Missouri lawmakers OK scholarships for children with autism

Missouri lawmakers have approved legislation that would require education officials to seek grants and donations to help children with special needs such as autism.

Financial resources could be devoted to scholarships or clinical trials for behavioral interventions. Scholarships could be used to help students attend a public school outside the student's home district or a private school. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also would develop a master list of available resources.

House members voted 152-4 to approve the legislation Friday. It passed the Senate 33-0, and the measure now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Republican House member Dwight Scharnhorst, of St. Louis County, has championed the idea. He says he is working to line up potential donors.