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.
Jan 28, 2014

Dancing Forward

A new dance instructor started at CSS this month. Jackie Zamora teaches ZamDance leading groups in energetic activity. Although on the surface ZamDance shares many similarities with Zumba, the class is organic a group’s composite interest and the dance moves match the abilities of those in each class. ZamDance introduces a structured environment while allowing participants to move at their own pace. Everyone loves the music and the new dance movements. There is a smile on every face as dancers move to the music, clapping and stepping together. Some children assist the instructor by standing in front to lead the dancing. At the end everyone takes a few turns to learn the limbo. Everyone enjoys this activity that combines exercise with fun and they look forward to the next class.

With the new year it means it’s also time for us to start planning our summer camp. Summer camp for one child costs six thousand dollars, and usually that’s money that the parents do not have forcing them look for other options not as suited for engaging children with autism and developmental disabilities. Additionally, that money does not cover pool memberships, art supplies, snacks, or trips into the community. Scholarships are extremely competitive and do not fully cover the specialized services needed by children in our programs. CSS wants to be able to continue to provide services to children that do not receive support from the state but we cannot do it without your help. Every dollar makes a difference and will help us reach our goals. We want to make sure every child has the opportunity to have a fun summer, help today! If you cannot help financially, please share our story with a friend, post about us Facebook or tweet about our project. Together we can all make a difference and give kids the summer experience they deserve.

Jan 23, 2014

Salad Group at CSS

Introducing new foods and skills through healthy cooking

We all know a picky eater. Many of us have friends that are impossible to cook for and we’ve all heard stories of children who refuse to eat anything that isn’t orange. These traits often become more pronounced when someone is on the autism spectrum. Up to seventy percent of children on the spectrum have narrow eating habits making it a challenge for families and caregivers to expand food choices.

CSS has a new Salad Group which utilizes independent input and decisions while broadening the list of “good” vegetables that individuals want to eat. This group is composed of individuals with developmental disabilities including autism. Many members of the class used to dislike vegetables but now they all enjoy not only making their salads but eating them too.

Every week there is a new vegetable to try that is not part of the salad. This week it’s cherry tomatoes. Each taster gets the opportunity to taste and vote with their picture if they like or dislike the vegetable. Everyone likes the chance to put their vote on the board and they see that their choice matters. All but one group member decides that cherry tomatoes are good.

Ingredient lists are handed to every group member at the beginning of class. The week before each person picked out items for their salads and will now use these ingredients to truly make their unique salad. Based on this list they then choose what they’d like to cut first. The knives are made out of special blunt nylon material that will not accidentally cut skin but still easily cuts vegetables with a sawing motion. By using a safe knife more people can participate fully. Every step of the way is a choice for the individual. No vegetable or task is forced on anyone. No one is ever told they must eat something or that they need to hurry up. By giving the opportunity to decide for oneself, an individual becomes involved and interested in participating. Group members became invested in their salad creations

Initially, when the class first met, there were a few individuals that refused to even chop any vegetables using the safe knives. After a few weeks even the most reluctant began to enjoy cutting up the vegetables for their salad.

Everybody’s salad is different giving each salad artist the opportunity to express himself. On top of flavor, much of a salad is texture and color. Each salad becomes a work of art that many people appreciate. After the class others enjoy dropping by to eat the leftovers, sampling one or several salads. This increases vegetable exposure beyond the salad group itself. Individuals who normally won’t eat salads are excited to visit the kitchen for a chance to taste the creations.

At the end of each class, each participant picks out the ingredients to go into their salad for the following week. As ingredients vary so do the salads. Joey says his salad is good this week, but he thinks next week he’d like to try a different dressing. Everyone leaves happy with what they’ve made and looks forward to the next week and the chance to do it again.

Oct 30, 2013

Art as Communication

Back to school means back to camp! With the school year beginning in August comes the return of yellow school buses pulling up to CSS in the afternoons. Kids getting off the bus are all smiles not realizing that they are going to be learning valuable skills for the next few hours.

One of the many therapy activities in the CSS After-School Camp is art. Art Therapy gives participants the opportunity to engage in different creative outlets. Communication is often a struggle for children diagnosed with autism and art provides an alternative to traditional speech. Art is a window for the imagination and gives individuals visual tools for expression. Therapy groups are clearly structured with themes and art materials, but allow the artists to freely express themselves within the given frameworks while ensuring each child has his or her individual needs met .

Even the most affordable art supplies do come at a cost and it can really add up over the course of the school year. Fifty dollars can provide one week of art supplies for the camp. Over fifty children attend the after-school program at CSS. Each day the program ensures that every child has the chance to engage in activities and therapies designed for him or her. The difference art makes in a person’s life is evident in the smiles as children proudly show off their masterpieces at the end of the day.

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