Students with ASD are fully inclusive.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that impacts roughly 1 in 54 children in the United States today. It is called a ‘spectrum’ because the symptoms and severity are so different across this population.

What is Asperger's Syndrome?

Asperger’s Syndrome is an outdated term that is no longer used. It is usually referred to as an individual who is ‘High Functioning’ or ‘Low Needs’ on the Autism Spectrum.

In 2013 the DSM-5 (Diagnostic Manual) combined Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD-NOS to be included in the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

What are the Symptoms of Autism?

Autism symptoms include: 

  • Difficulty with social communication 
    • Eye contact 
    • Starting or holding conversations with others 
    • Understanding other people’s emotions and perspectives 
    • Trouble playing with others
  • Resistance to change 
    • Upset or stressed by changes to routine 
    • Have specific rituals 
  • Repetitive behaviors 
    • Lining up toys or unusual way of playing 
    • Sensory movements (e.g., flapping hands, rocking, spinning etc.)

Diagnosis can be detected around 2 years old. However, some children show early signs within the first 12 months, and others show symptoms later as they get older.

How do I know if my child has high-functioning autism?

If you suspect that your child has high-functioning autism, and you would like to apply for our ASD program, please email Jennifer Manning, our Director of Special Education , at From there we can begin the conversation, share resources, and review documentation to determine if NCS is an appropriate placement for your child. If necessary, your child may be referred for testing to our partners at YAI.

What are the positives to having autism?

Different not less: Strengths in autism

Just like anyone, people with autism also have many strengths! Due to their brain working differently, it’s important to recognize and appreciate different strengths each person has.

Some strengths may include

  • Identifying patterns
  • Being detail oriented
  • Highly focused
  • Logical thinking
  • Thinking and learning in a visual way
  • Strong adherence to rules
  • Honest and reliable
  • Memorization of information

How does the autism program at NCS address the needs of these students?

  1. The Classroom: Classrooms with ASD students are smaller. In kindergarten the classes include 4-5 students with ASD and 10-12 other students. From first grade on, classes contain 4-6 students with ASD and 12-16 other students.
  2. Trained Staff: There are two teachers in each classroom, both of whom are trained by experts in the most promising research-based strategies to support ASD students.
  3. Individualized behavior supports: Teachers use strategies such as individual schedules and visual timers, adaptive materials and equipment, relaxation training and movement breaks to help students regulate their behavior. In addition, teachers provide instruction in research-based alternative methods of communicating and coping in the classroom, including use of appropriate language and self-monitoring and self-management skills. Positive reinforcement is extensively used.
  4. Instructional techniques: Teachers address difficulties with understanding abstract concepts and figurative language by using such techniques as visual supports to help students concretize concepts, individual task-sequencing boards to break down the steps of complex assignments and teacher self-talk, modeling their thinking out loud.
  5. Social Club: ASD students have a 30-minute Social Club (Social Skills Program) class every day in kindergarten and three times a week in the higher grades. In these classes, taught by a speech and language pathologist, students are instructed in pragmatic language, academic and social problem-solving, social cognition, flexibility and self-regulation. These classes also promote engagement and interaction among ASD students and provide tools for engaging with their peers. The classroom teachers regularly attend these sessions which allows them to promote generalization of the skills as they can transfer this learning across different contexts, such as the classroom, recess, or free play.

Are students with ASD in separate classes?

No. Students with ASD are fully included. Classes with ASD students are smaller and have two teachers, a general education teacher and a special education teacher.

What is pervasive developmental disorder- not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)?

Similar to Asperger’s Syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder- not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) is also no longer used. This was originally used to describe individuals who show signs of autism, but do not meet the full criteria.

In 2013 the DSM-5 (Diagnostic Manual) combined Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD-NOS to be included in the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

It’s important to recognize and appreciate the different strengths each person has.

For more information about our ASD application process, Please visit our ASD application process page!