Autism has a growing importance in the United States, with 1 in 68 having an autism diagnosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2014 report. Parents raising children with autism are faced with unique challenges, such as getting their children appropriate services. Finding adequate after school care and opportunities for social interaction are two important challenges.
Autism in New Jersey
In N.J., 1 in every 45 individuals has an autism diagnosis, the highest number in the U.S. For families of an individual with autism, there is a high demand for appropriate services. Autism Family Services of New Jersey (AFSNJ) in Trenton provides family support services to the autism population, to help fill that demand. AFSNJ, an affiliate of The Family Resource Network (FRN) *** provides individuals with autism and their families with services like after school care, Saturday recreation and various trainings. Additionally, AFSNJ hosts the Annual Beach Bash, for NJ individuals and their families living with autism spectrum disorders, to the Belmar beach every year.
The Beach Bash, the largest gathering of autism families in NJ, is a free event held every September in Belmar, and features a DJ, arts and crafts booth, informational vendors, lunch, beach games and the popular free surf camp offered by Surfer’s Healing. The event also provides families with an opportunity to network.
AFSNJ relies on contributions from supporters to keep the Beach Bash free and recommends a one-time or recurring monthly donation.