Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5590

Special Act No. 08-5

AN ACT CONCERNING THE TEACHING OF CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (Effective from passage) (a) The Commissioners of Education, Higher Education and Developmental Services and the President of Southern Connecticut State University, or their designees, jointly and in consultation with such state, local and other entities as they deem appropriate, including, but not limited to, the constituent units of the state system of higher education, as defined in 10a-1 of the general statutes, independent colleges or universities, as defined in section 10a-37 of the general statutes, the State Education Resource Center, established under section 10-4q of the general statutes, and the regional educational service centers established under section 10-66a of the general statutes, shall define autism and developmental disabilities for purposes of this section, and develop recommendations for a comprehensive state-wide plan to incorporate methods of teaching children with autism and other developmental disabilities into:

(1) Programs for teacher preparation pursuant to section 10-145a of the general statutes;

(2) Requirements for candidates seeking an initial educator or provisional educator certificate pursuant to section 10-145b of the general statutes;

(3) In-service training pursuant to section 10-220a of the general statutes; and

(4) Training provided to school paraprofessionals pursuant to section 10-155j of the 2008 supplement to the general statutes, related service professionals, early childhood certificate holders, administrators and parents.

(b) In developing recommendations pursuant to this section, the commissioner and chancellor, or their designees, shall, at a minimum, address the following issues related to the incorporation of methods of teaching children with autism and other developmental disabilities into the programs, requirements and training described in subsection (a) of this section:

(1) Competencies for individuals described in subdivisions (2) and (4) of subsection (a) of this section;

(2) Existing capacity to incorporate methods of teaching children with autism and other developmental disabilities into the programs, requirements and training described in subsection (a) of this section and the extent to which new capacity is needed at the elementary and secondary school levels and in institutions of higher education;

(3) The extent to which methods of teaching children with autism and other developmental disabilities need to be implemented in school readiness programs and grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive;

(4) The availability of persons with expertise concerning the methods of teaching children with autism and other developmental disabilities;

(5) Collaborative partners who should be involved in the process of the development of training concerning the methods of teaching children with autism and other developmental disabilities;

(6) Best practices in pedagogy concerning the teaching of children with autism and other developmental disabilities, including research-based strategies that at a minimum address:

(A) Characteristics of students with autism and other developmental disabilities;

(B) Curriculum planning, curricular and instructional modifications, adaptations, and specialized strategies and techniques;

(C) Assistive technology; and

(D) Inclusive educational practices, including, but not limited to, collaborative partnerships;

(7) The incorporation of methods of teaching children with autism and other developmental disabilities into the programs, requirements and training described in subsection (a) of this section that are in compliance with requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 USC 1400 et seq. , as amended from time to time;

(8) A budget and timeline for implementation of the plan developed pursuant to this section; and

(9) Steps to assess the impact of the implementation of the plan developed pursuant to this section on school readiness programs, elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education.

(c) Not later than February 1, 2009, the Commissioner of Education and Chancellor of the Connecticut State University System, or their designees, shall, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, report recommendations developed pursuant to this section to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education, public health and higher education.

Approved June 5, 2008