Mass. lawmaker pushes bill requiring autism-related training for police, teachers


BOSTON (WPRI) — A Massachusetts state representative is leading a push for police and teachers to be better prepared to interact with those living with autism.

Rep. Alan Silvia worked as a police officer in Fall River for more than two decades. He told the Herald News that officers lack mental health disorders training, which says could lead to dangerous interactions.

He is now sponsoring legislation that would require autism-related training for teacher aides and law enforcement. Silvia said the training would help police and paraprofessionals know how to appropriately interact with people on the autism spectrum.

The autism training bill was sent to the committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.

Silvia is also sponsoring another bill that would allow children with autism who are living with their parents to be covered by their parent’s medical insurance past age 26. That’s been referred to the state’s committee on financial services.

Both bills will be scheduled for hearings later this year, he said.

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