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Monday, September 20, 2010

HR 5756, the Training and Research for Autism Improvements Nationwide [TRAIN] Act

On Wednesday, the US House votes on the HR 5756, the Training and Research for Autism Improvements Nationwide [TRAIN] Act, by Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ). Doyle and Smith are c0-chairs of the first-ever Congressional Membership Organization dedicated to autism advocacy on Capitol Hill—The Coalition for Autism Research and Education (CARE). When the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved the measure in July, Representative Doyle issued a release with background information:
Congressman Doyle and Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4) introduced the TRAIN Act on July 15. This national autism training initiative would establish grants to provide individuals with interdisciplinary training, continuing education, technical assistance, and information in order to improve services to children and adults with autism and their families, as well as to address the existing unmet needs related to autism.

The TRAIN Act is supported by groups like Autism Speaks, the Autism Society of America, self advocates from the Autism Self-Advocacy Network, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and many other organizations.

The manager’s amendment made several agreed-upon technical changes to the text of H.R. 5756 as introduced, reflecting technical assistance from the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services. These changes would make certain that University Centers of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities, also known as UCEDs, seeking grant funds under this section demonstrate that families, in addition to individuals on the autism spectrum, will participate in the planning and design of authorized activities – and that UCEDs seeking capacity-building grants to collaborate with minority-serving institutions provide services and conduct research and education. The amendment and the amended bill were both approved by voice vote.
The bill is on the suspension calendar, generally reserved for non-controversial items likely to pass by more than two-thirds.