When a child with autism grows up, they become an adult with autism.
While educational funding falls away at age 21, their need to practice the skills they’ve learned and take on new ones remains.
Approximately 50,000 individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) turn 18 each year in the United States—and at age 21, public resources for these individuals virtually disappear. They’re no longer eligible for state-funded education, and adult programs and services are few and far between. Without daily support, these young men and women can lose their acquired skills—from daily care habits like making their own lunch and getting dressed by themselves to crucial life skills like language.
That’s where REED Next comes in. Our latest endeavor is designed to support adults with autism ages 21 and older so that they can achieve greater independence and live a meaningful and fulfilling life. The year-round REED Next Day Program focuses on pre-vocational and vocational training, as well as volunteer and paid employment opportunities. Using the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), the program also emphasizes community integration, peer mentoring and assistance with daily life skills.
Operating on the Ramapo College campus and the NJSEA’s Meadowlands Environment Center, REED Next is approved by the State of New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).
“Being in a campus setting provides opportunities for our participants to go about their day alongside their peers. Our goal is to help each individual cultivate beneficial community connections, enjoy an active, engaged lifestyle, and live as a valued and respected member of society.”
-Kristina Iacovino, M.A., BCBA, REED’s Director of Adult Resources
As part of our ongoing strides to make the world a more inviting place for adults with autism, REED Next has launched Greens Do Good, the first social-enterprise hydroponic farm, in Hackensack, New Jersey. All Greens Do Good profits will support individuals with autism, and the project will also give adults with autism the opportunity to work alongside our farmers to plant, nurture and harvest high-quality produce.
The REED Next vision is simple: to change the lives of adults with autism so that they can achieve greater independence and become a vital part of their community. REED Next is there for life.