For a printable version of this chart, link here
For a printable version of this chart, link here
For a printable version of this chart, link here
Who They Are
Special Education

School plays an important role in the life of every child, probably second only to the influence of home and family. Starting in the first grade, New Hampshire public school students will spend 1260 hours a year in their local school. In an increasingly competitive and complex economy, education also plays a crucial role in determining how independent and secure an individual will be in his or her adult life.  For most children and teens, school is also the primary place where friendships develop.  

Because of the importance of school, our society has determined that every child is entitled to a free and appropriate education (FAPE) at public expense.  For children with specific educational needs, including ASD, this can begin as early as a child's third birthday and last until he or she graduates from high school or turns 21.  This right is well protected in United States law, most notably in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its revisions.  However, the regulations that interpret these laws can be difficult to read and understand. 

Most children who experience ASD will need some level of special education support in order to master the skills outlined in the New Hampshire curriculum frameworks. These documents outline the general education to which every NH child is entitled.  Most notably, they include a number of social skills that can be very difficult for children and youth with ASD to acquire without specialized instruction.  Because many children with ASD learn differently, their classroom teachers and special educators may also need to adapt lessons to accommodate their learning style -- for example, demonstrating math concepts using a more tactile or visual approach. Additionally, children with ASD may need behavioral supports, assistive communication, and environmental modifications in order to be successful in the general education classroom.  

All of these supports can be secured through a student's Individual Education Plan (IEP), a document that outlines the goals and objectives for the student, along with the supports needed to accomplish these goals.  

One of the hallmarks of special education programming is that it be individualized to the needs of the specific student. Because the parents have an important role to play in understanding those unique needs, they are a crucial part of their child's education planning team. This is not an easy role. There are, however, a number of resources that can help, and these are linked from this site.  
  • Acts as case manager for special education services
  • Sets up meetings, manages forms & paperwork
  • Drafts Individual Education Plan (IEP) with input from the full team
  • Provides direct instruction in academic areas targeted by IEP
  • Provides the same educational services as to any other child
  • Differentiates instructional methods to meet IEP accommodations
  • Attends IEP team meetings
  • Helps facilitate inclusion of special education students in the general education classroom

  • Help facilitate social interactions 
  • Provides behavior, visual, or other supports
  • Does not provide instruction

  • May conduct psycho-educational evaluations as requested by the IEP team
  • May facilitate behavior plan and/or social skills groups
  • Entity legally responsible for dispersal of special education funds
  • Must attend IEP team meetings or send designated staff (often the school principal
General Education Teacher
Special Education Teacher
Para-educator, one-on-one
Related service providers
   SLP, OT, PT, behaviorist

Local Education Agency (LEA)
What They Do
Who's Who:  A Family Guide to Providers
For a printable version of this chart, link here
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Educational Advocate
  • Someone with training in the special education process
  • Helps parents to understand special education laws and procedural requirements
  • Acts as a resource to the IEP team in their collaborative decision making

Putting the Pieces Together in the Granite State
New Hampshire Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders
Virtual Resource Center         
Putting the Pieces Together in the Granite State

The NH Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders
21 S. Fruit Street
Concord, NH  03301

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Systems of Care, Special Education