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DHS Officials Visit to Baker’s Treat to Showcase Training and Support Options for People with Autism
FLEMINGTON- The Department of Human Services today highlighted disability employment and adult transition services in a visit to Baker's Treat, a Café and Bakery operated by a non-profit service provider, Ability 2 Work, in Flemington. Ability 2 Work provides on the job training for about 40 individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities.“Working in a community business, such as Baker’s Treat, which offers training and support, creates an environment where trainees begin experiencing the sense of accomplishment that employment provides,” said Department of Human Services’ Deputy Commissioner Dawn Apgar. “The trainees gain personal experience and expertise from interacting with each other as well as the customers; and, the customers benefit and learn from their interactions with people on the  autism spectrum.”
Ability 2 Work is just one example of the variety of services and supports offered to people with autism and other developmental disabilities in New Jersey.  These services are vital, particularly as young adults graduate from high school and transition into adult life.
“We wanted our son to be able to participate in meaningful ways in his communityand have his participation be valued,” said Ability 2 Work CEO Karen Monroy. “His life should not be limited because of his autism.Many other parents felt the same way.”
After her son’s graduation in 2013, Ms. Monroy and her husband, who live in Raritan Township, formed Ability 2 Work and opened the doors of Baker’s Treat in November  2013.
 “We value the contribution of each person,” said Monroy. “We have created a place that focuses on what they can do—and built on that. My dream is that my son can live in the world and that the world will make him feel welcome,” added Monroy.
Deputy Commissioner Apgar oversees DHS’ Division of Developmental Disabilities, which provides funding for community-based services and supports for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Included in the Governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 is $102 million to support community based-services.
The Division also includes the Office on Autism (OOA), which provides a centralized place to address issues associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder and works with other state agencies to develop plans of service coordination for persons with ASD. 
The state departments of Human Services, Children and Families, Community Affairs (Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency), Education, Labor and Workforce Development and Health developed:Through the Maze: A Family Guide to Navigating the New Jersey Service Systems for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other Developmental Disabilities.  This often-updated guide provides information about New Jersey’s system of programs and services for individuals with Autism. 
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