Issue #3 | December 2016 - January 2017
PCDI Community Leaders

Bahad, 17, volunteers at his church, playing piano and reading scriptures on Sundays. In addition, Bahad is a member of the Sigma Beta Club, a national organization encouraging young men to be leaders in their communities. Every Saturday, Bahad’s chapter meets to discuss upcoming volunteer efforts. Afterward, members may receive homework support or attend workshops on topics like nutrition, etiquette, and tying a tie. Though Bahad has attended Sigma Beta meetings with his father, Will, throughout his life, he was formally inducted to the fraternal organization in the fall of 2015. 
Sigma Beta’s community activities include ushering at churches, organizing and volunteering at clothing and toy drives, feeding the hungry, and cleaning up local schools and playgrounds. The club gives Bahad the opportunity to interact with his peer group outside of PCDI on both a social and academic level. In addition, other members, through Bahad’s involvement, learn to respect and appreciate the gifts of others who learn differently. 
“It would be easy for our family and Bahad to avoid the community and his peers, but he’s an example for others,” his father explains. “Bahad exemplifies perseverance, stick-to-itiveness, grit. He never holds grudges. Has a great work ethic. For example, when he’s at Tae Kwon Do, he pays attention and is consistent. Through this, he becomes an example to others… When others see him trying and practicing, even if it takes a while for him to get it, it makes them want to follow his lead.” PCDI is pleased to support Bahad’s efforts, whether it is working on his articulation for scripture readings or scheduling time to practice piano. Without question, Bahad’s efforts are not only spreading understanding and empathy for those with autism but also having a significant, positive impact on those around him.  
April 2016 marked a significant work anniversary for Eric—25 years working for Johnson & Johnson! Not many people can boast working at one company for a quarter century. Greg MacDuff, our Executive Director of Adult and Community Living Programs, notes, “Eric is clearly a success. He has been gainfully employed for more than 25 years, lives independently, and cares for his own home.”
His mother Doris recalls, “Years and years ago, when Eric was hired, I told a friend about it with great elation and asked, ‘How come I feel as though he just got into Harvard?’ My friend said, ‘Because he has!’” Being able to obtain and hold a job can be challenging for many people with autism. Eric’s consistency and dependability have made him a clear asset at his workplace. Doris adds, “I am continually amazed at how well Eric manages and how responsible he is. He often reminds me about important events and things he has to do. He has had some tough times with both autism and Crohn's disease, but he is very stoic in managing the challenges of his life.”  
In addition to his professional achievements, Eric continues year after year to volunteer at Hunterdon County Unitarian Church and is known in his community for sharing his artistic efforts at events and organizations like the Bloomsbury Art Fair, Hunterdon Hiking Club, and Arc of Hunterdon County as well as local schools and nursing homes. For the past two years, Eric had a paper-cutting booth and walked for Autism Speaks’ walkathon fundraiser. “[Eric’s] contributions to his community are greatly appreciated,” Greg attests.
Impressively, Eric has also competed and won medals at Special Olympics for his prowess at bowling, including a silver medal in 2012. Proud mother Doris acknowledges, “I am tremendously proud of Eric and very, very grateful for all that PCDI has done for him.” Next time you are at an event supporting autism, a retirement home, or a community get-together in the Hunterdon area, keep an eye out for Eric! He is always looking for ways to spread joy and be a role model in his community.
PCDI Student Milestones

This November, Damon went to Disneyworld. In the past, traveling has been a challenge for Damon and his family. His mom Jane was concerned at first. “We were very nervous that Damon was going to have an issue with the plane flight, but with the help of his teachers and staff he was a dream on the plane.” His dad Chris was surprised—Damon seemed to actually enjoy the flight!
Damon visited all of the parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot (his favorite), Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom. “As we all know,” Jane sagely remarked, “waiting in lines can be a struggle for our little ones. Damon waited in each line without issue and that just made the entire experience that much more fun for all of us. He loved meeting Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and his favorite character, Donald Duck, in Epcot’s Mexican Pavilion. He gave all the characters high fives and hugs, even giving Minnie Mouse a kiss!”
Teacher Melissa Edwards praised the DeVito family's collaboration with PCDI in planning for the trip: "Chris and Jane were very helpful when...preparing Damon for the trip. I was so excited to hear how well he did on vacation and that everyone had a great time!" Jane added, “Without the help of PCDI, this would have been a very tough trip, yet turned out to be one of the best we have ever been on.” We couldn’t be happier for you and your family, Jane!

Nottingham Ballroom
200 Mercer Street, Hamilton, NJ

$50/general admission

A deluxe night of gambling in Atlantic City
* One-night stay at the Borgata
* $200 toward dining & entertainment
* $400 buy-in to a Borgata Poker Tournament
Sponsored by Joe & Ilona Sansone



The next salad bar lunch will be on 


{Modules A-D}
{Module A}
PCDI's Adult Life Skills Program (ALSP) delivered their first order of hand-sewn pillowcases in time for the holidays to Christine's Hope for Kids. Founder and President of Christine's Hope for Kids, Jean Gianacaci, wrote a lovely thank you letter to the staff and learners of our ALSP, showing her appreciation for the work they do.
"We know after seeing first hand at PCDI that these pillow cases were made with tender loving care. They are beautiful! The pillow cases will be going in a bag with a coloring book, crayons, a staffed animal and a homemade Holiday/get well the Pediatric Wing at the Capital Health Hopewell Campus. What a great way to cheer up a child in the hospital during this holiday season!"  Well done, ALSP!
Amy giving her $600 donation to Principal Chris Fry.
Amy giving our her handmade "Kindness Cards."
Amy delivers iPads to students, which will help them stay on schedule, communicate and learn.


Remember Amy from Kids Supporting Kids (Issue #1)? Amy returned to PCDI right before the holidays to give us a big check for $600 and to donate 5 iPads! In addition to these amazing contributions, Amy delivered "Kindness Cards" with positive messages which she wrote and illustrated herself, to all of the modules and the adult program!

Amy, we loved having you come to our holiday party and hope to see you again soon. Thank you for all you've done for us!
Behind the scenes of Adults with Autism: The Journey Home.

The Association for Science in Autism Treatment gave a rave review to  Adults with Autism: The Journey Home  in “Consumer Corner” of their Fall 2016 newsletter. Sabrina Freeman, PhD, Consumer Corner Coordinator, applauds the film’s scientific background: “Hats off to the Princeton Child Development Institute [for producing] a film to address the needs of adults on the autism spectrum who continue to require applied behavioral analytic (ABA) programs.... The film showcases the lives of four adults and is worth viewing for families who wonder what the future could hold for their child … [and families] who would like to gain access to the best practices…. As a bonus, the film highlights the critical role of parents in determining the trajectory of their children’s futures.”  

Executive produced by PCDI Founders Pam and Roland Machold with the help of producer and former Executive Director Ed Fenske and director Casey Lawrence, the main video tells the story of the struggles and victories of four adults at PCDI—Bobby, James, Amy and Will—who now, thanks to applied behavior analysis and a lifetime of individualized treatment, hold steady employment. Bonus features include information about ABA, schedules of reinforcement, autism in other countries and more. The enthusiastic and thorough article ends with this recommendation: “In summary, we believe that  Adults with Autism: The Journey Home  is a valuable film for both families and practitioners to view. It is a reminder of the powerful resources the field of ABA has change individuals and families’ quality of life. While it may be a film that families of adolescents or adults on the autism spectrum are drawn to, it should be recommended to families at early stages as a tool to understand the importance of using scientifically validated interventions as a direct correlation to outcomes that will impact their child throughout all stages of life.” To get your copy of  Adults with Autism: The Journey Home , go to  Amazon !


Designed by parent/artist Yusuke Okabayashi
for PCDI, these mugs are
on sale now at the front
desk for $10 each. 

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