April is National Autism Awareness Month, and Autism New Jersey has named the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ) its designated “Ambassador Program” representative for the week of April 20-27.

“We are honored and enormously proud to receive this designation,” said ESNCJ Superintendent Mark J. Finkelstein.

“Our administrators, faculty, clinical therapists, consultants, aides and non-certified staff are to be commended for the leadership and expertise they provide on behalf of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” Mr. Finkelstein added.

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The ESCNJ offers comprehensive services to students ages 3-21 with Autism Spectrum Disorders at its Middlesex County schools and school districts statewide.

Autism New Jersey is the largest statewide network of parents and professionals working to “improve the lives of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”  The Ambassador Program, sponsored in part by the PSEG Foundation,  honors organizations and individuals for raising awaness about autism in schools, the workplace and local communities.

Mr. Finkelstein also noted the contributions of Academy Learning Center Principal Erik Solberg, Ph.D., BCBA-D, for his longtime service as an Autism New Jersey Trustee, including a term as its Vice President.

“Dr. Solberg’s years of voluntary service with Autism NJ have had a significant impact on our ability to be in the forefront in serving students with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” Mr. Finkelstein said.

Autism awareness will again be raised when the ESCNJ holds its 6th Annual Autism Awareness Swim & Play fundraiser from10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. April 28, at the Aquatics & Fitness Center, located in the Center for Lifelong Learning at 333 Cheesequake Road in Parlin.

Coordinated by ESCNJ Site Director Kate Dauphinee the event raised approximately $17,000 for Autism NJ last year, leading the state in fundraising efforts of this kind for the third year in a row.

Once again, the day will feature a swim-a-thon, with swimmers collecting pledges from sponsors based on the number of laps completed, and allow kids of all ages to participate in open swim in the activity pool, play games, and construct arts and crafts projects. To participate in this year’s Autism Awareness Swim & Play fundraiser, please contact Ms. Dauphinee at 732-317-0333 Ext. 7786 or kdauphinee@esckn.k12.nj.us.

The largest Educational Services Commission in the state, the ESCNJ operates nine schools for students with autism, multiple disabilities and behavior disorders, provides special education services to districts statewide, coordinates transportation services for over 10,0000 students, and manages a Co-op Pricing System with approximately 1,2000 members, the largest cooperative buying program in New Jersey.