california musings.

it’s been a little less than a month since i’ve moved to california. the days seem to go by slowly yet, in a way, i can’t believe it’s already almost the end of july. i recently started my job at the pacific autism center for education (PACE) and continue to be amazed at all the work a single non-profit organization can do. their name represents just one set of services they provide to the autistic community in the bay area. in addition to the School for moderate to severe autistic students, PACE also offers early intervention Children’s Services and a Residential program for adults and children. during my first couple of weeks, i’ve had a chance to tour the pre-school and a couple of the residential homes and while the work that all the staff does is extremely hard, it’s inspiring to see so many people who care for this cause. while i am helping the organization in various avenues, my main project is working on their newest project- an online module and resource which can help educate parents about autism and some of the behavioral challenges involved. this project has given me the opportunity to dive deeper into the autism research that is out there and has allowed me to better understand this disorder. i have spent time exploring other online autism resources, reading about the newest research finding and blogs written by parents of children with autism. this has all been an eye-opening experience for me to really understand how difficult and confusing autism is to the community. with the most recent reports saying that 1 in 68 children are now diagnosed with autism, there are increased questions about what causes it, how best to provide treatment and therapy and what happens to these children after they are no longer supported by the school system. as many autistic individuals age out of the school system, it’s difficult to know what the next best steps are. for some that require 24/7 care, what happens next? for others, there are adult day programs that continue to help them with therapy and social skills to help integrate them into the community. it’s been so interesting to see the work that PACE does with the community and realize that there is still so much work to be done. PACE only represents a small subset of all the organizations that are working with austistic individuals in the bay area, yet the daily work of all the staff members is extremely meaningful.

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one of the residential staff members made this amazing cake! even the inside was tie-dyed. 

other than work, california life has been very good to me! i’ve been cooking pretty basic meals for myself everyday and have been able to spend a lot of personal time to reflect and do things that i enjoy. i’m in the process of training for my second half-marathon and definitely enjoying the sunny weather for my daily post-work runs! weekends have been fun to hang out with other people in the bay area and explore all that northern california has to offer. there are still so many places i want to see and eat, but luckily i still have so much more time here!

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beautiful california beaches and reunions with college friends!

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fisherman’s wharf deliciousness with the best of friends. (:

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optical illusions the facebook headquarters!

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