Empowering Families at SEEDs for Autism

Jennifer Espinoza, BCBA/LBA working with families at SEEDs for Autism

SEEDs for Autism is proud to be one of the leading Phoenix resources for autism support, information and connection. We offer monthly educational lectures for parents/guardians of adults on the autism spectrum to learn more about topics related to autism. 

February’s Educational Lecture & Workshop: Using Positive Behavior Support Strategies to Increase Your Adult/Young Adult’s Motivation

Jennifer Espinoza, BCBA/LBA worked with a group of parents/guardians for a unique and educational experience at SEEDs for Autism. During the lecture, Jennifer provided valuable insights and demonstrated useful tips on how to use positive behavior support strategies to increase their child’s motivation. These research-based methods are empowering for those on the autism spectrum: providing choices which result in a greater sense of independence and engagement.

Afterwards, Jennifer spent time with each family as they worked together on an art project: creating a family banner. This provided an opportunity for parents/guardians to practice these behavioral support strategies in a real-life situation.


Participants at SEEDs for Autism Share Their Thoughts

My experience at the SEEDs workshop was a really great one! I got to work on this really cool project which was a custom family banner with hearts that had all our family members on it, decorated with stamps and other add-ons. It was a little difficult at first, but as soon as me, my mom and sister got working hard together on it, we got the hang of it, and I started to enjoy the project even more! The banner turned out awesome in the end! I liked it!   -Brianna

David and his parents

I created a red and purple  family banner that has our family’s name on it. My red and purple family banner also has the names of my twin nieces. I had to cut 3 hearts and pinned 2 of the hearts but sewed the 3rd to the banner. I also had to sew the top of the banner around the wood dowel. My family helped me create the family banner by helping me sew the hearts and the top onto the banner around the wood dowel.

-David

 

While parents/guardians attended the lecture, their loved ones participated in an engaging session of Improv  with their peers led by SEEDs instructor, Amy.

I had fun. I pretended to drink hot cocoa. I was a tree and played catch with an invisible ball. Then I made a banner with my mom. I used scissors to cut out hearts. -Daniel Ch.

Daniel and his mom

SEEDs for Autism exists to serve our local Phoenix autism community. These monthly educational lectures are intended for parents and guardians in our autism community and are an opportunity for us to help provide resources and education.

If you would like to learn more about this life-changing program, please visit our website:

seedsforautism.org

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Jeff’s Odd Destinations: Trees of Mystery

Image result for trees of mystery image from daytrippin.com

If there is one thing about California, it’s that it’s probably the American Capital of Attractions, Vacation Spots and Tourist Traps. They seem to have everything to see, the San Diego Zoo, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and that is not including the famous beaches and cities. Good Gravy, Cali, don’t hog all the tourists. You’re soon gonna make the 49 other states scrape the barrel to get some visitors.

 

Anyway, enough complaining, back to business, there is one particular Roadside Oddity in the Golden State in the town of Klamath in the Del Norte County that I find of great interest, a strange woodland known as “the Trees of Mystery”. Awesome Name, right?

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image from digital-eel.com

The park, now claiming to be the oldest redwood nature attraction, first opened in 1931 by Carl Bruno probably hoping to expand the regions economy beyond logging (a bit ironic as we will later get to). It was originally a fishing camp but evolved into a roadside oddity/amusement park/natural preserve named “Wonderland Redwood Park” and later “Kingdom of Trees.” It got its current name in 1946 when returning from military service Ray Thompson bought out the park. His family has run the place since. The original attractions are various trees growing in unique and unusual ways. They include the…

 

  • Cathedral Tree: Nine trees growing out of a large stump in a semicircle. Easter services and wedding are held here each year.
  • Candelabra Tree: A once mighty Sequoia that fell over. Still not dead, it’s branches grow to the sky like like candles.
  • Octopus Tree: Lots of roots going this way and that way. You can even crawl underneath the tree!

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image from treesofmystery.net

Trust me there are too many of them to talk about right now. We need to address the staring attraction of the Trees of Mystery; the Lord of Lumberjacks himself, in person, Paul Bunyan with Babe the Blue Ox! Standing at almost fifty feet with ax in hand, Paul waves as visitors come to visit his wooden wonderland. He can tell jokes and riddles, chew the fat with folks and predict the weather (if the trees are all bent in any direction, then its windy!) Could this be due to a voice actor in a hidden room? Nah, I’m pretty sure that it’s Paul for real. The Lumberjack Giant lumbered in when Ray first got ahold of the property. He was first made out of paper-maché but fell apart within a year due to rain. I mean seriously! Did anyone not see that coming? Luckily smarter heads prevailed and Paul has been refitted with more sturdy material. It’s not completely Bunyan with out Babe, of course, as the Big Blue Beef was added in 1951. He would snort and blow smoke out of his nostrils when he first came but has been on better behavior now due to scaring the kiddies.

 

These, of course, are not the only attractions available. There is the Trail of Tall Tales full of chainsaw carved wooden sculptures. Many of them tell stories of Paul and his lumber camp, but some are original creations. You can take a ride on the Sky Trail gondola. If you’re a nature lover you can take a walk in the Wilderness Trail for a walk in the beauty and majesty of the woods for the sake of it, nothing special just a normal forest. At the gift shop there is the six roomed End of the Trail Museum, containing a lifetime of collected Native American artifacts from across the continental United States. The museum is free of charge for all visitors to the Trees of Mystery.

 

Nearby is the charming, “vintage,” Motel Trees. These 23 rooms are all individually forest themed with details and beauty. Adjacent to it is the Forest Cafe for a hearty good ‘ole fashion bite to eat. Here you can have your dinner under the Klamath River or under the sky of the Redwoods…. well, OK, its individually themed dining rooms, but they are amazing. I hope they serve up a good stack of pancakes.

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image from tripadvisor.com

Oh man, this is too cool for me to hold in. Years ago as a kid, I remember visiting the Trees of Mystery. I can still remember seeing Paul Bunyan. For quite some time after that I was enthusiastic with tall tales especially with the mythos of the lumberjack giant. You can look up more information on the website here at https://www.treesofmystery.net. But if you have seen the film Axe Giant pleas don’t bring it up. I doubt Paul is very flattered at the portrayal of him in that movie.

Primitive Technology

by Connor O

TOOLS

Stone adze(top) and hatchet(bottom)

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 Most primitive tools were made out of either wood, stone, flint, bone, or obsidian. Stone tools helped early humans to gain the power of farming, mining and so much more. With mining came the Bronze Age and with it, new technology.

 

A primitive stone shovel

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THE BRONZE AGE

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By mixing tin and copper together, people created an alloy called bronze. It was stronger and more flexible than copper or gold and didn’t rust. With the creation of bronze though, man could now effectively wage war against each other.

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When everybody had bronze weapons people realized that they needed something to protect themselves with, so they made armor, shields and polearms.

Mesopotamian warrior

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wooden bronze shield

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Valentine’s Day Poetry at SEEDs for Autism

Writing poetry encourages creativity and self-expression. Poetry stirs the imagination and helps us grow emotionally and intellectually as we examine our thoughts and feelings in a symbolic way. For Valentine’s Day, the participants at SEEDs for Autism explore what LOVE means to them by describing this powerful and complex emotion through the window of their own senses.

The Legend of Spyro: Trilogy(Review)

Hello, my name is Charles and I’m here to review all three The Legend of Spyro games for the PlayStation 2. The Legend of Spyro games are a reboot of the entire Spyro the Dragon game series and are consisted numerically as The Legend of Spyro 1: A New Beginning, The Legend of Spyro 2: The Eternal Night and The Legend of Spyro 3: Dawn of the Dragon.

 

The Legend of Spyro: The New Beginning reintroduces us to the dragon named Spyro and his companion/friend/brother Sparx the Dragonfly as well as follow their adventures to save the four guardian dragons each in command of a different element from the black dragon Cynder. The guardians consist of Terrador (Earth), Cyril (Ice), Volteer (Electricity) and Ignitus (Fire).

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The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night follows the Continuing adventures of Spyro as he seeks out an ancient dragon of immeasurable wisdom known only as the Chronicler, tries to save his former enemy Cynder and foil the evil ambitions of Gaul: the Ape King. While doing so, Spyro not only regains the ability to utilize the elemental powers of the four guardian dragons but he also gains a new ability called Dragon Time which gives Spyro the power to temporarily slow down time.

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The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon concludes the adventures of Spyro, who along with both Sparx and Cynder as well as their new friend Hunter of Avalar (Cheetah) ventures forth towards a final confrontation with the Dark Master who is also known as the dragon called Malefor. While Sypro wields the elemental powers of Fire, Ice, Electricity and Earth, Cynder wields four dark powers consisting of Wind, Poison, Fear and Shadow.

 

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In conclusion, I found these three games in total to be an extremely incredible improvement over the original storyline which of course is saying a lot.

 

Jon’s Favorite Artist: Charles Thomson

Jon poses with his own artwork

At SEEDs for Autism, we recognize art as a powerful form of self-expression and we cultivate an environment where our participants can explore their talents and GROW.  Creating art reduces stress, develops fine motor skills and encourages personal growth. Through art, we can explore and interpret the world around us. It is a creative and meaningful way to engage and connect with others.

Jon has recently discovered his passion for art, finding his creative voice exploring shapes, line and color with pencils, colored markers and a growing collection of sketchbooks. Jon’s newfound interest in art led him to discover artist Charles Thomson. The work of Mr. Thomson really resonated with Jon. He found many of the artist’s paintings online and was inspired to share his thoughts on the pieces that inspired him. [Ed.]

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Top Hat by Charles Thomson

This painting in my opinion is the coolest thing I have ever seen! The amount of bright colors and dark colors work so well together. The different colors in the background leads your eyes to the figure in this painting. And the color choices work so well together, from the bright orange, green and pink in the center of the figure to the dark reds, browns, and grays of the background. It is a work of art that made me want to study this with my eyes and mind.

 

Image result for Everyone Called Smith in the Barnet Phone Book 1998–1999 by Charles Thomson

Everyone Called Smith in the Barnet Phone Book 1998–1999 by Charles Thomson

What I love about this is that it looks like a hand-cut collage and it took me a while to figure out it wasn’t. It was a painting made by the hands of a human being. I was surprised to see such a detailed oil painting because it looks so real and tricked my mind into thinking it wasn’t a painting. The details in the ‘cutouts’ were amazing to me from the amount of simple details with the difficult oils that made it look so real and that is the main reason why I like this painting.

 

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom(Preview)

The ability to stay focused and remain on task is an important life skill that enables us to reach goals, increase productivity, make decisions, solve problems and feel better about ourselves.  At SEEDs for Autism, our participants learn by DOING! Our program provides many opportunities for students to put their skills into ACTION… and creating content for this blog is one of them.

Charlie has been one of the most prolific and enthusiastic contributors to the SEEDs for Autism blog. He has a great passion for video games and exhibited a tremendous amount of focus as he worked diligently to complete his posts before end of class.

This is Charlie’s final video game review because he is moving on to new experiences and opportunities. It has made him very happy to see that people have been enjoying his posts.
Thanks for reading! (Ed.)

Hello, my name is Charles and I’m here to preview the upcoming game Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom for the PlayStation 4. The story/plot of this game takes place hundreds of years after the events of Ni ni Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch for the PlayStation 3.

 

Some of the cast of characters consist of Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum(main protagonist) who not only hails from the Cat Tribe but is also the King of a city called Ding Dong Dell, Roland(protagonist) who happens to be a visitor from another dimension and Tani(protagonist) who happens to be the daughter of the King of all Sky Pirates.

 

In conclusion, I believe that this game will not only be a definite improvement than it’s PS3 prequel but that it will also offer even more challenges and experiences to enjoy. This game is scheduled to be released on March 23, 2018.

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