Impactful Autism Organizations in New Jersey

Discover impactful autism organizations in New Jersey, shaping lives with their innovative initiatives.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
June 29, 2024
7 min read
min read

Autism Support in New Jersey

Autism support forms a crucial part of the healthcare and social systems in New Jersey, with several dedicated autism organizations working tirelessly to provide necessary services and resources.

Overview of Autism in New Jersey

Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and communication, has a high prevalence in New Jersey.

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the national Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) rate is 1 in 54 births, New Jersey's rate is significantly higher at 1 in 32.

This high prevalence emphasizes the need for comprehensive support systems and initiatives focused on enhancing the lives of individuals with ASD and their families in the state.

State-Level Autism Initiatives

In response to the high prevalence of autism, New Jersey established the Office of Autism (OOA) under the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) in August 2010 to address issues associated with ASD. The creation of the OOA was influenced by the report of the Adults with Autism Task Force (AWATF), which was formed by statute to recommend programs and services for adults with ASD in New Jersey.

The OOA, within the DDD, is responsible for coordinating services for individuals with ASD, collaborating with other state agencies, and enhancing training and support services for individuals with ASD and community entities. This office represents a significant step in the state's commitment to providing comprehensive and effective support for individuals with autism.

Furthermore, New Jersey's Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) has been the primary resource agency for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families since 1959. The DDD aims to safeguard the health and safety of those served, promote fairness, and utilize state resources efficiently.

These state-level initiatives form just one part of the broader autism support network in New Jersey, with several autism organizations in New Jersey working in tandem with these government initiatives to provide tailored and impactful services to individuals with ASD and their families.

Autism New Jersey's Initiatives

Autism New Jersey, a leading nonprofit in the state, has undertaken several initiatives to support individuals with autism and their families. Two of their major initiatives are the Law Enforcement Initiative and the Community Engagement Efforts.

Law Enforcement Initiative

In 2024, Autism New Jersey launched the Law Enforcement Initiative. This initiative aims to increase the adoption of autism-friendly law enforcement practices, highlight challenges, and foster safer interactions between law enforcement and autistic individuals and their families.

The Law Enforcement Advisory Committee at Autism New Jersey was established the same year. The committee consists of law enforcement officers with diverse backgrounds, geographic representation, and experience in working with autistic individuals and their families. This mix of knowledge and experience ensures that the initiative is grounded in real-world circumstances and needs [2].

Doreen Yanik, a seasoned professional with 28 years of law enforcement and 32 years of legal experience, joined Autism New Jersey in 2024 as the Director of the Law Enforcement Initiative.

In 2023, Autism New Jersey engaged with over 200 Police Chiefs at the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, fostering collaboration to create safer interactions between law enforcement and individuals with autism [2].

Community Engagement Efforts

In addition to their work with law enforcement, Autism New Jersey also focuses on building and enhancing relationships with diverse communities across the state. To this end, Kayla Torres, MPA, joined Autism New Jersey in 2024 as the Community Engagement Coordinator.

Torres' work focuses on strengthening engagement with diverse communities statewide, enhancing the mission of Autism New Jersey to support individuals and families with autism. This initiative plays a vital role in spreading awareness about autism, promoting understanding, and fostering inclusivity within various communities.

These initiatives by Autism New Jersey exemplify the proactive efforts being taken by autism organizations in New Jersey to support and advocate for the autism community. Through targeted initiatives and sustained efforts, these organizations are making significant strides in improving the lives of individuals with autism and their families.

Autism Family Services of New Jersey

Autism Family Services of New Jersey (AFSNJ) is a notable organization among the many autism organizations in New Jersey, providing a range of services for children and families impacted by autism. As an affiliate of The Family Resource Network, AFSNJ works collaboratively to advocate for individuals and their families affected by autism in the state, highlighting the organization's commitment to support the autism community.

Services for Children and Families

AFSNJ offers several services aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals with autism and their loved ones. These services include behavioral support, after school care, Saturday recreation, and more. By providing these vital resources, AFSNJ helps to alleviate some of the challenges faced by families affected by autism, ensuring they have access to the support and care they need [3].

For individuals seeking to engage further with AFSNJ, they can sign up for the AFSNJ newsletter. This resource provides updates on news, events, service opportunities, and more, ensuring the autism community in New Jersey has access to the resources and support they need.

Annual Autism Beach Bash

In addition to its regular services, AFSNJ hosts the Annual Autism Beach Bash in Belmar, the largest gathering of autism families in New Jersey. This event provides a platform for social interactions and support for families with autism, fostering a sense of community and belonging [3].

One of the highlights of the Annual Autism Beach Bash is the surf camp provided by Surfer’s Healing. This California-based nonprofit specializes in working with children with special needs, enhancing recreational opportunities for individuals with autism. Through this collaboration, AFSNJ is able to provide a unique and engaging experience that caters specifically to the needs and interests of the autism community [3].

In conclusion, Autism Family Services of New Jersey is a key player in the network of autism organizations in New Jersey. Through their various services and events, they provide invaluable support and resources for individuals with autism and their families, helping to shape and improve their lives.

Autism Resources from New Jersey Education

New Jersey's Department of Education plays a pivotal role in providing resources and support for individuals with autism and their families. The Department offers various initiatives, including the Autism Program Quality Indicators-Revised and specialized e-learning opportunities.

Autism Program Quality Indicators-Revised

The Autism Program Quality Indicators-Revised (APQI-R) is a vital resource provided by the New Jersey Department of Education. This guidance document aids Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in developing, implementing, and assessing quality programming for all students on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This initiative is a key part of the state's commitment to ensuring that students with ASD receive the support they need to thrive in an educational setting.

Autism Specialist and E-Learning Opportunities

The Department of Education also offers support through the Autism Specialist, a role currently held by Amanda Philp (Ph.D., BCBA-D). Dr. Philp provides technical assistance and training to teachers, administrators, and parents regarding autism programming, services, and supports. Her responsibilities include gathering and disseminating resources to improve instruction and outcomes for students with autism and multiple disabilities. For additional assistance or inquiries regarding autism programming, services, and supports, Dr. Philp can be contacted via email at or by telephone at (609) 376-3988.

In addition to the support offered by the Autism Specialist, the Department of Education also provides e-learning opportunities on Autism Spectrum Disorder and other related Office of Special Education programs and services. These resources are available for educators and families and are aimed at assisting in identifying appropriate supports, services, and programs for children with autism.

These resources from New Jersey's Department of Education are instrumental in providing the necessary support and guidance for families, educators, and individuals affected by autism. By leveraging these resources, the autism organizations in New Jersey continue to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals with autism and their families.

Autism Support from New Jersey Health

One of the key autism organizations in New Jersey that provides substantial support for individuals with autism and their families is the New Jersey Department of Health. They offer essential services for both children and adults, as well as case management and vocational rehabilitation services.

Services for Children and Adults

For families with children aged 3 and older, Project Child Find, an initiative of the Office of Special Education Programs at the New Jersey Department of Education, provides referrals for assistance.

For adults with autism spectrum disorders, services are available through the Office on Autism, a division of the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

Meanwhile, children under the age of 3 with autism spectrum disorders can receive assistance through the Early Intervention Services [5].

Age Service
Under 3 years Early Intervention Services
3 years and older Project Child Find
Adults Office on Autism

Case Management and Vocational Rehabilitation Services

In addition to these services, New Jersey offers county-based case management services for all families with autism through Family Centered Care Services (FCCS). This program provides information on accessing state, federal, and community resources.

For adults with disabilities, including autism, who are looking for a job or vocational skills training, they can contact the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to determine eligibility [5].

The services provided by the New Jersey Department of Health are designed to support individuals with autism and their families at every stage of life. From early intervention services for young children to vocational rehabilitation for adults, these resources play a crucial role in improving the quality of life for those affected by autism in New Jersey.







steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

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