At Children’s Village, John Fielder and Whitney Murphy work with children who have severe  communication needs and some of them are non-verbal. One method they are using to help these children communicate is through the use of Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) communication books. These books tend to be heavy and they would like to provide shoulder straps to go along with the PODD books. John never used the strap with the luggage and donated it to be used with the above PODD book (Example shown in the photo below). If you have any straps that you are not using, please consider donating it to Children’s Village so that they can use it with the PODD communication books! When you bring the straps in to Children’s Village, just let the front desk know to give them to John or Whitney.


Thank you for your support!

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Views from My Shoes Panel


By Jackie McPhee

April 17, 2014

There were two young men seated at the table at the front of our “Barn” at Children’s Village when I walked in the room. The anticipation of their presentation was in the air.  Each of the presenters had been given a list of questions to answer about growing up with a disability.  The first presenter introduced himself as a freshman at YVCC in aerospace machines.  I saw one grandparent with a wide smile move closer to the front of the room to ensure that he was able to hear the whole story.

The first panelist told his story about overcoming his challenges after graduating from West Valley School District..  As he explained his diagnosis of autism, he talked about how the “social stuff” was challenging.  He expressed his thankfulness for all of the help that he received from his family and from his teachers.  At YVCC he has a mentor/tutor who helps him and he is proud to be on the Dean’s list.

The second presenter is a student at YV Tech in Culinary Arts where he is able to explore his love of cooking.  This young man told us he,  “wants to be a role model for kids with autism.”  He said, “We are not different— we are just like other people.”

The audience asked Eric and Alex question after question.  The answer that I heard most often related to the support these incredibly successful young men received from their families, therapists and educators.

The panel called “Views from My Shoes” provides inspiration to families raising children with disabilities.  As I was leaving the grandfather was still smiling.

Thank you to the Parent to Parent program at Children’s Village for making this an annual event.

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April is Autism Awareness Month!

Autism Awareness Activities

~brought to you by parents raising children with ASD~

April 2 (World Autism Awareness Day) - Please “Light it up Blue!” Change your outdoor light bulb with a blue one. Show your support for Autism Awareness!


April 17, 6:30-8:00 p.m.- “Views From My Shoes” panel presentation at the Autism support group, Children’s Village.  Student speakers will share their experience with ASD.  Family and Community members welcome. No pre-registration necessary.  For child care needs, call Stacy in the Drop-in Early Learning Center at Children’s Village- 574-3200.


April 26, 6:00-7:30 p.m.- Gymnastics Plus Family Night! For children with ASD and their families. Gymnastics Plus, 2121 W. Lincoln Ave. Cost = Free! (thanks to an anonymous donation). Pre-registration secures your child’s place. Please call Liz Cruz in P2P (509) 574-3266 or email to register.

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10 Things to Know About New Autism Data

1 in 68 children were identified with autism spectrum disorder. Read more about CDC’s new data on autism spectrum disorder and learn what you can do to help.

New Data on Autism Spectrum Disorder

New data from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network show that the estimated number of children identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continues to rise, and the picture of ASD in communities has changed. These new data can be used to promote early identification, plan for training and service needs, guide research, and inform policy so that children with ASD and their families get the help they need. CDC will continue tracking the changing number and characteristics of children with ASD, researching what puts children at risk for ASD, and promoting early identification, the most powerful tool we have now for making a difference in the lives of children. Learn the 10 things you need to know about CDC’s latest ADDM Network report. You can also read the full report here.

10 Things You Need To Know About CDC’s Latest Report from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network

The following estimates are based on information collected from the health and special education (if available*) records of children who were 8 years old and lived in areas of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin in 2010:

  1. About 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 8 year olds) were identified with ASD. It is important to remember that this estimate is based on 8-year-old children living in 11 communities. It does not represent the entire population of children in the United States.
  2. This new estimate is roughly 30% higher than the estimate for 2008 (1 in 88), roughly 60% higher than the estimate for 2006 (1 in 110), and roughly 120% higher than the estimates for 2002 and 2000 (1 in 150). We don’t know what is causing this increase. Some of it may be due to the way children are identified, diagnosed, and served in their local communities, but exactly how much is unknown.
  3. The number of children identified with ASD varied widely by community, from 1 in 175 children in areas of Alabama to 1 in 45 children in areas of New Jersey.
  4. Almost half (46%) of children identified with ASD had average or above average intellectual ability (IQ greater than 85).
  5. Boys were almost 5 times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls. About 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls were identified with ASD.
  6. White children were more likely to be identified with ASD than black or Hispanic children. About 1 in 63 white children, 1 in 81 black children, and 1 in 93 Hispanic children were identified with ASD.
  7. Less than half (44%) of children identified with ASD were evaluated for developmental concerns by the time they were 3 years old.
  8. Most children identified with ASD were not diagnosed until after age 4, even though children can be diagnosed as early as age 2.
  9. Black and Hispanic children identified with ASD were more likely than white children to have intellectual disability. A previous study has shown that children identified with ASD and intellectual disability have a greater number of ASD symptoms and a younger age at first diagnosis. Despite the greater burden of co-occurring intellectual disability among black and Hispanic children with ASD, these new data show that there was no difference among racial and ethnic groups in the age at which children were first diagnosed.
  10. About 80% of children identified with ASD either received special education services for autism at school or had an ASD diagnosis from a clinician. This means that the remaining 20% of children identified with ASD had symptoms of ASD documented in their records, but had not yet been classified as having ASD by a community professional in a school or clinic.

Why is this information important and how can it be used?

CDC has been at the forefront of documenting changes in the number of children identified with ASD over the past decade. CDC data have motivated research to understand who is likely to develop ASD, why ASD develops, and how to best support individuals, families, and communities affected by ASD. More is understood about ASD than ever before, including which children are more likely to be identified, at what age they are likely to be diagnosed, and what factors may be putting children at risk for ASD. However, there remains an urgent need to continue the search for answers and provide help to people living with ASD.

The ADDM Network’s latest information directs the focus on what we know now and what else we need to know to further characterize and address the needs of children with ASD and their families. Service providers (such as healthcare organizations and school systems), researchers, and policymakers can use ADDM Network data to support service planning, guide research into what factors put a child at risk for ASD and what interventions can help, and inform policies that promote improved outcomes in health care and education.

As a professional who works with children, what should I do if I think a child might have ASD?

You are a valuable resource to parents. They look to you for information on their child, and they trust you. You can follow a child’s development, and encourage parents to do the same, by looking for developmental milestones—that is, how he or she plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves. Visit CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” website for free milestone checklists and other resources to help you track children’s development.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for general development using standardized, validated tools at 9, 18, and 24 or 30 months and for ASD at 18 and 24 months or whenever a parent or provider has a concern. Learn more at


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It’s all about families we serve

By Jackie McPhee, Director of Children’s Village

At a recent staff meeting at Children’s Village each staff member was  asked  to describe what they liked about working at Children’s Village.  Although each person thoughtfully described their unique experience, the word most commonly used was FAMILIES.

It is very evident that our team of providers and staff are driven by our mission to provide support services to families who have children with special needs.

It is all about FAMILIES.

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What I love about working at the Village

by Children’s Village staff

  • Receiving a phone call from an anxious parent and connecting them to the right person to meet their need.
  • Having co-workers with expertise in an area I do not have who are willing to share their knowledge with me.
  • Watching children grow from babies to toddlers to adolescents; becoming all they will be because of parents, families and providers who love them and partner in their care.
  • Learning each day from the children that I see. Each child adds to my knowledge and wisdom of caring for children.
  • Working where so many different disciplines can work together, and share their perspective to help us all see things through others’ eyes.
  • Helping kids get moving, at Children’s Village I get to help children and their families realize movement they never realized they could get to.
  • Teaching parents every day how they can help their children and  how to better understand their child’s behavior so they can enjoy spending time with their child.
  • Working with the families and seeing the outcomes and growth in each child’s development.

. . . and a million other things!

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5 ways the providers at Children’s Village have enriched our journey

By- E. Christie Afualo


My husband and I have three wonderful children.  Mason, our 12 year-old, has Down syndrome.  He received early intervention services from Children’s Village, and he and our family continue to be involved in different events and activities at the Village.  In addition to having developmental delays, Mason was born with a gastrointestinal malformation that required four surgeries.  We have interacted with many providers, both medical and developmental, and have felt fortunate that most of those interactions have been great.


These are some specific ways that the providers at Children’s Village have supported Mason and our family:


  • Being professional.  Providers who “know their stuff” and share their expertise are invaluable.  It’s true that I’m an expert on my son, but sometimes I just want to be a mom, not a therapist or teacher.  I’m grateful to have professionals like therapists and teachers at Children’s Village who work with Mason so I can enjoy being his mom.


  • Showing interest.  I appreciate providers who show interest in Mason and are excited to work with him, not just as a project or a job, but are truly happy to engage with the cute little boy with funny habits or the older boy with not so cute habits.  These dedicated providers at Children’s Village demonstrate that they are invested in Mason’s success.


  • Being genuine.  I appreciate providers who are genuine and show integrity.  They treat our family with respect and kindness at all times, whether or not we’re directly working with them.  They don’t speak poorly of us when we’re not present.


  • Being prepared.  Sometimes I don’t know exactly what questions to ask.  The providers at Children’s Village are prepared and are able to anticipate some of our family’s needs and then offer appropriate guidance that makes our journey easier.


  • Being knowledgeable.  Our family has benefited from providers at Children’s Village who share their wealth of knowledge.  If they don’t know the answers to our questions, they can find someone who does.  They are adept at connecting us with other families and providers, services, events and helpful information.


Our interactions with providers at Children’s Village have been particularly positive.  We cherish those relationships and would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the special providers who have made a difference in our lives.

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13-year-old competes in the state prep diving and swimming championships

Tristan was 5-months-old when diagnosed with a brain tumor that caused uncontrollable seizures.  He endured hundreds of seizures every day even with the help of medications and chemotherapy.  Doctors at Children’s Hospital explained that unless they removed the left side of Tristan’s brain, the seizures would eventually kill him. The solution was a 4-hour hemispherectomy surgery.

From the beginning, Tristan has exhibited an internal strength that is astounding. There was a chance the surgery would prevent him from ever walking or talking, but the 13-year-old is an athletic, talkative teenager who loves karate, gymnastics, soccer, basketball and swimming.

Part of Tristan’s therapy at Children’s Village was in the pool.  Tristan learned multiple swim strokes (freestyle, backstroke and butterfly) at Children’s Village. Swimming increased his strength in his affected side and he is now able to swim better than some of his peers.  His mom plans to sign him up for swimming when he begins high school in Selah this fall.

Tristan’s dad has shared that the first time he ever saw Tristan smile was when he was in the pool at Children’s Village at the age of 8 years old.

Read more about Tristan in the Yakima Herald Republic here:

Way to go Tristan!

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Would you like to talk to another parent while you wait?

Parent to Parent is dedicated to supporting families raising children with special needs.

Learning that your child has special health or developmental needs can be an emotional experience.

Parents and caregivers often have questions and concerns as they learn to adjust.

Personal support from another parent who has a child with similar needs can help!

Look across the bridge for the door with a HEART above it . . . and come on in!

We are here for you!

Parent to Parent Staff:

Maria Pulido (bilingual) – 574-3297

Amy Berkheimer – 574-3234

Liz Cruz – 574-3266

Kristi Messer – 574-3257

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Join us! Community Conversation about Applied Behavior Analysis

Topics Include:

*What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

*Would ABA work best for your child/student/client with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

*What ABA services are available in Yakima?



Kacie Sears, BCBA, Sarah St.Mary, Lead Teacher, Cindy Myers, LMHC, and Kamilia Calderon, LBAT

Date: February 25

Time: 6:00 – 7:30 PM

Where: The Barn at Children’s Village


Childcare is available!!

*Please RSVP to 509-574-3267 to reserve your child’s spot


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