Community Support Services, Inc.

Community Support Services, Inc. is committed to the provision of quality community-based services to individuals with developmental disabilities. We provide innovative services to support an individual with their needs in school, work, home and the community. We strive to serve individuals in the environments in which they desire to live, work, recreate, and learn. Our services are flexible and designed in accordance with each individual's self-directed life goals.
Jul 25, 2014

Vegetables as sweet treats!

grating the zucchini
grating the zucchini

This time of year gardens tend to produce an overabundance of one vegetable or another, and in this region we start to see more zucchini than most people usually know what to do with. But in our creative kitchen Chef Adam knows that zucchini is simply a great opportunity to introduce more healthy foods into our diet!

Narrow eating habits are reported in over seventy percent of those on the autism spectrum. And while it’s okay to simply not like some foods (most of us have foods we don’t like!) we do want to encourage healthy eating choices. Which brings us to this week’s recipe – Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes!

 It may sound strange at first, but adding zucchini to our sweet baked goods keeps them delectably moist. By adding vegetables in friendly vehicles like chocolate cupcakes, we build familiarity and positive associations. Individuals start to think of zucchini as something fun and not something scary!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar or low calorie sweetener
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup olive oil or apple puree
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease & flour a muffin tin
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Break up any lumps and mix until evenly combined.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl combine the oil, water, zucchini and vanilla. Add this to the dry ingredients, stirring until no traces of flour remain.
  4. Pour into prepared muffin pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. This recipe makes about 24 muffins.
Mixing the batter
Mixing the batter
Ready for the oven!
Ready for the oven!
May 12, 2014

April Showers bring May Gardens!

Untilled earth waiting to be cultivated.
Untilled earth waiting to be cultivated.

We had a long winter this year in Maryland. Schools were closed, roads were terrible, schedules were askew, and even worse, now we are now a month behind in our planting season!

Here at Community Support Services we maintain five community garden plots and each plot takes a lot of work to get ready for planting.  This year we are working with new plots and have to start our ground cultivation from the beginning. The dirt was hard but everyone persevered because we needed to start getting our seedlings in the ground!

First the ground was tilled. A tiller had to be rented every time which was one more cost in our budget.  Then we laid a mix of organic soil and fertilizer on the tilled earth before covering it with a weed block fabric. And then it was finally time to plant!

Our first crops making it to the gardens are Lacinato kale, collards, and onions. But we have a lot more waiting in our greenhouse to be planted! This weekend we began planting in our home gardens. It’s going to be a vegetable rich summer for everyone!

Every dollar contributed to our project makes a difference. Several of our garden tools are old and starting to break but we are still putting our broken trowels to good use.  This is the time of year to help us expand our backyard garden program. We hope to increase the number of raised beds so that more individuals with autism have the opportunity to grow their own vegetables. With your help we’ll be able to grow more than ever before!

A garden plot finally ready for planting!
A garden plot finally ready for planting!
Everyone enjoys a sunny morning in the garden.
Everyone enjoys a sunny morning in the garden.
Planting kale!
Planting kale!
A broken trowel still digs!
A broken trowel still digs!
Shoveling mulch to lay bed and path foundations.
Shoveling mulch to lay bed and path foundations.
Apr 28, 2014

Spring break means Spring Break Camp!

Parents need a viable care option during the week of Spring Break and that’s where Community Support Services steps in. We’re open all week and provide a host of fun activities for children in our camp program. Many children diagnosed with developmental disabilities are not accepted in other programs and cannot be left at home alone. Community Support Services gives parents an exciting alternative and the children have a great time!

An important aspect of our program is that we spend as much time as possible out in the community. Favorite activities include visiting the local parks such as hiking at Great Falls Park in Potomac, Maryland. Great Falls Park is an 800 acre park with a breathtakingly scenic trail along the Potomac River. Everyone had a great time and we couldn’t imagine a spring break without trips like this.

Physical activity is an important part of any healthy lifestyle but often individuals with autism do not have the opportunities that many of us take for granted. It has been shown that participating in physical activities has many benefits for those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It can reduce incidences of behavior, increase awareness of appropriate responses, and promotes social interaction.  Unfortunately, many agencies and nonprofits do not engage in physical activity or community involvement because of the challenges involved.

We are very fortunate that our region is host to a number of free opportunities, like the one at Great Falls Park. But, there are still a number of treasured activities that do cost money such as swimming and miniature golf. Even traveling to a free activity does cost in transportation, either in gasoline or metro fare.  When a child is funded for camp and care, that funding does not include fees for classes such as yoga or dance. Here at Community Support Services we strive to provide every child with a full and active schedule built around their interests but we need your help to do so.

As you plan your summer activities, the youth and adults we support face unique challenges in making their summertime wishes a reality. Please remember these children, and help if you can.  With your contributions, we can create a safety net for new children as they are identified, and support them until state funding is made available.

Whatever your summer plans may be, we wish you the very best for a safe, fun, and enjoyable season. 

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