My Journey in Holland

Holland – A support group for families who have received a new diagnosis for their child.

At the beginning of the year my (then)fiancé and I were in such a terrible place in our relationship.  Family outings were a struggle.  Our home life was busy and complicated.  We couldn’t agree on     parenting our 3 year old son, who has Autism and sensory  processing disorder.  This diagnosis came with so many new things, we didn’t know where to start or who to turn to for  advice.  Then one day I got an email saying that a new Holland session was starting in the Spring.  I was  hesitant to sign up for this class, but in the end, I decided I didn’t have anything to lose and I called to register.

When the day came to start Holland, my  fiancé and I were greeted by the staff with welcoming arms.  I knew then that I had found my home.  In the group we discovered that we weren’t the o


nly ones going through this and we got a lot of help along the way.

When we graduated from Holland we came out stronger as a couple and as parents. My husband could finally understand our son on a new level, and was able to communicate and interact with him in fun and successful new ways.

We were married this Fall.  If it wasn’t for Holland, I’m not sure where our relationship would be today.  Not to mention I gained some awesome new friends from the group as well. I can’t thank  Parent to Parent enough for everything they have done for

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Caring for yourself…

Workshop for parents and caregivers

Date: thursday, december 7th 2017
Time: 5:30-7:30 pm
Location: united methodist church, 906 e. Edison ave.,
*childcare and dinner provided!*
Contact liz at the parent-to-parent program,
 574-3266 to sign up!
Being a caregiver for a
Child with special needs can be demanding.
Learn about self-care methods to decrease stress, including:
*relaxation techniques
*healthy meal preparation
*importance of social connections
*physical activity & yoga

WSU Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, and veteran status.  Evidence or noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office.  Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact Gina Ord, County Director at (509) 574-1600, at least twoweeks prior to the event.

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You’re going to be OK


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Children’s Village an asset to the children in our community

“ I am thankful for the visionary leadership and generous community that came together and built  Children’s Village twenty years ago.  Children’s Village has been a great partner and asset to the children in our community, giving a voice and second chance to those in our community that need it more than anyone, providing a tomorrow for those who didn’t think there was a “today.”  The Village continues to grow and serve our community and beyond.

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“It’s like a daily improv show, you never know what is going to come your way.”

Autism 200 is a series of 90-minute classes for parents and caregivers of children with autism who wish to better understand autism spectrum disorder. Faculty from Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington teach the classes. Children’s Village provides a teleconference the 3rd Thursday of the month, 7pm at Children’s Village.

This is a great way for local families to access this wonderful resource.  Last week, the Autism 200 presentation was a panel of siblings of individuals on the Autism spectrum. The siblings shared how their lives have been affected by having a sibling with Autism;  the challenges, successes and laughter. They shared helpful advice for parents and how their sibling with Autism has made them better people.  One even referred to it as a “super power” because he has learned to be more observant in the world.  One of panelists, who has a sister with Autism said, “It’s like a daily improv show, you never know what is going to come your way.”  For more information on the Autism 200 series at Children’s Village,  contact Liz Cruz at 574-3266.

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Izzy was born with Arthrogryposis

Izzy is 12 years old and in the 6th grade at Naches Valley Middle School.  She likes hip hop dance, choir, soccer and very busy for a young teenager.  One of her favorite activities is Rodeo.  She started at 3 years old with lead line, her dad would lead the horse as she rode on it.  Now she goes independently and this year, she is doing bigger rodeos!  Her goal is the Indian National Finals Rodeo.  She practices at the Toppenish CWRA Arena and at Hart ranch in Selah. 

Izzy was born with Arthrogryposis – which means some of her joints in her hands don’t move as much as normal and are bent in one position, but Izzy has super strong trunk and leg strength to help her do things that she does not have the hand strength to do.  As a baby, she was able to just pop up without the use of her hands, because she was so strong in her trunk and legs. 

Children’s Village Physical Therapist Karla Pezzarossi, along with a specialists from Seattle Children’s hospital  came to meet Izzy and her mom in the hospital when Izzy was just 2 days old.  She  had a tiny little splints for her hands at 2 weeks old, and received services at Children’s Village, working with Karla.  By the time she was 4 years old, she had figured out her own way to do most everything and “graduated” discharged from Children’s Village.  

Today, Izzy is back at Children’s Village, working with Occupational Therapist Debbie Sheppard on how to develop stronger hand and finger control, for tasks like buttoning and zipping clothing. Her biggest challenge is when she has hands-on activities at school, movements that require hands with her choir performances.  Sometimes other kids just don’t understand or know what to think about how she has to try to adapt.  Izzy’s mom is amazed at what she can do, she won’t be limited by what she can’t do!

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NEW! Caring for the Caregiver classes…. In Sunnyside!

This class will provide some practical tips for parents/caregivers…. And includes dinner, child care and an opportunity for parents raising children with special needs to connect!!  Please share with families!

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Erik Halvorson – Then and Now

In 2011, Erik Halvorson presented Governor Gregoire one of his famous hand-made lanyards on a special visit to Children’s Village.

Erik is an entrepreneur with a big heart. For years, he has beaded and sold lanyards. At age 13, Erik used his earnings to purchase Christmas gifts for children attending the Holiday Festival at Children’s Village. Each year Erik shopped for the perfect gift for each child with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or other disability. Erik was one of the first clients at Children’s Village and experiences autism himself. His amazing gifts are his love and acceptance of others and his ability to step out of his comfort zone to make an impact on so many children.

Erik has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, and has utilized cardiology, genetics, endocrinology, nutrition, speech therapy, occupational therapy, family swim, gastroenterology, social skills classes and dental services at Children’s Village.

Today, Erik still has special healthcare needs, but has almost completed his degree in Applied Science from Yakima Valley College and has a part time job in a medical office. He feels more confident and comfortable in his own skin. Erik’s needs were met over the last 20 years at Children’s Village, helping him to grow into a very caring young man. A true success—from Children’s Village to college student.

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Reflections by Children’s Village staff and parent Liz Cruz

My family has received so many services here at Children’s Village. For me, as a mother it was seeing my son make a friend for the first time at age 10 during Social Skills Camp. It was seeing my middle son be quiet, awake, still and content for the first time at the age of 8 during Occupational Therapy. It was seeing my youngest son get to be himself at Sib shops and know that he is not alone. It was connecting with other families that saw the humor in what we go through with our kids. It’s receiving support at the Autism support group to know you are not alone. As an employee it’s having the ability to give back. To help others in the way another helped you, paying it forward.

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Reflections on Children’s Village by Behavior Therapist Cindy Meyers

“I started with Epic when we first opened, and had a toddler classroom for kids with social/emotional/traumatic issues. My one word is “Collaborative” I think Children’s Village does an amazing job of putting kids and families first- joining along with them to help children grow and develop. Children’s Village and the staff here are enthusiastic, welcoming, warm, helpful, kinds, work together well, and are innovative. I know I wouldn’t do “mental health” the same if Children’s Village wasn’t here- I’ve learned so much from the multi-and inner-disciplinary experience! I’ve had so many meaningful experiences, doing a multi-displinary social skills group with speech and occupational therapy where the children with autism and anxiety started out nervous and quiet, and ended up (after 12 weeks) with new good friends and much confidence! The kids enjoyed group so much, their parents felt they learned not only social skills to apply at school but also gained confidence and reduced anxiety!

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