SOMERVILLE, NJ – A crowd of special people were joined by county and local officials yesterday to celebrate the importance of autism awareness and to recognize those people who care for family members on the autism spectrum.
Somerset County Freeholder Director Patricia L. Walsh, Freeholder Patrick Scaglione, Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano, municipal officials and the public gathered in the county administration building for the commemoration.
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that affects the social, communication and behavioral skills of those people affected by it.
Walsh noted that health professionals are becoming more proficient in diagnosing children on the autism spectrum and how lifetime treatment can lead to significantly improved lives.
“The more people know about autism, the more willing they will be to advocate for people who have been diagnosed, provide emotional support for parents and caregivers and support efforts to find its cause,” Walsh said.
“I am proud that here in Somerset County many programs are offered that bring people with special needs together, including programs at the Raritan Valley Community College Theatre and Planetarium, the Somerset County Library System, the Somerset County Park Commission, many organizations and agencies and our Office on Aging and Disability Services,” Walsh added.
The New Jersey organization FACES 4 Autism began this initiative in 2002. Originally planned as an outdoor celebration, inclement weather forced the event indoors. Blowing soap bubbles was to have been the highlight of the celebration, as bubbles are symbols of joy, hope and laughter that bring people together.
Participants were given bottles of bubbles to take home with them to share the initiative with family members.