In August 2014, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted landmark legislation Ch. 226 of the Acts of 2014, the “Autism Omnibus Law”. The statute established the Autism Commission as a permanent entity and is comprised of 35 members. The Commission is charged with making recommendations on policies impacting individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and individuals with Smith-Magenis syndrome.
The Commission is charged with investigating the range of services necessary for individuals with ASD to achieve full potential across their lifespan, including issues related to public education, higher education, job attainment and employment, including supported employment, provision of adult services, post-secondary education, independent living, community participation, housing, social and recreational opportunities, behavioral services based on best practices, to ensure emotional well-being, mental health services and issues related to access of families of children with autism and adults who are from linguistically and culturally diverse communities and making recommendations on policies, and filing an annual report outlining unmet needs and trends in autism services, including any recommendations for regulatory or legislative action.
The Commission is also required to investigate the prevalence of autism over the last 30 years and to develop “plans of action” to address the needs of individuals with ASD for employment and housing respectively.