Session #7 Tuesday, July 30

Hi parents,

Here we are, at the final day of the summer session. Let me start off by saying “thanks” to all of you. Your consistency and consideration made this an especially enjoyable session.

Today, we’ll be introducing two “firsts,” starting with their choice of a Netflix movie, complete with popcorn and other snacks. Normally, I’d worry, but from what I’ve seen, teenagers will eat nearly anything, anytime. Right after, they be moving around a bit as we head next door to the Pilates Studio. We have a one hour appointment with a highly specialized trainer and he will be talking with them about proper breathing, posture (doing a far better job of explaining and showing them why it matters than I can). Plus he has prepared a gentle routine for them to practice. He has been briefed about the students and we won’t be “forcing” anyone to participate, as watching others can be instructive as well (we will, of course, encourage participation).

After our class, we’ll be heading down the street to Octopus, a Japanese restaurant, which has been pretty popular with our group. The weather is predicted to be a little warm, about 83 degrees, but that should be manageable. Of course, we’ll have water with us.

After we return, by 2:30pm, the teens will be completing self-report surveys that provide us with some indication of how they experienced the program and we’ll be having a brief discussion (remember those initial goals) along similar lines.

Finally, it will be time for our two raffles. Remember, everyone wins in the Blue Ticket raffle, but there are limited amounts of each kind of prize. Half of the student win the Hero Ticket Raffle and this usually favors those who have been trying to break out of their comfort zone and work harder on conversations, controlling impulses, or showing greater consideration for peers.

You will be receiving a survey later in the day after group ends. Please complete this at your first opportunity. Should you be interested in your child participating in the School Year program, you have first priority, provided you indicate your interest on the survey (it asks you at the end).

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Session #6 Thursday, July 25

Hi parents,

Today is a full-day outing to City Walk. We’ll be taking the bus to “the end of the line” and then it’s just a short walk across the street and a shuttle ride up the hill. Our first stop will be Voodoo Donuts and they’ll be able to get what they want, with a few exceptions.

Afterward, they will each be given $20 cash to spend, with a few conditions attached. Staff have the final say on their purchases, but they can get hats, keychains, t-shirts, and other items. We’ll visit a number of stores, but really, it’s just a “teens hanging out” day.

For lunch, we’ll be headed to Bubba Gumps Shrimp, heading out around 2:00pm to return to the office.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Session #9 Friday, July 26

Hi Parents,

Here we are, the last day of the program. Amazing how quickly 63 hours can fly by. Today we have a special surprise for your kids. They are going to be taking a public bus to the Arclight Cinema for the 10:15am showing of Lion King. We purchased the tickets in advance and they’ll be sitting in two center rows with staff. we have snacks for them and plan to get them popcorn as well. According to our estimates, only three of the group members have seen this movie.

After the movie, we’ll be having lunch, then heading back to the office were we have some “end of group” activities. This includes discussions about what gains group members felt they made or observed in others, a survey, and finally, a raffle. Remember, all group members will win in the Blue Ticket raffle and half of them win the Hero Ticket raffle.

The pace of today is designed to be slow enough so they can process that it’s ending. Sometimes students will become upset at the program ending, others will devalue their time. There isn’t any “right” or “wrong” way to process feelings, but we work to try help them take away something positive from their time.

You will be receiving parent surveys right after group ends. Please DO complete these at your first opportunity. It’s the primary means we have for seeing how you viewed the program and what gains you did, or didn’t see occur. If you are interested in the School Year program, completing the survey and Rapid Screener® Progress Edition is the only way to hold your priority ahead of other interested families. The days and times have been posted on the home page of www.lunchgroups.com.

Session #8 Wednesday, July 24

Today we’ll be spending time in Encino. We’ll be heading over to Los Encinos State Historic Park at 10:30am and meeting with the Park Interpreter for a special “behind the scenes” tour and a project (click here for a YouTube interview discussing the state standards that are met on field trips of this type).

After that, around 12:30pm, we’ll either be going to Healthy Wok for a family style Chinese meal in their private room or eating Japanese food at Octopus.

Arriving back at the office around 2:00pm, we' will head back to the office, there will be opportunities for viewing and discussing some animations plus game playing.

Now that the group has become comfortable with one another, our goals are to help facilitate positive peer interactions, manage when things aren’t necessarily “exciting,” and help with negotiate through novel experiences.

Session #5 Tuesday, July 23

Hi parents,

Today we’ll be playing Mini-Golf over at Castle Park in Sherman Oaks. It will involve traveling there by public bus to Ventura Blvd, then walking about 10 minutes to the location. Afterward, we’ll be heading to the Galleria to P.F. Chang’s where we have a private dining room reserved for lunch.

Returning around 2:30pm, we’ll be spending some time working on an animation although it is possible Dr. Mazor and I may alter this plan.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Session #7, Monday, July 22

Good morning,

It was most considerate of the weather to cool down compared to what was predicted (90) just in time for our trip to the Zoo. It is supposed to be no more than 83 degrees today and that isn’t until later in the day. A chartered bus will be arriving at 10am and taking us to the LA Zoo in Griffith Park. Depending on the actual weather, we’ll either be walking through or taking the shuttle, we’re prepared for both. We’ve been to the Zoo about 15 times, so we’re pretty familiar with things.

Your kids will have snacks just before the bus arrives and will be taking bottles of water with them. We will have lunch at either the outdoor area or the inside cafeteria (which gets really loud so we try to avoid it). We’ll have sunscreen on hand and be able to reapply as needed.

This is a full day outing so we expect to be back around 3pm. The afternoon snack will either occur at the Zoo, plenty of choices or immediately upon our return. We’ll either do some general discussion about either foods choices or hygiene or play games.

As always, feel free to reach out with any questions.

Dr. G.

Session #6 Friday July 19

Today we’re heading to Encino Park (Genesta) with frisbees and other park equipment. But first, they will be stopping at Dunkin Donuts for a special morning snack. We will offer other items for those who do not wish to have a donut. Students will be carrying water bottles although the temperature today is predicted for mid-70’s with a high of 80 toward the end of the day, when we’re indoors.

Lunch will be occurring at the Stand, just across from the park near Balboa. They have a wide variety of choices and we are usually able to sit outdoors in or in the covered outdoor area.

We’ll be returning to the office around 1:30pm as we prepare for a surprise visitor, a magician from the Magic Apple. He’ll spent about an hour initially performing some tricks and showing them a couple as well for them to master. They will probably come home with some props and want to try them on you.

At the end of the day, it will likely be games, however the student may wish to “Fix” one voice error that crept into the animation. If they do, it’s nice to be able to show them one of the ways post-editing can work since it can have implications for future school assignments and presentations.

Session #4 Thursday, July 18

Hi parents,

We’re headed to the California Science Center via chartered bus. We’ll be getting an early snack then taking a 10am bus to 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037, arriving by 10:45 am. There’s quite a bit to see and we’re planning to take in the newest exhibit, Dogs! A Science Tail. We’ll have lunch there — there are a couple of choices we can consider. The food, actually, isn’t bad at all. This is a full-day outing and we’ll be heading back around arriving back around 3:30pm, just in time to finish the day.

Please feel free to be in touch if you have any questions.

Session #5 Wednesday July 17

Overview

Everything appears to be going smoothly. We are fortunate to have a well-balanced group and you can see most are engaging in social interaction with peers.

By now, you should be getting a sense of how we are targeting individual behaviors for each student. If you didn’t make it to last weeks meetings held on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, please try to attend this week (use the parent portal to RSVP). One of the best ways to learn about your child and our techniques is to view the videos and those are only available during the live Drop-in Parent Meetings.

Today’s Session

We’ll be in the office until about 10:30am planning to work on our first animation. We’re picking up a snack for them to have in the office, apples etc.

We’re leaving the office around 10:40am and walking down Ventura Blvd to California Pizza Kitchen. The temperature is predicted to be about 78 degrees. They have prepared a special “behind the scenes”tour of their facility and pizza-making, where the group members will be given individual sized pizzas and different ingredients and toppings to add. Their names are written on the foil to keep track of the pizzas and they’ll be having that for lunch.

After we finish, we’re heading back to the office around 1:30pm to continue animation and play some games. We’ll be holding our first of two raffles later this afternoon. Some of your kids will come back with one prize, having won the blue ticket raffle, while others will have two prizes, winning both the blue ticket and hero ticket raffles. Most children handle this disappointment just fine, but if your child complains, please use this as an opportunity to be briefly be sympathetic, but also to encourage them to speak to Dr. Gale or Dr. Mazor about their concerns.

Session #3 Tuesday, July 16

Hi parents,

The weather today is going to be warm, around 84. We’ll be taking public transportation bus to Ultra Zone, located in Sherman Oaks, for two hours of laser tag. First, however, we will be stopping and giving them a snack choice of Jamba Juice or Noah’s Bagels for snack.

At Ultra Zone they will have an opportunity to play as many games of laser tag as they wish during the time we are there. Also, they will have have drinks during that time, which may include sodas or lemonade. We limit how many refills they can have. In general, They are served water with their lunches rather than sugary drinks.

Following laser tag, we will go to nearby Marie Calendars for lunch. They have a variety of choices and we usually are able to reserve the back dining room for more privacy.

We’ll likely return between 2:30 - 3:00pm. It will be a light snack since lunch most likely lasted from 12:45 pm to 2 pm. Sometimes we will get a “credit” for the dishes that come with pie and serve that as one of the choices back in the office. Not our healthiest day. With the time remaining, we will either continue working on animation or play a group game, possibly both.

At this point, we’ve established our primary target areas for each child. If you haven’t completed an RSVP for this week, please click here to access the parent portal and complete your RSVP now. It only take a few seconds.

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

Session #4 Monday, July 15

Hi parents,

The weather today is going to be hot, up to 93 degrees. Originally, we had planned to go to the zoo, but instead, we’re headed to the California Science Center via chartered bus. We’ll be getting an early snack then taking a 10am bus to 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037, arriving by 10:40 am. There’s quite a bit to see and we’re planning to take in the newest exhibit, Dogs! A Science Tail and possibly Science in Toyland, depending how crowded things get. We’ll have lunch there — there may be a couple of choices we can consider. This is a full-day outing and we’ll be heading back around 2:45 - 3:00pm, arriving back just in time to finish the day.

Please feel free to be in touch if you have any questions.

Session #3 Friday, July 12

Hi parents,

The weather today is going to be hot, between 85 and 94 degrees. We’ll be hopping on a public transportation bus, as soon as we make sure everyone has had a chance to use the restroom, to Ultra Zone, located in Sherman Oaks, for two hours of laser tag. First, however, we will be stopping at Jamba Juice for a snack. Following laser tag, we will go to nearby Marie Calendars for lunch.

At Ultra Zone they will have an opportunity to play as many games of laser tag as they wish during the time we are there. Also, they will have an opportunity to have drinks during that time, which may include sodas or lemonade. We limit how many refills they can have. In general, They are served water with their lunches rather than sugary drinks.

We’ll likely return between 2:30 - 3:00pm. It will be a light snack since lunch most likely lasted from 12:45 pm to 2 pm. With the little bit of time remaining, we will either return to working on animation or play a group game. If a snack occurs it will be light, possibly something like a few chips and watermelon.

At this point, we’ve established our primary target areas for each child. There will be additional parent meetings this Saturday and Sunday. If you haven’t RSVP’d to one of these events, please click here to access the parent portal and complete your RSVP now. It only take a few seconds.

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

Session #2: Thursday, July 11

The weather today is expected to be up to the mid to high 80’s. We are headed to a nice, cool, bowling alley, Pinz, in Studio City for 1-2 hours of play between bowling and the arcades. To get there, we will be boarding the 150 or 240 MTA bus around 9:20 am that stops right in front of Gelsons, next to our office. We’ll arrive at the bowling alley just before 10 am head in, get shoes, and start playing. There will be 2 lanes.

For a snack today, we’ll be ordering bagels with cream cheese and a pitcher of water. We typically start the group off with 1/2 and offer seconds to those who want it. After bowling, we’ll play in the arcade, but it’s much more limited than what teens are used to. The focus isn’t on game playing, but socialization. So we will encourage them to pair up with others or observe when they aren’t playing. Staff will have the access cards and the students need to find a staff and ask for them to provide access to the game. Manners count.. We do not permit use of the games where they receive candy or prizes. Once a teen has played a game, possibly two, they are encouraged to watch other kids play for a bit. Each group member will be able to play up to a maximum of three games.

Afterwards, we’ll head next door to Carneys (the Train) for lunch. It is expected to be about 86 at that time in Studio City, so we will plan to eat indoors. They can have hot dogs, hamburgers, thai wraps, tuna, and vegetarian choices, plus either a medium sized soda or a small shake. They can get fries too if they wish, sometimes we have then share them and divide them up.

Afterwards, if we’ll head back by bus to the office. Once we return to the office, we’ll begin an “improve animation” where they generate initial ideas and we begin to put something together in real time.

Remember, if you need to reach me during the day, just send an email or call and use the special code you were given during orientation. However, please do not attempt to contact your kids and, if they contact you, please remind them to speak to us instead.

Session #2: Wednesday, July 10

The weather today is expected to be up to the low 80’s. We are headed to a nice, cool, bowling alley, Pinz, in Studio City for 1-2 hours of play between bowling and the arcades. To get there, we will be boarding the 150 or 240 MTA bus around 9:30am that stop right in front of Gelsons, next to our office. We’ll arrive at the bowling alley just before 10am head in, get shoes, and start playing. There will be 3 lanes.

For a snack today, we’ll be ordering bagels with cream cheese and a pitcher of water. We typically start the kids off with 1/2 and offer seconds to those who want it. After bowling, we’ll head next door to Carneys (the Train) for lunch. It is expected to be about 83 at that time in Studio City, so we may be outside in the shade or indoors. We’ll decide once we are there. The kids can have hot dogs, hamburgers, thai wraps, tuna, and vegetarian choices, plus either a smaller sized soda or a small shake. They can get fries too if they wish, sometimes we have then share them and divide them up.

Then, it’s back to Pinz to play in the arcade, but it’s much more limited than what kids are used to. Staff will have the access cards and the students need to find a staff and ask for them to provide access to the game. Manners count. Also, we don’t require, but do encourage finding games where they can play in pairs (air hockey is a personal favorite for the kids). We do not permit use of the games where they receive candy or prizes. Once a child has played a game, possibly two, they are encouraged to watch other kids play for a bit. Each child will be able to play up to a maximum of three games.

Afterwards, if we’ll either head back by bus to the office or go for the arcade. Once we return to the office, there are a few kids who haven’t set goals — we’ll give them a second chance, but accept if they decline. (For some, just establishing a goal becomes the goal). That will leave about 1 hour or less. We will either begin discussing computer animation and what goes into that or we’ll play some games.

If you need to reach me during the day, just send an email or call and use the special code you were given during orientation.

Session #1: Tuesday, July 9

Today is our first day of Group 3 and everyone is just getting settled in. We’ll be heading over the the office and spending most of the morning there doing group orientation discussions and activities. We will head over to Gelsons around 10am for a morning snack. We call today a “Close to Home Group,” as we are getting to know your teens. Lunch will be at Maria’s Italian Kitchen where we have a large table reserved. We have a special surprise for the students at 2pm. “Critter Squad” will be showing up with about ten different animals to show, discuss, and possibly pass around for gentle handling.

Following this, we’ll have a quick afternoon snack at 3pm. At the end of the day. I will publish an audio podcast summarizing today’s events. You will be notified when this occurs.

You should have received information about the behavior course for this week tomorrow and there will be a webinar held Thursday at 7pm. You should have received a survey asking about the most convenient parent meeting times.

That’s it for now. Remember, you can reach us anytime via email or by calling our office and putting in the code you were given. We do not use text messaging.

Regards,

Dr. G.

Session #1: Monday, July 8

Today is our first day of Group 2 and everyone is just getting settled in. We’ll be heading over the the office and spending most of the morning there doing group orientation discussions and activities. We will head over to Gelsons around 10am for a morning snack. We call today a “Close to Home Group,” as we are getting to know your kids. Lunch will be at Maria’s Italian Kitchen where we have a large table reserved. We have a special surprise for the students at 2pm. “Critter Squad” will be showing up with about ten different animals to show, discuss, and possibly pass around for gentle handling.

Following this, we’ll have a quick afternoon snack at 3pm. At the end of the day. I will publish an audio podcast summarizing today’s events. You will be notified when this occurs.

You should have received information about the behavior course for this week tomorrow and there will be a webinar held Thursday at 7pm. You should have received a survey asking about the most convenient parent meeting times.

That’s it for now. Remember, you can reach us anytime via email or by calling our office and putting in the code you were given. We do not use text messaging.

Regards,

Dr. G.

Session #9 Friday, June 28

Hi Parents,

Hard to believe, but here we are at the last day of the group for your kids. Today is very similar to our first day of the program and this occurs for several reasons. First, at this point the group has “gelled” and we want to provide maximal, sustained opportunities for them to interact socially while we address the most significant target behaviors we have observed over the course of sessions. To that end, the day is somewhat fluid and dynamic. However, this is what has been planned.

Our first priority will be to complete the animation project, and that will likely take 1-2 hours during the day. We will likely spend about an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. We also plan to visit a nearby park (Encino Park) for more organized play using Frisbees, balls and paddles, plus other equipment we will bring in addition to the existing playground structures. On the way there, the students will stop at Dunkin Donuts for a morning snack, however this time they will be able to order and make their own choices, with a few restrictions (no “over the top” donuts)..

Following our time at the park, we will have lunch at The Stand, a well-known popular spot near Balboa and Ventura that serves hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, and other choices. Because of the active nature of the day and the fact they are having sweets at other times, it will be a “water day” for lunch.

We will return to the office in the early afternoon and complete the animation. Following this, we will engage the students in group discussion about what they found useful about the program, what they felt could be improved, and how much progress they felt they made personally. We will also give them a structured survey to complete, rating the program.

There will be an afternoon snack, to be determined, but most likely at Gelsons one last time. There will likely include a special small dessert, such as fresh cookies from their bakery. Finally it will be time for the second raffle of the group, where students will win one or two prizes. Finally, we will pass out certificates of completion for all group members.

As you are aware, there are still two parent meetings to attend. Following group, you will receive a parent survey to complete. For any family that wishes to have their child participate in our school year program that runs from October to May, you have priority over other interested families by indicating your interest at the end of the survey. Whether you plan to return or not, it is essential that you complete both the survey and a follow-up version of Rapid Screener®.

It has been a pleasure working with your children and the majority of parents have been highly involved in attending parent meetings, completing the online course (which you will have access to following the program), and communicating via email.

Session #8 Wednesday, June 26

Good morning parents,

Today is another big outing. We have a chartered bus arriving at 10am which will take us to Discovery Cube located at 11800 Foothill Blvd Los Angeles, CA 91342. We’ll be traveling there via the 101 to the 405 North and a couple of miles on the 118. We’ve been there many times and it’s a pretty easy commute, about 30 minutes. Once we arrive, we’ll pick up our reserved tickets which will include a short 20 minute movie. There are a number of activities and exhibits and we’ll pretty much stay together as a group.

We have already purchased raffle prizes for Friday but sometimes make a few extra purchases in the gift shop. It just depends.

Lunch will occur at The Sprout and there is a spacious lunch area for us to use. We’ll remain there until about 2:15pm and return to the office. They are likely to be a bit tired at that point, so we’ll have to play it by ear as to whether we do animation or some games.

Please remember, there are final parent meetings this Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Use the RSVP button in the parent portal if you have not already done so. As of the time of this writing (last night) about 2/3 of families RSVP’d.

Session #7 Monday, June 24

Hi Parents,

We’ll be starting the day by working on our animation project, hopefully finishing it, this morning. Snack will occur at Jamba Juice, which is nearby across the street. We’ll be returning to complete the animation, heading for lunch to Poquito Mas, a nearby Mexican-style restaurant.

We’ll need to return to the office by 12:45pm because we have a surprise visitor today coming at 1pm. The owner of the Magic Apple will be coming to put on a short magic show followed by teaching the kids a couple of tracks and providing them with the necessary supplies for them to do their own magic tricks.

Once he finishes, we’ll work in a short snack and have a game-playing afternoon, where we set up multiple multi-player games around the room and they have a chance to play together.

Please remember, if your child ever has a difficult morning getting to group and you wish to ask how they are doing, you are always welcome to send an email. Of course you can call if you feel the need, but email is easy and we typically respond within an hour of receiving it.

Session #6 Friday, June 21

Hi parents,

Today is a outing day and will be hopping on a bus as soon as we make sure everyone has had a chance to use the restroom. We are traveling by public transportation to Ultra Zone, located in Sherman Oaks, for two hours of laser tag. first, however, we will be stopping at Noah's bagels for a snack. Following laser tag, the kids will go to Marie calendars for lunch.

At Ultra Zone they will have an opportunity to play as many games of laser tag as they wish during the time we are there. Also, they will have an opportunity to have drinks during that time, which may include sodas or lemonade. We limit how many refills they can have. In general, They are served water with their lunches rather than sugary drinks.

Once we return, we will be working on the animation topic the students have selected and began working on the other day.

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