THE AUTISM OMNIBUS BILL
The Massachusetts legislature has passed the Autism Omnibus Bill and provisions of An Act Relative to Safe and Supportive Schools! The Autism Omnibus Bill is a landmark bill addressing unmet needs of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Learn more about this bill on Massachusetts Advocates for Children's website.
INCLUSION OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES IN HIGHER ED. IN MASSACHUSETTS
In April, Massachusetts State Rep. Thomas Sannicandro, House Chair of the Task Force on Higher Education for Students with Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ID/ASD), released the task force’s report at the Massachusetts State House.
The report notes, “While students without disabilities graduate and exit high school after 12th grade, students with significant disabilities such as ID/ASD typically remain in special education until age 22. These students are left behind, as their peers move on to higher education and the workforce.”
“We’re saying that this needs to be opened up,” Sannicandro said, touting the success of a pilot program known as ICE (Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment), which supports partnerships between public high schools and public higher education institutions in Massachusetts that facilitate students partaking in college courses and other college life activities.
NLMFF grantee, Julia Landau, a task force member and senior project manager at Massachusetts Advocates for Children, joined Sannicandro at the press conference and called for higher education to open its doors to a group that she said has been “historically excluded.”
As a result of their advocacy efforts, the line item for the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment program was increased to one million dollars in the final House and Senate budgets.
TASK FORCE URGES INCLUSION OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES IN HIGHER ED.
Watch: "STUDENTS WITH AUTISM OR INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES ENROLLING IN COLLEGE"
AGING WELL WITH AUTISM (55 and OLDER)
In July 2013, the NLM Family Foundation and The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) co-sponsored a special one-day workshop, “Aging Well with Autism (55 and Older),” at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss several unique challenges faced by the growing population of individuals with autism after age 55. Topics discussed included access to medical and health care services as well as senior life planning initiatives for older adults with autism and their families. Please click on the link below to view a summary of the presentations and discussions which took place at the workshop.
Aging Well with Autism (55 and Older)
DSM-5 AUTISM CHANGES: IMPACT ON SPECIAL EDUCATION
With support from the NLM Family Foundation, Massachusetts Advocates for Children has published a fact sheet for parents and educators entitled, DSM-5 Autism Changes: Impact on Special Education. This fact sheet provides a brief explanation of the new DSM-5 ASD diagnostic criteria, and explains how the DSM-5 changes should not change or eliminate a child's IEP services. The fact sheet also describes special education rights and procedures parents can use to ensure that children continue to receive necessary services and supports. You can access the fact sheet by visiting Massachusetts Advocates for Children's website.