Autism DPI Criteria/Resources

Wisconsin DPI Criteria

1. Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting a child’s social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects learning and 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. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance, as defined in par. (g).

2. The results of standardized or norm–referenced instruments used to evaluate and identify a child under this paragraph may not be reliable or valid. Therefore, alternative means of evaluation, such as criterion–referenced assessments, achievement assessments, observation, and work samples, shall be considered to identify a child under this paragraph. Augmentative communication strategies, such as facilitated communication, picture boards, or signing shall be considered when evaluating a child under this paragraph. To identify a child under this paragraph, the criteria under subd. 2. a. and b. and one or more criteria under subd. 2. c. through f. shall be met.

    a. The child displays difficulties or differences or both in interacting with people and events. The child may be unable to establish and maintain reciprocal relationships with people. The child may seek consistency in environmental events to the point of exhibiting rigidity in routines.

    b. The child displays problems which extend beyond speech and language to other aspects of social communication, both receptively and expressively. The child’s verbal language may be absent or, if present, lacks the usual communicative form which may involve deviance or delay or both. The child may have a speech or language disorder or both in addition to communication difficulties associated with autism.

    c. The child exhibits delays, arrests, or regressions in motor, sensory, social or learning skills. The child may exhibit precocious or advanced skill development, while other skills may develop at normal or extremely depressed rates. The child may not follow normal developmental patterns in the acquisition of skills.

    d. The child exhibits abnormalities in the thinking process and in generalizing. The child exhibits strengths in concrete thinking while difficulties are demonstrated in abstract thinking, awareness and judgment. Perseverant thinking and impaired ability to process symbolic information may be present.

    e. The child exhibits unusual, inconsistent, repetitive or unconventional
    responses to sounds, sights, smells, tastes, touch or movement. The child may have a visual or hearing impairment or both in addition to sensory processing difficulties associated with autism.

    f. The child displays marked distress over changes, insistence on following routines, and a persistent preoccupation with or attachment to objects. The child’s capacity to use objects in an age appropriate or functional manner may be absent, arrested or delayed. The child may have difficulty displaying a range of interests or imaginative activities or both. The child may exhibit stereotyped body movements.

Wisconsin DPI eligibility criteria and other resources can be found at the following link:

IEP teams make educational eligibility determinations, not medical diagnoses. In making educational eligibility determinations IEP teams conduct evaluations to determine eligibility for special education. The IEP team must determine whether the student meets the educational impairment criteria and, as a result, needs special education services. The Wisconsin DPI notes, "a medical diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder does not result in automatic eligibility for special education under the impairment area of autism. It is also possible for a student to have the educational impairment of autism but not need special education services."


The Autism Society is committed to increasing public awareness about autism and issues faced by individuals with autism, their families and the professionals with whom they interact. The Autism Society provides information and education, supporting research, and advocating for programs and services for the autism community.

A resource directory with the purpose of assisting and empowering parents in their journey of researching optimal 
services for their children with Autism Spectrum Disorders by providing information on local resources. includes a plethora of resources. 

Provide resources to assist both persons with ASD and those who interact with them to be able to communicate more effectively.

The Wisconsin State Autism Waiver provides funding for specific services not covered by the Wisconsin Forward Health Medicaid card. 

Good Friend’s mission is to create autism awareness, teach acceptance of differences, and foster empathy among typically-developing peers.

A.N.G.E.L., Inc.

A.N.G.E.L.'s mission is to offer financial and emotional support to each individual child and family with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with compassionate guidance, and delivery of therapies or services of that family’s choice. They also raise awareness by offering education for those in our community interested and support Wisconsin families of children with autism through meetings, conferences, social outings, and networking parents-to-community, and parent-to-parent resources.

Autism Parents of Southeast Wisconsin

A network of parents with children with autism who provide support. 

This website will allow you to link to other websites and resources which are not under the control of the Whitefish Bay School District. We do not control the nature, content and availability of those sites. Furthermore, the inclusion of links does not necessarily imply an endorsement of all views expressed within them. Given the unique nature and needs of each student we cannot guarantee listed resources and links are appropriate for all students. This website and its content is for informational purposes and is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, medical, legal, or any other advice.