Matheny employees wore blue on April 25 to support National Autism Awareness Month and to learn more about the autism spectrum. Sandra Van Nest, LCSW, field supervisor in Matheny’s Community Services program, presented autism intervention materials and handouts and answered any questions staff members had about autism. As a developmental interventionist in New Jersey’s Early Intervention system, Van Nest often interacts with autistic children and their families in their homes.
The role of a developmental interventionist, Van Nest says, is, “to look at the overall development of a child with an eye for the cognitive development and social and emotional development. Children with autism,” she continues, “aren’t necessarily going to catch up by preschool or kindergarten, so we’re looking at long-term therapy for these kids.”
The autism awarness day at Matheny was coordinated by Joan Ray, RN, MA, COHN-S, Matheny employee health coordinator.