Apr 12, 2023 Children’s Specialized Hospital Recognizes Autism Acceptance Month to Foster Change and Inclusivity for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Community Programming is Available Throughout the Year to Support Children and Families Across the State

New Brunswick, NJ (April 13, 2023) – Children’s Specialized Hospital, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is joining experts and advocates to continue to call for the shift from “Awareness” to “Acceptance” this April during Autism Acceptance Month to foster change and inclusivity for the 1 in 35 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in New Jersey.

The shift to Autism Acceptance Month aims to ignite change through improved support and opportunities in education, employment, affordable health care, comprehensive long-term services and more. Furthermore, it challenges non-autistic people to address their own implicit and explicit bias that they may have about autism.

Autism spectrum disorder or autism is a multi-faceted neurobiological disorder characterized by impairments in social communication and interaction as well as restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. Individuals with autism typically have difficulty interacting with others. This can include difficulty with building relationships, using language, regulating their emotions, and understanding others’ points of view.

“Acceptance is key in helping kids with autism reach their full potential,” said Malia Beckwith, MD, AVP of Ambulatory Medical Practices and Section Chief of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics at CSH. “Along with early diagnosis and intervention, access to appropriate services and support for both children and their families, acceptance can lead to significantly improved outcomes and social interactions. In addition to our clinical services and therapies, Children’s Specialized Hospital is pleased to offer families in New Jersey support through community programming throughout the year.”

CSH serves a little under 10,000 children with ASD annually. Community programs from CSH are open to all families who care for a child with ASD or other special needs, and families can register for programs at rwjbh.org/cshautism. Upcoming programs, workshops and support groups include:

Managing Your Child’s Behavior: A Workshop for Parents- This parent workshop was developed by the child psychologists at CSH to help parents of children ages 2-10 years learn how to manage their behavior. Each seven-part course will cover: causes of misbehavior, setting limits and dealing with tantrums, managing sibling conflicts, developing and implementing behavioral systems, parent stress management, self-care, and developing a support system. Participants should attend ALL of the classes in the cycle to get the most out of this program. The course is $99, and registration is available through the links below.

  • Virtual courses with CSH Child Psychologist, Shoshana Isenberg (take place on Wednesdays from 7 - 8:30 pm):
    • May 24 – August 30
    • July 12 – October 25
    • September 6 – December 20
  • Virtual courses with CSH Child Psychologist, Charles Borgen (take place on Mondays from 6:30 – 8:30 pm):
    • April 17 – June 5
    • June 12 – July 24
    • August 7 – October 16
    • November 27 – January 29

Support Groups - Free support groups are held virtually over Zoom and are offered in English and Spanish. Registration is required and is available through the links below.

  • English:
    • Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 pm – Navigating the Journey: The Parent Panel- Network and engage in an interactive Q&A with other parents who are also caring for individuals with special health care needs for an empowering discussion for caregivers and advocates of individuals with special health care needs.
    • Thursday, May 11 at 10 am – Navigating the Journey: A Medical Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders - This session seeks to clarify Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and co-occurring diagnoses. The core symptoms of ASD, treatment options, and medications will also be explored.
    • Thursday, May 25 at 6:30 pm – Navigating the Journey: Ask the Therapists – Psychologist, Speech & Occupational Therapists - Join this interactive Q&A session with a panel of expert therapists. Get tips about managing behavior, improving communication, social skills, feeding, sensory diet, motor skills and general feedback about developmental milestones.
    • Thursday, July 20 at 6:30 pm – Support on the Journey: ABA Therapy Techniques - Participants will learn about using simple techniques of Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy in everyday situations.

  • Spanish:
    • Tuesday, April 18 at 6:30 pm – Navigating the Journey: Talleres virtuales de orientacion en el camino (charla de empoderamiento para cuidadores y defensores de personas con necesidades especiales de atencion de la salud)
    • Tuesday, May 2 at 6:30 pm – Navigating the Journey: Una Descripcion General del Trastorno del Espectro Autista
    • Thursday, May 18 at 6:30 pm – Navigating the Journey: Talleres virtuales de orientacion en el camino (consulte a los terapeutas – psicologos, terapeutas del habla y terapeutas ocupacionales)

Early diagnosis and intervention, coupled with a greater acceptance and awareness of autism, are key tools to help kids on the spectrum reach their full potential. For more information on the Children’s Specialized Hospital’s Autism Program please visit rwjbh.org/cshautism.

About Children’s Specialized Hospital
Children’s Specialized Hospital, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children and young adults from birth to 21 years of age facing special health care challenges – from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to a full scope of developmental, behavioral, and mental health concerns. At 14 different New Jersey locations, our pediatric specialists partner with families to make our many innovative therapies and medical treatments more personalized and effective so each child can reach their full potential.

Contact: Megan Granozio