Three decades ago, autism was a relatively unknown disorder with an incidence rate of just 1 in 10,000 individuals. Frustrated by the limited amount of input afforded to parents at an existing school and determined to find appropriate services for their children with autism, a group of parents, who would become Eden’s founding families, began working with special educator David L. Holmes. In 1975, Eden Institute opened as a day school. As Eden developed, the vision of lifespan services grew and soon Eden established its unique mission – to improve the lives of children and adults with autism and their families by providing a range of community-based services to meet specific needs throughout the lifespan. Located in a small rented church basement in Princeton, NJ, Dr. Holmes and the founding families worked hard to ensure that children who attended Eden were provided with the highest quality services available.
Today, one is hard pressed to find anyone who has not heard of autism. The incidence of autism is reported to affect 1 in 68 children and the numbers keep growing. As the rate of autism continues to increase, so do the programs and services provided by Eden.
In 1980, Eden opened its first residential group home and in 1983, Eden established its adult employment program. Eden’s early intervention program, Wawa House, named in honor of Wawa, Inc. for its major start-up support of the program, began in 1992.
It’s been many years since Eden’s days in the church basement. In 2011, Eden opened its brand new model education and outreach center in the Princeton Forrestal Village, Princeton, NJ. Though much has changed over the years, Eden’s goal remains the same – to provide a comprehensive spectrum of services designed to enable individuals with autism to lead fulfilling, productive and independent lives in their communities, to the full extent of their abilities.
Click here to see a timeline of milestones through Eden’s 40+ years.