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August News & Notes
Dear Friends,

Did you know that PCDA began in 1996? As a small group of professionals, we had the idea of providing services for children with developmental challenges, in close partnership with parents, and with a special appreciation for social-emotional development that underlies all areas of development.

This mission and philosophy is embodied in the "DIRFloortime® approach" and has continued as PCDA has grown to an organization with 85+ staff members, serving over 1,000 children every year. 

Now, as PCDA is flourishing, with new programs expanding and growing, I will be turning over leadership to a new Executive Director. I will be retiring at the end of the year, and I am very happy to announce that Christopher Perri will be the new Executive Director beginning January 2020. Christopher has a deep understanding and appreciation of DIRFloortime® and I am confident that he will lead PCDA to even greater successes in the years to come.

I look forward to continue to advocate for DIRFloortime® and supporting PCDA into the future. I invite you to come to our annual gala, Harvest Moon , on November 10th to celebrate this transition with me.

Thank you,
Dr. Diane   
Executive Director
Help PCDA Make a Difference

Please help us help
children with autism and
other special needs.

Click the PCDA client artwork to make a donation today!
Upcoming Events
Starting this month: Harvest Moon Gala tickets are now on sale
Aug. 5: Young Actors Squad applications due (session begins in Sept.)
Aug. 10, 17, 24, and 31: Sibling Saturdays (for siblings ages 5-12)
Aug. 12: Young Actors Squad performance! (free; see below for details)
Aug. 30: NoteAbles Choir registration deadline (session begins Sept. 6)
Sept. 4, 11, and 18: Orientation to Floortime (parent workshop series)
Sept. 14-Nov. 16: Special Olympics Young Athletes Program (soccer)
Oct. 20: Dark Spirits (save the date for this annual fundraising event!)
Nov. 10: 11th Annual Harvest Moon Gala (tickets/sponsors/ads available)
People of PCDA
Congratulations to Christopher Perri , recently named PCDA's future Executive Director! A licensed Clinical Social Worker, Christopher has nearly 20 years of practice supporting children with special needs and their families in a wide variety of settings. During those years, he came to appreciate the value of treatment that focuses on individual strengths, the context of relationships and family, and the use of creativity and playful interactions as a means toward progress. An experienced leader in clinical non-profits, he had known about PCDA and Dr. Diane for many years through their mutual work and training within the DIRFloortime® model.
Congratulations to new Board Chair Judy Wilson ! Judy, who previously led the PCDA board's Governance Committee, is a longtime Pasadena resident who had a distinguished career in local government, including serving as Director of Sanitation for the City of Los Angeles, Executive Officer at L.A. METRO, and 10 years as Pasadena’s Assistant City Manager. Judy retired in 2016 as the Director of Development at the Pasadena Community Foundation. She is past board chair of Families Forward Learning Center (formerly Mothers’ Club), and is deeply familiar with nonprofit management and the Pasadena community.
Congratulations to Julie Miller, MOT, OTR/L, SWC , who was recently named PCDA's Clinical Director! Julie was previously the head of Occupational Therapy and coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Feeding Team. She has her advanced practice in Swallowing Assessment, Evaluation, and Intervention from the California Board of Occupational Therapy and is progressing toward DIR® certification through ICDL. An internationally known speaker, consultant, and author, Julie was recently selected to serve on the Committee on Practice for the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
Congratulations to Mariko Yamazaki-Sanchez, OTD, OTR/L, SWC , recently named PCDA's Head of Occupational Therapy and Feeding Programs! Mariko specializes in Ayres Sensory Integration and enjoys using this approach along with DIR® concepts. She has a passion for cultural context, international work, and occupational justice, which inspired her doctoral capstone project: developing a partnership with community-based rehabilitation workers in Ghanaian villages to support older children with disabilities as they transition from a residential school back to their home villages.
Developmental Interventionist (DI) of the Month: Erika Perez
We are pleased to honor Erika Perez as DI of the Month. Erika has a bachelor of arts in Child Development from the California State University, Los Angeles. She has years of experience working children and families in the school and foster-care systems. Erika has demonstrated growth in her role as a Developmental Interventionist and ability to implement DIRFloortime® with her clients and families. She has recently taken on the role of Sibling Saturday Facilitator and has supported the development of the program to increase regular participation of siblings. She is thoughtful and creative when planning and implementing activities with her clients. She is always willing and able to support the Programs team and fellow DIs. We appreciate her work and look forward to her continued growth at PCDA. Congratulations, Erika! 
Erika Perez
Client of the Month: Juliette
A sunny 7-year-old, Juliette has been involved in the Social Emotional Development Individual (SEDI) program for two years. She also loves music and participates in PCDA's music and dance programs.

Her mother shares that the SEDI program encourages Juliette’s outgoing nature. The family often arranges playdates with peers out in the community to coincide with her SEDI sessions. Juliette’s DI supports the play between Juliette and a typical peer from her class, and this has strengthened the friendship between them. Her mother shares: "Over time, the SEDI program has helped Juliette to self-regulate, and this ability has also expanded into her classroom life. Playdates with typical peers from school help other children to better understand Juliette. She is connecting with other children in her class and has expanded her social circle." Juliette’s mother shares that her DI has tapped into Juliette’s love of music and created a song about patting someone's arm to get their attention. "The 'Pat, Pat, Pat' song is meaningful to Juliette and is a valuable tool for her. She often sings the song while interacting with others."

Juliette is a positive presence in every program she joins, and this summer was the first time she enrolled in the PCDA Creative Arts Summer Program.

We are so proud of Juliette!
2nd photo: William Kidston Photography
Program Spotlight: PCDA's 2019 Creative Arts Summer Program
This year's PCDA Creative Arts Summer Program was a success!

We are so grateful to Autism Speaks for allowing so many of the children to attend camp with their generous grant toward camp tuitions, and to the Rotary Club of South Pasadena for providing grant funding for our camp art materials!

The staff incorporated creative and unique art projects throughout the two weeks.

Live music-making and synchronized dance and movement were especially fun for the kids.

Thank you to the amazing volunteers for supporting with this year's camp!

We are proud of all the campers and we can't wait until next year! 
Volunteer Spotlight
At PCDA's Creative Arts Summer Program, everyone had a great time creating art, singing, dancing, and much, much more!

Thank you to the amazing summer camp volunteers for helping with all of the groups and fun activities!

Enormous gratitude to volunteers Kelly Carney, Danielle DeHerrera, Angela Delgado, Iliana Encinares, Marie Halpin, China Lawrence, Karen McCandliss, Mollie McLean, Gladys Nanez, Morgan Ogata, Suha Park, Trina Salas, Sophia Sun, Jenne Suvapatrachai, Nikki Tran, Lilian Zhu, and Emily Zhuo!
PCDA Happenings
The NoteAbles at the Rose Bowl's AmericaFest
See the NoteAbles perform the Star Spangled Banner alongside celebrated tenor Maximo Marcuso at the Rose Bowl Stadium's AmericaFest in this video courtesy of our friends at the Rose Bowl!
Career Days for PCDA's Teen Club!
A special thank-you to all the wonderful speakers from our Teen Career Day, held on July 20 & 27:

  • Victor Boghossian
  • Jacob Chase
  • Mickey Corcoran
  • Bill Cullinane
  • Mariah Embree
  • David Galvez
  • Silvana Khachatourian
  • Dr. Michelle Kolsi
  • Leland Myrick
  • Deborah Schwarz
  • Cynthia Ybarra

We're deeply grateful to these generous community leaders for teaching and inspiring our Teen Club members!
Dr. Michelle Kolsi
Deborah Schwarz
A Musical Memory from Our Spring Variety Show
Above, watch PCDA client and drummer extraordinaire Cooper in action at our Spring Variety Show. Go Cooper!
PCDA Community Gathers for Fête d'été
PCDA hosted our summer party, Fête d'été, on Sunday, July 28, gathering with friends and supporters at Robert Simon’s Bistro 45 in Pasadena.

Attendees enjoyed Bistro 45's California-French cuisine, as well as moving speeches from PCDA Executive Director Dr. Diane Cullinane, Board Chair Judy Wilson, and Deputy Executive Director Christopher Perri, who shared their passion for PCDA's work with children and families. Thank you to all who attended!
Photos: William Kidston Photography
Opportunities to Support PCDA
Harvest Moon Gala
Sunday, November 10, 2019
5:3011 p.m.
La Canada Flintridge Country Club

Each year, more than 1,000 children and their families seek the services and programming found at PCDA, and the generosity of our supporters helps make this work possible. The gala is our largest fundraising day of the year. Proceeds directly support therapy and programs for children with autism and other developmental challenges. Won't you join us?

Tickets, sponsorships, and tribute-book ads are available now .
Dark Spirits
Sunday, October 20, 2019
59 p.m.
318 Fairview Avenue
South Pasadena

Save the date for this much-loved annual fundraiser featuring bourbon-tasting and more! Stay tuned for ticketing information.
Support the NoteAbles Children's Choir
Join us in making a difference in the lives of young people by helping to provide them with an experience that is often not available to them within their schools and communities. Together we can use music and the arts to make a difference!
More Ways to Support PCDA's Work
From making an in-kind donation to making PCDA your charity of choice with AmazonSmile or the Ralphs Community Contribution Program, there are so many opportunities to help!
Programs & Services
Building Blocks Group Service - New Program!
The Building Blocks Group Service Program is designed for children from 12 months to 3 years of age, and their parent(s) or caregiver(s). Activities promote child development across all developmental domains, with an emphasis on social-emotional interactions between child and parent/caregiver.

Children will participate in fine- and gross-motor activities, art, outdoor play, music, story time, and more. Children will also benefit from routines, practice with transitions, and receive behavioral support. To learn more, please contact Verliz at (626) 793-7350 ext. 262 or verliz@pcdateam.org .
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The DIR Approach to Pediatric Feeding:
September 27-28
Greenwood Village, Colorado
This conference is designed for professionals working with children and families with feeding and mealtime challenges.

Speakers include Diane Cullinane, MD, PCDA's Executive Director and Co-founder; Anne Davis, MS, CCC-SLP, PCDA's Head of Speech & Language Services; Julie Miller, MOT, OTR/L, SWC, PCDA's Clinical Director; and Jonae Perez, MPH, RD, member of the PCDA interdisciplinary feeding and nutrition team.
NoteAbles Children's Choir Registration
The NoteAbles is an adapted choral group for children ages 6-18 with special needs, conducted by board-certified music therapists.

Through making music and preparing for performances, the choir allows for musical expression, confidence-building, and socializing.

Session includes 14 rehearsals and two performances in the community. Registration closes August 30 and session begins September 6.
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Orientation to Floortime Workshop
Orientation to Floortime ™ is a three-session workshop for parents that provides an overview and introduction to the DIRFloortime® approach to intervention for children with autism and other developmental challenges.

Parents must attend all three classes in the workshop; child care is available.

To register or for more information, please contact Aimee at (626) 793-7350 ext. 256 or aimee@pcdateam.org .
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Sibling Saturdays
All brothers and sisters of children with special needs, ages 5-12, are welcome to attend PCDA's Sibling Saturday program , held each Saturday from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at our office in Pasadena.

Sibling Saturdays provide a variety of fun activities just for brothers and sisters. Siblings can benefit from special time with other children who have similar experiences! In order to help us with planning, we request a phone call to RSVP by Friday at 5 p.m.

Special Olympics Young Athletes Program
SOYAP is a free, inclusive sports-play program for young children, ages 2-7, of all abilities.

Using the DIRFloortime® approach, fun activities and games are designed to teach fundamental sports skills so young athletes can practice and play in a supportive, non-competitive environment.

Next SOYAP session, focused on soccer, begins September 14. For more information, please email YoungAthletes@pcdateam.org or call (626) 793-7350 ext. 280.
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Young Actors Squad
If you know a teen from 13 to 18 years old who likes to play interactive games, develop characters and scenes, and make great friends, PCDA's pioneering Young Actors Squad just might be the perfect fit!

Applications for the next session are due August 5, and the Squad will meet on Mondays from 6-7:30 p.m. beginning in September.

For more information, please contact Aimee at (626) 793-7350 ext. 256 or aimee@pcdateam.org .

Catch the group's next performance , free of charge, at the Pasadena Playhouse's Carrie Hamilton Theater at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 12!
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Information for Families
Book of the Month: I'm a Frog! by Mo Willems
Piggie helps Gerald the elephant understand the joy of pretending. At first, it is very confusing and upsetting for Gerald.

The illustrations show Gerald’s changes in his facial expressions and body positions as he continues to talk to his friend Piggie, even though he is experiencing a range of emotions.

This fun little book is a simple and lovely example of verbal problem-solving and sustained conversation.
Nutrient of the Month: Phytochemicals
Phytochemicals are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and cereal grains that play an active role in fighting inflammation and keeping germs from harming our bodies. People who eat phytochemicals are less likely to develop chronic health conditions such as heart disease and obesity.
Berries are rich in phytochemicals. Raspberries are deliciously plump and nutrient-rich. Encourage your children to eat raspberries:

  • plain!
  • by singing "The Finger Family Song" with raspberry fingers
  • topping their favorite cereal, pancakes, or waffles
  • by helping you create yummy desserts or smoothie recipes with them
Photo by 3268zauber via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
Share with PCDA
We love receiving stories, photos, videos, quotes, and artwork that can help us illustrate PCDA’s impact on children and their families. This might be a moment that showed progress (big or small), a quote from you or your child, a fun or meaningful photo or video, a piece of art your child created, or anything else you can dream up to help us spread the word about our work and make a difference in the lives of more children and families. We may use content you provide on our social media channels, our e-newsletter, or other communications materials, but we’re happy to provide any level of anonymity you may want for privacy reasons. Please reach out to LindsayB@pcdateam.org to share.
Work with PCDA
PCDA is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to providing children with developmental challenges and their families the best possible programs. Your donations directly support children with special needs and their families. Thank you for your generous support! 
PCDA's Mission:
To profoundly impact the developmental outcomes of children with autism and other special needs through innovative multidisciplinary and family-centered therapeutic services, professional training, and outreach.