Autism Awareness and Acceptance: Parents Of Children with Autism (POAC.org) · Oasis Farms Adult Autism Services · Autism New Jersey.org
Medical Info · NJ Dept. Human Services · Helpline: 1-800 4-AUTISM (428-8476) · Donate
New Jersey has the highest rate of autism in the nation: 1 in 34 children, or 3% of 8-year-old children. But Dr. Walter Zahorodny of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School suggests that it is more likely the result of more people knowing enough about autism to get to the correct diagnosis sooner; that is, that “other states could be underestimating the(ir) rate of autism.”
Known risk factors for autism are premature birth, low birth weight, and giving birth to multiples. In addition, New Jersey has a much higher rate of births to women over the age of 35.
Autism is short for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a neurobiological disorder characterized by impairments in social communication and interaction as well as restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. Individuals with autism have difficulty interacting with others: building relationships, using language, regulating their emotions, and understanding the point of view.
Children with autism might not respond to their name by 12 months of age; point at objects to show interest by 14 months; or play pretend (such as feeding a doll) by 18 months. Additionally, they may:
– Avoid eye contact
– Have trouble expressing their feelings or understanding those of others
– Excessively repeat words or phrases (echolalia)
– Become very upset by minor changes
– Have obsessive interests
– Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
– Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
The term “spectrum” highlights how the specific social and behavioral challenges vary for each individual–and sometimes across each person’s lifetime. Some have challenges that significantly impair their daily activities and require constant supervision to stay safe; others have few noticeable impairments. Those affected by autism may exhibit many highs and lows in their abilities — for example, they may have a remarkable memory but be unable to ask for help.
To report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability, call 800.832.9173 or complete this online form.