IDEA provides an educational definition of autism. Schools cannot require a family to obtain a medical diagnosis of autism for their child. Given this, a child can qualify for IDEA’s autism definition without a medical diagnosis of ASD and receive appropriate services to meet needs. IDEA’s definition of Autism does not exactly match with either the DSM-IV or DSM-5 criteria for ASD. Legal precedent and regulation supports including Asperger’s within IDEA’s autism category in a school-determined eligibility determination for services.

From MA DESE Eligibility and Assessment Guidelines (Draft)