It’s the best of news here in the Autism/Asperger community in Massachusetts because the Autism Bill has been passed unanimously in the MA House of Representatives. It’s known as Omnibus Autism Bill H 4047. It focuses on the helping with housing and employment issues and help define the DDS eligibility for people who have autism. It also will establish a tax-exempt savings account for families who have children/adults with autism and related disorders with expenses for medical, housing, and employment issues.

Now, the bill goes to the Mass Senate.

I got a message from Dania Jekel who is the head of the Asperger Association of New England about the victory in the House.

The following is her email:

Yesterday, thanks to your incredible advocacy efforts, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed a comprehensive autism bill — H 4047. The bill is a combination of many of the pieces of legislation originally filed in January 2013, and recommended by the Autism Commission, including the bill that AANE has been pushing for many years — the expansion of DDS eligibility.

We still need your help with one more thing: Although the House has passed the bill, the Senate will be voting soon. Can you please call or email your state senator soon and ask that he or she vote in favor of the Omnibus Autism bill? If they do, this will be an amazing victory for those in the autism community.

Here are the components of the new bill:

The legislation would reestablish the Autism Commission as a permanent and autonomous entity, which is necessary because the previous commission sunsetted upon release of the report. It provides for an executive director to support autism advocacy, training, and reporting. Two specific areas will be studied — the long-term needs for housing and employment — in addition to the studies previously recommended by the commission.
DDS will now be directed to include in its eligibility guidelines the federal definition of developmental disability for people on the autism spectrum and those with Prader Willi Syndrome. This change will help many whose functional needs are not reflected by their IQ scores and who are now denied access to DDS services. Public school teachers will have the option to attain an “Autism Endorsement” certification — a concentration in autism coursework and training — that will enable them to be leaders within their school communities.
A pretax savings account will be established — patterned after the federal ABLE ACT legislation — to allow all disabled families to set up a 529-style savings plan to cover expenses including education, housing, and any other needed supports and services.
AANE wishes to thank our advocacy committee, facilitated by AANE Board members Lucy Berrington and Michael Wilcox, as well as Barbara L’Italien from the Arc of Massachusetts, Representative Garrett Bradley, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, and House Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey.

Happy 91st Birthday, Don Adams! (April 13, 1923 to September 25, 2005)

The actor best known as Maxwell Smart, Secret Agent 86, on Get Smart would have been 91 years on this day (April 13). Very funny and talented guy! He is also remembered for his voice work on Tennessee Tuxedo and Inspector Gadget. His second best known sitcom was Check It Out back in the late 1980s. In the mid-1970s, he hosted a game show for one year called The Don Adams Screen Test. He did the Skittle Pool commercials during the 1970s as well. I had one of those pool tables when I was a kid.

Happy 67th Birthday, David Letterman!

The late night TV talk show host celebrates his special day. Next year, he’ll be retiring from the Late Show. Stephen Colbert has been picked to be his replacement.

I grew up watching Dave since he started guest-hosting for the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. I’m be sad when Dave retires, but he has been on TV for a long time!

I just received Ellen Notbohm’s April Newsletter (you can go to her website EllenNotbohm.com to subscribe to it). I enjoyed reading her article, Autism: One Word, Many Truths. What’s Yours?.

She writes about how autism appears differently in people. Some can have many friends, few friends, or no friends – she wrote in her article. She even says that some can have talents for art, music, outdoor sports, and other things.

I really like when she lists her three truths about autism in that article.

Here are three of my truths about autism:

Your truth is the truth you inhabit.

Your truth does not negate the truths of others, or vice versa.

Your truth can change over time. This does not make either truth less genuine.

Keep up the great work, Ellen!

I mentioned my two blogs on another blog in the WordPress community. It mentions the other blogs that talk about autism.

Check it out: http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/blogging-about-autism/

I’m shocked to hear about this, but comic book character Archie Andrews is going to be killed off in an upcoming issue of Life With Archie! :-(

It will happen in the July issue No. 36. Archie will sacrifice himself to save a friend. Hopefully, his death won’t be in vain!

I grew up reading Archie comic books and watched Archie on TV.

The publishers of the other Archie comics have mentioned that Archie will still appear in those alive and well.

Happy Belated Birthday, Eric Clapton!

The guitarist/singer known as Slow Hand celebrated his birthday back on Sunday, March 30. Hope you had a great day, Eric!

In his early years, he was involved in a lot of rock groups (Cream, The Yardbirds, and Derek and the Dominos, etc.) just before he went solo. An extremely talented guy! I once read his memoir and enjoyed it.

Eric was also buddies with the late George Harrison of the Beatles. He was even married to George’s first wife Patti Boyd for several years before they got divorced during the 1980s.


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