Issue 2 - July 2012

A Message from the Director

Just 12 short years ago, Casa Colina recognized the impending urgency of developing programs for children with autism and related disorders. Our CEO and President, Dr. Felice Loverso, was a catalyst in bringing world renowned pediatric neurologist, Dr. Margaret Bauman, to Casa Colina Children’s Services. Originally Dr. Bauman joined the Casa Colina team to consult on the development of our programs and to identify a physician in Southern California to implement them. Instead, she decided to enhance her role, and soon became Medical Director for Children’s Services. She now travels from her home in Boston four to five times each year to manage the needs of 90+ autistic children and adults in our community.

Dr. Bauman has also been extremely influential in building our annual Trends in Autism Conference, bringing some of the leading authorities in the field to participate and share their knowledge with our community. The next Trends in Autism Conference is set for April 6, 2013 on the campus of Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona.

The focus of this issue of Connections is autism and I encourage you to share it with your friends and family.

Cindy Sendor, MA, CCC-SLP
Director, Casa Colina Children’s Services and Speech Pathology

For more information on Dr. Bauman and/or our autism services, please contact Susan Stroebel at Children’s Services, (909) 596-7733 x4200 or sstroebel@casacolina.org.

Therapy Corner

Waiting in the Waiting Room

Spotlight on Advocacy

Children's Champions

Resources & Links

Upcoming Events

AUGUST ISSUE:

Focus on Down Syndrome

Therapy Corner

by Lacy Wright, MS, OTR/L
and Louise Chamberlin, MS, CCC-SLP

Virtually all children with autism related disorders require therapeutic interventions, whether speech, occupational, physical or otherwise. Life can quickly become chaotic trying to balance the various therapy sessions, much less trying to understandwhat is being done in therapy and completing the homework that therapists suggest you do. You may even wonder, What is my child doing in therapy? How will it help? What can I do? With this in mind, we would like to take a moment to introduce you to speech/language and occupational therapy as it pertains to autism, and suggest some activities that you can work into your daily life at home.

Speech deficits among children with autism can vary widely, but the primary concern is typically language skills. Your child may exhibit echolalia(echoing words he hears), scripting (repetition of memorized scripts), or impaired receptive-expressive language skills such as following directions, answering questions or expressing wants and needs. Speech therapy addresses these deficits by teaching attention, vocabulary, core language skills, and social interaction and conversational skills.

From an occupational therapy perspective, many children with autism have difficulty processing the sensory world around them. Occupational therapy addresses sensory integration needs as well as fine motor skills, self-care skills, motor planning and play. Increasing a child’s exposure to a variety of sensory experiences helps nourish their nervous system. Watch your children to see how they respond. Do they seek out swinging on a swing or avoid it? Do they enjoy getting sand all over themselves in the sand box or get upset when sand gets stuck to their skin? Getting to know the unique pattern of how your child processes sensory information will give you and your occupational therapist clues as to the kind of sensory activities to participate in.

The most beneficial “homework” parents can do for their child with autism is not what most peopleexpect homework to be. Yes, we may give worksheets from time to time, but the best kind of homework is the kind that works into the activities that are already a part of your daily routine at home. While this suggestion can initially seem daunting or time-consuming, activities for speech and occupational therapy are actually easy to work in if you just know how! For example, at the park, have a picnic and enjoy the delicious seasonal summer fruits or try a new food while talking about the way they look and taste. Feel free to get messy! Have a watermelon eating contest and praise both the fastest and messiest eaters. Play games like Duck, Duck, Goose while you sit down and feel the grass on your legs. Play Simon Says or Hokey Pokey to work on auditory processing skills. Find a new park with equipment to challenge your child’s motor planning skills as he or she plays.

The ultimate goal of therapy is for your child to be able to participate in daily activities.With a little creativity, sensory and language activities can be a part of every day.

For more ideas, check out one of our favorite books: “The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder” by Carol Stock Kranowitz.

Enjoy your summer and have fun playing and learning!

Waiting in the Waiting Room

by Kesley Johnston

Ah, time to myself. I am a social person. The more, the merrier. So the first Friday morning that I sat in the waiting room by myself, I was somewhat miserable. The next week, I again went in at 8:00 a.m., and again, I was by myself. But something changed. I stopped and listened. It was quiet. Peaceful. I had an entire hour to myself. An entire hour of freedom.

This is a rare occurrence for special needs parents. Besides all of the regular responsibilities of raising children, we handle a whole other set of duties, challenges, and responsibilities. We handle meltdowns, bedwetting, eating issues, social problems, therapy appointments, doctor appointments, monitoring education, and a myriad of health concerns. We spend our lives fighting for the best for our children so that the world will see them through our eyes. It is a rarity that we have time or space to just do whatever our hearts desire.

As it dawned on me that I had been given a gift of time, I also realized that I was confined to a waiting room. I decided that the space would not limit my “me” time. Last week I bought a new purse. I can now fit all of my “me” time in a bag. I read for pleasure. I knit. I listen to music (that is not Veggie Tales). I flip through magazines. I do research on autism. I sit and do nothing. I breathe and just enjoy not having to do anything.

So as you wait in the waiting room, with friends, or by yourself, look at that time as a gift. Your child is with therapists who love him/her, and you have an entire hour, maybe more, to stuff your “me” time into a bag, sit back, and relax.

Kesley is ‘Waiting in the Waiting Room’ every month for Connections.

Spotlight on Advocacy

by Lisa Lockwood

In the last issue we examined IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), which is the federal law that guarantees a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment for every person with a disability. This means that if you enroll your student in public school, his/her education should be at no cost to you and should be appropriate for his/her age, ability and developmental level.

IDEA has six principles that provide the framework around which special education services are designed and provided to students with disabilities and we discussed the first principle (Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE)) in the June issue. We will now continue with the 2nd framework principle: Appropriate Education.

“Appropriate” is the critical word in FAPE – the education that a student with disabilities receives needs to address his or her specific and individual educational needs. As such, what is appropriate for one student may not be appropriate for another. Determining what is appropriate for each student involves the following procedure:

• The first step is for an individualized evaluation to be conducted, the purpose of which is to identify the student’s areas of strength and weakness in as much detail as possible.

• The second step is for the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team to discuss and develop an IEP for the student. The IEP team identifies appropriate goals and objectives for the student to work on throughout the year. Additionally, the type of special education and related services appropriate for the student are identified. This decision is based on the goals and objectives that have been identified as well as any other individual needs of the student. The IEP team must also specify an appropriate placement for the student, and provide for any supplementary aids and/or services that will be needed in order for the student to succeed in their designated educational setting.

“Related Services,” according to IDEA, consist of "transportation and such developmental, corrective and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education." Frequency and duration of services, as well as relevant objectives, should also be included. These services are to be determined on an individualized basis, not by the disability or category of the disability. Related services may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Audiology
  • Counseling Services
  • Early identification and assessment of disabilities in children
  • Medical Services (for diagnostic or evaluation purposes only)
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Parent Counseling and Training
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychological Services
  • Recreation
  • Rehabilitation Counseling
  • School Health Services
  • Social Work Services
  • Speech Pathology
  • Transportation

Any service that will ensure a student benefits from special education, and is developmental, corrective or supportive in nature, should be deemed a "related service” and should be provided for the student as part of their IEP. It does not have to be expressly listed in the regulation. For example, a full- or part-time aide or assistive technology (such as a computer) would be considered related services. We will explore these “related services” further as we examine the IEP (Individual Education Plan) in next month’s issue.

As always, to continue your education on your own, visit http://idea.ed.gov

Lisa explores advocacy issues of special needs parents every month for Connections.

Children's Champions: Stories of Courage and Hope

by Kesley Johnston

My son, Charlie, was diagnosed with autism on September 11, 2011. He was three years old. In late October, he started receiving Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Therapy at Casa Colina. This is his story of success over the past ten months.

Our foremost concern was that we couldn’t understand 90% of Charlie’s speech. We are blessed that our autistic son is verbal, but he was reaching a high frustration level because no one could understand him. He started growling at people and throwing extra temper tantrums. Then, he started speech therapy. Because Charlie is an active, kinesthetic kid, his therapy is done in the small gym and he usually is pushed on a swing. We were given daily homework and followed through consistently. After ten months, we can now understand at least 90% of what Charlie says to us. It is such a relief to be able to fully communicate with him. He has stopped growling and doesn’t get so frustrated during conversations. He still has a lot of work to do, but he can now function verbally in the world.

Charlie’s success in motor skills has been a combination of both occupational and physical therapies. Charlie couldn’t ride a tricycle. Charlie couldn’t plan gross motor skills. Charlie could barely hold a writing utensil. Charlie was scared to try anything new, especially when it came to movement. Ten months have gone by, and we can’t believe the difference! Charlie now rides a bike with training wheels! He has figured out how to use playground equipment at the parks. He can hold writing utensils and draw lines. But, what thrills us the most is that Charlie isn’t afraid to try new things. He will kick a soccer ball across a field. He will try a new rock climbing wall. He walks up slides. He even started to ski this winter and is looking forward to kayaking this summer. He wouldn’t have these skills if we weren’t here at Casa Colina.

Obviously we know that this is still just the beginning. Charlie still needs to work so much harder than neurotypical kids. He still has deficits. But, we now have hope. Because of Casa Colina, we have learned how hard our son is willing to fight to conquer his autism. Because of Casa Colina, we, as parents, have been given tools to help him move forward. So, thank you to all of the therapists who have patiently worked and pushed Charlie to come this far.You have changed our lives … and his.

Charlie Johnston with his OT therapist, Lacy Wright

Kesley will be sharing the success stories of families at Children’s Services every month for Connections.

Resources and Links

by Sandra Zaragoza-Kaneki
Autism Society Inland Empire
2276 Griffin Way, Suite 105-194
Corona, CA 92879
(951) 220-6922
Open Doors Now
Web-based education and support
for Asperger's and High Functioning Autism
Autism Speaks
5455 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2250
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(909) 549-0500
Regional Center, Inland
1365 South Waterman Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92408
(909) 890-3000
Foothill Autism Alliance, Inc
PO Box 10193
Glendale, CA 91209
(818) 662-8847
Regional Center, San Gabriel/Pomona
761 Corporate Drive
Pomona, CA 91768
(909) 620-7722
This publication is produced by Casa Colina Children's Services and the parents of the children it serves. It is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or medical advice or the endorsement of specific products or services by Casa Colina.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Lunchtime Social

August 1, 2012 12:00PM - 1:00PM
The Tamkin Education Center & Courtyard
on the campus of Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation

Casa Colina is preparing to embark on its next chapter, and we are extending an invitation to experience “rehabilitation in action” this summer.We are hosting a one-hour, informational lunchtime social aimed at giving members of the community an opportunity to learn more about what we do, as well as why, how and where we do it.A brief presentation on the history, purpose and future of Casa Colina, a testimonial by a grateful patient, and a tour of the campus will be provided, in addition to a light and healthy lunch.

We encourage you to attend and see, firsthand, why our continuum of care is considered to be one of the best in the western United States! Please RSVP to Adriane Garbayo at (909) 596-7733 x2232 or agarbayo@casacolina.org.

Children's Writing Workshop

Offered Year-Round
Children ages 4 years and up
Casa Colina Children's Services
Casa Colina Children’s Services Writing Workshop was created to help children struggling with the mechanics of writing. The workshop is taught in a group setting of 3 to 6 children, divided according to compatible ages and writing skills.It is designed for children who know the alphabet, but have issues with learning printing or cursive; have illegible handwriting; have trouble keeping up with the speed of their class or tire easily with writing activities. It is appropriate for children who can follow verbal instructions and are relatively independent in their learning skills.

The Writing Workshop is a series of 10 sessions, with each session lasting 1-1/2 hours.Groups are led by a pediatric occupational therapist.

Fee is $650 per child for 10 sessions.
A $50 activities fee per child is required upon registration, with the balance due at the first session.
Payment assistance may be available on a first come, first-served basis.

For more information, please call (909) 596-7733 x4200.

SAVE THE DATE

3rd Annual Harvest Festival
October 18, 2012
Casa Colina Children’s Services

Games, prizes, music, food and fun for all ages! Once again, Children’s Services will celebrate the autumn season with its Harvest Festival. This is a free social event for parents and children, and an opportunity to show off your Halloween costume early!!

Children of all ages enjoyed the 2011 Harvest Festival

For more information, contact Children’s Services at (909) 596-7733 x4200.

An Evening in Casablanca
October 26, 2012
Padua Hills Theatre, Claremont

Mark your calendar for the fundraising event of the season to benefit Casa Colina Children’s Services! Set against the backdrop of Morocco and incorporating many themes from the beloved 1940s celluloid classic, An Evening in Casablanca is a night not to be missed. Come place your bet at the roulette table, sample the baklava and bid on fabulous auction items. For more information, including ways to assist us with the planning of this event, contact Krista Struve, Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Events, at kstruve@casacolina.org or (909) 596-7733 x2223.

255 East Bonita Avenue
Pomona, CA 91767
909-596-7733

Toll-free 866/724-4127
FAX 909/593-0153
TDD-TTY-Q 909/596-3646