Administration pledges support for autism services

TRENTON – The Christie administration today reiterated its budgetary and programming support for those with autism.

The commitment, which Gov. Chris Christie said will include establishment of a N.J. Autism Center of Excellence this summer, will also feature $8 million in grants to fund research projects.

Christie this morning toured the Somerset Hills Learning Institute, Bedminster, which provides a variety of services for children and adults with autism.

“Nearly three years ago when I first visited the Somerset Hills Learning Institute, I made a commitment to make New Jersey a better state for everyone,” Christie said in a release.

“That means ensuring students with special needs are able to meet their full potential by preparing them with life skills, as well as creating opportunities for future employment, productivity and independence.”

The administration today listed a series of efforts to assist those with autism and improve programs, including supporting outreach efforts at the Department of Human Service’s Office of Autism; helping families whose children have developmental delays or disabilities through the Department of Health’s Early Intervention Program: realigning programs for children with disabilities to provide family-oriented support; and more.

According to the administration, since fiscal year 2011, nearly $140 million in new funding has been dedicated to the development of community initiatives.

In addition, Christie’s office said that the governor’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget includes $24.7 million of new funding to develop additional community placements and services, allowing for a projected 130 people to move off of waiting lists, and for individuals and families to receive necessary residential and day services.

Autism affects nearly one in 50 children in New Jersey, according to the governor’s office. Administration pledges support for autism services