SECTION 1: Chapter 71B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting, after Section 16, the following section:-
Section 17-- The department of elementary and secondary education shall, subject to appropriation, establish and administer a discretionary grant program with the purpose of providing monies and assistance to school committees that wish to improve the provision of service and support to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the least restrictive environment; provided that the grant program shall support school committees in the development of programs and the preparation of personnel experienced in the area of autism spectrum disorder; Said program and the preparation of personnel shall specially address the verbal and nonverbal communication needs of the child; the need to develop social interaction skills and proficiencies; the skills and proficiencies needed to avoid and respond to bullying, harassment or teasing; the needs resulting from resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines; the needs resulting from engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements; the need for an positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address any behavioral difficulties resulting from autism spectrum disorder; transition needs of youth ages 14-22 to support employment, higher education, and independent living; and other needs resulting from the child's disability that impact progress in the general curriculum in the least restrictive environment, including social and emotional development.
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