Autism Spectrum Disorder and Special Education Issues

Student’s overall strengths that contribute to success in the educational environment

Ashley is a kind and attentive learner, passionate about the environment, with remarkable inclinations for natural sciences. She devotes a lot of time and energy studying literature about animals and observing the behavior of animals she meets in the classroom and outdoors. Also, her math skills are at the average level for a second-grader. She understands three-digit numbers, adds and subtracts, and understands things many students of her age find difficult, such as making insightful observations from picture and bar graphs. Her general interest in studying makes her a committed and curious student. Among other key strengths of Ashley’s are her great memory, patience, and curiosity. Ashley’s medical conditions implicate the learning process, but her overall learning skills are at the average level for a second-grader.

Ashley shows significant difficulties articulating her thoughts and observations, which complicates her participation in educational activities and undermines the learning process. Her reading skills don’t meet the grade level as she has significant problems comprehending written text. In the second grade, students should be able to read from 60 to 90 words per minute; Ashley reads 50 words per minute with less than 70 percent text comprehension; her writing abilities also are below grade level. As it is typical for a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Ashley struggles with social interactions and has difficulties communicating with teachers and other students. The problems make up significant challenges in learning and make it impossible for her to learn independently.

Parental concerns about their child’s academic and functional performance in school

Ashley’s family has a few concerns regarding their daughter’s academic performance. They worry that Ashley has substantial difficulties in reading. Her exceptional ability to understand and interpret graphic information doesn’t compensate for her disabilities in understanding written text. Also, they are concerned that the classroom environment is inadequate for Ashley to overcome her difficulties in socializing. Although Ashley gets along with older people, she doesn’t have friends of her age and spends too much time alone when not supervised by her peers. They are generally concern that her overall academic performance will be poor due to her struggle with socializing and problems with reading and speaking.

Parent / Student vision for the future

With regard to Ashley’s remarkable interest in natural sciences, her fascination with animals, and information about animals, Ashley and her parents anticipate continuing her education in biology. They hope to overcome Ashley’s difficulties in reading and social interactions to continue her education in college after high school. As Ashley is a very obedient learner, her parents believe their daughter’s future in natural sciences is entirely possible, despite her developmental condition. Ashley herself expresses determination to become a veterinarian. The IEP is expected to help Ashley adapt to social situations and improve her skills in understanding written speech, but use her interest in natural sciences to motivate her. Also, her remarkable ability to understand and interpret visual information needs to be put in focus.

Relevant medical information

At the age of three, Ashley Garcia was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, when her parents noted her apparent problems with verbal communication. However, socializing appeared to be the most challenging thing for the child, as she demonstrated substantial difficulties in understanding social situations. The condition affected her relationship with her parents and siblings because Ashley struggles to articulate and demonstrate her feelings in most cases. After intensive speech-language therapy, Ashley learned how to engage in a conversation. Still, her communication skills and her poor ability to understand recorded speech require constant special professional attention.

Describe how the disability impacts involvement and progress in the general curriculum

Ashley’s struggles with language are the main problem in her overall satisfactory learning process and academic performance. Her difficulties with communication implicate her communication with teachers, while her struggles with understanding written text generate a problem for her to learn in general and perform well in the classroom. Her condition also often leads to depressions, anger issues, and other psychological issues, generating a number of behavioral problems for a child to deal with. If Ashley’s reading problems are adequately addressed, this can significantly improve her overall academic performance.

Present levels

Math: 2.5 grade level (standard score = 90).

Reading: 1.6 grade level (standard score = 70).

Writing: 1.8 grade level (standard score = 81).

Measurable annual goals

Ashley will increase her reading fluency from 50 words per minute to 70 words per minute at the second-grade reading level. By the beginning of the third trimester, Ashley will be able to orally read the text at the mentioned speed, with a maximum of six mistakes. Ashley will also improve her reading comprehension to 100 percent at the second-grade reading level. The student will improve her writing skills to a standard level of 81 by the beginning of the third trimester.

Additional service information

Ashley’s condition requires constant peer supervision and demands additional speech therapy, behavior therapy, and occupational therapy in order to help her manage her condition and adapt better to social situations, communication with others, and the general classroom environment. Should these services be neglected, Ashley’s overall academic progress might be undermined, as she might experience sufficient psychological struggles when left without supervision. Ashley’s academic performance should be measured on a daily basis to achieve the desired results in her learning.

Prior Written Notice

Ashley Garcia

Explanation of actions proposed

We kindly inform you that Ashley Garcia will receive additional speech therapy on the basis of her ASD diagnosis. Her results indicate low scores in reading in writing. Her struggles with communication demand concrete steps to be improved. As her supervisor suggested, we accept additional free speech therapy sessions as a part of her secondary education curriculum. Speech therapy sessions will include one-on-one sessions with a school SLP. During these sessions, the student will be subjected to articulation therapy in order to learn and practice correct articulation. Additionally, Ashley will do different oral exercises that would develop her talking skills to the second-grade level by the end of the semester.

We propose to take additional speech therapy sessions because we believe that the therapy will allow Ashley to adapt better to her classroom environment. She will be able to communicate with her teachers and supervisors and articulate her thoughts and ideas. Communication is an essential part of the learning process, and without the ability to express herself, Ashley will struggle in the classroom. Our administration believes that without speech therapy, Ashley will not be able to advance in her social skills and deal with her classmates. As Ashley demonstrates remarkable learning abilities, we believe the student is capable of achieving her learning goals at a grade level without additional actions, apart from speech therapy sessions.


Dilly, L., & Hall, C. (2018). Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment in Schools. Routledge.

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ChalkyPapers. "Autism Spectrum Disorder and Special Education Issues." September 25, 2023.