Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James H. Stronge


The purposes of this study were to review and analyze legal issues related to the provision of education for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Specifically (1) an examination of federal laws that affect the education of students with ASD; and (2) case law pertaining to the education of students with ASD.;This study focused on the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004) as well as the litigation related to the education of students with ASD adjudicated in the United States Courts of Appeals between January 2001 and December 2007. The legislation was compared for compatibility. Litigation was studied for frequency and outcomes, including who was favored in the included cases. The plaintiffs' and defendants' claims, the bases for the cases, and upon what bases cases were decided was also studied. Finally, demographic information on the students in the cases was collected.;Results indicated that there was some compatibility between No Child Left Behind Act (2001) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004). Also, litigation included showed that schools were slightly favored by courts. Demographics were similar to national averages. The provisions of IDEIA formed the basis of the cases with a free and appropriate public education and procedural safeguards being the greatest areas of conflict.;Based on the results of the study, recommendations for schools, parents, and teacher preparatory programs were made. Future research should focus on a longer timeframe for more historical analysis, due process hearing results, and locality of cases or other demographic factors.;Ultimately, the goal of IDEIA (2004) was to bring parents and schools to the same table to make appropriate decisions to provide educational benefit for students with disabilities. Students with ASD have their own unique challenges. However, by working together to resolve conflicts, a better end can occur to make the difference for these students.



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