11-13 Summer Session #8

Dear parents,

Well, it has finally arrived, the last day. We're hoping to make it a memorable experience for your kids. We will be starting off with a pancake breakfast down the street at Claudines. (If they want something else, that's fine too).

After that, we'll be walking about a half mile to Los Encinos State historic Park. Jennifer, the park interpreter, will be waiting and will provide a tour, including going inside the adobe buildings (temperature-wise, it's reasonably cool inside). She's extremely knowledgeable and, in fact, this is our 10th year anniversary taking tours with her (we were her very first tour tour 10 summers ago).

At the conclusion of the tour she will do a project with the kids, most likely making butter from cream. After that it’s off to lunch, either at The Stand or another nearby restaurant, depending upon the weather (it shouldn't be more than about 92°)

At this point in time it will probably be around 2 PM and we will head back to the office for the rest of the afternoon. We still have a lot to do. There will be a review of goals that kids have indicated they wanted to work on and they will be able to comment on their progress, we have a Feedback survey that they will be completing (yours will arrive this evening) and we have an animation to finish. Of course, there will be two raffles (blue ticket and hero ticket). There may even be time for some games.

Some of you have written or asked about the school year program. Please be assured, you have first priority as a participant in the summer program. We will also be accepting returning families from the school year program, but will leave 25% of the spots open for brand new families who are on our wait list.

The webinars will remain available through the end of August at which time your access to them will close. Also, there is a final parent meeting tomorrow night, Thursday, from 5:30 to 7:30. Please logon to the parent portal and indicate whether or not you plan to return tomorrow night if you have not already done so.

It is been a pleasure getting to know you and your kids. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. We will be completing progress reports on all your kids over the next three weeks and sending those out.

Happy rest of summer!

Dr. G.

11-13 Summer Session #6

Hi Parents,

This morning we will be headed to Chinatown, first by bus from the office to Universal City and then taking the Red Line to Union Station and transferring to the Gold Line where we will travel for one stop to Chinatown. Yesterday, we walked from Union Station to Ocean Seafood, where we will be having lunch and that was about a half-mile. The walk today will be about a third of a mile.

There is a chance that we will stop at the Phoenix Bakery for dessert if we do not select some of the dim sum as dessert items. This Bakery is known for its Strawberry Shortcake, but they have plenty of other items as well.

At the restaurant your children will have an opportunity to sample dim sum. This is traditional Chinese fare, basically appetizers.  they have vegetarian options in addition to the typical shrimp, pork, chicken, and beef items. The group will have an opportunity some of the stores in Chinatown and possibly make purchases. If the walking isn’t a problem, we will also make a brief stop at Olvera Street, but this decision will be made at the time.

We expect to return to the office around 4 p.m. and, if our experience with the teenagers yesterday is any indication, they will have just enough energy left to be able to play some games.

You do not need to have sent any money with your child.

Remember, there is a parent meeting on Saturday (sorry, accidentally wrote Friday earlier). You can RSVP using the parent portal.

Email me with any questions.

Dr. G.

11-13 Summer Session #5

Hi Parents,

Today we are going to be headed, by charter bus, to the zoo, leaving by 10 am. We know that it is going to be hot and we considered a different choice, however, we know this setting well enough that we feel we can safely have them there and enjoy the day. There are plenty of shady areas plus indoor exhibits we can visit and organize our trip according to the demands of the weather. If necessary, we'll purchase shuttle tickets so they don't walk as much. Of course, they will all have bottles of water with them and will be encouraged to drink frequently. We'll be applying sunscreen as needed throughout the day.

Many of your kids are bringing in LUNCH  Point certificates and that's great. We expect to return to the office around 4 PM and will continue with the joke-telling animation project, unless they're too tired, in which case we'll play some light games.

Please feel free to reach out if you have questions of any kind.

Dr. G.

11-13 Summer Session #4

Hi Parents,

Today we're going to be heading to laser tag via public MTA bus as our main event, arriving at 11am. It's located at Ultra Zone in Sherman Oaks on Ventura Boulevard at Cedros Ave. We’ve been there many times before and always had a great time. We will be doing this “Camp Style," which means we will be able to play several games of laser tag and we will have our own "party room." will be interspersing a couple of laser tag games with time for them to play in the arcade. Our rules are similar to bowling in that they are not allowed to obtain candy or prizes, just play games, ideally with partners.

They do offer sodas and lemonade at Ultra Zone (laser tag) and we will allow the tweens to have some, typically up to one refill and then they have to switch to water. So, this is a slightly more “sugary” day than most (however if you have instructed us not to give your child soda or fruit juices they will have only water).

Prior to laser tag we will be going either to Jamba Juice or Noah's bagels for our snack. There's a nice place to sit outdoors and will be heading out a little bit early to take advantage of the cooler weather before laser tag.

After we're done, around 1 PM, will be heading out to lunch. We used to go to Hamburger Hamlet but, sadly, they're closed "for remodeling." We took the 8-11 group to Marie Callender's, which is pretty close by and that went pretty smoothly, so that's a possibility. There's also a noodle house below laser tag. We'll have to figure this one out.

We will likely return to the office around 3 PM and will be doing to "shopping" online for raffle prizes, then working on our "Joke animation" project. 

Sophie is here today.

As a reminder, there will be a webinar again tomorrow evening and it will be recorded just like last time. There will be a parent meeting this coming Thursday and on the weekend. I have added both the parent RSVP link and the Webinar registration link to the Parent Portal so you can just log in there to sign up for either.

11-13 Summer Session #3

Hi Parents,

I have not had time to write this morning's entry, so it will be delayed. Briefly, we're going to CPK down the street at 11 am for a tour of the restaurant and pizza-making and appetizers. Prior to that, we'll be doing an animation to let them practice hearing their voices.

Update 10:34am:  We just left for CPK after having about 50 minutes to work on the animation. Because we are eating so early, there is no afternoon snack. As you'll see in the parent meeting, this is much more than recording voices or plots. We decided to go with simple 2 part jokes, that we can have them work in pairs. They need to follow directions and read the "script" while ignoring the microphone in front of them. Also, the "audience" needs to remain quiet. Little social competence elements enter into this exercise also, such as scooting over to make room for the second person rather than allowing them to climb over you.

At CPK they will be able to choose ingredients and share salads or appetizers.

We will return to the office by 1:30pm. In the afternoon we have a magician coming. He was a hit previously and will both do a short magic show and give them materials to learn a few tricks as well. After he finishes, we will continue the animation project for about an hour.

Earlier today, we began the session with LUNCH Points. They are becoming more thoughtful and considerate in how they award the raffle tickets to one another. We had one student who declined to read his LUNCH Point, which we didn't push (he didn't even say he had one, but instead folded it into a "crown" to wear). The students were informed afterwards those with a certificate today will receive a surprise at the end of the day (there were 7 of them) which will be $5 each.

Sophie is here today.

You are welcome to make comments below. Just remember they are public, not private, and can be viewed by anyone.

Dr. G.

11-13 Summer Session #2

Hi Parents,

Please be certain you read the note at the bottom of this blog.

We did a lot of work with your tweens on Monday and I'm excitedly anticipating what today will bring. It's basically a duplicate of what we did with the teens yesterday. Several parents have completed LUNCH Points™ and we'll start off with that.

Around 10:00am we will head to Pinz Bowling in Studio City, traveling there by public bus. Just so you know, I have a new "App" that tells us when the buses are coming in realtime, so we can minimize how much time they are spending at the bus stop. When they do wait, we encourage them to remain in the shade.

For snack, we will be offering bagels with cream cheese at the bowling alley. We can bowl as many games as we wish during a two hour period. In case that turns out to be too long, they will have a brief period of time at the game arcades and be able to return to play a little more after lunch.

Lunch is planned to occur at the train, i.e., Carneys, which is just a minute from the bowling alley. They have a variety of hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, tuna sandwiches, Thai wraps, and will also make grilled cheese (which we will make certain is not actually done on the grill, but on foil for families that have dietary requirements). We typically let the tweens get French fries and sometimes a small shake or large drink (there is no "medium" only "small" and "large," go figure).

12:30pm IN-SESSION NOTE: We wound up staying at the bowling and using the arcade there. Our rules are no machines that give prizes or candy and also that the students must raise their hands and wait for a staff member to come around with the card for swiping. One student wanted to know what this was the case as opposed to each of them having their own card. The students were given a choice of spending their time discussing why the rule was the way it was or playing games, explaining there probably wouldn't be time to do both. They opted for game playing over discussion (this is what is meant by making "time stand still" where there is any level of oppositional behavior.

After the arcade (it's amazing how quickly $120 can go out the door), we headed to Carney's for lunch. The kids were able to have a large soda and small fries along with their food entree. We remained a little over an hour to give them a quality experience. Some of the kids ate way too quickly despite our prompting and found themselves with little to do for a time. Others alternated between food and conversation.

Back to Original Blog Post: After lunch, we will most likely head back to the bowling alley to allow the tweens a longer period of time in the arcade. The staff control how many games they can play and we do not permit them to use games to dispense toys or candy. We also will encourage them to pair up with others rather than just playing single player games and also to observe as other group members are playing.

Once we're done, we will head back on the bus and spend the remainder of the afternoon either doing another project or game playing.

There is a chance the teens will view some short videos or animations with the goal being to stimulate interactive conversations. We will have an optional afternoon snack around 3:45 PM.

Sophie will be here today as well.

Important Note: I sent out an email about Technology yesterday and at least one parent informed me they discovered it in their "Spam" folder. If that happened to you, or you did not receive it, please let me know. The subject line was "Technology Use in Group " and it was sent around 5:40pm yesterday. Thanks for your help.

You are welcome to make comments below. Just remember they are public, not private, and can be viewed by anyone.


11-13 Summer Session #1

Good morning parents,I

This blog entry is coming to just a little bit later than usual but, fortunately, we've already had an opportunity to speak just after your children were dropped off so you know pretty much everything I'm just about to say. Right now, as we speak, we had to remove fidget items from one of the children and several small toys from another child. Initially, they were very slightly reactive and we explained that parents agreed their children will not bring these items to group. Once we said that, and then asked them if their parent had told him it was okay to bring, each child indicated "no," and relaxed. We talked about the reason that these items are not permitted in group and they were accepting of this information.

Right now, while I'm in the other room, Dr. Mazor and Karen are creating a set of rules with your children and they are frankly sitting as politely as can be. After they finish going over the rules, envelopes will be distributed so your kids can create nicknames for themselves that are used for any of our online projects.

Later this morning, around 10:15 am, we will go for a snack, most likely at Gelsons market. Once there, we will start off in the produce section and get a variety of items the men probably navigate over to the chips section. If anyone has any special dietary needs, we will make certain that these are accommodated. We will return to the office for about an hour and start one of our animation projects. Around 12 o'clock or so we will head out for lunch, most likely at Maria's Italian kitchen. Some of your kids may have food issues and, on the first day, we really want them to feel comfortable. So, we will be far more lenient than will be the case in upcoming groups. In order to be able to encourage or "push" a child to try new foods, they first have to feel trusting of us and they haven't been in the program long enough to develop that yet. Lunch will last anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes and we expect to return to the office around 1:30 PM.

We have an animal specialist coming at 2 PM as a surprise for your kids and he will be bringing 10 different animals with him to talk about and for them to interact with. Sophie would probably want to be part of this as much of any of your kids, but I didn't think that would be best so she will be leaving the office today at 1:30 PM.

The animal expert will be leaving around 3:15 PM and at that time, depending upon your children's preferences we will either play some games, continue the animation, or go out for a second optional snack. One way or another we will rotate these three activities and that's what they will be doing for the final 90 minutes of group today.

Right now, as I'm finishing up this blog entry, I could still overhear them having respectful conversations with Dr. Mazor.

Dr. G.

P.S. Just a quick follow-up. It is currently 4:51 PM and clearly your kids have had a long and eventful day. Some of them are a bit quiet, some of them are quite impulsive, behaviors, touching skin or something similar. We have worked on all of these today. I think a few of your kids found a little bit boring. Our primary focus today was in working with the externalized others. These are the kids who are working to gain the attention of their peers, sometimes through maladaptive behaviors; blurred out or are frequently verbally impulsive, for example shouting out the answers while raising their hands; or in some cases, oppositional.

That means that we didn't spend quite as much time focusing on the internalized others, other than to deal with blatant anxiety or to make certain that they had sufficient chances to participate. The reason for this is that we need to get the externalizers behavior under quick control so it doesn't take away from group time or inhibit the internalizers’ comfort with participation. To that extent, I feel that we were largely successful today. There is no doubt that a small number of students are going to feel that they were treated unfairly because we repeatedly responded when they engage in behaviors that either violated social boundaries for were otherwise unacceptable.

For example, for our afternoon snack, we took the kids to Jamba juice. They were offered a king-size snack and given four choices of flavor combinations. One student in particular felt that he should have a larger size smoothie and repeatedly stated so. He was told that he was given a choice of either accepting what was being offered to him or was free to decline and not have anything. A second child wanted a different flavor than one of the four being offered. He initially declined to have anything and was thanked and asked to wait outside. Moments later he came back in and said that he had decided on one of the four choices.

We are looking forward to Wednesday which will be our first community outing. None of your children display behaviors that I feel were unmanageable although it certainly kept us actively engaged. Remember, there are recommended procedures of what to do in case your child does complain. Also, there is a parent webinar scheduled for tomorrow evening and an in office parent meeting scheduled for this coming Saturday at 10 AM.

Getting Ready

Hi Summer Group Parents,

Things are settling down and we're finalizing preparations for the Summer LUNCH Groups program. Just a few housekeeping and informational pieces to make sure everyone's "in the loop."

Treatment Agreements/Materials Fee

You should have received the instructions for completing the treatment agreement and paying the materials fee. Click here for the link. Email me if you don't have the password.

Parent Orientations

Orientations are required for all NEW families. Those parents whose children have attended a school year program should review the video that will be posted and sent to you by Friday.

We held an orientation last weekend, have another orientation tomorrow (June 21st) from 3-5pm, scheduled primarily for 8-11 families, although others are welcome to attend. We have a final orientation meeting for 11-13 and 14-17 Groups set for July 8th, 9:30-11:30am. If you are a new family and have not attended or signed up for an orientation, please contact me.

General Information

  • All groups are from 9am-5pm
  • You may view the calendars for your child's summer program by using the navigation link at the top of the web site
  • Your child will not need water bottles, money, or other items
  • If they do bring a cell phone, we will ask them to keep it off or on silent. They are not permitted to take it out during group sessions
  • You will receive an email describing the main points of our day 15 minutes after you drop off your child

If you have other questions, please send me an email.

Dr. G.