Rutgers Unveils Plans for “Groundbreaking” Adult Autism Center


NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — A first-of-its-kind center for adults with autism is slated to take root on Douglass Campus, where the closed Corwin houses now stand, according to a Rutgers University official.

Frank Wong, the school’s executive director of facilities, planning and development, introduced general plans for the Adult Autism Center last night, July 10, at the New Brunswick Planning Board meeting.

“It’s hoped that this will become the model for other universities,” Wong said of the project.

Sign Up for E-News

The first of the development’s two phases would result in a 12,500-square-foot, one-story building to be used by a program that provides vocational training for adults with autism, Wong said. That structure would include a large meeting area, staff offices and support space, he said.

Rutgers hopes for the facility to begin serving 50 to 60 individuals by late 2018, he said.

The second phase would usher in the construction of a neighboring residence hall that would house 20 adults with autism and graduate students who serve as mentors, Wong said. While those plans aren’t yet concrete, the building could house two-, three- and four-bedroom suites, he said.

The project would take up an area off Nichol Avenue, between Recreation Park and Dudley Road. It would encompass two “horseshoe” streets near the old Corwin dorms at Douglass College, the Little Theater and the Corwin Lodge. It’s also near a treatment plant owned by the New Brunswick Water Utility.

For years, the residential Corwin homes have been shuttered, with boards on their windows, Wong said. Demolition could begin later this year, depending on funding—though the Little Theater and the Corwin Lodge will remain.

“This project will actually clean up what has become a rather derelict area,” he added, “and is an improvement to the neighborhood and to the campus.”

But perhaps the most striking attribute of the endeavor is what it could do for people with autism in New Jersey and beyond.

As many as one in every 41 children in the state fall somewhere on the autism spectrum, according to the advocacy group Autism New Jersey. Nationally, the prevalence rate is one in 68, according to the organization.

Schools typically provide many services to individuals with autism until they turn 21, when they age out of the system, according to experts. Roughly 500,000 people with autism are expected to transition to adulthood over the next decade, Wong said.

Rutgers’ coming autism center is meant to help those adults get training and ultimately work jobs around campus, Wong said. That could include arranging books, sorting mail or working in dining halls, he said.

Graduate psychology students, meanwhile, would receive college credits for helping these clients work and navigate the bus system. Eventually, when the residence hall opens, grad students might also help adults with autism live there independently, Wong said.

In the early stages of the project, the day center would mostly serve as a home base for adults with autism, who would be dropped off there in the morning and picked up from that point after work, Wong said. They would spend their workdays across Rutgers.

When the residence hall goes up, the day center—with a kitchen, living room and game area—would “become sort of an extension of their living environment,” Wong noted.

“I think it’s a wonderful project, certainly,” Planning Board member John Petrolino said.

Rutgers officials have visited projects designed for people with autism on other campuses, but they have yet to find any arrangement that matches the scope of this one, Wong said.

“We believe it will be the first of its kind,” he said.

Rutgers came before the Planning Board only to present the project in terms of how it jibes with the master plan. The university didn’t offer up a full site plan.

For its part, the board recommended that the proposal does indeed align with the master plans of the city and Rutgers.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Tue, March 20, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper



Wed, March 21, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy's 4th Annual Spring Splendor ...


Wed, March 21, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper


Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Registration is Now Open for Horse Care Workshop Beginning 3/31

March 19, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable is offering Horse Care Workshop 101 for adults and youth seeking to gain experience and confidence around horses through a combination of non-riding activities and hands-on practice.

Horse Care Workshop 101 will be held at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ beginning Saturday March ...


March 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Despite her rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, failed Wednesday to deliver on her promise to make schools safer for our children.

The two-term congressperson was one of only 10 representatives that voted “nay” Wednesday afternoon on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a ...

Former Rumson High School Student, 19, Arrested Possessing MSR-15 Patrol Rifle, Silencer, Explosive Chemicals

March 19, 2018

MONMOUTH, N.J. -  A former Rumson high school student was arrested in Ithaca New York. Maximilien R. Reynolds, 19, was charged with Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device/Silencer, False Statement in Acquisition of a Firearm and False Statement in Required Firearm Record. Specifically, he is alleged to have possessed an MSR-15 Patrol Rifle, 300 rounds ...

La tienda de comestibles Canela de Plainfield acogerá el evento de la tienda Healthy Corner

March 19, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - EZ Ride y la ciudad de Plainfield se han asociado una vez más con Canela Grocery and Deli para organizar un evento gratuito para los residentes que ofrece muestras gratis de bocadillos saludables, cupones, una rifa saludable de canastas e información nutricional. Atlantic Health también estará en el evento con una unidad móvil para proporcionar ...

Celebrando el Mes de la Historia de la Mujer

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Estimados Plainfield,

Yo fui criado por dos mujeres poderosas e generosas, y me pasaron principios y valores que me han guiado durante mi vida entera. Mi mama persiguió la oportunidad y busco una manera de proveer para su familia. Ella dejo la isla de Barbados para poder trabajar en los hogares de los Estados Unidos, creando e allanando un camino para que sus hijos lo ...

Innovador Plainfield

Estimados Plainfield,


El crecimiento requiere evolución, la evolución implica cambio, y el cambio conduce a la innovación. Plainfield está evolucionando. Nos estamos adaptando para cumplir con los requisitos del renacimiento que está formando el futuro. No podemos esperar cambio positivo y sostenible si continuamos con el mismo ritmo de las ...

Distrito escolar de Plainfield anuncia ganadores de Feria de las Ciencias

PLAINFIELD, NJ - La Oficina de Tecnología, Ciencias e Instrucción de las Escuelas Públicas de Plainfield anunció a los ganadores de la Feria de Ciencias 2018, en una recepción celebrada el jueves 1 de marzo de 2018 en la Escuela Primaria Clinton.

Veintiocho de los 178 estudiantes en grados 4-12 recibieron los máximos honores después de presentar ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...