Public Info

Autism Acceptance Returns With Music, Games, Crafts and Festivities to Union County

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, the Union County Board of County Commissioners and the Department of Human Services joyously announce the return of our annual Autism Acceptance Celebration. Residents are invited to enjoy music, games, and light refreshments at this free, outdoor event on Saturday, April 20th, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. in Mattano Park, located at 360-484 5th Avenue in Elizabeth. A rain date has been scheduled for April 27th, same time and location.

“As a parent and Chairwoman, I am devoted to strengthening the familial bonds of our community, which includes the family members who are on the Autism Spectrum. My primary objectives for this year are to develop more inclusive and sensory-friendly county parks, thereby establishing a safe and welcoming environment for all of our children to enjoy, including those with special needs,” said Union County Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “Join us this April in celebrating our families’ special superheroes and princesses. I hope to see you there.”

This exciting event will be filled with fun activities such as live DJ, games, and light refreshments. Children are encouraged to dress up in their favorite superhero costume! This is a free outdoor event, but pre-registration is required. To register, please call 908-527-4781 or visit

The Autism Acceptance Celebration of 2024 is brought to you by the Union County Board of County Commissioners, the Department of Human Services through the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs, and in collaboration with Prevention Links, Elizabeth Parent Support Group and Elizabeth Public Schools.

“The Commissioner Board and I are delighted to join hands with the Department of Human Services through the Office of Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs to celebrate this occasion. We understand that families coping with autism encounter exceptional challenges every day, and we want you to know that we are here to assist you and your loved ones in any way possible.,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, Liaison to the Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC). “While there is still much to discover about this neurological condition, together, we can work towards fostering an environment of understanding and acceptance through these fun community events.”

According to reports released in 2023 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), affects an estimated one in thirty-six children in the United States.  It is a neurobiological disorder characterized by impairments in social communication and interactions, with restricted and repetitive behavior patterns.

Autism Awareness Month was established to increase knowledge and awareness about this condition. In an effort to encourage inclusivity and promote a shift in society’s perception of individuals on the Autism Spectrum, the name was changed to Autism Acceptance Month in 2021. This change reflects a diplomatic approach to removing the stigma, raising awareness, and improving understanding of autism within our communities.

“Elizabeth Public Schools values and appreciates the many years of support that the Union County Board of County Commissioners has provided to our students and the entire Elizabeth community,” said Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer. “We are proud to work alongside the County Commissioners, the Union County Department of Human Services, Prevention Links, and the Elizabeth Parent Support Group in holding this event in our community to celebrate the unique personalities of our youth affected by autism. We will continue to support them and their families at this event and throughout the year to help ensure they feel included, valued, and empowered to reach their full potential.”

The Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs was established in 2018 by the Department of Human Services. The Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs hosts various special events and programs at several Union County facilities.

For more information about the Autism Acceptance Celebration or other events or programs hosted by the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs, please call Diana Calle at 908-527-4807 or visit