Mt. Diablo Unified School District is taking action on this matter with an emphasis on Person First Language, not the Disability.
This could mean changing your statement from the autistic child to the child who has autism. If you are not quite sure what to say you can always listen to those around you to gather the preferred way or even ask another you trust. When you feel you may have offended there is not harm in apologizing and then possibly if it feels right ask.
For more on this check out: http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/assessmentandtesting/qt/personfirst. htm