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.
Jun 17, 2013

How does our Garden Grow? Cultivating Skills and Crops

Lettuces, peppers, and cabbage oh my! The Gardening Crew at CSS has been in full gear this spring. It’s been an exciting season as we battled the weather to ensure the success of this year’s crop of vegetables. Late cold spells didn’t dampen enthusiasm one bit as we started seedlings indoors and then began transplanting the moment it looked like we were safely free of winter. Gardeners still got some exciting late season frost warnings but the carefully tended plants are now thriving underneath the summer sun. 

Individuals with autism may react differently to their environment and sometimes will over-react, or under-react, to stimuli involving touch, sight, sound, taste and smell. Instructional associates focus on activities to help program participants handle sensory stimuli, all while building communication and social skills. Gardening nurtures these skills while connecting the budding agricultural enthusiasts with nature. The full seedling to harvest process gives a sense of appreciation as we teach hands-on training while caring for our vegetables.

These valuable skills are also transferrable to finding employment opportunities. From landscape training to different watering and harvesting techniques CSS is thrilled to be able to continue our Healthy Living Skills program. It’s great to see the progress of our gardens as we augment individuals’ skillsets. 

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May 9, 2013

Springing Forward at CSS!

With warmer weather and summer right around the corner, CSS is getting ready for Summer Camp! The Summer Camp Program will officially begin June 17 and everyone is excited to continue staying active and having fun throughout all ten weeks of summer.

First though, it has been a very busy spring at CSS. The After-school Program added both yoga and baseball to the already full slate of activities. In the yoga studio students have been having fun learning tree and mountain pose. Specialized sequences combine different poses to improve motor skills and breathing techniques.

Baseball has been a big hit with both children and staff alike. On weekends you’re sure to find some action in the athletic fields as players take in the basics of the sport and the importance of exercise.

Because spring weather can be so unpredictable CSS continues to provide a mix of indoor and outdoor activities including: swimming, gymnastics and dance. These are in addition to the traditional bullpen lineup of art and sensory games. By staying active children remain challenged and engaged throughout the year both inside and outside of the classroom.

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Mar 19, 2013

Bringing Learned Healthy Habits into the Home

Learning about nutrition and helping to prepare healthy snacks during the day program is a good introduction to some of the key components of embracing a healthy lifestyle, but the best place to reinforce healthy eating habits is in the home. My last stop of the evening, after all of the cooking classes and groups have left for the day, is always to one of the many homes in the CSS residential community. 

 

Every home in the residential program has a house menu, many of which are tailored to the specific dietary needs of the individuals living in the house. By visiting the houses at dinner time I am able to assist the staff in following their house menus and help them to find creative ways of including more of the foods that their clients enjoy. In this way we ensure that the individuals are enjoying the food they eat in addition to getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy.

 

In all of the houses, individuals are encouraged to participate in preparing their own meals. With guidance and supervision, many high functioning individuals are able to prepare meals independently. Making a healthy dinner can become a fun activity for everyone to enjoy instead of a chore. While the individuals sit down and enjoy the meal, I meet with the staff and discuss strategies to meet the clients’ nutritional needs and keep them satisfied while following the guidelines laid out in the planned menus. Subjects in this area include developing healthy shopping habits, understanding proper food sanitation, and recognizing healthy alternatives to components of the meal that the individuals don't like.

 

Low-Guilt Comfort food

Most people don't get cravings for celery sticks and quinoa. Often times the foods that we crave are the ones that do the least for our bodies, at least from the standpoint of trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. One way of overcoming such cravings is to simply cheat! Find creative ways to make the junk food that you crave into a healthy meal that you can feel good about indulging in. Think about the criteria that make healthy foods good for you and then look for innovative ways to make the less-healthy foods that you crave fit into that group. The following recipe is a variation on the classic macaroni and cheese that is so easy to make and satisfying to eat, you'll never buy the prepackaged stuff again (as if you could even call that stuff "cheese!”).

 

Low-Fat Homemade Mac'n'Cheese with Broccoli

Ingredients

1/2 box Whole Wheat pasta

1 can Low-Fat Condensed Cheddar and Broccoli soup

1 cup Fat-free Milk

1 cup Low-Fat Shredded Cheddar cheese

2 cups Broccoli, steamed

Garlic and onion powder to taste

Black pepper to taste

Method:

Boil pasta according to package directions; Drain and set aside. While the pasta is boiling, combine condensed soup and milk in a medium sized pot. 

Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat and stir until it is blended well and has thickened slightly; remove from heat. 

Return the drained pasta to the pot and pour the cheddar soup mixture on top of it; add the shredded cheese and cooked broccoli and gently fold the ingredients into the pasta. Place the pot over very low heat and continue to mix until the cheese is melted and the pasta is coated with sauce.

 

Makes 4 servings

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