Yesterday, the Massachusetts General Court took a huge step forward in the realm of disability rights. The Senate approved S2245, Relative to assisting individuals with autism and other intellectual or developmental disabilities. To read the full text of the bill, click here
The bill still needs to be reconciled with the House version to become law.
The highlights of this bill:
- makes the Special Commission Relative to Autism a permanent oversight body
- creates special savings and expense accounts to receive tax benefits for expenditures that benefit an individual with a disability (of any kind)
- expands the mission of DDS to include adults with developmental disabilities
- encourages cooperation between DDS and DMH to provide mental health services to those with developmental disabilities
- creates an endorsement in autism to certify teachers who are qualified to assist autistic students
- extends insurance coverage for autism services to MassHealth (Medicaid)
- requires the Autism Commission to report on employment and housing opportunities for autistic people in the Commonwealth
Congratulations to all who have taken part in this accomplishment. We anticipate that this bill will have a positive impact on individuals with autism, including those with Asperger Syndrome.
Sources:Asperger's Association of New England, Arc of Massachusetts