What is the Autism Omnibus Bill

Last month we hosted a discussion during Wisdom Wednesdays on the Autism Omnibus Bill.  Our community achieved a huge victory  when the Autism Omnibus bill passed in late 2014 when  the Governor signed the Autism Omnibus Bill into law as Ch. 226 of the Acts of 2016. If you missed our Wednesday discussion here is a bot more on this landmark bill.

The Autism Omnibus Bill is a landmark bill addressing unmet needs of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It was passed through the House and Senate unanimously. The specifics can be found at The Autism Center. An enormous amount of effort from within the ASD community and the Massachusetts Advocates for Children organization.

The bill includes the following key provisions:

  • A requirement that MassHealth cover medically necessary treatments for children with ASD who are under 21 years old – including ABA therapies as well as dedicated and non-dedicated AAC devices.
  • Extension of Department of Developmental Services (DDS) eligibility to many persons with Autism, Prader Willi Syndrome and Smith-Magenis syndrome.
  • The creation of an Autism Endorsement for special education teachers to enable them to voluntarily gain in-depth knowledge about the complexities of educating students with ASD.
  • The creation of tax-free saving accounts (called “Achieving a Better Life Experience” or ABLE) to help families cover anticipated disability-related expenses for individuals with ASD and other physical and developmental disabilities.
  • Requiring DMH and DDS to develop and implement a plan to provide services to individuals who have both a mental illness and a developmental disabilities; and
    Establishing the Autism Commission as a permanent entity.

If you are looking for more information on this bill and what it may mean for your child talk to the professionals at Milestones.