News Archives 2014


The ABLE Act Signed into Law 

December 19, 2014

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (S. 313/H.R.647) was signed into law on December 19, 2014 by President Obama. Sponsored by Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) in the Senate and Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL-4) in the House, the law allows for tax-free savings accounts, similar to 529 college savings plans, to be set up to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. The ABLE accounts eliminate the current $2,000 cap on savings for individuals with disabilities.  Learn more>>



800.4.AUTISM Helpline Announces Expanded Resources and Referrals for Services Throughout New Jersey

October 28, 2014 

In response to the growing need of families across New Jersey for reliable information regarding autism diagnosis and treatment, Autism New Jersey announced today that it has expanded the services offered through its 800.4.AUTISM Helpline. This unique resource, and the recent expansion of services, is supported through grant funding from the New Jersey Department of Health.

Autism is an urgent public health concern. A 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that nationally, 1 in 68 children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Of even greater concern, the study reported that New Jersey itself has the highest ASD rate, with 1 in 45 children. These numbers mark an increase over the last decade both nationally and in the Garden State.

“Once a person is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, the next step is to find out what kinds of services are available,” states Dr. Suzanne Buchanan, Executive Director of Autism New Jersey. “Our 800.4.AUTISM Helpline is often the first line of support for parents when they learn that their child has autism.” Read more>>


Department of Education (DOE) Announces Job Code for Board Certified Behavior Analysts

October 15, 2014 

The DOE’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) recently announced the creation of a job code for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs).  Click here to access the DOE's announcement.

Given the intensive educational and behavioral needs of children, adolescents, and adults with autism, Autism New Jersey is working towards advancing initiatives that increase the availability and quality of behavioral services. Our recent collaborative public policy work with the Department of Education (DOE) focused on recognition for professional behavior analysts. This important policy change sends a clear message that the distinct and specialized contributions of BCBAs are valued within the school community.This job code allows public, private, and charter schools throughout the state to hire BCBAs who may not be DOE certified.  Read More>> 


Autism CARES Act Signed into Law

August 10, 2014

The Autism CARES Act authorizes $1.3 billion in federal research dollars over five years to continue identifying best practices for early intervention, treatment and care for families affected by autism.

On Friday, August 8, 2014, President Obama signed the Autism CARES Act into law. The legislation, championed by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ 4th Dist.), authorizes $1.3 billion over the next five years: $950 million is allocated for research grants; another $110 million will go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue researching the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders; and $340 million will go to early detection, education and intervention.

Autism New Jersey is pleased to see additions into this legislation focusing on important issues including adolescents and adults with autism, respite care, prevalence monitoring, safety issues, and more. Read more>>


Funding for Autism New Jersey Helpline Included in State Budget

July 16, 2014

Congressman Chris Smith pictured with Autism NJ Executive Director Dr.  Suzanne Buchanan and Board President Gino Valiant

$250,000 to preserve and strengthen proven resource for families

Trenton NJ -- Autism New Jersey, the State’s largest autism-specific advocacy organization, is pleased to announce that that the recently-enacted State Fiscal Year 2015 Budget signed into law by Governor Chris Christie includes language that provide $250,000 in state funding to support and advance the “Autism New Jersey Helpline.” Funding was first included in the State Budget for this critically-important initiative last year, thanks to the advocacy of Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald and other bipartisan legislators, and enacted into law with the strong support of Governor Chris Christie and Health Department Commissioner Mary O'Dowd.

"We are very pleased that the state budget for this coming fiscal year once again includes $250,000 for the Autism New Jersey Helpline," said Dr. Suzanne Buchanan, Executive Director of Autism New Jersey. "We have just concluded a very successful first year in partnership with the Department of Health, and look forward to continuing to provide compassionate, evidence-based answers to the many perplexing and life-altering questions families in our autism community face on a daily basis. We thank the Governor and Commissioner for proposing a Budget that includes funding for this unique and vital resource for families across New Jersey.” Read more>>


Autism CARES Act Passes Full Committee

June 17, 2014

Congressman Chris Smith pictured with Autism NJ Executive Director Dr.  Suzanne Buchanan and Board President Gino ValiantBipartisan Bill to Continue Funding and Programs Ready for House Floor

Bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and enhance federal programs for families affected by autism has cleared its last committee hurdle Tuesday and is ready for consideration by the full House of Representatives..

Authored by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) and now also called “Autism CARES Act”, HR 4631 authorizes $260 million years annually over five years for research into autism and urges federal agencies to examine and anticipate needs for children with autism who are “aging out” of current programs and need different assistance as adults. Read more>>


2014 Transition Conference Offered Essential Information

More than 200 attendees participated in Autism New Jersey's first conference focused exclusively on the transition to adulthood.

April 7, 2014

Presented by: Hinkle Fingles and Prior
Funding Generously Provided by a grant from Merck and Co.

Autism New Jersey’s first annual Transition Conference held on April 4, 2014 in Clark, NJ was a resounding success. More than 200 participants had 10 specialized workshops to choose from as well as time with expert exhibitors, all focused exclusively on the transition to adulthood. Parents, grandparents, and professionals shared how valuable the conference was to them. One participant shared, “The Transition Conference was well planned, affordable, and a day well spent. All of the information was so REAL!”

Transition is a critical time in the life of a person with autism, requiring careful planning on the parts of both caregivers and professionals. Navigating the changes from school to the adult service system is incredibly challenging. We thank our esteemed speakers for their presentations on a variety of legal, educational, vocational, social, and financial topics specifically addressing adolescence and the changes that come with the end of the high school years. Read More>>


Sen. Menendez Visits State of the Art Autism Research Lab

April 4, 2014

Senator Menendez, Gino Valiant, Dr. Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom, M.D.On the heels of a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which found 1 in 45 New Jersey children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), author of the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA), visited Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to see first-hand cutting edge research being done to identify causation and advance diagnosis and treatment of autism. Autism New Jersey leadership joined the Senator at the event.

“These new autism figures should be both a cause for alarm and a call for action,” said Senator Menendez. “We must redouble our efforts and secure the funding needed to not only ensure critical autism programs aren't shuttered but to increase our investment into cutting edge research – like the kind being done right here – and find new diagnostic tools, early intervention techniques, therapies and lifelong support and services for individuals with autism and their families.”

Autism New Jersey Board of Trustees President Gino Valiant thanked Menendez for leading the effort in the Senate to reauthorize the Combating Autism Act (CARA) and ensure continued federal support for autism research and services. Read more>>


Ocean County Freeholders Proclaim April as Autism Awareness Month

April 3, 2014

The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders have recognized April as Autism Awareness Month working with Autism New Jersey and other agencies in an effort to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum.

Pictured during a Autism Awareness Month proclamation presentation from the Board of Freeholders are (left to right) Dr. Suzanne Buchanan, Autism New Jersey Executive Director, Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari and Debbie Charette, Coordinator of Public Policy, Autism New Jersey.


Autism Advocates Speak on New CDC Data Showing N.J. has Highest Autism Rates at Congressman Chris Smith Press Conference

April 2, 2014

(Left to Right) SEARCH Day Program School Executive Director Kathy Solana, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, Autism NJ Executive Director Suzanne BuchananAutism New Jersey joined U.S. Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chair of the House Autism Caucus, educators, families, and advocates of the autism community yesterday to discuss newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing rocketing autism prevalence rates—1-in-68 across the United States and 1-in-45 in New Jersey.

The event, which included speakers: Autism New Jersey Executive Director Suzanne Buchanan; Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, Executive Director, Prevention First and member of the Monmouth County Human Services Advisory Commission; SEARCH Day Program school Executive Director Kathy Solana; longtime autism advocates Bobbie and Billy Gallagher of Brick Township, parents of two children with autism; POAC (Parents of Autistic Children, based in Brick NJ) Director of Program Development Simone Tellini; Jim Paone, Board Member of Autism NJ, and parent of a child with autism; Gino Valiant, Board President of Autism NJ, parent of child with autism. The speakers spoke of their appreciation of Smith’s support of the autism community, and the need to address the issue of thousands of children with autism becoming adults who are no longer for support services in the educational system. Gerald Theirs, Executive Director of ASAH, also participated. Read more>>

Additional coverage from this event:

Asbury Park Press: Autism advocates urge more funding: World Autism Awareness Day today; N.J. tops rate in nation
NJTV: Family of Autistic Teen Concerned for Future 


CDC Releases New Prevalence Rates

New report shows 1 in 68 have autism nationwide; 1 in 45 in New Jersey, the highest in the nation

March 27, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report showing 1 in 68 children nationally has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This newest estimate is based on the CDC's evaluation of health and educational records of all 8-year-old children in 2010 in 11 states, including New Jersey.  New Jersey has the highest rates, with 1 in 45, 1 in 28 boys. The national rate marks an increase of 30% from the previous 1 in 88 statistic.  Learn more>>


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