By: Katherine Prull '19
In the United States, there is a gap between the services and information available for children with autism and those navigating adulthood with their loved ones and caregivers. The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation created the fellowship program for Rutgers graduate students at the School of Social Work to bridge that gap. The goal of this fellowship program is to develop a list of resources pertinent to adults diagnosed with autism while training graduate students to work as clinicians with hands-on experience working for this under-served population. Brighter futures are possible with the help of these initiatives to give this population the steps they need to live long, fulfilling, happy, and healthy lives.
A passion for helping those in need is how graduate student and The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation (DJFF) Fellow, Adara Kimbrough, is giving back and expanding her knowledge and interest in the field of social work.
Kimbrough chose the Adult Autism Family Support Fellowship, working on The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Autism Resource Guide, for her younger sister who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She hopes that efforts like this are able to end the struggles and hurdles this population faces transitioning to adulthood.
The database that Kimbrough works with consists of 150+ agencies and services throughout New Jersey and the United States. The database is a web-based, user-friendly resource guide for families, organizations, and agencies to aid them as they serve and support autistic adults.
"My role is to research supporting services and agencies and enter them in to the database," Kimbrough states. "Previous Fiddle Fellows have added about 100 and I have added over 50 resources. My goal is to have over 200 before my fellowship ends." Her eleven-year-old sister has been an inspiration to take part in this research, and Kimborough hopes to pursue a career working with people with disabilities.
"This fellowship actually made me think more about the needs of adults with autism," she says. "At first, I was focused solely on children."
To stand up for and support this population that is far too often over-looked, The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Adult Autism Family Support Fellowship and Resource Guide Endowed Fund is allowing these students to create paths leading to fulfilling and potential driven lives for this population. This fellowship helps students who have an interest in working with disabled individuals get their foot in the door and provides them with a network of agencies to connect with.
If you are interested in donating to The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Adult Autism Family Support Fellowship and Resource Guide, please click here. If you have suggestions for additional agencies, email firstname.lastname@example.org.