September News & Notes
Dear Friends,

Did you know that PCDA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization? That means that we are managed by a board of directors, and provide services that are designed to fulfill our mission. In July we welcomed a new chair of the board, Judy Wilson (highlighted below) and refined our mission statement: 

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. 

As a non-profit we depend on donations, which are tax deductible, to make our services possible. We hope you will consider how you can support PCDA through a donation or by volunteering . And please mark your calendars for our annual gala, Harvest Moon , which will be held this year on November 10!

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
Sept. 9: Start of new Young Actors Squad session (register by Sept. 30)
Sept. 14, 21, and 28: Sibling Saturdays (for siblings ages 5-12)
Sept. 14-Nov. 16: Special Olympics Young Athletes Program (soccer)
Oct. 6: Sunday Funday at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center (PCDA tabling)
Oct. 20: Dark Spirits (tickets now available)
Nov. 6, 13, and 20: Orientation to Floortime (parent workshop series)
Nov. 10: 11th Annual Harvest Moon Gala (tickets/sponsors/ads available)
People of PCDA
Congratulations, Judy!
Congratulations to Judy Wilson , PCDA's new board chair! 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.
Client of the Month: Sebastian!
Congratulations to Sebastian for graduating from Feeding Therapy! He and his family worked hard at PCDA and gained skills to enjoy mealtimes together. He also created an instruction manual and videos on oral-motor skills and social skills, to help other kids who might be having trouble with eating. Way to go!
Developmental Interventionist of the Month: Natalie Sheng
We are pleased to honor Natalie Sheng as DI of the Month. Natalie has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from San Jose State University and joined PCDA in September 2018. Since then, she has had valuable participation in the SEDI, Social Skills, and Teen Club programs and supported the Programs team in her role as a Developmental Interventionist and Social Skills Facilitator. Natalie has demonstrated uniqueness and growth in embracing the principles of DIRFloortime®, understanding the importance of family as whole, and staying connected to the multidisciplinary team of specialists working with each client. In working with her pre-teen and teen clients, Natalie creates a safe and trusting space for discussion and reflection, built upon mutual respect, that helps them navigate the word outside of PCDA. We appreciate her work and look forward to her continued growth at PCDA and beyond. Congratulations, Natalie!
Welcome, Michelle!
Join us in welcoming Michelle Plotkin , PCDA's new associate marriage and family therapist and art therapist! Michelle received her first master's degree in crisis and trauma social work from Tel Aviv University and recently completed her second master's from Loyola Marymount University. Until recently, she’s worked primarily with victims and families affected by domestic violence. Michelle is passionate about utilizing creative interventions in order to better understand the unique strengths and challenges of each of her clients. She values her own artistic process as a self-care method and source of inspiration for better understanding the value of art in healing.
Congratulations, Mariko and Juliana!
PCDA staffers Mariko Yamazaki-Sanchez , head of Occupational Therapy and Feeding Programs, and Juliana Frias , head of the Creative Arts Department, have both earned their Basic DIR® Certification by completing a 12-week course called DIR® 201: Promoting Basic Functional Emotional Developmental Capacities. Congratulations, Mariko and Juliana!
Volunteer Help Needed
PCDA is seeking volunteers for our annual Harvest Moon Gala , our largest fundraising event of the year! This year's event will be held Sunday, November 10, at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club.

Each year, we count on the support of more than 60 volunteers for this special event, and we are so grateful for their time and support. Harvest Moon features volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups, and opportunities are available both before and during the event.

Sign up here to volunteer ! For questions or to learn more, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Anne Yee at (678) 231-2283 or AnneY@pcdateam.org .
PCDA Happenings
PCDA Young Adults Program Participants Meet Assemblymember Chris Holden!
Members of PCDA’s Young Adults Program chose to attend Assemblymember Chris Holden’s 20th Annual District Block Party and Resource Fair as their weekend outing on Saturday, August 3! The group members were excited to have the chance to connect with one of their elected officials, and also really enjoyed the classic car show at the event.

Thank you, Assemblymember Holden, for all you do to support members of our community!
Young Adults Program participants with PCDA Clinical Supervisor Brandt Chamberlain, PhD, Assemblymember Chris Holden, and PCDA Executive Director Diane Cullinane, MD.
PCDA Teens and Families Enjoy a Summer Picnic!
On August 10, Teen Club/Teen Buddies had a Luau Picnic at Verdugo Park in Glendale to celebrate the proceeds they made from their car wash! The teens enjoyed food, games, prizes, and lots more!
We would also like to thank all our staffers and parents who planned and supported various committees to ensure that the teens had a great time.
Special Guests at PCDA!
PCDA was honored to welcome six nursing students and five nursing teachers who work with young people with special needs in Japan! PCDA Executive Director Dr. Diane Cullinane spoke about the DIR® therapeutic model with the group.
PCDA in The Outlook
PCDA's Interdisciplinary Feeding Team was featured by The Outlook in a recent front-page article!

Read the story here , and don't miss another recent Outlook story and photo gallery on PCDA's summer party !

Upcoming: Sunday Funday at Rose Bowl Aquatics Center
PCDA will host an informational table at this community event, held from 2–7 p.m. on October 6.

The event will feature recreational swimming, water slides, paddle boats, a game truck, a chalk walk, arts & crafts, demonstrations, food, and the Wiggle Waggle Wagon with adoptable animals. There will also be a quiet zone with a supportive environment, soft music, no action, and supervision from an RBAC coach. Admission is free and activity/food tickets are available at a discounted rate through October 3.
Opportunities to Support PCDA
Harvest Moon Gala
Sunday, November 10, 2019
La Cañada 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 Harvest Moon Gala is our largest fundraising event of the year, and proceeds directly support therapy and programs for children with autism and other developmental challenges.

This year's Harvest Moon honorees include Darryl Dunn , CEO and General Manager of the Rose Bowl Stadium and a man well-known in the community for his civic engagement and charitable works, as well as PCDA's co-founders, Diane Cullinane, MD , and Mimi Winer, RN, MS .

Tickets, sponsorships, and tribute-book ads are available now !

Volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals are also available.
Dark Spirits
Sunday, October 20, 2019
318 Fairview Avenue
South Pasadena

This much-loved annual fundraiser returns next month! Dark Spirits features bourbon-tasting, a delicious dinner, and more. Tickets are available now !
Support the NoteAbles Children's Choir
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.

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!
Information for Families
Tips for Backpack Safety!
With the school year now in session, PCDA's Occupational Therapy team would like to share some valuable safety resources from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA):
Click to enlarge
Click to see an enlarged version (available in English and Spanish )
Book of the Month: Owen by Kevin Henkes
A child who is transitioning into preschool or kindergarten might really appreciate this story about a mouse named Owen and his special fuzzy yellow blanket. 

We are able to understand Owen’s love for the blanket, the disapproval of a nosy neighbor, and his mother’s loving and resourceful solution to help Owen navigate from his world at home to school.
Nutrient of the Month: Magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral that has many roles in the body, helping with healthy bone growth, energy production, nerve function, and muscle movements. Sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and avocados. Many foods that are high in healthy fiber are often high in magnesium too!

Try making this magnesium-rich One-Pot Mexican Quinoa :

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 30-ounce can of black beans
  • 30-ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn, canned
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 medium lime
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir in quinoa, broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, and spices. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  3. Mix in lime juice and cilantro. Top each serving with chopped avocado and enjoy!
Black beans photo by Marco Verch via Flickr / Creative Commons
Avocado photo by Matt Pettengill via Flickr / Creative Commons
Quinoa photo by Pedro Reyna via Flickr / Creative Commons
Programs & Services Spotlight
The DIR® Approach to Pediatric Feeding - Upcoming Conference
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.
Sibling Saturdays - Weekly Program
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 New Session Starting September 14
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.
Click to enlarge
Young Actors Squad New Session Starting September 9
Know a teen aged 13-18 who likes to play interactive games, develop characters and scenes, and make great friends? The Young Actors Squad (YAS) just might be the perfect fit! New season begins on September 9, with registration ending September 30.

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