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HOUSE DOCKET, NO.                 FILED ON: 3/13/2014

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 4012



The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Fourteen



An Act relative to the needs of students with autism.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1.  Section 38G ½ of Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in chapter 51 of the Acts of 2012 is hereby amended by inserting the following at the end of the first paragraph:-

              “Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders” shall have the same meaning as the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

              SECTION 2. Section 38G ½ of Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is further amended by inserting the following paragraph at the end of the section:-

              The board shall provide an endorsement in autism which shall include both coursework and field experience for licensed special education teachers to acquire the competencies necessary to conduct assessments, develop appropriate individualized education programs, provide specially designed instruction and related services, and consult and collaborate with other educators, including general education teachers, in order to meet the unique and complex educational needs of students with autism in the least restrictive environment.  Competencies shall also include, but not be limited to, the impact of autism on verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, sensory experiences, behaviors, literacy and academic achievement.  The requirements for the endorsement in autism, as promulgated by the board, can also be used to satisfy course requirements necessary to obtain a professional license. The board shall promulgate regulations specifying the subject matter knowledge, skills, and competencies required for such endorsement, including requirements to incorporate renewal of the endorsement as part of the individual professional development plan required pursuant to section 38G.  Said regulations shall also specify components necessary for preparation programs offering an endorsement in autism, which shall be included in the department’s process for approving preparation programs.  

              SECTION 3.    For one year after the board has promulgated regulations as required under section two, teachers who have previously been employed serving primarily students with autism shall be eligible to receive an autism endorsement, provided that they demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary to receive such endorsement, subject to regulations promulgated by the board of elementary and secondary education.

              SECTION 4.  Section 38G of Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting, in line 266, after the word “disabilities”, the following words:- “, including children with autism”.

              SECTION 5.  The board of elementary and secondary education shall promulgate the regulations required pursuant to section two on or before September 1, 2014.

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