Dr. Diane Cullinane and PCDA Board member Joseph Lee were recently featured on California State Senate candidate Anthony Portanino’s TV show “The Question Is…”.
This particular episode was called The Question is Autism.
Due to the recent budget cuts in California, the 'evidence' to justify public funding for DIR®/FT programs is currently under scrutiny by regional centers in California. This article attempts to summarize the most current research evidence pertaining to the DIR®/FT approach, which will not only provide sufficient basis for a determination that DIR®/FT is evidence-based but will also present an historical view that shows that the field of intervention for children with PDD is shifting from more behavioral approaches towards more developmental models overall.
From Trailer bill: "Evidence-based practice" means a decision making process which integrates the best available scientifically rigorous research, clinical expertise, and individual's characteristics. Evidence-based practice is an approach to treatment rather than a specific treatment. Evidence-based practice promotes the collection, interpretation, integration, and continuous evaluation of valid, important, and applicable individual- or family-reported, clinically-observed, and research-supported evidence. The best available evidence, matched to infant or toddler circumstances and preferences, is applied to ensure the quality of clinical judgments and facilitates the most cost-effective care.
September 27, 2013
Professional Child Development Associates celebrated its fifth annual Harvest Moon Dinner and Art Auction Saturday night in South Pasadena with a lavish party at the home of Mario and Therese Molina on Chelten Way.
The nonprofit group, which serves children with special needs, presented the Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D. Humanitarian Award to attorney Mark Woodsmall. The lavish event attracted a large crowd of about 250 people. Woodsmall is the founder of the San Gabriel Valley-based Woodsmall Law Group that practices exclusively in the areas of special education, regional center matters, special needs trust planning and conservatorship. In addition to his law practice, Woodsmall is on the faculty of the USC Gould School of Law as a professor adjunct, teaching in the area of special education law. He also serves as the chair of the board of Autism Speaks – Southern California. “We are so happy to recognize Mark Woodsmall for his positive impact on meeting the challenges of improving the lives of children with special needs,” said Dr. Diane Cullinane, executive director of Professional Child Development Associates. The celebratory evening featured live music, gourmet foods and wines, art, jewelry, and home décor auctions. Proceeds from ticket sales and auction items will benefit Professional Child Development Associates.
August 16, 2013
On Saturday, September 21, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to midnight at 1311 Chelten Way, South Pasadena, Professional Child Development Associates will celebrate its Fifth Annual Harvest Moon Dinner and Art Auction. The nonprofit group, which serves children with special needs, will present the Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D. Humanitarian Award to attorney Mark Woodsmall at the evening event.
Mr. Woodsmall is the founder of the San Gabriel Valley-based Woodsmall Law Group that practices exclusively in the areas of special education, regional center matters, special needs trust planning and conservatorship. In addition to his law practice, Mr. Woodsmall is on the faculty of the USC Gould School of Law as a professor adjunct, teaching in the area of special education law. He also serves as the chair of the board of Autism Speaks – Southern California.
Pasadena, CA June 12, 2013
Professional Child Development Associates is offering a two-week Creative Arts Camp for children ages 8–12 starting August 5–16, 2013 on the campus at 620 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena. Daily hours are 9:00 am – 12 noon. The camp will focus on strengthening each child’s ability to express themselves in several different forms of artistic practice. Each day participants will explore a different subject, including visual arts, dance, music, theater, and more.
The objective is to get children interacting in a very hands-on and creative way. After an introduction and explanation, they are encouraged to explore and create for themselves. Children will get to experiment under guidance, and ultimately determine which artistic modality expresses them best. These individual forms of expression will be compiled into a collaborative final project that each child can bring home to share with family and friends.
One parent, Nicole Thai, says “Music therapy has been the one most effective treatment for my child’s communicative skills. It was during his beginning music therapy session that we heard his first words in response to a song he had listened to since birth.”
Cost for the two-week camp is $600 per child. The Pasadena Rotary Club has donated a $4,000 grant to provide selected scholarships to the camp.
For more information about enrollment
March 28, 2013
Bill Bogaard, the mayor of Pasadena, made an appearance at PCDA's Open House to learn about our programs and services for children with special needs and their families. The mayor (far right) is joined by board member Normand Leduc, Creative Arts Head Melissa St. John, Development Associate Julia Scheibmeir, and Executive Director Dr. Diane Cullinane.
Pasadena, CA October 12, 2012
Professional Child Development Associates (PCDA) received a $20,000 capacity building grant from The UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of UPS (NYSE:UPS). The grant will be used to optimize the nonprofit’s effectiveness through high-tech upgrades.
PCDA serves children, from birth to 18 years of age, who have, or are at risk for, behavior and developmental challenges due to premature birth, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, genetic conditions, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, complex medical conditions affecting feeding or eating, and sensory processing disorders.
For over 15 years, PCDA’s experienced and resourceful child development specialists have offered innovative, scientifically-based therapies centered on the DIR®/Floortime approach. Children achieve great success through this comprehensive team approach.
“This grant from UPS will not only help improve the overall operations, but will also enable us to use cutting edge technologies that strengthen our therapeutic abilities to benefit our children,” said Dr. Diane Cullinane, PCDA’s executive director.
Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, GA, The UPS Foundation identifies specific areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. In support of this strategic approach, The UPS Foundation has identified the following focus areas for giving: nonprofit effectiveness, encouraging diversity, community safety, and environmental sustainability.
In 2011, The UPS Foundation distributed more than $45.3 million worldwide through grants that benefit organizations like PCDA and provide support for building stronger communities.
“The UPS Foundation is committed to funding impactful programs that makes a meaningful difference in our communities—so we are proud to support PCDA’s efforts to serve children with special needs,” said Keith Sternad, president of The UPS Foundation.
Diane Cullinane, M.D.
Pasadena, CA September 25, 2012
On Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 6 p.m. to midnight at the home of Nick and Laura Agakanian,700 Forest Green Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, Professional Child Development Associates, a nonprofit group serving children with special needs, will honor U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).
Rep. Schiff has been a strong supporter of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) which requires states and localities to provide free and quality education for students with disabilities. In the 109th Congress, he cosponsored the Keep Our Promise to America's Children and Teachers Act, which would have provided full funding for IDEA.
“We are so happy to recognize Rep. Schiff for his positive impact on meeting the challenges of improving the lives of children with special needs,” said Dr. Diane Cullinane, executive director of Professional Child Development Associates.
The celebratory evening called “La Bella Luna” will feature live music, gourmet foods and wines, art, jewelry, and home décor auctions. Hosted by media executive, Steve Tobia, and local business owner, Laura Agakanian, the special event will offer an opportunity to meet Rep. Schiff and to learn about the programs and services provided by Professional Child Development Associates.
Tickets for the “La Bella Luna” event cost $125 per person; all proceeds from ticket sales and auctions will benefit Professional Child Development Associates.
For inquiries about the event or PCDA, please contact:
Description of DIR/Floortime and the services offered at Professional Child Development Associates.
Watch the video and read the preliminary study report co-authored by Devin Casenhiser, PhD, the keynote speaker from our 2012 DIR®/Floortime Conference: A View From the Floor.
The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR®/FloortimeTM) Model is a framework that helps clinicians, parents and educators conduct a comprehensive assessment and develop an intervention program tailored to the unique challenges and strengths of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental challenges. The objectives of the DIR®/FloortimeTM Model are to build healthy foundations for social, emotional, and intellectual capacities.
One of the most difficult challenges for parents and therapists is to help children become more flexible eaters. This happens particularly when the children are rigid, stubborn, and narrow in their choices. It is often due to sensory processing differences, where particular tastes and smells may be aversive and lots of controlling behavior has developed to minimize surprises.
The strategy, which is based on the DIR® model, involves harnessing the child's initiative and problem-solving and, if possible, verbal or symbolic mastery. This is done in the context of pleasurable, regulating experiences and the gradual modulation of sensory overreactivity in areas of taste and smell. The strategy involves first establishing shared attention and engagement with the child through Floortime play and then in eating contexts. A critical step is to reduce any anxiety from a history of power struggles around eating and replace it with calm, regulating experiences. Again, this begins simply with regular Floortime sessions where a child is tuned into at his functional level in terms of his sensory profile, with nurturing and follow the child's interest-type interactions. As one takes this now soothing, regulating, pleasurable relationship to the eating situation, one is likely to see increased anxieties and negative behaviors. It's therefore important, once having established pleasurable, soothing interactions in play, to establish this around eating as well. Therefore, begin with foods the child enjoys and tolerates well and don't try to introduce new foods or stretch the child's capacities at the outset.
Click here for the complete article: Greenspan-Eating.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship based approach to helping children with special needs, known as DIR®, was described by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Wieder beginning in the 1980s. This approach is the culmination of years of observation and study of infants and children, done by many outstanding researchers since the 1950s. Dr. Greenspan and Serena Wieder brought together the knowledge from developmental studies, and mental health research, and recognized the critical importance of relationships and affect to learning. DIR®/Floortime is a framework for understanding child development, a philosophy that emphasizes the critical importance of relationships and affect, and a set of treatment strategies built upon those principles. DIR® is a broad and comprehensive approach which encompasses all disciplines that work with children.
The development of social skills, specifically skills in relating to peers, is an important capacity that provides the foundations for life long success. Challenges in the development of social skills impact individual happiness and family function for many children with developmental disabilities, especially those with autism. Indeed, deficits in social behaviors are a major component of the diagnostic criteria for autism. In a survey done at Tri-counties Regional center, parents of children with autism reported that social skills were their number one concern. A study of children with ASD in elementary school showed that children with autism were less accepted and had fewer reciprocal friendships than matched peers at each grade level, and that the deficits increased with advancing age. A detailed review of the theoretical understanding and approaches to social skills intervention is available in the report of The Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism by the National Research Council (NRC). They note: "Interaction with peers is another dimension of children's social development that becomes increasingly important for children..."