News, Tips, and More for September
From the Executive Director / Del Director Ejecutivo
Dear PCDA Community,

It may seem hard to imagine that we are wrapping up summer, and preparing to transition into autumn and all that this particular fall season brings with it this year. Many routines and traditions are not returning in ways that we are used to, and this world of remote and virtual care continues to be our safest option to continue to engage and connect with each other for longer than we could have ever imagined.

Hopefully, it may seem easier to imagine yourself taking some time and making a moment to take care of yourself. We encourage you to treat yourselves and each other kindly and gently, and to prioritize new and renewed self-care practices for yourselves and your loved ones.

Our work in the DIR/Floortime model reminds us that we sometimes need to drop ourselves down to milestone one and consider our most basic regulatory needs, so that we have a solid base for the trusting relationships and back and forth problem solving interactions that lie ahead.

Our mission continues, and we are pleased to continue to share some of our recent celebrations, updates and resources with you. Some of this month’s highlights include: some fun and useful book, sensory, and movement-based resources, the save the date for our virtual BINGO event, and other client, board of director and department specific spotlights and accomplishments!

We hope that you will take a few moments to enjoy this newsletter, as we continue our work to stay connected with you in the safest ways possible.

In kindness,

Christopher Perri, MS, LCSW
Executive Director
Estimada comunidad PCDA,

Puede parecer difícil imaginar que estamos terminando el verano y preparándonos para la transición al otoño y todo lo que esta temporada de otoño en particular trae consigo este año. Muchas rutinas y tradiciones no regresan de la forma en que estamos acostumbrados, y este mundo de atención remota y virtual sigue siendo nuestra opción más segura para continuar involucrándonos y conectándonos durante más tiempo del que podríamos haber imaginado.

Con suerte, puede parecer más fácil imaginarse a sí mismo tomándose un tiempo y dedicando un momento a cuidarse. Los alentamos a que se traten a sí mismos y a los demás con amabilidad y delicadeza, y a que den prioridad a nuevas y renovadas prácticas de autocuidado para ustedes y sus seres queridos.

Nuestro trabajo en el modelo DIR / Floortime nos recuerda que a veces necesitamos bajar al hito uno y considerar nuestras necesidades regulatorias más básicas, de modo que tengamos una base sólida para las relaciones de confianza y las interacciones de resolución de problemas de ida y vuelta que se avecinan.

Nuestra misión continúa, y nos complace seguir compartiendo algunas de nuestras celebraciones recientes, actualizaciones y recursos con usted. Algunos de los aspectos más destacados de este mes incluyen: algunos libros divertidos y útiles, recursos sensoriales y basados en el movimiento, la fecha de reserva para nuestro evento virtual BINGO, y otros aspectos destacados y logros específicos de clientes, directores y departamentos.

Esperamos que se tome unos minutos para disfrutar de este boletín, mientras continuamos nuestro trabajo para mantenernos conectados con usted de la manera más segura posible.

Con bondad
Christopher Perri, MS, LCSW
Director Ejecutivo
Save the Date!
PCDA's Virtual Bingo Night
An evening that kicks off Thanksgiving week, when your family can join the family community of PCDA for an evening of fun, prizes, games and much more, enjoyed from your own home, in real-time, virtually.  

Gather with us, and let’s be thankful for all we have, and all we can do, together.
Event website and more information to come!
People of PCDA
Client of the Month: Three Cheers for Gary!
Gary is a caring, enthusiastic teen who always encourages his friends during activities in the Teen Buddies program.
This past month, he's been hard at work practicing the electric guitar for the Teen Buddies Talent Show and creating pixel art for the Teen Buddies Art Show.

Way to go, Gary!
Board of Directors Spotlight: Meet PCDA Board Member Dr. Michelle Kolsi!

Dr. Michelle Kolsi was welcomed to the board in September of 2018, making this month her second anniversary with PCDA. As a pediatrician and a parent, PCDA’s mission is one that resonates with Michelle on many levels. Michelle’s professional commitment marries well with her personal commitment to PCDA. By sharing her expertise as a pediatrician, she helped to create a new board position, Clinical Liaison. 

As Clinical Liaison, Michelle partners with our clinical team in helping to realize a fuller means of care for the families who need our services. Julie Miller, PCDA’s Clinical Director, cites: “As clinical liaison, Dr. Kolsi has taken the time to meet with each of our clinical department heads to understand the scope of our services and needs for each department individually. She has eloquently communicated her passion for DIR and has supported the board in understanding our clinical work, mission, and needs. Early in the COVID-19 decisionmaking process, Dr. Kolsi's knowledge and guidance was incredibly helpful as we worked to best train and support our staff and clients.”
Michelle was first introduced to PCDA as a parent with a child in need of services. Michelle sits at a unique nexus, both as a pediatrician in private practice, and also as a parent of a child with special needs. When she shares about her experience with her daughter and the DIR therapy model that PCDA uses, she can attest to the strength of the technique, the organic way it encouraged her daughter to socialize, and how it “ultimately brought out the best in her without changing who she is at her core.”
It’s been five years since this introduction to PCDA for her family’s needs. During that time, Michelle began her own private outpatient pediatric practice. Through her practice, Michelle works with a number of children who have a wide variety of neurodevelopmental needs. When identifying good resources to help her patients and their families, PCDA again became a focus of that search. When as a parent and looking for resources for her own child, Michelle had hopes of “finding a dedicated group of specialists who could provide appropriate therapy for my child, while guiding me with additional interventions I could perform at home.” As a clinician, she was looking for “knowledgeable, skilled individuals who could bring out the best in her patients and help fill in their developmental gaps.” On both fronts, Michelle shares that “PCDA has delivered.”
Michelle and husband, Armen Gregorian, MD, live their ideals daily and demonstrate those ideals to their children, Sarineh, 10, and Levon, 8. Giving back is what they do, both in their professional lives as well as what they do for their communities, personally. Michelle will tell you how much she loves being a pediatrician, and she extends her own experiences to her client families who have similar needs as she and her family did, in hopes they won’t struggle to find specialized care and answers. “What I am constantly trying to remind myself, my children, my patients and their families, is that we are all doing the best we can. Remember to eat and sleep, go outside every day, and smile. Every day I ask my patients and my children to tell me two reasons why they are proud of themselves. I love to hear what they have to say and I love to see them smile when they realize that they have a reason to be proud of themselves. And then I remind them that we are all doing the best we can.”
Earlier this year, Michelle was asked to provide the opening reflection at a Board of Directors meeting, and part of that reflection included this very personal insight: “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.”
We are so fortunate to have Michelle’s experience and all it means for the families that PCDA serves.
Congratulations, Julie!
PCDA's Clinical Director, Julie Miller, was just published as a co-author on the 2020 revision to the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework as a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Commission on Practice. Julie notes that it has been a fantastic learning opportunity to see and be part of the revision process and to have a hand in the future direction of the field. Because the national AOTA conference in April was canceled due to COVID-19, the Commission on Practice has been presenting the Practice Framework updates virtually at state conferences. Julie just presented with other members of the Commission at the Tennessee Occupational Therapy Association conference August 27th.
Programs and Services Spotlight
NoteAbles Children's Choir Begins Virtual Fall Session
Join PCDA’s NoteAbles Children’s Choir as we learn songs and explore the elements of music in an adapted format for all learning styles!

The NoteAbles is a choral group for children ages 6-18 with special needs, conducted by board-certified music therapists. Our fall session will be conducted virtually and financial assistance may be available.

For more information or to sign up, please contact Aimee at aimee@pcdateam.org.
Music Therapy Telehealth Services
Did you know that PCDA is now offering music therapy telehealth services?
Music therapy provides a unique opportunity to address and enhance development in the areas of communication, cognition, motor skills, and social-emotional development. PCDA's music therapy services are child- and family-centered, with a specific focus on social-emotional development and supporting parent-child interactions.

For more information, please contact Aimee at aimee@pcdateam.org or (626) 793-7350 ext. 256.
Information and Resources for Families
Sensory Schedules
As we all adjust to work, school, and life at home, it's important to remember how sensory input can make us feel more or less regulated, engaged, and flexible.

This handout (available in PDF format here) offers helpful considerations to build a supportive routine with alerting, calming, and organizing sensory input throughout the day.
Book of the Month for Promoting Speech & Language

From Speech-Language Department Head Anne Davis, MS, CCC-SLP:

Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Jane Chapman

I recently rediscovered this playful story about a hungry bear and his helpful animal friends. My favorite thing about this book is the front cover, showing six different animals all signing “more”!!! How perfect for highlighting different ways to communicate!

I love using this book in speech and language therapy because the illustrations are large and colorful. Although the book includes a catchy rhyming text, I usually use it like a wordless picture book, not reading the words, but instead describing the pictured actions in simple phrases. There are many opportunities to speak and sign action words including “look”, “eat”, “go”, “want” and finally “sleep.”

For more information about using books to start a conversation with your child, please visit the Hanen Centre’s Book Nook.

PCDA’s Speech-Language Pathologists are eager to play, talk and work with you and your children. Lauren Grossman, MS, CCC-SLP (pictured), has introduced us to her flying dragon, a welcome addition to therapy sessions and staff meetings alike.
Make Time to Move!
Many of our clients are headed back to virtual school! Don't forget to take movement breaks, to support your attention and ability to stay engaged. This video helps to identify movement breaks that offer supportive sensory input, rather than just a "break from work."
Recommended Reading
Is Your Baby Afraid of Face Masks?

"With new regulations ... Parenting Now! wanted to provide some tips for acclimating your baby/toddler to seeing you in a face mask."
Behind a PBS Character with Autism is Man Who Helped Shape Him

"Having characters on children’s shows authentically portray autism helps teach acceptance from a young age."
Quote of the Month
"When we treat children's play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that's to be found in the creative spirit. We're helping ourselves stay in touch with that spirit, too. It's the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives."

―Mister Rogers
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 important work without community philanthropic support.

At this time, community giving is even more crucial in supporting our work.

Click the PCDA client artwork to make a donation today!
Another Way to Support PCDA
Use Amazon? Consider making your purchases through smile.amazon.com.
During this time of national emergency, when many households are using online purchasing to help keep their families safe, we wanted to remind you that PCDA receives a charitable donation from Amazon Smile for every purchase made when you create and use an Amazon Smile account, or use your existing Amazon account but make your purchases through the Amazon Smile website. You get the same products, same prices and same service at Amazon Smile as you do on Amazon!

Amazon Smile donates a percentage of your purchase to PDCA when you take these simple steps before shopping:

  • Create an Amazon Smile account or simply log into your existing Amazon account at smile.amazon.com.
  • Once you, the customer, signs into your Amazon Smile account, you’ll be prompted to “Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com.”
  • You will then be prompted to “Select a charity to start shopping.” Please type in “PCDA” so that your purchase will automatically be eligible for PCDA to receive a percentage of your purchase as a charitable donation.

That’s it! The Amazon Smile platform will take care of the rest. Once you check out, a percentage of your sale will automatically be directed to PCDA.

Thanks so much for considering this option when you shop online. We’re very grateful for all support of our mission, and what it means for the children and families we care for.
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. 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.
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.
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!