It was a busy month at CIP Long Beach as students and staff worked together to celebrate Autism Awareness Month.
To kick off the month, we decorated our CIP Long Beach Student Services Area as part of Autism Speaks' “Light It Up Blue” campaign.
We volunteered on April 9th with Thinkers 4 Autism Awareness (T4A) Community Resource Fair. CIP Long Beach staff, student, and OT Intern were able to support T4A in the organization’s 1st resource fair in spreading autism awareness to the local community by means of a fun and interactive event.
Student volunteer, Matthew, especially enjoyed making it a special day for transitioning students with autism. He had a good time meeting families and sharing his experiences at CIP. He did an amazing job of explaining the admissions criteria, the different departments within our program, how he has progressed with the support of CIP, and enjoyed putting together a silent auction item. This gave Matthew the opportunity to develop stronger overall professionalism, effective interpersonal communication, social and perspective-taking skills while speaking to interested families about CIP. In addition, this was an awesome opportunity for Matthew to increase his community service hours, which has now lead to more student involvement with admissions and outreach for our center. We were able to observe how well families connect and respond to CIP students during outreach events.
“It was really nice to talk about CIP to families and students on how the center has helped me with academics, careers and social skills specifically. It was good to spread awareness about CIP and its support for students on the spectrum and with learning differences.” - Matthew
On April 13th, we were able to arrange a Seizure Recognition and First Aid training with the Epilepsy Support Network of Orange County in spreading awareness of Epilepsy and its direct correlation with individuals on the spectrum for autism awareness. Our Student Body President, Harrison enjoyed meeting the Administrative Assistant Childcare Coordinator/Trainer. He did an amazing job of explaining the admissions criteria, the different departments within our program and how CIP supports transitioning students with autism and learning differences. It was really refreshing to hear Harrison demonstrate overall professionalism, effective interpersonal communication and social skills that he practices day-to-day within department modules.
Our CIP Long Beach team also signed up to volunteer with the Epilepsy Support Network Orange County for the “Seizure Wars” Walk/Carnival in collaboration with CHOC Children’s Neuroscience Institute on April 22nd. Students assisted with the setup of the walk/carnival by writing inspirational quotes/phrases with chalk to encourage walkers along the path and also used lightsabers to encourage walkers/supporters. Our students were able to apply EF skills in scheduling for this event, as the event was held directly before Saturday School and using teamwork to meet both commitments of CIP programming.
We also promoted Autism Awareness at one of our internship partners, St. Lucy Catholic School. We held a workshop in which we presented materials on Autism acceptance, bullying, discrimination and how all of these things relate to those on the spectrum. Career Counselor, Stephanie and Job Coach/Direct Support Professional, Rebecca took charge of the presentation and related these issues beautifully for the junior high age children at St. Lucy's. The children were engaged and asked great questions, especially for the portions of the presentation that the CIP students led. Our CIP students stayed involved by introducing themselves and showing students at St. Lucy's what someone on the Spectrum could look like and what their life at CIP is like. They addressed issues they have had in the past with bullies, discrimination and how CIP has helped them to overcome these issues. The students and staff did a wonderful job of presenting these issues and increasing awareness for Autism together. St. Lucy's was wonderful place to present this information and we appreciate all the students attentiveness and participation. Students were able to practice public speaking, EF skills in preparing for the event and encouraged the School staff to come to our center to learn more about how to support students on the spectrum.
“I am happy to have been asked to participate in this workshop, I believe I can share my experiences as a teen and how bullying affected me in school.” - Alex
“I liked interacting with the students and seeing how they reacted to me. I would be willing to do something like this again.” - Kevin
Our team was able to support the VA Hospital Patient Garden & Barber City Women’s Club of Westminster, CA with planting geraniums on the property. Recently the club house went under renovation and the flowers were trampled by work crews. CIP students work together to propose a community service “beautification” project to plant geraniums that were in the front area of the building. The VA Hospital’s Patient Garden has agreed to collaborate with CIP students by donating and caring for the geraniums until they are planted. The club members invited several students from CIP to present their plan on planting geraniums, during a Monthly Board Meeting on April 26th.
“I love being apart of the VA Patient Garden...it feels like we're giving back and I feel a sense of happiness & pride. It the best feeling to know that you are helping others!” - Emily
“It felt good to spread awareness about CIP and its support for students on the spectrum and with learning differences.” - Andrew