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As a result of improved health care and a greater understanding of needs, individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities are living longer. However, with just two percent of autism research focused on seniorhood, many families are left facing an uncertain future as their loved one ages. In an effort to provide stability and security for both older individuals and their families, Eden Autism is launching one of the first programs in the state designed to address the needs of aging adults with autism: the opening of Schalks Crossing, Eden’s day center for adults who are transitioning to retirement age, are ready for retirement, or have significant medical needs.
Located in the heart of Plainsboro, New Jersey, Schalks Crossing will occupy premium placement in Plainsboro Plaza, home to over thirty-five shops and restaurants within walking distance for the community and staff. Schalks Crossing will open with twenty-eight individuals, and the center allows for expansion of up to forty.
Since its founding, Eden Autism has provided a range of community-based services to meet specific needs throughout the lifespan. The opening of Schalks Crossing will allow Eden to continue that mission by addressing the unique needs of an aging participant population. As individuals age out of the workforce, employment is no longer at the forefront of their daily routine. Unlike Eden’s other adult service programs that primarily focus on employment skills, the new day center will help older individuals learn skills that will keep them engaged, fulfilled, and active. Arts and crafts, exercise, computer skills, and cooking are among the activities of daily living that will be emphasized in the programming. Nursing services, speech therapy, and clinical support will also be available at Schalks Crossing, and all programming will be based in Applied Behavior Analysis.