We developed the current NJACE to address the complex and unique features of ASD by promoting increased communication and collaboration amongst autism researchers, educators, practitioners, and autistic individuals and their families to (a) improve our understanding of and ability to diagnose and treat ASD, (b) decrease service disparities, and (c) improve health outcomes for all New Jersey individuals and families affected by ASD. The NJACE has three contributing organizations, Children’s Specialized Hospital, Rutgers University Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services, and Autism New Jersey, as well as many individual researchers, practitioners, and stakeholders from across the state of New Jersey. 


Children’s Specialized Hospital

Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH), with 15 locations throughout NJ, is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care to children with special health needs. As a part of the RWJ Barnabas Health system, CSH is the largest provider of services for children and adolescents with ASD in the geographic region, providing a wide array of diagnostic,Children's Specialized Hospital Logo therapeutic and recreation programs for children and teens with ASD including primary care services within a medical home model. Almost 10,000 individuals with ASD were patients at CSH in 2022 with 2,072 being newly diagnosed in 2022. CSH values a family-center approach to care with an emphasis on early detection and treatment. CSH autism research includes focus on development of screening tools for underserved communities, medication studies, research on how ASD impacts brain functions, and studies on the genetic causes of ASD, as well as multiple clinical trials and a distinguished lecture series. CSH education activities include a 3 year Developmental Pediatric Fellowship in collaboration with Rutgers, a 1 year Developmental Nursing Fellowship, a 2 year Pediatric Rehabilitation Fellowship, and various postdoctoral research fellowships. 


RUCARES at the Rutgers Brian Health Institute

The Rutgers University Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services (RUCARES) at the Brain Health Institute (BHI) was developed to improved communication and collaboration between autism researchers, clinicians, and educators across Rutgers University and CSH (e.g., initiating the RUCARES Advisory Board and the Neurodevelopment Focused Area Workgroup) and (b) developed needed programs not currently available at Rutgers or CSHLogo of Rutgers University (e.g., initiating the Severe Behavior Program, the RUCARES Annual Autism Conference, and the Early Intervention Research Program). Since 2020, RUCARES has grown steadily. It has four NIH grants and one Autism Speaks grant generating over $13 million in total research revenue. CSH-RUCARES, the clinical arm of RUCARES, has generated more than $2.5 million in revenue and has grown to include more than 30 faculty, staff, and trainees. Additionally, faculty and staff at RUCARES have produced 65 peer-reviewed publications in the 3 years that RUCARES has been open, with many more in preparation. The clinical programs produce excellent outcomes (e.g., a mean reduction of 96% in severe problem behavior at the end of treatment in comparison to baseline). 


Autism New Jersey

Autism New Jersey is a nonprofit agency committed to ensuring safe and fulfilling lives for individuals with autism, their families, and the professionals who support them. Through information sharing, clinical expertise, public policy initiatives, awareness, and a commitment to science-based intervention, Autism New Jersey serves as a collective and influential voice for the community and systematically and compassionately improves the lives of individuals with autism every day.