hold that states must provide children with disabilities educational benefits that are meaningful in light of the child’s potential and the IDEA’s stated purposes. Merely aiming for non-trivial progress is not sufficient,” the solicitor general indicated.

The case will mark the first time since 1982 that the Supreme Court has addressed the FAPE mandate.”