This story comes courtesy of California Watch.

By Joanna Lin

Special education students with autism in California have more than tripled in number since 2002, even as overall special education enrollment has remained relatively flat, according to an analysis of state education data released yesterday.

More than 680,000 students — 11 percent of all California public school students — are enrolled in special education. The number of students diagnosed with autism climbed from 17,508 in 2002 to 59,690 in 2010, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health found.