Thursday, September 30, 2021 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM EDT
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St. Andrew UMC 
1528 Church Road
Toms River, NJ 08755

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POAC Autism Services 

Hidden Dangers - Keeping Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities Safe 

About the Workshop
  • Children with special needs are seven times more likely to have contact with law enforcement than their typically developing peers. 
  • 49% of children with autism wander or elope. 
  •  Autistic children and adults are at greater risk of being exposed to internet pornography, online sexual predators, and becoming victims of online fraud. 
  •  70% of developmentally disabled females and 40% of developmentally disabled males are sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old. 
  •  Emergency room visits are twice as common for those with autism.
POAC’s Hidden Dangers Program educates parents, family members, and professionals working with children and adults with autism and other special needs and disabilities about issues relating to safety, emergency preparedness, and crisis intervention.   It is presented in a format that addresses a variety of special needs and levels of functioning across the life span. Specifically, the program will cover:
  • Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
  • Fire Safety Issues
  • Sexuality and Personal Safety
  • Internet Safety
  • How to address wandering
  • Bullying
  • Behavioral interventions including social stories, activity schedules, visual cues, and more
  • School and Transportation Issues
  • Resources for ongoing support and assistance
  •  Physical modifications to the home and classroom
The program will offer concrete suggestions and strategies that can be applied immediately to increase safety and decrease risk at home, in the classroom, and in the community. Each participant will also receive  many important resources and tools. 
About the Presenter

Gary Weitzen is the Executive Director of POAC Autism Services, which is the largest provider of free autism training and education in the state of New Jersey.  Mr. Weitzen, comes to POAC with 20 years experience in the risk management field. He is a Masters Level, safety and education expert with over fourteen years experience in special needs program provision and education.  In addition to his duties at POAC, for the past thirteen years he has worked for an autism program teaching life skills to adults with autism.  Mr. Weitzen currently serves on the New Jersey Governor’s Council for Biomedical Research.  In the past he has served as New Jersey representative for Unlocking Autism, and Vice President of Princeton Autism Technology.  He has appeared on virtually every major network and local news station as an expert on autism and has given presentations to tens of thousands of people across New Jersey.  Mr. Weitzen has three children.  His eldest son Christopher has autism.  He has been a passionate advocate of children and adults with autism for well over a decade.