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  • Autism Council of Utah

Educational Services

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

"There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do instead of what they cannot do." Temple Grandin

“All children should have the chance to reach their potential. Baby Watch can help families make that happen.” – Jackie Leavitt


Utah School Services

Baby Watch Early Intervention Program (BWEIP) ~ Purpose is to enhance early growth and development in infants and toddlers, who have developmental delays or disabilities or both, by providing individualized support and services to the child and their family.

Early Intervention (EI) ~ Services are provided through a family coaching model that focuses on helping children meet goals in all areas of development. All services take place in the child’s natural environment (home, child care, etc.) and are tailored to meet the individual needs of the child and family.

Baby Watch,~ The State of Utah provides a program of early identification and developmental services for families of infants and toddlers in all of Utah, ages birth to three. Here is a detailed list of locations. The evaluation is free of charge. Contact your local early intervention program. A representative will meet with you to determine whether your child is eligible. If your child is between the ages of 3 and 21, services are available through your local school district.

Autism System Development ~ seeks to advance, educate and empower the lives of individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Utah by monitoring occurrence, reducing the age at first diagnosis, referring to services, facilitating research, and providing education and outreach.

The Utah Parent Center ~ has created a handout called “What is a Section 504 Plan and Does My Student Qualify for One?” This handout was created to help parents understand these plans and how they can help. If you have questions regarding Section 504 Plans, please call the Utah Parent Center at 801-272-1051 or 800-468-1160.

The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) ~ also has an Education Equity monitoring office. This office has a variety of programs and resources available to assist parents, professionals and educators. Edie Park is the Educational Specialist and is available if you call 801-538-7647 or send an email to The USOE has also created a Parent Guide to Section 504.

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a disability.

The Utah Parent Center has created a parent handbook and workshop, Parents as Partners in the IEP Process, that provides a brief overview of some of the laws and suggestions about what you can do to prepare for your important role as an equal member of the team that designs the individualized education program to meet your child’s needs. A series of 4 video training modules are available online. The 4 topics that are covered include: Evaluation and Eligibility, IEP Development, Parents’ Rights and Negotiation Skills. For more assistance with and information about IEPs, contact the Utah Parent Center by calling 801-272-1051 or 800-468-1160 or by visiting

Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship

Finding an educational environment that is a good fit for a special needs child is no easy task. Their needs are very specific and unique. Public schools try their best, and for many children that option is a good fit. However, for many others, it is not. In Utah, parents of children with special needs have a choice. They can choose a public school or they can choose a private school with the help of the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship.  This Scholarship is a state-funded program that provides private school scholarships to k-12 students with disabilities. Your child may be eligible for a Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship if they have a disability under the IDEA.

Utah State Board of Education – Special Education Department

The Utah State Office of Special Education’s – Services for At-Risk Students has many great resources to help you! They have online resources and manuals as well as contact information for individuals who can help you learn more about the services that are available for your family member with an autism spectrum disorder.

Utah Professional Development Center


Early Intervention & Education Services

Adult Autism Center of Lifetime Learning

The first of its kind. The adult Autism Center seeks to provide hands-on training focused on daily living and vocational skills.

6232 South 900 East, Murray, Utah 84121

(801) 784-5972

ASSERT (Autism Support Services: Education, Research & Training)

Provides effective educational and behavioral early intervention using research-based best practices. Conducts research to improve educational and behavioral interventions for children with Autism. Utah State University ~ S. Higbee, Ph.D., BCBA Logan, UT, 84322 (435) 797-1933

Autism Solutions Academy

Autism Solutions offers private school options beginning August 2017.  Autism Solutions Academy will offer classes Pre-K through 9th grade.  They accept the Carson Smith Scholarship as well as most private insurances.  If you are interested, please send an email to the email address listed above.  There are two locations ~ Draper, Utah & Layton, Utah.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

Run by and for Autistic people, ASAN was created to provide support and services to individuals on the autism spectrum while working to educate communities and improve public perceptions of autism. The handbook we’ve produced, Navigating College, and its corresponding website,, is a first-of-its-kind resource written by autistic adults for autistic college students exploring the various aspects of the higher education experience. PO Box 66122 Washington, DC 20035

Butterfly Effects

Butterfly Effects provides community based therapy and tutoring services to individuals of all ages addressing challenges in the areas of academics, behavior, communication, daily living, social and life skills. Staff with expertise in the areas of Applied Behavior Analysis and other related health services guides program development, while providing oversight to a team of skill program implementers. With one-stop access to hundreds of skilled therapists and tutors from all disciplines, we can help identify the program right for you. Home/School Based Services Salt Lake City & Surrounding Areas (888) 880-9270

Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center for Learning

Preschool, elementary, and secondary school for individuals with Autism spectrum disorders. The main program is in Salt Lake. They also offer parent training classes and sibling support groups. The Adult Autism Center listed below is an extension of the evidence-based treatment provided at the Pingree Center.

Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center for Learning

780 S Guardsman Way

Salt Lake City, UT 84108-1374

(801) 581-0194


College, University & Adult Educational Services

The mission of the Disability Resource Centers at Institutions of Higher Learning is to allow equal access to college programs, services, and activities for students with disabilities under the American with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Services may include interpreters, taped text books, a note taker, untimed tests, tests in a separate classroom, and many other accommodations for students with disabilities. Students need to check with the Center to see if they qualify for services.

  • Adult Autism Center - Serves as an extension of the evidence-based treatment we provide at the existing Pingree Center. The services that our adult clients would benefit from are more focused on vocational skills, community integration, increased independence, and daily living skills. The shift in treatment focus and the developmental difference between the age groups currently being served at the existing facility, both show the need for a new campus to be created specifically for adults. The Adult Autism Center - 6232 South 900 East, Murray, Utah 84121

  • ACLS Medical Training – Medical Directors, led by Dr. Tim Henry, Director of Cardiology at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles have come together to curated a constantly growing list of more than 30 different educational scholarships for individuals with disabilities ~

  • Brigham Young University, Provo - University Accessibility Center Brigham Young University - 2170 WSC, Provo, Utah 84602 (801) 422-2767

  • Salt Lake Community College - Disability Resource Center (Student Center #244) 4600 So. Redwood Road, Taylorsville, Utah 84123 (801) 957-4659

  • Southern Utah University - Disability Support Center (Student Support Services) Student Support Services - 351 West University Boulevard, Cedar City, Utah 84720 . (435) 865-8022

  • University of Utah - Center for Disability Services - Union Building Room #162 200 South Central Campus Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-9107 (801) 581-5020

  • Utah State University - Disability Resource Center - University Inn #101 0101 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84321 (435) 797-2444 or toll-free (800) 259-2966


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children.

The IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to more than 7.5 million (as of school year 2018-19) eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.

Infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, with disabilities and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth ages 3 through 21 receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.

Additionally, the IDEA authorizes:

  • Formula grants to states to support special education and related services and early intervention services.

  • Discretionary grants to state educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and other nonprofit organizations to support research, demonstrations, technical assistance and dissemination, technology development, personnel preparation and development, and parent-training and -information centers.

Congress reauthorized the IDEA in 2004 and most recently amended the IDEA through Public Law 114-95, the Every Student Succeeds Act, in December 2015.

In the law, Congress states:

Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.

Customer Service: Elizabeth Newton 202-245-7587

Part B Contact: Kathleen Heck 202-245-6465

Part C Contact: Kathleen Heck 202-245-6465

Team Leader: Angela Tanner-Dean 202-245-6320

Parents and families want the best for their family members. The Parents and Families Resource page brings together U.S. Department of Education-funded centers, department programs, and additional information of interest for parents and families.

Visit the IDEA Statute and Regulations and Policy Support pages for more specific, searchable IDEA law and policy information.

IDEA - Related Centers - The Department’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) supports projects that provide information and technical assistance to families of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. more

These projects also support families whose children are suspected of having a disability or developmental delay or who may be inappropriately identified as needing special education and related services. Information and assistance from these OSEP-funded projects are available free of charge. Families can find information about IDEA-specific topics through these centers. The Parent Training and Information Centers (PTI) provide services in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Pacific entities. PTIs are a rich source of information and training especially for parents, including parents whose primary language is not English or themselves have special training needs. In addition, Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRC) throughout the country serve targeted, underserved communities. To find the PTI or CPRC that serves your community or to locate additional informational materials for families, visit the Center on Parent Information and Resources. For additional information about OSEP discretionary grant recipients, visit the Resource Centers’ page or view OSEP IDEAs That Work.

IDEA Topic Areas

OSEP, along with other Department offices, Federal agencies, and OSEP discretionary grant recipients, provides numerous IDEA-topic area resources.

For Federal resources for IDEA stakeholders on college- and career-readiness standards, tool kits, topic issues in education, intervention IDEA briefs, and a resource library, visit OSEP IDEAs That Work.

For more specific resources on a variety of IDEA topics, visit the Topic Areas resource page. This resource page includes information and resources from the Department, other Federal agencies, and federally-funded technical assistance centers.

Early Learning

The Department has prioritized early learning in an effort to support our nation’s youngest learners. A variety of resources and links to early learning-specific resources can be found on the Department’s Early Learning: Information and Resources for Families

History of the IDEA - On November 29, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed into law the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142), now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In adopting this landmark civil rights measure, Congress opened public school doors for millions of children with disabilities and laid the foundation of the country’s commitment to ensuring that children with disabilities have opportunities to develop their talents, share their gifts, and contribute to their communities.

The law guaranteed access to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to every child with a disability. Subsequent amendments, as reflected in the IDEA, have led to an increased emphasis on access to the general education curriculum, the provision of services for young children from birth through five, transition planning, and accountability for the achievement of students with disabilities. The IDEA upholds and protects the rights of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families.

In the last 40+ years, we have advanced our expectations for all children, including children with disabilities. Classrooms have become more inclusive and the future of children with disabilities is brighter. Significant progress has been made toward protecting the rights of, meeting the individual needs of, and improving educational results and outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youths with disabilities.

Since 1975, we have progressed from excluding nearly 1.8 million children with disabilities from public schools to providing special education and related services designed to meet their individual needs to more than 7.5 million children with disabilities in 2018-19.

In 2018-19, more than 64% of children with disabilities are in general education classrooms 80% or more of their school day (IDEA Part B Child Count and Educational Environments Collection), and early intervention services are being provided to more than 400,000 infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families (IDEA Part C Child Count and Settings).

The stated purpose of the IDEA is:

  • to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living;

  • to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected;

  • to assist States, localities, educational service agencies, and Federal agencies to provide for the education of all children with disabilities;

  • to assist States in the implementation of a statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary, interagency system of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families;

  • to ensure that educators and parents have the necessary tools to improve educational results for children with disabilities by supporting system improvement activities; coordinated research and personnel preparation; coordinated technical assistance, dissemination, and support; and technology development and media services;

  • to assess, and ensure the effectiveness of, efforts to educate children with disabilities.

Learn more about the IDEA Statute and Regulations


Other Laws for Children with Disabilities:

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) provides additional resources of interest for individuals with disabilities and their families.

OCR does not enforce the IDEA; however, OCR does enforce the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II rights of IDEA-eligible students with disabilities.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U. S. Department of Education. Section 504 states: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…“.  Examples of programs that receive federal funding include: public and charter schools; public colleges and universities (including Utah Colleges of Applied Technology); federal and state government departments and agencies; and county and community programs including community recreation programs.  The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 addresses protections for students with disabilities. Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the department.
OCR enforces section 504 in public elementary and secondary schools.
Section 504 states: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States… shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance….”

All information provided on the ACU website is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute a legal contract between the ACU and any other person or entity unless otherwise specified. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ACU. Information on the ACU website is subject to change without prior notice. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, the ACU makes no guarantees of any kind.

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