Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – Studies show that New Jersey has the highest rate of autism in the entire country with one out of every 41 children born today being diagnosed with autism, according to Parents of Autistic Children of New Jersey (POAC).

To raise awareness and highlight the importance of autism education, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders will recognize the month of April as "Autism Awareness Month."

"As a lifelong educator, I have seen the difference early intervention can make and want to encourage all Ocean County residents to participate in our County's National Autism Awareness Month activities to become better educated about autism spectrum disorders," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "The Ocean County Office for Individuals with Disabilities is one of the resources available for informing the community on issues pertaining to this disorder.

Vicari noted that it's estimated more than 3.5 million individuals in the United States have autism.

"It's a priority that we take care of the frail, the elderly and the disabled," Vicari said. "Highlighting this developmental disability provides important information that can help families and caregivers of children that have autism spectrum disorder."

The Centers for Disease Control states that people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often have problems with social, emotional and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Research shows that early intervention services can greatly improve a child's development, even though there is no cure for ASD.

Events will be taking place throughout the month to highlight Autism Awareness.

The Ocean County Library's Cultural Awareness Team, in partnership with POAC Autism Services, invites families and caregivers to meet autism-related organizations, practices, and experts at an Autism Resource Fair scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 1at the main branch of the library, Washington Street, here.

POAC is hosting "Walk for a Difference" scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. on April 23 at First Energy Park in Lakewood.

For more information on the walk visit www.poacwalk.org or call 732-785-1099.

Information on autism can be accessed by visiting https://www.autismnj.org/ or https://www.autismspeaks.org/ or https://childmind.org/topics/disorders/autism-spectrum-disorder/ for autism in children.

"I encourage everyone to tap into the resources available," Vicari said.

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