Autism in the News

Children's Specialized Hospital
Autism Center of Excellence


May 24, 2023 - ‘Always loved the water’: Hillsborough teen with autism thrives on high school swim team

Children’s Specialized Hospital patient Tommy Marcketta is at home in the water. Always has been, even as a baby, said his mother Elizabeth Marcketta of her 15-year-old Hillsborough High School freshman. Tommy, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at age 7, works hard at improving as a

swimmer. Read more.

May 13, 2023 – How a Child’s Brain Thinks

Dr. Tara Matthews, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Children’s Specialized Hospital, shares some thoughts on Tommy Marcketta’s journey and provides information on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Read more.

April 19, 2023 - This Hospital is Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month with Workshops and Programs

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. Read more.


October 25, 2022 - NJ Children's Specialized Hospital Launches New Online Center for People with Disabilities

Children’s Specialized Hospital officials reported today that part of the Children’s

Health Network at RWJBarnabas Health is launching the Living Safely Online Center for Safety. Officials say the site is a new website designed to advance safety education and injury prevention for people with disabilities. Read more.

October 21, 2022 – Hospital Communities Helped This Family Navigate a New Diagnosis

When Anthony Victoria-Garcia was about a year old, he had a few words in his vocabulary, but in general, this development was delayed. His mother, Yaquelin Garcia, was growing concerned. Her primary care provider was not worried but referred them to a hearing and speech specialist. Then in December 2020, Anthony was diagnosed with autism. Read more.


July 29, 2021 – 4 Big Myths about Pandemic Learning Loss, Debunked

The past year-plus was like no other in schools across the United States, and experts are just starting to get a handle on the academic toll the rollercoaster of COVID-19 disruptions took on kids. A recent New York Times report suggests, for example, that most children in this country are behind in reading and math – by about four to five months, on average – and within that, there are significant racial and economic disparities. Read more.

July 21, 2021 – Challenges for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder on Return to in-person Learning

Dr. Malia Beckwith, Section Chief for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Children’s Specialized Hospital, explained that a core part of autism spectrum disorder is repetitive behavior, which was disrupted first by the switch to virtual learning last year. Read more.

April 27, 2021 – Children’s Specialized Hospital Launches Unique Programs addressing Severe Behavior and Severe Feeding Problems in Children with Autism

Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is proud to announce two new groundbreaking programs for children in New Jersey – the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program and the CSH RUCARES, Severe Behavior Program, located at a new facility on Easton Avenue in Somerset. Read more.

April 14, 2021 – Autism Acceptance Month: Creating a more inclusive future

Autism Awarenes Month has been celebrated every April since 1970, and the need for this recognition has never been more pressing – especially in New Jersey, where, according to the CDC, 1 in 32 children (3.1%) is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the highest rate in the nation. Read more.

April 13, 2021 – Shifting from Autism Awareness to Acceptance

Tara Matthews, MD, Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Children’s Specialized Hospital, explains the importance in shifting from Autism Awareness to Acceptance this April. Read more.

April 7, 2021 – 13-year-old passionate about push for autism acceptance

April has long been recognized as Autism Awareness Month, but this year, experts and advocates are calling for a shift to Autism Acceptance Month to foster change and inclusivity. Tommy Marcketta, 13, has autism. He was diagnosed just before his 8th birthday and he is ready to spread the word about accepting kids with autism. Read more.

April 1, 2021 – Jersey City Raises Blue Flag Over City Hall to Mark Start of Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month, which gives those on the spectrum and their families a chance to celebrate their differences. In honor of the month, Jersey City is flying a blue autism awareness flag high over city hall. Elizabeth Marcketta, whose 13-year-old son Tommy has autism, said it should be less about awareness and more about acceptance. Her son was only recently diagnosed by the staff at Children’s Specialized Hospital. Read more.


August 20, 2019 – Children’s Specialized’s CDID, Atentiv to co-develop collaborative care model

Millburn-based Children’s Specialized Hospital’s Center for Discovery, Innovation and Development (CDID) has signed an agreement with Atentiv LLC, a specialty service provider remediating executive dysfunction without medication. Read more.

August 14, 2019 – Children’s Specialized Hospital Address Adverse Childhood Experiences for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder thanks to $90,000 Grant from the Health care Foundation of New Jersey

The Health Care Foundation of New Jersey recently awarded Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation $90,000 in support of a new program at Children’s Specialized Hospital. The goal of this project, which is a partnership between Children’s Specialized Hospital and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is to identify and support children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Newark area who have faced adverse childhood experiences. Read more.

April 18, 2019 – Children’s Specialized Hospital ‘Lights it Up Blue’ for National Autism Awareness Month

April is National Autism Awareness Month and Children’s Specialized Hospital, New Jersey’s largest provider of services related to autism, is ‘Lighting it up Blue’ for the entire month to raise awareness and support for the growing number of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Read more.


April 27, 2018 – Federal Autism Study Shows New Jersey’s Rates on the Rise

New Jersey has significantly more children diagnosed with autism than other states – and rates are still on the rise. But experts agree, that while concerning, these numbers also reflect a high level of parental awareness, a concentration of skilled providers, strong system to document diagnoses, and robust network of community and school services to support families in need. Read more.

April 8, 2018 – Autism Awareness Month: Early interventions improves long term outcomes

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the prevalence of autism had risen to one in every 68 birth sin the United States. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently to varying degrees. Read more.

Patient Stories

  • “There are so many workshops, information resources, and people you can talk to at CSH,” said Katie. “The opportunities here are so valuable. CSH has done so much for our family; I never want Gracelyn to leave.”

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  • “I love ABA therapy! It helps to provide structure for AJ."

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  • We started looking into therapy services and discovered Children’s Specialized Hospital, and I’m so glad we did.

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