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In the past children with disabilities were most often neglected abused and even killed Today however society has become more understanding and involved in the lives as well as the education of people with disabilities In 1975 PL 94-142 otherwise known as The Education for All Handicapped Children Act was the first step to providing adequate education for disabled students Since then many laws have been passed to increase the quality of education provided for children with different types of impairments But before any specialized education can be implemented the child with special needs must be identified and the type of disability determined The first of three areas discussed is autism Autism according to Hallahan and Kauffman 1997 is a disorder characterized by extreme withdrawal self-stimulation cognitive deficits language disorders and onset before the age of thirty months Although the cause of autism is not completely understood it is known that it has something to do with a neurological or biochemical dysfunction Contrary to what was originally thought autism is not a form of mental retardation It manifests itself in varying degrees of severity from profound to mild Dr Temple Grandin is an assistant professor at Colorado State University who was diagnosed as autistic at a young age yet with proper help she continued through school and earned a PhD Autism is usually diagnosed in the first three years of life Early indication of autism may be seen in one or more ways First there is a lack of response to other people This can be as simple as not acknowledging a mothers touch or extreme distress at the touch of another There are problems in speech and communication such as echolalia the parroting of words and phrases or unintelligible speech Often the child will maintain a prolonged fixation on an object or a certain behavior As is the case with some disabilities autistic tendencies become apparent at an early age Since autism
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