News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Doug Singleterry, Commissioner Deputy Director
Sara Sooy, Commissioner Ÿ Melonie Marano, Commissioner Ÿ Paul Drake, Commissioner
For Immediate Release
April 18, 2023
Contact Nathan Rudy at (908) 635-8401 for more information.
Somerset County Proclaims April as Autism Acceptance Month
Commissioners Urge All Citizens to Learn More About Autism and Its Impact on Individuals, Families, and Communities During April 2023
SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerset County Board of Commissioners have proclaimed April 2023 to be Autism Acceptance Month. As part of the announcement, the Commissioners encourage all residents of the county to take advantage of public resources such as the County’s Project Lifesaver that can help people diagnosed with autism live to their fullest in Somerset County.
“One in every 36 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism, each with a distinct set of strengths and challenges that impact not just the person, but their family, friends, coworkers, and communities,” said Commissioner Paul Drake, liaison to Human Services. “Somerset County is committed to providing resources that assist people with Autism as they live and work in our communities, and that build acceptance and understanding of the condition throughout the County.”
Autism is a developmental disability that begins before the age of three and lasts throughout a person’s life. Because people with autism can often have difficulties in social situations, including more than a quarter who are minimally- or non-verbal, autism spectrum disorder causes significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
Somerset County’s Project Lifesaver is a free and voluntary emergency-locating program for residents who suffer from types of dementia, autism and other disabilities that put them at risk of wandering. Individuals are provided with a free bracelet with a radio transmitter that sends a signal once every second throughout the day and can be read for up to a mile. When a caregiver calls to report a missing person in the Project Lifesaver program, the Sheriff’s K-9 Search and Rescue Unit mobilizes to find the person and provide assistance to bring them back home.
“Our K-9 Unit is proud to be a part of Project Lifesaver, and is ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week whenever one of our users is lost or has wandered off,” said Sheriff Darrin Russo. “I encourage anyone who is a caretaker for someone with dementia, autism, or other disability that may cause them to become lost or confused to sign up for Project Lifesaver as soon as possible.”
Project Lifesaver is a national program provided by a partnership of the Sheriff’s Office, the Office on Aging and Disability Services and the Somerset County Board of Commissioners. More information on Project Lifesaver can be found at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/human-services/aging-disability-services/project-lifesaver or by calling a Office on Aging & Disability Services Specialist, call 908-704-6346 or toll-free at 888-747-1122.
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