Autism support groups in New Jersey: New Jersey is known for its busy cities, fun coastline, picturesque suburbs, and tight-knit communities. It’s called the Garden State because it’s between everything, and good things flow from Cherry Hill into Philadelphia and Hoboken into New York City. In this dynamic and culturally rich environment, autism touches the lives of many.
According to the CDC, the rate of autism among children is one in 36. New Jersey’s rate is higher, with one in 35 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by the time they are eight. Following the full spectrum of ASD, 39% of these children are diagnosed with an intellectual disability.
With so many ASD individuals, there is a need to establish a community that provides them with opportunities to socialize, have fun, learn, and grow in astounding ways. At ABA Centers of New Jersey, we are at the forefront of these efforts, offering the best Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy and working with local governments and businesses to spread the cause of autism awareness.
Among the most essential ASD resources are autism support groups, which provide understanding and assistance. In this article, we’ll explore the landscape of autism support groups in New Jersey, highlighting their importance and the valuable services they offer.
Autism spectrum disorder features many symptoms and behaviors that vary in severity from person to person. Its causes are not entirely known but are most likely genetic, with some room for environmental impact. It affects neurology and the intake of stimuli, changing how individuals approach what they see, hear, think, smell, eat, and do.
Some shared features of autism include difficulties in social interactions, repetitive behaviors, restricted interests, and sensory sensitivities. These can manifest as being nonverbal or uninterested in most conversational topics, throwing a tantrum when uncomfortable around bright lights, or playing the same way with a set of toys without inventing new stories. The challenges can manifest differently in each individual, so providing personalized support is essential.
The Importance of Support Groups
Autism support groups play a pivotal role in helping individuals with autism and their families navigate the complexities of ASD. Here are some reasons why these groups are so important:
1. Emotional Strength: A diagnosis of autism can be overwhelming and emotionally challenging for individuals on the spectrum and their families. Support groups provide a safe space where participants can express their feelings, fears, and frustrations without judgment. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can be incredibly reassuring and validating.
2. Institutional Knowledge: Support groups often offer access to valuable information and resources. Their knowledgeable and dedicated staff guides available therapies, educational programs, legal rights, and financial assistance options. Members can tap into a collective knowledge base, which can be especially helpful for the newly diagnosed.
3. Peer Interaction: Individuals with ASD slowly open up and frequently face bullying or isolation. Support groups allow them to explore communication and play with like-minded peers in a supportive environment. These interactions can help build social skills, boost self-esteem, and foster a sense of belonging.
4. Parental Support: Caregiver burnout is a well-known concept because it’s difficult to provide daily care for someone with autism. For parents, support groups offer a lifeline. They can trade strategies or tips, make friendships, watch each other’s children, and build grassroots camaraderie.
5. Autism Awareness: There was a time when autism-related issues were marginal, and neurodiversity was an afterthought in many communities. Witnessing what many of these groups have accomplished in the past decade with advocacy efforts is incredible. By joining a support group, individuals and families can become part of a broader movement working towards a more inclusive society.
Autism Support Groups in New Jersey
The following is a list of prominent resources. Dozens of smaller groups won’t be listed, so check your local area or speak to one of the more extensive resources that can point you in the right direction.
1. Autism New Jersey
One of the most prominent and comprehensive autism support organizations in New Jersey is Autism New Jersey. Established in 1965, this non-profit organization has served individuals with autism, their families, and professionals for decades. Autism New Jersey offers a wide range of programs and services designed to meet the unique needs of the autism community.
Information and Referral Services: Autism New Jersey can help you find autism-friendly events, childcare, recreation, hair cutting, and other social opportunities.
Workshops and Webinars: The organization conducts workshops, seminars, and training sessions to educate individuals, parents, and professionals about autism-related topics.
Advocacy: Autism New Jersey has a public policy agenda whose current priorities include funding programs, addressing severe behavior, and focusing on career growth.
Helpline: A helpline is available for individuals seeking immediate assistance or information regarding autism-related concerns.
Resource Directory: Autism New Jersey maintains a comprehensive online directory of autism-related resources, services, and professionals in the state. They endorse ABA therapy as the most effective way to teach kids on the spectrum new skills.
ASAH, previously known as the Association of Schools and Agencies for the Handicapped, is an organization that supports individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities in New Jersey. It works with the New Jersey Department of Education to promote neurodiversity.
Education and Advocacy: ASAH promotes high-quality educational services for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. They also advocate for policies that support their education and well-being, with parent advocacy workshops that teach pertinent topics.
Annual Conference: ASAH hosts a yearly conference in Atlantic City that brings professionals, parents, and experts together to discuss the latest developments in special education and autism.
Parent Help Line: This free resource can inform parents about the particularities of their federal and local educational rights and provide direct assistance.
3. POAC Autism Services
POAC Autism Services is a New Jersey-based organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with autism and their families. With a focus on community events, POAC offers a variety of programs and services to meet the needs of those diagnosed with ASD.
Recreation and Social Events: The organization hosts events like yoga, gold, pumpkin carving, gym outings, rodeos, and other activities that are fun, friendly, and welcoming to ASD families. Parents can become Walk Team Captains and lead walks. They also help with a sports league!
Institutional Cooperation: Through its members, POAC is skilled at recruiting schools for organizing events or receiving corporate sponsorship and support for educational programs and workshops.
4. The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute
Started in 2014, Arc of New Jersey is a large non-profit advocacy organization with a broad mandate that helps with various disability-related matters. Their mission and events focus heavily on helping those on the spectrum.
Project HIRE: Individuals with autism often face job discrimination. This project empowers them with skills necessary for the workforce and partners with schools to establish equality transition plans.
Local Groups: One of Arc’s most valuable resources is its extensive event calendar, which you can see on its dedicated support groups page. They have groups for children, parents, caregivers, and even grandparents.
ABA Centers of New Jersey and Autism Support
If you want to join the fastest-growing autism community that can help your ASD loved one develop the coping mechanisms and skills they need to achieve independence, look no further than ABA Centers of New Jersey. With ABA, the gold standard therapy backed by decades of research to lose results, individuals with autism see meaningful growth in communication, academic performance, and job aptitude. Through positive reinforcement, they receive rewards when they learn healthy behavior and acquire new skills through play and enjoyment.
Call (866) 702-1068 or message us to discover your options.