Autism is a neurobiological-based disorder typically diagnosed during the first three years of life. Autism is a spectrum disorder meaning it affects each child differently and there can be a wide range of functioning levels. Autism is categorized by severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development including social interaction and communication skills, making it difficult to express wants and needs – putting the individual at risk for behavior problems. Children with autism typically show uneven development, have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. They may also display a restricted pattern of behavior and interests.
The current national autism prevalence is reported to be 1 in 68 individuals (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). In New Jersey, the reported rates are 1 in 45 individuals – the highest rate in the nation.
Treatment and education based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis has been demonstrated to be the most effective approach in treating individuals with autism.
The need for services and resources for adults with autism continues to grow. Many adults with autism require ongoing support to access vocational, socialization, and recreational experiences.