SECTION 1: Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting at the end of section 38G the following paragraph:-
“All teachers who apply for an initial Massachusetts educator license on or after September 1, 2016 shall receive training and preparation in the use of augmentative and alternative communication for students who are nonverbal or who have limited speech, as a requirement for such licensure. Such training and preparation shall include coursework in augmentative and alternative communication and practical experience in the classroom with children who use augmentative and alternative communication, including but not limited to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, acquired brain injury, cerebral palsy and other disabilities that result in limited or no verbal abilities; provided that practical experience for regular education teachers shall include experience in the classroom with students who use augmentative and alternative communication, and if classroom settings are unavailable practical experience may include other types of interactions with and observations of individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication. Teacher and specialist teacher licensure requirements, subject matter knowledge requirements, professional standards for teachers, and educator preparation program approval requirements shall adequately address augmentative and alternative communication competencies to educate students with disabilities who are nonverbal or have limited verbal abilities; provided that a teacher shall not be subject to such requirements if they are applying for a second or subsequent licenses. The board shall require that the individual professional development plans required under section 38G of Chapter 71 address the learning needs of students who are nonverbal or have limited speech.”
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