For the second year in a row the LA Influence will be raising Awareness for Autism during the month of April. The Walk Now For Autism Speaks event is a part of the companies community outreach program because it holds a special place in the heart of LAI instructor/performer Sarah Yvonne Ramos. She has been working as an Early Intervention Behavior Therapist for children with Autism for the last 6 years. Last year, Ciara Junge and Sarah Yvonne Ramos raised over 1,300 dollars for AUTISM SPEAKS team LAI. The Walk will take place on April 20th 2013 at the Rose Bowl and we are inviting everyone to come out and walk with team LAI. For more information about the walk please check out our team. CLICK HERE for TEAM LAI
To kick off autism awareness month the LAI will be hosting our 2nd annual “Blue Party” on April 5th. Our “Blue Party” will be an evening of dancing and fundraising for AUTISM SPEAKS team LAI. The dance company will be donating a dollar of the entrance fee to Autism Speaks. Our goal is to reach out within the dance community and collaborate with others to maximize our fundraising efforts as well as provide on going education throughout the month of April on Autism.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) and Autism are both terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders affect the functioning of the brain impacting development in areas such as social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and leisure activites/play. This means that individuals with autism can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. These behaviors and developmental delays can range in impact from mild to severe. Often times, individuals with autism exhibit repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests. However, Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.
What Causes Autism and is there a cure?
Autism is often referred to as a mystery, meaning there is no known cause. However in recent years extensive research has helped solve the Autism mystery. There is no one cause of autism and there is no one type of autism, thus allowing it be referred to as a Spectrum disorder. Research over the last five years suggests that there are a number of rare gene mutations associated with autism. A genetic predisposition combined with environmental factors influence early brain development which may cause autism. There is no cure for Autism but it is treatable. Intervention plans using different types of therapy can help improve attention and other related behaviors.
Every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with autism. 1 in 88 children are now affected by Autism and 1 in 54 boys. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States. By participating in this event, you are helping to change the future for all who struggle with autism. By walking, you are getting us one step closer to finding what causes autism, how to prevent and treat it, and ultimately a medical cure so no family ever hears those words again. We need you to help make tomorrow be about dance lessons, school lunches and first words rather than therapy, doctor appointments and despair. Together, we will find the missing pieces. So please join us in the fight against autism by donating, spreading the word, and/or walking on our team.
Follow the link below to donate directly to Autism Speaks team LAI
Over the past few years The LAI has taken part of many charities and events. One of the organizations that we have been working with is Corazon de Vida.
Through our journey to helping others we have met some amazing people with similar goals and ideas. One of those people is Daniel Sandoval. He reached out to us to help spread the word for his project.
The info below is directly from our good friend Daniel.
“On March 17th, I will be running the marathon under the team name Team CDV on behalf of the Corazon De Vida orphanage which supports 14 orphanages with more than 800 children. I started volunteering with this organization a year ago because I fell in love with their mission of “ending poverty in Baja California.” I always saw how difficult life was in Tijuana. When I saw that CDV was executing a plan to change the socioeconomic climate in this region I knew that I had to help however I could. Running the LA marathon had always been a goal of mine. What better way to accomplish something on my bucket that will add value to the lives of these children. I have pledged to raise $1000 for this marathon and as of today I have raised $185 with the help of family, friends and coworkers. An account to donate directly to CDV has been setup.
I know that the contributions made toward this run will make an immediate difference in the quality of life these children lead. Down the line, those kids who choose, will go on and attend universities to become doctors, lawyers and whatever they want as long as they work for it. With our help they can make it happen. Thanks”
Speaking from the Heart: Speech Therapy with Corazon de Vida
Corazon de Vida (CDV), founded by Hilda Pacheco-Taylor, is an organization that provides food, shelter, and basic necessities to 14 orphanages in Baja California. Services such as speech-language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medical services are still in dire need. Currently, Araceli Torres, a speech-language pathologist, and Daniel Sandoval, a behavioral therapist, have visited 3 orphanages and have determined the need for speech and language therapy services.
During the summer of 2012, I had the opportunity to volunteer at an orphanage in my hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico. Speech-language pathologists from the United States provided the children with speech therapy for one week. While volunteering, I witnessed the need for on-going services. The children needed speech therapy and physical therapy; however no help was being provided. The therapists provided the staff with ideas, suggestions, materials and treatment plans to continue implementing therapy. It was great to see that with the help of the speech therapists and volunteers, the children were a step closer to communicating their wants and needs. After that visit, I wanted to become more involved, so I decided to team up with Daniel to provide speech therapy to the children of the Corazon de Vida orphanages.
As a speech-language pathologist who works in an elementary school, my long-term goal is to form a team of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and professionals from related fields to conduct evaluations, determine areas of need, and implement treatment. The treatment would include on-going therapy, communication systems/devices, and the implementation of programs that would facilitate the children’s ability to communicate. In order to complete this mission, the team needs to fundraise money to buy assessments, communication devices and other materials needed for treatment. This is an ambitious goal that requires planning, time, and most importantly funding; however, it can be achieved with the support from individuals such as yourself.
We have started our mission by visiting 2 orphanages. After meeting up with the directors of the orphanages, they emphasized the need for speech services. We have received referrals for children with communication disorders such as articulation disorders, language difficulties, deaf and hard of hearing, learning disabilities and social difficulties. We have met some of the children, and we are eager to start providing the staff and the children with adequate help.
I am teaming up with my dance company, The LA Influence, to fundraise for this cause and to promote awareness in the community about the need for speech services for the children in the CDV orphanages. I want the children to know that we, as a community, are working together to give them a voice. Please help us achieve our goal!
-Araceli Torres (LAI Instructor/Speech Therapist)
How can you help? Come out to The LAI Influence’s February Social (The Get LAI’d Social) on February 1st at The Long Beach Dance Center (5107 E. Ocean Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90804)
We will be collecting gift at The December Get LAI’d Event on December 7th. Doors open at 8pm. Come enjoy a class by the LAI and open dancing until 1am.
The Holiday season is around the corner, and it proves to be especially difficult for some families. Not only do some families have financial burdens, but they may also have to care for a critically ill child. This makes December one of the most cost-intense months of the year for these families. Parents already struggle to provide their families with basic needs, and now they must explain to their child why they cannot afford that special toy they are asking for.
This December, join The LA Influence Dance Company in the Adopt-A-Family Program dedicated to the patients of Miller Children’s Hospital, Long Beach. Your generous donations will help make the Holidays a little bit brighter for our local families with critically ill children who are in need. Your donations will help alleviate some of the financial stress this time of year brings for families with limited resources as a result of their child’s diagnosis. You can donate toys, gifts, gift cards, grocery cards, or anything you feel will bring happiness to these families in need (Please no cash). We will be collecting the gifts at the December 7th Get LAI’d Social. Thank you so much for all your help. Lets come together to help a family in need. Below are brief profiles of the families we are helping out.
There will be 2 pediatric patient’s families we will be collecting gifts for:
Patient: 14 year old girl diagnosed with Lupus for 2 years. She has been treated with with strong medications, and has been struggling to cope with her disease and treatment. She is a sweet and shy girl who will love any of your gifts.
Sister: 4 year old girl.
Brother: 12 year old boy
Mother: 40 year old single mother. She works hard making sure her daughter follows her treatment regimen and makes it to all of her doctor appointments. She has recently had financial and emotional burdens that have left her homeless with her children. The family is currently residing in a 1 bedroom apartment with a church friend.
Patient: 8 year old girl diagnosed with Lupus for 2 years. She has been treated aggressively with chemotherapy for her kidney involvement. She is a sweet girl, good student despite her illness, and is compliant with her treatment.
Sister: 3 year old girl who also suffers from multiple cardiac and gastrointestinal problems. She was a premature baby who spent months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She is an upbeat and outgoing little girl.
Mother: 29 year old single mother. Cannot work between taking both daughters to school and multiple medical appointments. Has no car or money for public transportation, so she walks miles to run errands and pick the girls up.
As you can see, both of these families are in dyer need of assistance. Please sign up to bring an age-appropriate present for one of the family members. We are looking to collect at least 5 gifts per family member. Thank you so much for your help in adopting a family, and for brightening up the Holidays for these families.