February News & Notes
From the Executive Director

Dear Friends and Families of PCDA,

We hope that all of you are staying warm and well during this month of February, which reminds us all to take time to celebrate and appreciate the loving relationships that we have in our lives.

The second milestone of development in the DIR Model has to do with establishing the trust and comfort needed in a relationship in order to move into a deeper sense of connection that leads to the love and intimacy that allows us to develop meaningful relationships. It reminds us of the importance of helping our children and families find new ways to experience the joy and warmth of playful and pleasurable interactions, which fuel opportunities for development. 

We hope you enjoy reading about everything happening at PCDA below, and join us in sharing more love, warmth and joy this month of February!

Christopher Perri, MS/LCSW
Executive Director
Help PCDA Make a Difference
You can help PCDA help children and families affected by autism and other developmental challenges. PCDA provides services for more than 1,000 children and their families each and every year, and we can't do this work without community support.

Click the PCDA client artwork to make a donation today!
Upcoming Events
Saturday, February 15, 22, and 29: Sibling Saturdays (for siblings ages 5-12)
Monday, February 17: PCDA closed for Presidents Day
Monday, February 24: Young Actors Squad free performance at PCDA (6:30 p.m.)
Saturdays through April 4 : Special Olympics Young Athletes basketball session
Saturday, April 4: Children's Art Fair (sponsored by Flintridge Prep ACL)
Saturday, April 18: Special Olympics Young Athletes athletics session begins
April–May: Assessments for next Young Adults Program session (beginning July)
People of PCDA
Volunteer Spotlight
Welcome Rebecca Huang and Shea McLaughlin thank you for joining our incredible team of volunteers and making a difference for the children and families of PCDA!

During Valentine's Day week and every day throughout the year, we absolutely love our volunteers!
PCDA Happenings
'Wonderful' Gift Benefits Programs Department
Thank you to Caroline Twano and the Wonderful Company! Through their generous donation, the Programs department was able to purchase new toys, equipment, and materials which will be used primarily for the Building Blocks program, and in various other programs as well. We truly appreciate and thank you both so much!
Thank You, Pasadena Host Lions Club!
PCDA extends our deepest gratitude to our longtime friends and supporters at the Pasadena Host Lions Club, who recently provided generous grant funding for a new refrigerator! This will be a great asset to our Teen Club/Teen Buddies program and other services and events here at PCDA. Thank you, Pasadena Host Lions!
Opportunities to Support PCDA
Help PCDA Help Children and Families
There are so many ways to help PCDA! Opportunities include:

  • making a monetary gift
  • making an in-kind donation
  • creating your own PCDA crowdfunding page
  • making PCDA your charity of choice with AmazonSmile
  • selecting PCDA as your preferred charity in the Ralphs Community Contribution Program
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. PCDA's NoteAbles Children's Choir is an adapted choral group for children ages 6-18 with special needs, conducted by board-certified music therapists.

Together we can use music and the arts to make a difference for young people with special needs and their families!
Programs & Services Spotlight
Building Blocks Group Service – New Program
The Building Blocks Group service is a center-based Early Intervention program for children 12 months to 3 years of age and their parents or caregivers. Activities promote child development across all developmental domains, with an emphasis on social-emotional interactions between child and parent/caregiver.

Children will participate in activities such as Welcome Time, fine- and gross-motor activities, art, outdoor play, music, and story time. Children will also benefit from routines, practice with transitions, and behavioral support.
Children's Art Fair
Join us for a variety of fun, hands-on arts and crafts activities at this free event for PCDA clients and siblings ages 312!

The children's art fair is being presented in partnership with the Flintridge Preparatory School's Athletic Council on Leadership (ACL). Thank you, Flintridge Prep ACL volunteers!

When: Sat., April 4, 10:30 a.m.12 p.m.
Where: PCDA Community Room

Space is limited; be sure to register online in advance!
Sibling Saturdays Weekly Program
All brothers and sisters of children with special needs, ages 512, are welcome to attend PCDA's Sibling Saturday program, held each Saturday from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

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
PCDA has been proud to host a Special Olympics Young Athletes Program (SOYAP) since 2014, being one of the early programs of its kind to develop in Southern California. Since then, hundreds of families with young children have joined the program at PCDA to participate in fun activities and games designed to teach fundamental sports skills so young athletes can practice and play in a supportive, non-competitive environment.

SOYAP is a free program designed for children 27 of all abilities. The first session of the 2020 season , focused on basketball, runs through April 4.
Young Actors Squad
Know a teen age 1318 who likes to play interactive games, develop characters and scenes, and make great friends? The Young Actors Squad (YAS) may be a perfect fit!

YAS is an inclusive theatrical group formed in collaboration between PCDA and the Pasadena Playhouse, and facilitated by PCDA staff. Rehearsals are held Monday evenings at 6 p.m. Low cost to participate; financial aid may be available.

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

See the Young Actors Squad in a free performance this month!
When: Monday, Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m.
Where: PCDA Community Room
Young Adults Program
The Winter/Spring 2020 session of the PCDA Young Adults Group is taking place now, continuing through June 20, with the Summer/Fall 2020 session beginning in July. 

The program focuses on vocational exploration and discovery, building friendships, and life skills for the transition to adulthood.

If interested in the Summer/Fall session, ask your Service Coordinator about a Young Adults Group Assessment in April or May of this year (Vendor #PD3088, SVC code 102).
On DIRFloortime® and PCDA
A Reflection from Dr. Michelle Kolsi, PCDA Board Member

"2019 is behind us, and 2020 represents not just a new year, but a new decade. Change has been apparent all around us, and continues to be in the forefront everywhere we turn. Women’s rights, fair treatment of minorities, gender identity, and demands for an ethical government are all issues that have been brewing for the last few years and are now on the surface ready to be dealt with. Add to that mix individuals with disabilities; more specifically bright, eager children with disabilities, and we can already see the important role that PCDA can play in the year to come. Gone are the days when parents wish to have their children conform and fit in, and new words like 'be recognized' and 'stand out' are being used instead. Parents understand that their children with special needs should be recognized as unique individuals. What makes them different is part of who they are, and that is to be celebrated, used within the context of helping them achieve their greatest potential, rather than repressed in an effort to maintain normalcy. 

Enter PCDA. We as an organization excel at recognizing the potential in every child, even when parents and educators might not yet see it themselves.
Unlike classical ABA therapy which scolds children for not conforming to societal standards, DIR® is an individualized approach which recognizes their unique behaviors as communicating something about them. It is every child’s right to go to school, have friends, smile, love and be loved. Having personally witnessed DIR® in action with my own daughter, I can attest to the strength of the technique, the organic way it encouraged her to socialize and ultimately brought out the best in her without changing who she is at her core. 

Reflecting now on the year to come, I am very excited because I think the perfect stage is set for what PCDA has to offer..."
Recommended Viewing & Listening
"We help students move from anxiety to thinking. They’re anxious because society tells them there’s a right or wrong answer. Instead, Dr. Tippy says, we want them to say, ' Hey, this is just a challenge, just like all things in life are a challenge. And I actually have in me those things that allow me to solve unique and ambiguous situations ... I can simply think about it, use my abilities and come up with a new plan.' That’s what DIRFloortime® is about."
"The problem with ABA,” says author, speaker, and human behavior and parenting expert Alfie Kohn, “is not just with the method, but with the goal. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that when these kids grow up they are struggling to try to figure out how to make decisions, be assertive and advocate for themselves … because the whole precondition for the temporarily effective use of rewards is the opposite of independence — it’s dependence."
Share with PCDA
Help Us Tell the PCDA Story
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.