In 1980 several families convened with a common concern... they all had a child who had been diagnosed as having autism, and the resources for appropriate programming were extremely limited. These proactive parents identified the need for an organization to be created that would establish and maintain community-based programs. The goal of these programs would be to afford every individual with autism the rights and opportunities to live and recreate within the community. The prevention of institutionalization was the foremost on their minds.
As the functions of COSAC were only of an advisory nature for people with autism and their families, four founding trustees of COSAC, Helmuth M. Kaunzinger, Paul Leeds, John J. O'Connell Jr., and Dr. Serge Sobolevitch joined together with another active parent Dr. Harold Eder and created Community Living for the Autistic in March 1980 as non-profit corporation. CLFA originally concentrated on serving individuals with autism and their families with respite services and group homes.
In 1993 the Corporation name was changed to New Horizons in Autism to reflect a new and broader scope of services to individuals with autism and their families in the following program categories: Residential, Vocational, Family Support (Respite, After School, Voucher Stipend) and Behavior Therapy. By 2001 New Horizons has grown to operate 6 group homes, a vocational program, and is providing over 350 families in the central and upper central New Jersey region with a variety of respite, after-school, voucher stipend and behavior therapy support options. All efforts by New Horizons are individually targeted towards replacement of maladaptive behavior traits with improved socialization and other needed skills.