In an effort to encourage greater awareness of programs, services and support for individuals in New Jersey with autism, Governor Christie has declared April as Autism Awareness Month. 

Flickr User Becky Wetherington

As part of World Autism Day, First Lady Mary Pat Christie has announced that Drumthwacket, the Governor's official residence, will be illuminated in blue tonight.  The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also will be lighting up the George Washington Bridge in blue for the month of April.

"National Autism Awareness Month is an appropriate time to highlight the fact that New Jersey has one of the best systems in the nation for identifying, diagnosing and caring for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders," said Christie.  "That's why this year's budget continues my Administration's firm commitment to assist residents with autism and their families by providing the tools they need to lead fuller, more productive lives."

Throughout the month, the state will showcase work being done by individuals and organizations in New Jersey to serve people and families affected by autism.  The Governor's Fiscal Year 2014 Budget provides $86 million for the Department of Health's Early Intervention System, which aims to identify, diagnose and care for children from birth to age three with autism and other developmental disabilities.