First Lady Mary Pat Christie Announces 500 Book Donation to Developmental Learning Center in Warren as Part of National Summer Reading Initiative

  • Thursday, May 19, 2011
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Visits School to Promote Autism Awareness

Trenton, NJ – First Lady Mary Pat Christie, a 2011 Scholastic Reading Ambassador, announced today a 500 book donation to the Developmental Learning Center (DLC) in Warren as part of Scholastic’s Summer Reading Challenge. Last year, the spouses of 42 Governors participated in the Summer Reading Challenge, resulting in children from around the country reading for more than 52 million minutes. In conjunction with her announcement and continuing her focus on autism awareness, Mrs. Christie also toured the Center to see how the its programs are providing critical life skills to students with autism and autism-related disorders.

“The Developmental Learning Center is an amazing place that is making a positive difference for many New Jersey families who are facing the challenges of autism. I applaud the work that Dr. Coleman and his staff are doing to instill students with confidence and independence as well as providing them opportunities to lead productive and fulfilling lives. Students at the Center are learning important life and social skills that extend beyond the classroom – skills many often take for granted like ordering from a menu or reading a book,” said Mrs. Christie.

“Because reading is such an integral life skill, I am delighted that Developmental Learning Center will be receiving 500 books from Scholastic to further encourage the learning process, support literacy and provide greater access to reading materials for their students.”

DLC is one of three campuses operated by the Morris-Union Jointure Commission. Using the principles of applied behavior analysis, students follow individualized educational plans developed by their local child study team, DLC staff and parents.

The Center enrolls students between the ages of 3-21 years of age for instructional programs for full-day pre-school (ages 3-5), primary/intermediate students (ages 6-13) and secondary students (ages 14-21). A variety of learning environments are used to encourage development of independent living skills, including a model apartment, greenhouse, bank, barbershop, hardware and grocery store and even a 50’s styled diner.

Autism awareness is an advocacy area being embraced by First Lady Mary Pat Christie to bring greater understanding of the developmental disability. A reported 1 in 94 New Jersey children is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – one of the highest prevalence rates in the nation. Autism is a spectrum of disorders that is complex and lifelong. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nationwide, it is estimated that autism occurs in 1 out of every 110 births.

During Autism Awareness Month in April, First Lady Mary Pat Christie highlighted innovative work being done by organizations throughout the state to serve people with autism spectrum disorder, including the EPIC School in Paramus, the Woodrow Wilson Middle School coffee shop in Edison, and the P.R.I.D.E. Center in Chatham. In addition, she joined the Commissioners of the Departments of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and Human Services (DHS) at Children's Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick to unveil two new State resources, Autism, Navigating through the Maze and its accompanying website, to assist families faced with the diagnosis of autism.

Press Contact:
Kevin Roberts
609-777-2600
Michael Drewniak

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