Health & Wellness

Loving Mother Thankful for Support During National Autism Awareness Month

4a537a5a8d5f2da666e5_CAU_natl_Autism_Aware_Mo_1.JPG
Christopher Rodriguez, a person on the Autism spectrum, works with his behaviorist, Schlier Langhorn (right), during National Autism Awareness Month as his mother, Rosemaria, looks on.
8b2f159ff5fc333c9f8c_CAU_Natl_Autism_Aware_Mo_2.JPG
Christopher and Rosemaria pose with Langhorn and Jennifer Lebowitz of Community Access Unlimited.
4a537a5a8d5f2da666e5_CAU_natl_Autism_Aware_Mo_1.JPG

ELIZABETH, NJ - Christopher Rodriguez sat at his dining room table pointing to images to explain what food he wanted from Schlier Langhorn, while his mother, Rosemaria Rodriguez, watched and his Australian Shepherd sat beside him hoping for a treat.

Each time Christopher, who is on the Autistic spectrum in addition to being epileptic, completed the exercise, Rodriguez beamed in delight. She has seen her son make this simple gesture hundreds of times in the last few months yet remains thrilled each time he does so again.

"I would do anything for my children," said the mother of three.

Sign Up for E-News

Last year anything entailed quitting her job to stay home with Christopher after he was abused at a day program and came away with a fractured femur.

"It took me a long time to allow someone to come in but I'm glad I did," Rodriguez said. "They are great. He didn't even have a behavior plan before and now he is communicating."

"They" are Langhorn, a registered behavior technician, and Jennifer Lebowitz, a board certified behavior analyst, from Community Access Unlimited (CAU), which was recommended to Rosemaria by her state support coordinator. Langhorn and Lebowitz began working with Christopher in November.

"When we first began working with Chris he had limited means of communicating even basic wants and needs to his mother and other family members," Lebowitz said. "He would engage in aggressive behavior as a form of communicating when he wanted something and/or when he was in distress."

Christopher has learned to communicate using pictures to express his requests. With some guidance from Langhorn and his mother, he has learned to redirect himself to his room, his safe space, when he becomes agitated. The behaviorists provided the family with a weighted blanket that Christopher uses to self-soothe.

"Chris’s problem behaviors have deescalated to the point where we are now able to discuss taking him out into the community and working on his community integration skills," Lebowitz said.

April is National Autism Awareness Month, which this year is dedicated to not only raising awareness about Autism but also "encouraging friends and collaborators to become partners in the movement toward acceptance and appreciation," according to the Autism Society. Christopher's progress is a result of just that kind of teamwork, according to Langhorn.

"I feel like we're a team," she said. "Rodriguez is receptive to coaching and suggestions and she sticks to the system. When I'm not in the home I know she's practicing with him because when I come back I can see he's made progress."

"My long-term goal is for him to be more independent," Rodriguez said. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to put him back in a day program but we'll see."

"It's a day-by-day process," Langhorn said. "I never want to give up on Christopher. He may not go as far as the average person but he can do a lot on his own."

"I'm very happy," Rodriguez added.

Community Access Unlimited (CAU) is a statewide Union County-based nonprofit providing support programs and services to adults with disabilities as well as at-risk youth to enable them to live independently in the community, providing support in areas including housing, vocational skills, and life-skills training, education, advocacy, and recreation.

Celebrating its 39th year, they support people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community. CAU provides support and gives voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little support and no voice in society. They help people with housing, life skills, employment, money management, socialization and civic activities.

For more information about CAU and its services, contact them by phone at 908-354-3040, online at www.caunj.org or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Roselle/Roselle Park

Upcoming Events

Sat, April 21, 6:00 PM

Linden Public Library, Linden

Friends of Linden Library annual book sale

Arts & Entertainment Other

Sat, April 28, 7:00 PM

Hilton Garden Inn, Springfield Township

YP Honors: The Royal Ball 2018

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Giving Back Other

Sun, April 29, 3:30 PM

Codey Arena, West Orange

Girls Try Hockey Free Clinic

Sports

Wastewater Sewerage Treatment Plant seeking a Temporary Skilled Laborer

April 20, 2018

ROSELLE/LINDEN, NJ - The Roselle/Linden Wastewater Sewerage Treatment Plant is seeking a Temporary Skilled Laborer.

Position preference is given to residents of Linden and Roselle. Application and description for this position is available online at www.lrsanj.org. 

E-mail your application to: dbrown@lrsanj.org or mail to LRSA, P.O. Box 4118, Linden, NJ  07036, ...

Washington School to Hold “My School Color Run” Fundraiser Event

ROSELLE, NJ - The Washington School will be holding the towns first ever Color Run as a fundraiser for the schools Drama Club.

The event presented by Mayor Dansereau, Borough Council, Dept. of Recreation, Roselle Board fo Education, and Washington School, hopes to raise enough money to take the students to Broadway to see the Lion King. The money will also help with ...

Register Now for the Roselle Summer Fun Camp

ROSELLE, NJ - Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 Roselle Summer Fun Camp by the Roselle Department of Recreation. 

Applications are available at Roselle Borough Hall, 210 Chestnut St., from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or you can register online at www.boroughofroselle.com.

Onsite in-person registration will be available at the Anthony Amalfe Community Center, 1268 Shaffer Ave., ...

Countywide Free Scrap Metal Recycling Event to be Held in Rahway and Cranford

UNION COUNTY, NJ - A free Countywide scrap metal recycling event is scheduled to be held on Saturday, April 21 in Rahway and Cranford.  

A wide variety of metal goods, from household appliances to gutters and sheds, are included in the program.

“This countywide program helps to fill a service gap in some Union County municipalities that currently have no pickup for scrap ...

Elizabeth Man Sentenced to Eight Years for Distributing Child Pornography on Internet

April 20, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - An Elizabeth man has been sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted for using file-sharing software to share child pornography from his computer devices, which contained approximately 2,900 images and videos of child pornography.  

Jerrel D. Harris, 32, of Elizabeth was sentenced to eight years in state prison, including five years of parole ...

Nightmare Commute for Raritan Valley Line Commuters Monday

April 17, 2018

UNION COUNTY, NJ -- Raritan Valley Line commuters spent more than three hours trying to make their way home from New York City on Monday following the breakdown of a train near Union Station during rush hour.

At 9:47 p.m., NJT tweeted:

Raritan Valley Line westbound train service is operating on or close to schedule following an earlier disabled NJ Transit train near Union ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

Union County College’s Drama Club to Present “12 Angry Jurors”

April 20, 2018

CRANFORD – Union County College’s Drama Club will be performing for their spring show the play, “12 Angry Jurors,” as adapted by Sherman L. Sergel and based on the Emmy award-winning television movie by Reginald Rose. The play is based on the same plot as “12 Twelve Angry Men,” but by being named “12 Angry Jurors” both men and women appear in the ...

Good Gum Health = Good Whole-Body Health

If you are battling gum disease, gingivitis or periodontitis – you are not alone. Come join us at Roselle Park Dental in the fight against gum disease!

Inflammation caused by this disease puts patients at a greater risk of stroke, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Gum disease can also worsen conditions such as COPD and may play a role in the contraction of pneumonia, bronchitis, and ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...