I have met three separate parents in the last week whose child on the spectrum had a 504 plan rather than an IEP. In each instance, the parent wanted an IEP, but were told by the district that their child did not qualify. Any child on the spectrum qualifies under the IDEA for the IEP process so long as their ASD effects their ability to learn in any way. There is a wealth of literature out there proving the many ways that ASD effects learning.
Know your child’s rights. To qualify, the child must 1) have an “educational disability,” and 2) need special education as a result of that disability. There are 13 recognized categories of educational disability, including Autism, Specific Learning Disabilities, or a diagnosed emotional disturbance.