Typically, child characteristics such as IQ and severity of autism symptoms are thought to determine educational placement. This study examines external factors, including state of residence and state funding formulas, to determine their potential influence on placement outcomes.
Findings reveal that considerable variations exist among states in placing students with autism spectrum disorders in inclusive, mainstreaming, self-contained, and separate schools. This variation suggests that factors beyond child characteristics, such as IQ, play a major role in educational placement decisions.
States in the Eastern United States tend to have more restrictive placement rates than states in the Western United States. State special education funding was found to have a minimal impact on placement outcomes.