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Help Improve Life for Children with Autism By Sponsoring the TEACH Act

While we do not know what causes autism or how it can be cured, we do know that the best treatment for children with autism is early intervention from qualified teachers and education professionals. Achieving this goal is difficult because most special education teacher preparation programs do not adequately train teachers to effectively help autistic students.

To solve this problem, we recently reintroduced the Teacher Education for Autistic Children (TEACH) Act, HR 1700, which will help train teachers to work with these special children and also assist school districts in hiring qualified autism teachers.

Specifically, the TEACH Act will authorize $15 million a year for five years to provide education and professional development training to students or current teachers who want to be special education teachers, classroom aides, and other professionals that work with autistic children. The TEACH Act authorizes an additional $5 million a year to help states and local school districts upgrade their curriculum to meet the needs of the growing number of students being diagnosed with autism.

Additionally, our legislation will establish a loan forgiveness program as another method of attracting more qualified autism teachers. If this bill becomes law, teachers who meet the qualifications could receive a maximum of $20,000 to help pay off college loans in exchange for their service to students with autism.

Other components of the bill include the establishment of State Autism Ombudsman Offices that would help families of autistic children obtain the services they need. The offices would serve as a central clearinghouse for families who are seeking information about services, education, and other resources they will need to provide an optimum quality of life for their children.

The bill also requires a joint Department of Labor/Department of Education study to evaluate existing vocational programs available for people with autism, among other things. This provision would help ensure that people with autism will have access to quality jobs so they can live fuller lives once completing school and becoming adults. A task force mandated by the commission would be charged with making recommendations as to standards and best practices for educating children with autism.

HOUSE MEMBERS CURRENTLY SPONSORING THE TEACH ACT

66 CO-SPONSORS

Rep Abercrombie, Neil [HI-1]
Rep Allen, Thomas H. - [ME-1]
Rep Baldwin, Tammy - [WI-2]
Rep Berkley, Shelley - [NV-1]
Rep Biggert, Judy - [IL-13]
Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. - [GU]
Rep Bradley, Jeb - [NH-1]
Rep Brown, Corrine - [FL-3]
Rep Brown-Waite, Ginny - [FL-5]
Rep Cantor, Eric - 4/9/2003 [VA-7]
Rep Capuano, Michael E. - [MA-8]
Rep Carson, Julia - [IN-7]
Rep Case, Ed - [HI-2]
Rep Christensen, Donna M. - [VI]
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. - [MD-7]
Rep Davis, Danny K. - [IL-7]
Rep Davis, Susan A. - [CA-53]
Rep Davis, Tom - [VA-11]
Rep Deutsch, Peter - [FL-20]
Rep Doyle, Michael F. - [PA-14]
Rep Emanuel, Rahm - [IL-5]
Rep Faleomavaega, Eni F. H. - [AS]
Rep Frank, Barney - [MA-4]
Rep Frost, Martin - [TX-24]
Rep Garrett, Scott - [NJ-5]
Rep Green, Gene - [TX-29]
Rep Green, Mark - [WI-8]
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. - [FL-23]
Rep Holt, Rush D. - [NJ-12]
Rep Israel, Steve - [NY-2]
Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila - [TX-18]
Rep Kaptur, Marcy - [OH-9]
Rep Kildee, Dale E. - [MI-5]
Rep King, Peter T. -[NY-3]
Rep Lantos, Tom - [CA-12]
Rep Larson, John B. - [CT-1]
Rep LaTourette, Steve C. - [OH-14]
Rep Lee, Barbara - [CA-9]
Rep Lofgren, Zoe - [CA-16]
Rep Lynch, Stephen F. - [MA-9]
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. - [NY-14]
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. - [MI-11]
Rep McGovern, James P. - [MA-3]
Rep Millender-McDonald, Juanita - [CA-37]
Rep Murphy, Tim - [PA-18]
Rep Owens, Major R. – (NY-11]
Rep Payne, Donald M. - [NJ-10]
Rep Pickering, Charles W. (Chip) - [MS-3]
Rep Quinn, Jack - [NY-27]
Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana - [FL-18]
Rep Rothman, Steve R. - [NJ-9]
Rep Sanchez, Loretta - [CA-47]
Rep Sandlin, Max - [TX-1]
Rep Snyder, Vic - [AR-2]
Rep Strickland, Ted - [OH-6]
Rep Taylor, Gene - [MS-4]
Rep Terry, Lee - [NE-2]
Rep Tierney, John F. - [MA-6]
Rep Walsh, James T. - [NY-25]
Rep Waxman, Henry A. - [CA-30]
Rep Weiner, Anthony D. - [NY-9]
Rep Weldon, Dave - [FL-15]
Rep Wexler, Robert - [FL-19]
Rep Wilson, Joe - [SC-2]
Rep Wolf, Frank R. - [VA-10]
Rep Wynn, Albert Russell - [MD-4]

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