Union County, NJ – March 30, 2022 — In recognition of April as Autism Acceptance Month, the Union County Board of County Commissioners is hosting a series of inclusive events and programs, to help raise awareness and acceptance for those with autism living in Union County and throughout the world.
“The Commissioner Board recognizes the unique dignity and value of every individual who calls Union County home. We encourage all residents to learn more about autism spectrum disorder, to recognize the different strengths and challenges, and to include our friends, neighbors and family members with autism in community activities that foster health and well-being.”
“The rate of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is 1 in 44 children nationally and 1 in 35 in New Jersey,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, who is the Commissioner Board’s liaison to the Human Services Advisory Council. “Hosting events such as the ones during Autism Awareness Month are important all year round and that is why the County Commissioner Board kept in line with our vision on making sure all of our residents feel included by creating the first office in New Jersey for people with special needs. Ensuring all of our residents in the autism community, as well as their family and friends, are aware and have access to the services or programs they need is a top priority for us. I hope to see you all at these upcoming events and learn more information.”
Union County residents and visitors are encouraged to wear blue on Friday, April 1st, in recognition of Autism Acceptance Month.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by differences in sensory sensitivity, social skills and other behavior. There are many subtypes, and each person with autism can exhibit unique qualities.
Union County regularly hosts inclusive programs for children and adults with autism, through the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs in the Department of Human Services. The schedule for Autism Acceptance Month includes three special events:
April 2: Come to Union County’s World Autism Acceptance Celebration at Mattano Park, at 360-484 5th Avenue in Elizabeth. This free outdoor event is co-sponsored with the Elizabeth Board of Education of the City of Elizabeth and other partners (pre-registration required at ucnj.org/opdsn-reg or call 908-527-4781 for more information).
April 9: Soccer fans can enjoy “A Day Out with the Red Bulls.” Red Bulls Arena is known for creating inclusive spaces for fans of all ages and abilities. Union County is offering a limited number of tickets for persons with autism and their families at $30.00 each, which includes a food voucher at the venue worth $10.00 (order tickets online at ucnj.org/opdsn-reg).
April 24: Union County’s Sensory Friendly Theatre series will feature a live performance of “Pete the Cat” at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway. Tickets cost $8.00 per person and can be ordered online at ucpac.org, or call the Box Office at (732) 499-8226.
The Commissioner Board introduced Sensory Friendly Theatre in 2012, to help ensure that children with autism and other sensory sensitivities can enjoy the enriching experience of live performances in a welcoming, judgement-free environment. The series has continued every year since then except for a hiatus related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
For more information about all special needs programs and events hosted by the Commissioner Board, visit the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs online at ucnj.org/dhs/office-for-persons-with-disabilities-and-special-needs or call 908-527-4807.
For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
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