As the number of school-age children diagnosed with autism continues to rise at an alarming rate, parents and special-education teachers are trying desperately to make school leaders aware of the often-overlooked education needs and costs associated with the condition.

Autism typically appears around age three and is a neurological disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. While it is defined by a certain set of behaviors, it is a spectrum disorder that affects individuals differently and to different extents. For unknown reasons, autism is four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls.

Signs that...

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