School Year 2018-19 - Group 2 - Session 2

Introduction

Below you will find the audio podcast recording. The transcription will appear within 48 hours. I have left comments on, however please only comment if you are a LUNCH Groups® participating family, otherwise it will be deleted.

Audio Recording

Transcribed Text

Good evening parents. This is the audio progress note for session number two. And it's for group number two. Tonight we had a new student actually, they switched from one of the other groups. And so we had 10, it was impressive to see that they were already falling into the routine of knowing what to do in the supermarket.

We had one event occur where a child inadvertently dropped a basket of blueberries. And it was because he was holding a little bit too much. Well, the look on his face, of course, was a little bit terrified even though nothing negative was said to him. We focused on problem solving. Things like this happen in the market. It was an accident, there's no reason to scold or act angry or anything like that. We simply told another child to go over to one of the produce staff and let them know that some blueberries had fallen.

We didn't ask the child to do it. My feeling was that would have been emotionally difficult for him. And I think that's something that you want to always pay attention to. If you have someone who is maybe bothered about something and it's hard for them to remain euthymic (in emotional balance). Sometimes you need to do to help them out. That way, they have an opportunity to get a little bit upset and practice remaining in control.

Blueberries were cleaned up and there were no further incidents. We moved on as different kids wanted chips. They wanted six different kinds of chips tonight, and I think we got three or four. We had them showing the bag to the others. Dr. Mazor prompted one of the kids to show the bag so the front of it was facing the kids. He had it facing himself and that's also something to pay attention to.

Does your child do something where they're taking into account your perspective? Or are they doing it in more of what I'm going to call an egocentric manner, meaning that they're focusing on their own needs? Sometimes this is related to what's called “theory of mind” that's being able to understand or talk about something from another person's perspective. This is just a nice gentle way of working on that.

What did they have tonight? Mangoes, strawberries, and we talked about why white strawberries don't necessarily taste as good as the red part of the strawberries. One child notice that one of the strawberries had a little bit of frostbite on it and wondered what that was. We talked about that we had blueberries. We had watermelon, and three or four kinds of chips.

The kids were hanging out they were talking with each other until 4:50pm at that point they cleaned up. It's interesting that for some kids, when they're asked to do something like cleaning up, all kinds of other ideas pop into their head and while these might be perfectly legitimate ideas, the fact is they were asked to clean up. Just focusing in a respectful calm manner on what it is they're supposed to do and using what's called “contingency management”. The question asking can occur later after they after they've cleaned up.

They went back over to the office and we had to practice pedestrian safety a little bit. A couple of kids got too close to the curb. And so we did the practicing and then coming back in. We did LUNCH Points ™. Right now we're being very lenient on our lunch point certificates. If a child can remember all three parts of what a LUNCH Points ™ (1) what did they do (it has to be something reasonable like “I stopped using technology without getting upset.”) (2) How much help they needed (e.g., done independently) and (3) How hard was it for them (e.g., somewhat difficult). If they can say those three pieces, they received the LUNCH Points ™ Certificate raffle tickets, even if they didn’t bring a LUNCH Points ™ Certificate. We're probably only going to do that for one more session. So if you have not given your child the LUNCH Points ™ Certificate. I think we have six kids out of our 10 had one, If your child's one who didn't get any LUNCH Points ™ Certificates, please try and make a concerted effort to give them one.

After that we have them just letting them talk for a few minutes on their own. They began talking a little bit about what games they have, their usernames, all that kind of stuff. The group transitioned into the larger meeting room and we did a little bit more of an academic activity today. First I showed them the Pixar movie lifted and then afterwards using an outline. I wanted them to talk just about the major points and understanding what's the difference between an opinion a description a conclusion just major points and they did great at coming up with major points. Developing the minor points that was much harder for them. They weren't sure as a group, what to do.

We worked through that and then you can see that just by reading through it. they were able to really capture the story. So when we proceed with computer animation they will have more of a “real” story. We have plenty of alumni members. I think it's a very capable group for being able to put that kind of an activity into play along the way.

We only sent one child out of the room and the reason was, is because they began to speak in a way that was mildly disruptive and inappropriate as we were about to watch the movie. The child began talking about how they were going to have to hide in the bathroom. If we were showing a movie and I really felt as though that's something that if you blurt that out in a classroom environment that's just not going to be helpful. By sending a child out of the room, number one, it's a surprise to them and, in this case Dr. Mazor took the child through the Four Step, a CBT approach. Sixty seconds later, he was back watching the movie, there wasn't an issue. The kids wanted to participate, a lot, which was great. So there was lots and lots of hand raising but I started to invoke the rule that when a child is answering everyone else has to put their hands down and focus on listening to the child to, you know was speaking at the time. Otherwise it becomes that they're not really paying attention and each is just trying to make their own point. That's not very reciprocal.

So that’s what happened toward the end and then we ran right up until six o'clock. Sophie was here and your kids wanted to pat her and and many of them got a chance to do so. It it was it was definitely a full packed couple of hours. If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to be in touch. As a reminder, there is a webinar this coming Thursday. You've all received invitations for it and there is a parent meeting coming up this Saturday and the RSVP requests will go out for that Thursday morning.

Thanks so much for listening.

School Year 2018-19 - Group 4 - Session 1

Introduction

Below you will find the audio podcast recording and the transcribed text for our first session. I’ll be curious to learn if you feel you need the text, since that’s the more time-consuming part. However, for now, we’ll do both and eventually see if just the audio recording is sufficient. I have left comments on, however please only comment if you are a LUNCH Groups® participating family, otherwise it will be deleted.

Audio Recording

Transcribed Text

Hi parents!

Tonight was the first night for the Group #4 (Teen Group). And, you know it really well. And we didn't have our full compliment of teams we have to the out sick, one wasn't able to make it at the last minute. And we have one more we're expecting for next time. So they'll be for additional teams. But we had, I think, was 10 tonight. And it was really nice. It's a, you know, it's a mix of, of returning members and new members. And of course, there's that settling in process. And on top of that they're teenagers.

You know, you never exactly know what's the best way to approach a situation we focused on is, I mean, first of all, course, you know, you drop them off, and we walked over to the office, and they're fine and settling in and being teenagers, they're talking a little bit, they're buried in their magazines. So I spoke to them. And one of the things I talked about was how we really strive to respect them. And we want to treat them more like adults and children, and how anywhere from one to three or four years from now, they're going to be adults. And so this is important, I talked about the fact that they can be forgetful, that sometimes they're having things happen to them that don't really have to do with parents or other people. And so that part of my work wasn't just sort of helping parents, quote, "fix their kids", but also talking to parents about how to understand teen issues and ways to work positively together. I felt like they responded to that, and we'll find out in time will tell, you know, I don't want to be preachy with them. And I don't want to lecture them. But at the same time, I want to acknowledge and kind of give them a sense of what we're hoping for them.

What was really interesting is that the session just got better and better as it went along. So we're talking with them, they created their nicknames, which we have them put on envelopes, and then their real names, so their nicknames can be used for internet-based projects that went very, very smoothly, they had questions about things. We had went to come in with a LUNCH Point. And even the LUNCH Points weren't supposed to officially have started yet, we didn't want to penalize his teen for having brought one. So he wound up reading it, and we kind of went through the process. And we went to giving him the raffle tickets for it seemed like it was an educational process for the other teens. And then I talked to them about LUNCH Points. And I shared with them some of the data that teenagers don't use it as much and tried to kind of understand why. I offered them the opportunity in addition to parents, giving them a lunch point to be able to give themselves a lunch point. And the reaction was not what I expected. And really interesting, one of the teens said that, as much as it might be kind of cool to give themselves when

they really like it, when their parents acknowledge they've done something positive. And another teen kind of spoke up saying something very similar, that it would feel a little funny to acknowledge themselves doing something.

So this is one of the things about teenagers that I love, they sort of have this I don't know, puppy like soft, shy underbelly if you will. But, you know, if you get them the right way, and you get them in the right mood they just turn over and they want to be scratched, metaphorically, if you will. They they really, you know, that hard shell and that irritating aloofness at times, kind of melts away.

So, we did that. And we talked for a while and we went through some different things. I also talked to them a fair amount about safety and environmental awareness. Because there are just so many distractions that teams are faced with these days, I really want them to know that we expect them to be aware of what's going on around them. And that's a tough one for a teenager for reasons that we'll talk about what I get to the neurobiology of teams and the webinars.

So at this point in time, it was time for dinner, and we went to Poquito Mas. It's right across the street. It's an easy walk, we know the menu really well. There's a nice big community table that we can usually get. And so they came in, they ordered and they began to gel, they began to talk more teens who were not who didn't know one another, we're talking more. One teen in particular, brought their chair all the way around and joined three other teens who were talking so it was really nice to see and Dr. Mazor and I were monitoring and occasionally giving out raffle tickets to them. We do it very unobtrusive way just as I talked to them about the fact that we videotape them less than we do the other groups

If they were talking about a subject that's a little bit sensitive, the odds are we're not going to videotape of because we want to give them their privacy. So that pretty much wrapped up the group for tonight. Not a lot to report no drama. We had one student who simply wasn't feeling well and we contacted their parent and they were picked up a little bit early. Otherwise it was a win win. It was really nice being with them. I'm looking forward to the others joining them and looking forward to talking about them then what goes on at the upcoming parent meetings. So that's it for now. But I would say a really enjoyable first session.

Thanks for listening.

Dr. G.

School Year 2018-19 - Group 1 - Session 1

Introduction

Below you will find the audio podcast recording and the transcribed text for our first session. I’ll be curious to learn if you feel you need the text, since that’s the more time-consuming part. However, for now, we’ll do both and eventually see if just the audio recording is sufficient. I have left comments on, however please only comment if you are a LUNCH Groups® participating family, otherwise it will be deleted.

Audio Recording

Transcribed Text

Hi parents tonight was a first session for group #1. Have to tell you, it was really an event. We previously had a younger group of kids last year. And so we kept the group smaller, you know, maybe eight kids, nine kids. So having 13 today, and seeing how they interacted was really a treat. We started off after you all dropped off your children by going over to the office, and actually working on pedestrian safety, even on the way over. Afterward, we talked with them in the waiting room area and went over names, we went over some basic rules and some of the things that we were going to be doing.

Following this was time to head back to Gelsons where we went through the produce department. And we got grapes, raspberries and strawberries and I think blueberries and a few different kinds of chips. They had a chance to practice environmental control, where shoppers who came down the aisle were able to pass through, because your 13 kids all move to one side, you'll be able to see video of this, when you come to the parent meetings.

They went through the checkout counter. And one of the things we do is have kids hold items that aren't necessarily what there are going to eat. You'd be amazed at how much they only want to sometimes hold their own food. After this, we brought it outside, and we set it up where we serve them. And so they're only getting their own portions. And we start off with a serving of chips or fruit or whatever. And then we do kind of monitor. If a child's eating fruit, fine, we'll let them have some more food or encourage them to try different kinds of fruit. If they're having chips, and then they want to second serving, we encourage them to try at least some type

of fruit. Even if they refuse, that's not a problem. We want to make certain that they refuse, politely, and stay in emotional control. You might remember that's one of the four areas that we talked about in terms of what we want kids to work on.

So they spent a good amount of time. We didn't get back to the office after that until close to five o'clock, which left us another hour. Back in the office, we pretty quickly settled in to having them decorate their envelopes that also included their nicknames that will be used for any web projects that we do. So that maintains confidentiality. And we also were dealing with some I wouldn't call them problems, but some situations that came up examples are a child going into the bathroom, but not fully closing the door, a child either putting their fingers in their mouth or picking their nose, to which we use what we call contention effort. This is where we ask a child politely to go wash their hands.

Additionally, we had some minor issues with body boundaries and making sure that they knew not to be touching one another. And then, as we were going through LUNCH Points, which we explained to them and will be up and running for you, we had an opportunity to call on some of the kids who are a little bit more shy to do reading. And it was really nice to see how their behavior relaxed and how they began to interact more with other kids during the session. Finally, we had just about 10 minutes left. At that point. We watched a Pixar video. Normally we would discuss it a little bit and talk about the story. But we ran right up until six o'clock. And so we didn't have a chance to do that.

That's pretty much a summary of what happened tonight. You are welcome to contact me with any questions. Our feeling is that the group is pretty well balanced as is but one or two of you might be hearing from us suggesting that we move your child from group number one to group number two.

That's it for now. See you next time.

Dr. G.

School Year 2018-19 - Group 3 - Session 1

Introduction

Below you will find the audio podcast recording and the transcribed text for our first session. I’ll be curious to learn if you feel you need the text, since that’s the more time-consuming part. However, for now, we’ll do both and eventually see if just the audio recording is sufficient. I have left comments on, however please only comment if you are a LUNCH Groups® participating family, otherwise it will be deleted.

Audio Recording

Transcribed Text

Hi parents,

Tonight was group number 3 -- middle-schoolers. We had two-thirds of our group there today, we have some additional incoming new students who will be joining us in two weeks, and one student who was returning from summer. So with the eight group members we had, there was a lot of interaction, a lot of enthusiasm, and frankly, a bit of settling in. Dr. Mazor and I alternated between taking leadership roles in the group. We started off by making sure that everyone knew each other's names. Although, as it turned out, even though you might rehearse that, it takes a bit of practice for it to really sink in.

The next step was coming up with group rules. What's kind of interesting is, and it's not just unique to this group, the group members have a tendency to want to talk about what you should not do, rather than what you should do. The reason that matters to me is that when you should not do something or something is inappropriate, I don't think that forms a mental picture in the mind of what to replace it with automatically. I don't think if someone says (e.g. “don't push others") that's the same as saying (e.g. “stand a respectful distance from others”). So what we do is we turn it around. Whenever we hear a “no” or “shouldn't” or anything like a “don't”, we asked them, what would be the appropriate thing to say and try and tease that out of them. Sometimes they can come up with it and sometimes that's hard for them. So we went through that and the other thing is that we try to keep it to a minimal number of rules. So for tonight, we had six.

Following that, we came up with nicknames, and you would think that wouldn't be too difficult. Our rules are that it can't be something that your child has used elsewhere, and it can't be anything derogatory, offensive, or condoning violence. We had one group member who chose to use the word demon in their nickname and when we looked up the definition of “demon”, as you might expect, it's evil, someone who tortures, not very positive things. Well, this particular group member was unwilling to consider an alternate route nickname and that began to take a little time away from the group. So after a certain period of time when they weren't willing to switch, we just moved on. Sure enough, just a couple of minutes later, they had come up with something that appeared more appropriate and we told them that they could work on that next time. So the point of it all is to help someone recognize when they might be taking too long and also to develop some awareness when they might be impinging upon others and taking too much time away. It's not meant really as a punishment but rather, a natural consequence that spending a certain amount of time on any given topic is as much as we have and once we move on, we've moved on. Believe it or not, this took about the first hour and 15 minutes of group everything that I've described so far.

Following this, we did a little tutorial on lunch points, and parents will get a notice letting them know when lunch points is available. Finally, then it was time for dinner, we went to Poquito Mas and everybody found something to order. Some of your kids have more bland taste, and they went for quesadillas and others stepped it up a little bit and got things with either chicken in it or a salad or things of that nature. One of the things we focus on in a restaurant environment is being aware that you're in public, so that voices aren't too loud, that we're considerate of other customers who might be nearby, that kind of thing.

So all of those are the different elements that went into group and the final area had to do with pedestrian safety. We practiced a couple of times how to just walk in the crosswalk without being distracted without getting silly and that's something that was also important. So group ended on a decent note. We will be looking forward to seeing them again in two weeks. If anyone has any questions, don't hesitate to be in touch.

Dr. G.

School Year 2018-19 - Group 2 - Session 1

Introduction

Below you will find the audio podcast recording and the transcribed text for our first session. I’ll be curious to learn if you feel you need the text, since that’s the more time-consuming part. However, for now, we’ll do both and eventually see if just the audio recording is sufficient. I have left comments on, however please only comment if you are a LUNCH Groups® participating family, otherwise it will be deleted.

Audio Recording

Transcribed Text

Hi parents,

Tonight was our first group for group number two and it really went pretty smoothly. Group started off with us talking to your kids just a little bit and then taking them into the office. Everyone was pretty much right on time and that was wonderful. In the office, what we do is just talk a little bit about some of the expectations and essentially some very general rules primarily initially regarding pedestrian safety, how to be on the sidewalk, we have a rule that says six feet away from the curb, that kind of thing.

Afterward, we went over to Gelson's where they had strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and chips. It was a nice snack for them and a lot of the kids of the group have been here before, but they don't know each other because they've been in different groups or at different times. Even though we have quite a few individuals who are familiar with the program, the act of getting to know kids is still a skill that all of them are having to practice.

We were at Gelson's for maybe 20-30 minutes between shopping and hanging out and then it was time to go back to the office. We had everyone following pedestrian safety except one child who practiced a little bit. We call it “Positive Practice” when we have a child repeat a behavior. Back in the office, they spent a little bit of time just talking with each other, and then we brought them into the larger meeting room and talked to them about both a little bit about rules and also creating nicknames for themselves, which they would need for the raffle tickets. We use blue and hero tickets and explain the difference to the kids. In essence blue tickets are just for typical behaviors such as sitting still, doing things that are expected, whereas hero tickets are given when your child does something that either shows extra consideration for others or that their problem solving or doing something that they might find somewhat difficult. For example, we had one student in group who appeared to kind of excessively tired and he laid his head down on the table for a moment but then he picked it up and he was paying attention. A minute later he laid his head down again, then he propped it up with his arm.  I pointed that out, you'll probably see it on the video when you come to the parent meeting and showed that he was paying attention. You're also going to see possibly an example of one of the kids starting to pick their nose and immediately they're asked to go wash their hands, which is called contingent effort. It's said to them in a respectful way, sometimes they act surprised, but we try not to make a big deal out of it. It helps them with their self-monitoring, and that leads to self-regulation.

After we finished the part where they did their nicknames, Dr. Mazor led the group where the kids

chose different prizes that they might want to win in a raffle. They're not guaranteed that prize and we explain that to them but it gives them an idea of what they can look forward to seeing in about four groups. The last thing that we did was we showed your kids lunch points and lunch points is a home generalization program where parents pick any one of about 80 behaviors and give their child a certificate that highlights that behavior. Now, you only do one certificate per group. And it might sound like well, should be lots of certificates, right? Well, the question is, what is the purpose of it? I will go over this in greater detail in a parent meeting but lunch points is not meant that you were rewarding your child with a certificate by giving it to them, but rather the act of giving them the certificate gives them something to look forward to in group and then they have an opportunity to read it to the other kids and also gain either blue ticket prizes, or blue tickets or hero tickets. We did have one child asked if they are required to bring a lunch point in and we said no that we never force someone to do something but they can also ask someone else to read it for them if they're feeling embarrassed about that.

The two hours quickly flew by and there were no significant concerns. They were really a great group. And I think for a first time it went well. Remember, if your child does complain about anything, you know that happens to about 10-15% of kids in group. Please consider following the instructions from the parent orientation: (1) Thank your child for letting you know, (2) ask them to bring it up to myself or Dr. Mazor, (3) send us an email summarizing what occurred, (4) Move on to something else. That's our advice, anyway.

Thank you, and we'll look forward to seeing you next time.

Dr. G.





14-17 Summer Session #6

Hi Parents,

So, it’s come down to the final day. Sorry this blog entry is a little late. It’s a “close to home” day for us as we mainly want to have a chance to work one final time on conversational skills with new people (those they haven’t spoken to previously) and closure.

We’re starting the day off with a surprise breakfast (don’t worry if your teen already had one... three said they did. They all found something to order). We are at a nearby restaurant, Claudine, and they’ve ordered everything from vanilla pancakes, to churro pancakes, eggs, even a brisket burrito. We wanted to start off the day with something different for them.

We’ll be returning and working on finishing the animation (that has been tough for this group) and doing LUNCH Points. Around noon, we’ll be heading for a picnic style lunch, letting them order family style items at Gelsons deli.

At 1:30pm today, we have a magician coming who has performed at the Magic Castle. He will do a short close magic show with them, then show them how to do a few tricks.

Sophie is here today. 

After that, we’ll be talking with them about what they gained from group, have them complete a feedback survey, and hold our two blue and hero ticket raffles.

There will be a final parent office meeting  tonight from 5:30-7:30pm. Also, you will receive a parent feedback survey to complete at the end of group via email. Please complete it at your first opportunity. Once you complete the survey, you will receive the “progress reporting” version of Rapid Screener.

I will contact all families to see if there is interest in a “bonus” meeting between Aug 13-15 either day or evening.

Thanks for participating. Let me know if you have any questions.

Dr. G.

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.

14-17 Summer Session #5

Hi Parents,

Today we are headed to City Walk. We’ll be taking the bus there and starting off at that famous health food restaurant, Voodoo Donuts. For those who don’t like donuts, they will be able to choose from other nearby establishments. After that, the teens will be just “hanging out” and window shopping. They each have $20 to spend and those with LUNCH Point Certificates will receive an extra $5. FYI, this is about budgeting and decision-making as well. They do not get to keep the unspent amount.

For lunch, we’ll most likely be at Bubba Gump Seafood. We tend to have a leisurely meal there, with the emphasis on visiting, not eating. After that, we’ll spend a little more time shopping before heading onto a bus to return to the office.

Sophie is here today. 

There will be a parent webinar this tonight (final one) and a parent meeting this Thursday. 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 #7

Good morning parents,

Today we are going to be headed off to the California Science Center via chartered bus. One change for today: Stasi is out sick so it will be Dr. Mazor and myself running the program. I considered using one of our backup staff, but because of the nature of the activity (enclosed), we felt it was managable rather than introducing someone the kids had never met. We will be leaving around 10 AM and expect to return by 4 PM. We will likely take snacks with us on the bus and consume them once we get to the science center and have lunch there as well.

In addition to going around the Science Center, we have purchased tickets for an iMax movie and also for the space shuttle, Endeavor. We'll be going to both of those in the afternoon, then returning.

On Friday, not all of your children had a chance to make purchases on Olvera Street. So, we are going to be offering those who have not make any purchases the opportunity to buy something similar in the Science Center gift shop or at the Endeavor exhibit.

As a reminder, there is a final webinar tomorrow night at 7pm, plus a final planned meeting on Thursday from 5:30-7: 30 pm. I am considering one extra meeting to be on a weekday evening when I return from being away, after August 13th. You will receive a survey to see if you are interested.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

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.

14-17 Summer Session #4

Hi Parents,

Big plans for today. We will be heading The bus to Universal City where we will transfer and take the subway Downtown. Once there, We will be exploring Olvera Street, Union Station, And having lunch at Ocean seafood where we will be serving dim sum. Right now, the teens are playing a morning game with Dr. Mazor.

There will be a parent meeting this coming tonight 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 #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.

14-17 Summer Session #3

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 teens 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 teen 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.

Hope this makes sense. Lunch isn’t until 1:15pm, so you have time to consider and reply.

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, Some of the meals include a slice of pie. We had thought about restricting sodas at laser tag (at lunch it’s only water), but it kind of goes with having a private room. So, we are going to permit those kids whose meals include pie to have a piece, unless we hear back from you indicating that your teen may not have any.

e will likely return to the office around 3 PM and will be doing to "shopping" online for raffle prizes, and beginning to work on an animation project. 

Sophie is here today.

As a reminder, there will be a webinar again tonight 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 #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.

14-17 Summer Session #2

Good morning parents,

Today we are going to be headed off to the California Science Center via chartered bus. We will be leaving around 10 AM and expect to return by 4 PM. We will likely take snacks with us on the bus and consume them once we get to the science center and have lunch there as well.

The first day was extremely useful in helping to identify the target areas we wish to focus on with each of your teens. Please feel free to email me with any questions. Remember, if you contact me and include personal information I will respond in kind. If you prefer the personal information only be transmitted via a HIPAA compliant email communication system, please let me know and I will set you up. Be aware it will require a separate login and password each time you wish to send or access information.

We will be showing your teens LUNCH Points and how those work this morning. Please watch the tutorial on the website and let me know if you have any questions.

You should have received an email informing you of additional parent meetings that have been scheduled in the office. There will be two meetings this weekend, held on Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 12 noon, plus there will be meetings the next two Thursdays from 530 to 730 (not tonight).

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

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.

 

14-17 Summer Session #1

Hi Parents,

Today is a "light" outing day. Around 10:00am we will head to Pinz Bowling in Studio City, traveling there by public bus. 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 itself will most likely occur at the train, i.e., Carneys, which is just a minute from the bowling alley. They have a variety of hot dogs, hamburgers, 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 teens get French fries and sometimes a small shake or medium drink.

After lunch, we will most likely head back to the bowling alley to allow the teens 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. They also will be choosing nicknames which are how they are identified online, since we never use their actual names.

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.

You should have received your "Parent Tips" sheet which has instructions on how to reach us during the day. Looking forward to seeing everyone together.

Sophie will be here today as well.

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.