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.

8-11 Summer Session #7

Hi Parents,

Today we are going to be headed, by charter bus, to the zoo. Because we want to get a somewhat early start on the day, we have purchased plain and blueberry bagels for the kids to have snacks with or without cream cheese (low-fat of course).  This is a full day and, fortunately, we know the zoo quite well and there are plenty of shady areas plus indoor exhibits we can visit and organize our trip according to the demands of the weather. We will be having lunch, most likely at the Gorilla Café, which is indoors and well air-conditioned.

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 conversational animation project related to the July 4 holiday we began two meetings ago.

Additional Notes: The parent webinar was moved to Thursday evening. Please let me know if you cannot find your registration link if you have not already signed up for it. Also, there will be a drop in parent meeting this Saturday from 10 AM until 12 noon. You should have received an invitation for this as well.

The orientation from last weekend was recorded and will be posted by the end of the day tomorrow. You will be able to access it through the parent portal.

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

Dr. G.

8-11 Summer Session #6

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 kids 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. There is a new noodle place downstairs from laser tag that we may try or be will likely go to Hamburger Hamlet at Van Nuys Blvd. and Ventura Boulevard. It isn't too long the walk to the latter location and we are usually able to stay on the shady side of the street. However, if it's very hot, we'll accommodate.

We will likely return to the office around 3 PM and will settle in for either games or project, possibly both. Sophie is here today so those students who did not have a chance to take a picture on Friday will have an opportunity for today.

As a reminder, there will be a webinar again tomorrow evening and it will be recorded just as last time. There will be a parent meeting this weekend. If you have a preference for Saturday versus Sunday morning, please drop me a short email let me know.

8-11 Summer Session #5

Hi Parents,

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday. We are on "heat alert" today and are taking numerous precautions. For starters, we will be going to Los Encinos State Historic Park at Balboa and Ventura  at 10 AM for a tour. Normally, we would just walk there, however we will be taking an MTA bus to arrive there at approximately 9:50 AM. Jennifer, the park interpretive guide, will be meeting us and taking the kids on a brief outdoor tour, followed by an indoor tour, and then a short project. Normally we would go to The Stand after this, but instead we will be taking the bus back to have lunch at Poquito Mas, across the street from the office.

We have an indoor project planned for the afternoon after lunch. Also, there will be a raffle today and some game playing in the late afternoon. We will be using our artificial intelligence race cars with the kids, Anki Overdrive (look it up, it's pretty cool).

All of the kids have bottles of water with their names on it and we will be encouraging frequent hydration.

Upcoming Parent Meeting: You should have received an invitation about the Parent Meeting in the office being held this coming Sunday, July 8th, from 1pm-3pm. Please RSVP when you have a chance.

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

8-11 Summer Session #4

Hi Parents,

We're wrapping up our first week. Today, we'll be taking a private chartered bus to Discovery Cube, located at 11800 Foothill Blvd Los Angeles, CA 91342. The bus is scheduled to pick us up at 10am and we'll be gone for most of the day, returning at 4pm. In case you've never been to Discovery Cube, click here to view. There's quite a bit to do and see there and they typically have a good time. We'll have lunch there as well, planning on a snack just before we get on the bus (probably trail mix bars or something similar). We'll also be seeing an animation feature while we're there in the afternoon.

Since we're gone so much of the day, not much point in having Sophie with us today.

You should have all received an invitation for the Webinar to be held Tuesdays, starting this week. In case you are unable to participate, it will be recorded so you can view it at another time.

NO GROUP meeting on Wednesday. Happy July 4th to everyone!

We will resume our meetings on Friday, July 6th.

Upcoming Parent Meeting: You will also receive an invitation about the Parent Meeting in the office being held this coming Sunday, July 8th, from 1pm-3pm. Please RSVP when you have a chance.

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

8-11 Summer Session #3

Hi Parents,

We're wrapping up our first week. You should have received information about the Parent Meeting in the office being held tomorrow, Saturday, June 30, from 10am-12noon. Please find the calendar invite and RSVP if you haven't already done so.

Sophie is going to be present today as well.

Today we'll be starting off with about 90 minutes in the office doing a morning project after we've gone over LUNCH Points. After our morning snack, we will head off walking to California Pizza Kitchen where they are expecting us at 11 am. They are located at Woodley and Ventura. We have a tour of the facility scheduled where staff will show their organizational process how they strive to meet customer's needs, how they focus on cleanliness and proper food handling. I may not be doing a good job of describing but the kids usually enjoy it; It's more interesting than I'm describing. This will be followed by the kids having an opportunity to design their own individual pizzas, which the CPK staff will collect, bake, and serve as lunch.

Afterward, we will head downstairs to Karen's toys for a raffle shopping trip. The group will be divided into 2-3 "Teams," with a team leader and they will be given instructions on price limits plus how it is determined whether or not we will purchase the item they select. The emphasis is similar to what we do when the kids are in Gelsons market getting snacks. They need to talk to one another, determine whether they like the same items and make decisions. Just to clarify, no child will be choosing an item for purchase that they are guaranteed to receive -- all items go into the raffle.

Afterward, what we do is going to depend upon the weather, specifically how warm it is out. We're hoping to be able to return to the office for a bit, shop for afternoon snacks and take them to a nearby park along with some sporting equipment, e.g., nerf balls and paddles, badminton, kick balls, and frisbees, but this will depend on how hot it is. One choice may be to return from CPK/Karen's Toys by bus rather than walking, but again, we'll make the decision at that time.

This should leave some time at the end of the day where we will either play some games and/or talk about what the group has been doing so far.

Also, as a reminder, we have group on Monday and Friday next week. Wednesday is July 4 and we won't be meeting.

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

Dr. G.

P.S. As it turned out, we didn't go to the park after all, even though the temperature was in the high 70's. The kids seemed a little too tired for a second excursion out. They were up, however, for working on an animation. You can find it under "View Projects." It more had to do with showing them some of the ways the animation program could plus reviewed one of the critical elements of animation... having a good story.

8-11 Summer Session #2

Hi Parents,

Monday was a pretty impressive day! Collectively, your kids were simply great, having conversations, following directions, and most importantly taking some interest in working on areas that appeared meaningful. I will get a survey out so we can start having Parent Meetings. I will offer one for this weekend and will also begin the Webinar meetings next week, most likely on Tuesday.

Sophie will be here today as well.

Now, for today, once the kids are back in the office, we will review LUNCH Points for those who have it (as of this writing, the night before, it looks like we will have at two three students who will bring in certificates.  To give you an example of the kinds of behaviors parents are choosing, I saw "while getting ready for bed, made a conversation and made eye contact" and "during the afternoon, followed a single request the first time without acting upset or irritated." Hopefully you will observe a behavior your child exhibits that will prompt you to give them a LUNCH Point certificate for next time. Feel free to ask or view the tutorial on the website if you have any questions. I had to create a work-around to temporarily make everything work and you were sent an email about this yesterday afternoon.

Around 9:30am we will head to Pinz Bowling in Studio City, traveling there by public bus. For snack, we may bring items with us to have once we arrive or we will be at a nearby bakery, depends on timing (FYI, at the bakery, we have the kids splitting larger muffins or similar items. We do not permit them to get cookies or other "dessert-type" items. For bowling, we are signed up as a "Camp," which means 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 kids 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 kids 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 kids 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.

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

P.S. The day went extremely smoothly. Probably the biggest area we worked on was emotional control related to trying new foods. There were about three group members with very limited skills and we had multiple opportunities to work on this during the day. You will be able to view videos of these interventions at the parent meetings. Additionally, some of the participants can be somewhat rigidly focused on wanting to engage in particular activities and dealing with these urges was another area of focus. Finally, we are observing the "social modeling" aspect of our program begin to have a greater positive effect on their behavior.

P.P.S. So, timing to go for the morning snack didn't work out as planned; the bus was about 20 minutes late heading to bowling. Instead, we offered the group plain bagels, with or without cream cheese, during bowling. Although not what we had planned, this actually worked out better because we were able to use "Contingency Management" techniques to set up conditions where they were more motivated to attempt behaviors that are "lower probability." In each case, we had some degree of success and continued this again at lunchtime for relevant students. For our afternoon snack, we did go to a bakery as promised, but elected to go to the Gelsons bakery and allowed them to have two small cookies. One student only wanted to have a croissant, which we did not permit since that wasn't one of the choices. Learning to accept or pass on items without making a big deal of out of it is one of the global group goals related to choice-making and emotional control. They all had bottles of water with them (we put their names on the caps and refill as needed).

P.P.P.S.  We watched some animations in the afternoon while all of the kids had an opportunity to take turns walking Sophie (she loved it!). Teaching them basic procedures, such as having her walk on their left, giving her proper commands to "sit," "heel," or "wait," and saying them assertively but without harshness or anger is a real skill-buildling exercise on its own.