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Doyle Autism Bill Approved by House

Doyle Autism Bill Approved by House

Bill would expand training and continuing education for autism service providers
Washington, DC – September 23, 2010 – This afternoon the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 5756, the Training and Research for Autism Improvement Nationwide (“TRAIN”) Act, legislation introduced by Congressman Doyle (D-PA14) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ4).  The House passed the bill by a vote of 393-24. 
“Individuals on the autism spectrum often need assistance in the areas of comprehensive early intervention, health, recreation, job training, employment, housing, transportation, and early, primary, secondary and post-secondary education,” Congressman Doyle said today.  “With access to, and assistance with, these types of services and supports, individuals on the autism spectrum can live rich, full, and productive lives.  The TRAIN Act will help expand the number of individuals adequately trained to provide this essential assistance – and keep them up to date with the latest developments in this field.” 
“I’m pleased to say that there’s strong bipartisan support for improving the services available to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families, starting with my friend and co-chair of the House Autism Committee, Chris Smith,” Congressman Doyle added. 
“Implementation of the TRAIN Act will significantly expand the ranks of qualified service providers, who are equipped with the knowledge and tools of state-of-the-science, evidence–based educational, medical, and social interventions,” said Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) on the House floor prior to passage. “The legislation that we are considering today, the TRAIN Act, offers an opportunity for us to do something for the 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. who are living with autism every day. We know that with the right services and supports, autistic children and adults can lead fuller, happier and healthier lives. The TRAIN Act will help ensure that those living with autism and their families are not abandoned to fend for themselves among uncoordinated and even discordant information on treatments and services.”
The Training and Research for Autism Improvement Nationwide Act must also be considered and approved by the Senate before it can become law.
Congressman Doyle worked successfully to have this measure included in the comprehensive health care reform bill approved by the House of Representatives last year (America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, H.R. 3590), but it wasn’t included in the final health care reform legislation that was subsequently signed into law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, P.L. 111-152).
Consequently, Congressmen Doyle and Smith introduced the TRAIN Act on July 15, 2010.  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 original bill was modified during mark-up in the House Energy and Commerce Committee to reflect 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 (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. 
Click here for information on the original bill and the changes made to it in committee.
Click here to see the text of the bill as approved by the House today. 
Click here to watch the House debate on the Training and Research for Autism Improvement Nationwide Act: 
Congressmen Smith and Doyle are the founders and co-chairs of the Congressional Autism Caucus, also known as the Coalition for Autism Research and Education (C.A.R.E.).

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