N.J. looks into expanding services for autistic kids

Advocacy groups welcome New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s intention to explore having every county in New Jersey develop special schools for children with autism.Linda Meyer, executive director of Autism New Jersey, said there’s a tremendous need for quality education programs for students who have the developmental disorder.”We have pockets of excellence here in New Jersey, several premiere private schools and some public schools that address autism effectively. But not all children have access to those programs.,” said Meyer. “So that the governor taking steps to increase access to effective evidence based intervention is huge. It’s really huge.”Maria Arnold, the director of educational services at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers, said there are not enough services currently to meet the needs of autistic children.”So any program that’s established that’s based on quality programs, science, treatments, evidence based programming we would welcome,” she said.Arnold said some counties already have effective programs that could be replicated in other areas of the state.New Jersey has a higher autism rate than the national average. One in 94 children in the Garden State has been diagnosed with the disorder that affects social and communication skills.

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