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Monday, August 8, 2022

Improved College Access in Massachuetts

  In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the growing number of college students on the autism spectrum

A July 28 release from Massachusetts Advocates for Children:

Thank you for your advocacy, your voices were heard! After almost a decade of advocacy, Governor Baker signed the higher education bill which provides inclusive educational opportunities for individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism at state colleges and universities. Young adults with disabilities can now be lifelong learners with their peers!

Many thanks to Gov. Baker, Senate Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues, House Ways and Means Chair Michlewitz, Senate President Spilka, Speaker Mariano, lead sponsors Representative Garballey and Senator Lovely, Joint Committee on Higher Education Co-Chairs Senator Gobi and Representative Rogers, and many other important lawmakers.

This law includes provisions that remove barriers precluding persons with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) and Autism from participating in state colleges and universities. Individuals with ID and autism who cannot pass MCAS [Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System] and who do not obtain a regular high school diploma can participate as non-matriculating students in courses with their nondisabled peers and participate in extracurricular activities and other aspects of campus life, with supports and services necessary to facilitate inclusion.

The law also ensures state colleges and universities establish guidelines governing selection of individuals with ID and Autism as well as course selection. Supports and services to facilitate inclusion can be provided by the local school district, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Department of Developmental Services, or private funding. The law also codifies the MAICEI grant program and allows the special education IEP Team to consider higher education as an option for students with disabilities.

Download the entire document here

View the new law here