- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - A bill that would establish a state autism commission and proposes other strategies for addressing the needs of the growing number of children diagnosed with the disorder is expected to come up for a vote in the Massachusetts House of Representatives this week.

The measure unveiled by House leaders on Monday calls for the development of a training program to help school districts and teachers educate students with autism with the goal of keeping as many children as possible in regular classrooms with individualized attention.

The bill would create a permanent state commission to monitor the new programs and make additional recommendations.

“I believe this bill is the next, crucial step to make Massachusetts the leader in caring for residents confronting autism,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Worcester, said in a statement.

The proposal, tentatively scheduled for debate on Wednesday, would also allow families of children with autism spectrum disorder and other conditions to put money aside in tax-exempt savings accounts to help cover long-term expenses such as education, medical care, housing and job training.

The legislation would also expand eligibility for IQ-based state programs designed for adults with autism.

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