The US has the highest rate of autism in the world. In particular, New Jersey has the highest rate of autism in the nation. However, due to this high rate, NJ also has some of the best resources for those on the autism spectrum. For example, LifeTown in Livingston prepares those with special needs for independent living.
As part of the One-on-One with Steve Adubato show, show host Adubato often highlights special needs services. In this episode, he visits LifeTown to learn how the facility prepares special needs learners for independent living. In short, their overall goal is to offer real-world scenarios in a safe and fun environment.
The Facts of LifeTown
LifeTown is the first of its kind in the region. Their recreational, therapeutic, and educational centers cater to the needs of all children, teens, and even adults. The focal point of the “town” is its “Life Village,” a simulated Main Street. This helps to empower children and teens to work toward reaching their individual potential.
To discuss the idea behind LifeTown, Adubato spoke with Rabbi Zalman and Toba Grossbaum. The Grossbaums are a husband and wife team who serve as joint CEO of Friendship Circle. This organization is the facilitator behind LifeTown, and is a primary resource for families with special needs children.
During the discussion, Rabbi Grossbaum explains how Essex County has the highest rate of autism in the state.
“So this really puts [LifeTown] in the epicenter,” he says.
“We really wanted to give these children an opportunity to have what they really need… These young individuals, they need everything to be perfect for them, so that they really feel at home and at ease, and they can learn those skills that they need,” Toba adds.
This includes making the gym echo-proof to benefit those who have sensory issues or sensitivity at other gyms.
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Feature (Top) Image: © One-on-One with Steve Adubato / Caucus Educational Corporation