Hanover County Public Schools offers a continuum of services for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. All students are able to access the general curriculum to the extent that the IEP team determines appropriate, from pre-school through graduation. Specific instructional programming is available based upon student needs, including the use of visual supports, sensory programs and techniques that embody the most recent evidence-based practices. HCPS strives to maintain the least restrictive environment for children with disabilities, and the Autism programs are no exception.
Autism is defined as a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before the age of three, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. Autism does not apply if a child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance. A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if the criteria in this definition are satisfied.