A leader in autism advocacy.

The Autism Center was launched in 2002 in response to the skyrocketing numbers of calls to MAC’s Helpline from parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

School systems throughout Massachusetts, and across the nation, are continuing to face substantial increases in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Most recent studies from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that the prevalence of ASD is now as high as 1 per every 68 children diagnosed on the spectrum.

Children with autism face tremendous obstacles in education. Stigma and misinformation often lead to lowered expectations, inadequate services, and limited progress.

MAC’s unique and proven approach to advocacy helps ensure that children with autism have the services and supports they need to reach their potential.

The Autism Center was instrumental in securing enactment of the following bills:

  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication Act ensures that new teachers of students with moderate and severe disabilities receive instruction about the appropriate use of augmentative and alternative communication devices and other assistive technologies.
  • The Autism Anti-Bullying bill, H.3804: An Act Addressing Bullying of Children with Autism, was incorporated into the highly-publicized bullying bill signed by the Governor in May. The new law ensures that IEP Teams address bullying of children on the autism spectrum, specifically focusing on the skills necessary to help them avoid and respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing.
  • Children’s Autism Medicaid Waiver, which provides intensive in-home services for children on the autism spectrum.
  • Massachusetts Autism IEP Act requires the IEP Team to consider and address the full range of a child’s complex communication, social, behavioral, and academic needs resulting from ASD to help ensure provision of state-of-the-art supports and services.
  • Parent Observation Act ensures that parents and independent evaluators have access necessary to observe special education programs.
  • Transition at Age 14 Act maintains the requirement in Massachusetts to initiate special education transition planning and services at age 14.

Since 2002:

  • Over 4,000 parents of children with ASD have received free legal advice, technical assistance and/or representation.
  • Over 4,100 parents of children with ASD have been trained to be better advocates for their child.
  • Over 3,100 medical professionals and educators working with children on the autism spectrum have been trained to better understand the special education law and the rights of the children they serve.