LifeTown autism services facility plans spring opening

LifeTown, a Livingston-based facility that will provide educational, therapeutic and recreational services for youth with autism, announced recently that it is planning a spring opening.

The 53,000-square-foot facility will serve children and teens with autism — just as a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that New Jersey has the highest rate of autism nationwide among 8-year-olds, at 1 in every 34 children. (Compared with a national figure of 1-in-59.)

“Given the high rate of autism in northern New Jersey, LifeTown sits at the epicenter for understanding, education and resources aimed at children, teens and young adults with autism,” CEO Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum said in a prepared statement. “LifeTown was created as a bridge, as a place where natural integration can happen between people with autism and the entire community.

“LifeTown is a center where everyone is empowered to reach their potential, regardless of ability.”

LifeTown’s focal point is “Life Village,” a simulated Main Street that will prepare participants with special needs for independent living through real-world scenarios in a safe and controlled environment.

The center also will provide services such as:

  • Job skills and life-transition training;
  • Immersive therapeutic environments;
  • Specialized learning opportunities tied to students’ individualized education programs;
  • A multisensory center.

“What makes LifeTown unique is that the myriad of opportunities, which target people at different ages and stages in life, from the youngest children to adults, will be under one roof,” Grossbaum said.

The creators estimate 35,000 participants, visitors and volunteers with utilize LifeTown annually.

The facility was designed by Livingston-based Rotwein & Blake architects and is being created by Parsippany-based Hollister Construction Services and Cloudberry Studio.