The Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services (RCAAS) aims to be a national model, offering a mix of vocational and residential programs for adults with autism to work and live within a universal community.
An estimated 1 in 68 children nationally – and 1 in 21 in New Jersey – are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The RCAAS aims to address a gaping need for young adults with autism: Through high school, children with autism can get tutoring, mental health services, transportation and other resources to accommodate their needs. But, once they leave public school systems, services diminish greatly, leaving adults with little support outside of their families.
The center’s research will lead to creating a model for similar centers and training educated staff to work with adults with autism.
“Our aim is to make a difference in the lives of all adults with autism by creating a best-practices training program for students across all disciplines – business, medical, art – who work with adults with an autism spectrum disorder,” says Christopher Menente, the RCAA’s Executive Director.
The center has two phases – a $20 million facility for the workday program and a pilot residential program for 20 adults with autism who will work on campus and live alongside Rutgers graduate students in an apartment-style residence.
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