The Union County Board of County Commissioners, the Department of Human Services and the Office for Persons with Disabilities are pleased to announce that they will be hosting a series of events in recognition of Autism Acceptance Month during the month of April.
“Moving on from just an awareness month, Autism Acceptance Month is about recognizing that autism is not a disease or sickness, but a natural difference in neurology,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados. “I am proud to say that Union County is an inclusive community and events like these are a great example of our welcoming environment. I would like to encourage residents to connect with the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs to find out about other programs and activities that reflect our throughout the year, not just this month.”
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 five special events:
- Wear Blue Day on Friday, March 31, 2023, where Union County invites residents and employees to wear blue in recognition of Autism Acceptance Month.
- Autism Acceptance Celebration on Saturday, April 1st from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at Mattano Park, located 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 as well as other partners (pre-registration required at ucnj.org/opdsn-reg or call 908-527-4781 for more information. There will be a rain date of April 22nd at the same time and location.
- Light Up for Autism on April 2nd, where the County of Union will light the front of the Union County Courthouse in blue in recognition of the month. We also ask our residents to join in lighting up their homes in blue as well.
- Laurie Berkner Live! The Greatest Hits Solo Tour Sensory Friendly Performance on April 2 from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the UCPAC Main Stage, located at 1601 Irving Street in Rahway. The show will feature sensory friendly theater, music, and dance performances that are specially adapted for children and adults with autism and other sensory sensitivities.
- And a “Night Out with the Red Bulls” game on Saturday, April 15th, at 7:30pm, at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison. Tickets for the Red Bulls game are $35 and will include a $10 food voucher. Union County residents can purchase their tickets online through the Union County secure registration website, ucnj.org/opdsn-reg.
“The Union County Board of County Commissioners has long been a supporter of Elizabeth Public Schools, especially its students, as well as the greater Elizabeth community,” said Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the county commissioners as well as the Union County Department of Human Services, Union County Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs, and Prevention Links to help bring joy to our youth affected by autism. We look forward to participating and celebrating their unique personalities while showing our support to them and their families.”
The County Commissioner Board’s support for Autism Acceptance Month is organized through the Union County Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs. For more information, residents can reach out to Jasmine Doughty-Whitous, Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-527-4781.
“Every day, we have the pleasure of servicing the boys and girls of our autism program and watching them grow and develop important life skills as they continue to transition toward adulthood,” said Elizabeth Public Schools Director of Special Services Diana Pinto-Gomez. “Events like the Autism Acceptance Celebration are great opportunities for others to have the privilege we do to see just how wonderful and exceptional these young boys and girls truly are. “
The Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs is the first such office in New Jersey, established in 2018 in the Department of Human Services. The Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs hosts a variety of events and programs including special sessions at several Union County facilities.