Earlier today, as part of a global effort to promote awareness of autism on World Autism Day, Jack Hoffman of Basking Ridge, a student at the Newmark School, attended the ringing of the bell at the New York Stock Exchange in support of fellow student Liam Niederauer, who has autism.
This morning's opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange was rung by Niederauer, a Far Hills resident and an eighth-grade student at the Newmark School in Plainfield. The Newmark School is a private K-9 school in Plainfield for special needs students.
The two boys, both 14, were joined by another Newmark student, Andrew Baldwin, also 14, of Scotch Plains, and teacher Pamela Taaffe. Regina Peter, co-founder and co-executive director of Newmark School and the Newmark High School in Carteret, also was in attendance.
Liam Niederauer is the son of Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext, a global operator of financial markets and the owner of the New York Stock Exchange.
“It was a tremendous honor to take part in the event and, more importantly, to shine a light on autism,” said Peter said. “With an increase in autism prevalence being reported, raising awareness of this disorder is essential.”
Other activities to promote awareness of autism took place both globally and locally. The Cedar Hill Elementary School held a daylong series of activities to learn about the condition, as well as showing support for students with autism.
According to an estimate released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 88 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder. This figure, which is based on 2008 estimates, is about a 25 percent increase from 2006 estimates.
Newmark School and Newmark High School serve children throughout the state with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders, according to the school. In addition to working with students with autism, both schools also specialize in educating students with ADD/ADHD, anxiety, Asperger’s Syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, sensory integration disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.
“Our goal is not only to educate but to provide students with a structured and supportive learning environment that meets their individual needs and leads to success,” Peter said.