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Athlete Raises Awareness of At Risk Children in Stanislaus @Ironman Triathlon


Vinod Dasika and his niece, Divya

What drives people to do a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run in the Ironman triathlon? Strength, focus, dedication and an abundance of energy!

Vinod Dasika, an accomplished endurance athlete in Southern California will be competing in the 4th Ironman triathlon race being held in Tempe, AZ on November 16th.  He has competed in numerous marathons and triathlons including three-time Ironman finishes.(video of the rigorous  Ironman Triathlon on sidebar) What is different this time around is that he will use this upcoming race to raise awareness for children with special needs.

“This is close to my heart since my niece, Divya has Cerebral Palsy.  Since she lives in Modesto, I would like to raise funds with the help of the Community to improve the lives of children in Stanislaus County”, says Vinod Dasika.   He has chosen to support CASA of Stanislaus County, a non-profit organization protecting the rights of children that are neglected or abused and have special needs.  It’s the birthright of every child to feel respected, important, accepted, included and safe.

Join us and Ironman Dasika in improving the lives of special needs children in Central Valley through education, support groups and recreational opportunities by donating as little as $20 to  CASA of Stanislaus County, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Our goal is $2500. Please share this link below and inspire others to follow.

“The mission of CASA of Stanislaus County is to provide quality advocacy services for all abused and neglected children in the dependency system through the use of trained volunteers.  Our goal is to provide a safe, permanent, nurturing environment for every child served, including children afflicted with special needs.” (source: image_3 girlCASA  CASAboy1

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Arrived! 8 Parenting Classes To Help You Be Smarter Parents

Are you feeling guilty about loosing your patience with your child or frustrated with not fully knowing the IEP process? Help is here. To assist parents navigate through special education effectively while recognizing the demands of raising children with special needs, Turlock Unified’s School District’s Special Education Department is offering various parenting classes focusing on understanding IEP process, behavior strategies, assessment process, speech and language communication, Autism, coping with the holiday season and preparing for school transition & Summer break, for Free.  Each topic will be conducted mornings and evenings on the scheduled dates. Translation is available provided the request is made 48 hrs in advance.

Special Education Director @Turlock Unified

Jeff Santos, Director of Special Education @Turlock Unified School District

Turlock Unified supports over 1500 students in its special education program servicing children from preschool to age twenty-two. “We would like to offer parents classes on topics that will assist them with the skills needed to be successful parents and understand the world of special education. We feel it is important to be a resource and support system for our parents,” says Jeff Santos, Director of Special Education Department at Turlock Unified. “By offering these classes we hope to provide resources and build relationships with our parents.”

At Turlock Unified School District, school principals, assistant principals and deans receive training in special education. This approach is simply smart and needed. Turlock provides Special Day Class and Resource Specialist programs as well as other related services such as speech/language therapy, adapted PE, social skills, inclusion support and behavior intervention. To give feedback about these classes, email to or let us know by leaving us a comment. Don’t forget to share this with your friends and family.

Turlock Unified School District's logoFor further details, visit
Here is a list of the 8 upcoming parenting classes: 2014-2015_Parenting_Class_Calendar_-_English__Spanish

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New Listing of Recreational Activities, Workshops and Events for Families and Children this Fall!

putthis_on_calendar_clip_artSearching for recreational activities, special workshops, support groups or events for your family this Fall Season?

Check out our FALL Community Calendar!

This Fall many local organizations have teamed up to offer parents and children recreational activities, useful workshops, support group meetings and Friday Night Out for our older children & more.  A great way to meet other families and wonderful opportunities for children to have  fun, socialize and make new friendships! Volunteering opportunities available.

Also, did you know you can borrow books from Family Resource Center in Modesto, opened on Wednesdays! Check the Calendar for more details!

Don’t miss the Fall scheduled events and activities! Many require advance registration, so please sign up early. If you want to be added to our parent mailing list, send us an email at

“As a parent of a child with special needs, I find this website very informative.  The calendar is easy to find and read.  The information is helpful and inspiring.”
Deanna O.

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Unique Opportunity For Parents To Ask Questions & Share Concerns With Internationally Recognized Surgeon, Dr. Jon Davids, M.D. (Shriners Hospitals for Children) About Cerebral Palsy/Autism

dr davids flyer.jpg

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Successful Behavioral Techniques Used to Minimize Anesthesia During Routine Dental Care, Part 2

Dental Care and Special Needs: One Journey

Mother of Autistic Adult child, Irene TanzmanMy son, Isaac, was diagnosed with autism at age 2 and a half. I started taking him to a pediatric dentist at age 3. By the time he was about age 6, the pediatric dentist could not handle him. The dentist suggested that I find a dental practice that was more suitable to Isaac’s needs.

We live in the Boston area, which is known to be a medical mecca. Surely, I could find something for him here. First I tried the famous Boston Children’s Hospital. Because of Isaac’s inability to cooperate, they suggested that we put him under anesthesia every two years in order to do dental work. Then I tried the very popular special needs Tufts Dental facility nearby. They also suggested the same. “We can work with some special needs individuals without using general anesthesia, but with someone like Isaac, this would be impossible.”

I finally found a neighborhood dentist whose practice focused on special needs. He was willing to work with my son. He would start out by doing some dental work under anesthesia and then he would work on getting Isaac to accept dental care. Isaac would need several visits a year. I decided that this was my best option.

This dentist put my son in a headlock to clean his teeth. This was brutal for me to witness. Isaac struggled to break free from the headlock. While tears flowed through my eyes, I assisted the dentist with restraining my son. This actually worked for a while. He got dental care and it wasn’t under anesthesia. However, my son was growing, and as time went on, the headlock and restraints did not work. We were not strong enough to hold him down. I called Continue reading

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Routine Dental Care under General Anesthesia May Lead to Higher Healthcare Costs: Is There a Better Way?

Part 1 of 2 in series…

Children and adults with special needs often have routine dental care under general anesthesia. Prominent dental schools all over the US teach dental students that this is the way to treat severe special needs individuals who cannot tolerate routine dental procedures. These individuals may appear to have limited understanding. Just knock them out every two years or so, and do all the dental work under general anesthesia. With this plan in place we never really know the status of the individual’s dental hygiene until they are under general anesthesia.

So what happens when an individual diagnosed with autism who has poor communication skills develops a dental problem during the two years of no checkups and no cleanings? Dental problems can certainly brew when there are no dental appointments for two years and dental hygiene may be less than optimum. Let’s suppose that our patient develops severe temper tantrums or aggressions as a result of a toothache. Since the individual cannot communicate, we might see this problem as a behavioral health issue – so we might give him Risperdal (second generation antipsychotic). After all, Risperdal has been approved by the FDA to treat agitation in those diagnosed with autism.

Now as a result of the Risperdal, the patient has gained quite a bit of weight, and is suffering from metabolic syndrome. While this happens, the desperate parents are continually searching the healthcare system to find out why their child is still agitated. They want to know how to help him. Perhaps, this is a gastroenterology issue. How about a colonoscopy? Maybe the Risperdal isn’t working. Should they try a different med? Raise the dosage? Now let’s add the cost of the general anesthesia for the dental procedure. Okay, by now you get the idea of how expensive this could get. Did you ever notice how many individuals with special needs have teeth missing and not very aesthetic smiles? It is not a happy picture.

So what is the alternative?

How about using a combination of grit, desensitization, and behavior modification? A cost benefit analysis might prove that working on getting these individuals to cooperate with dental professionals might be the best solution. Many states now have laws in effect that require health insurers to pay for medically necessary healthcare procedures for individuals with autism. Some insurers do pay for ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis). ABA is an evidence based method used to help individuals modify behavior or to acquire new skills. ABA can be used to reduce maladaptive behaviors, to learn activities of daily living, to teach just about anything the individual needs to learn, and yes- you can use ABA in order to help the individual accept dental care as well.

Depending on the diagnosis and insurance carrier, insurers may cover the development of a behavioral plan for cooperating with dental care. The learning process and maintenance of the learning may require many visits to the dentist. Dental visits are the responsibility of dental insurance. Dental insurers usually do not cover the multiple visits that are needed in order to make this type of dental care plan work. When the patient undergoes general anesthesia for dental treatment, regular health insurance covers it (not dental insurance). It is the old “different pot of money” story. So here lies the (costly) problem.

(originally published on LinkedIn,  August 26, 2014 , written permission granted to reprint article, Irene Tanzman is the mother of an adult son diagnosed with autism. After many years of working with her son and his dentist, he cooperates with dental cleanings and x-rays, but still requires general anesthesia for dental fillings and more involved dental work. He still visits his dentist every month. His dentist carefully monitors and documents his dental hygiene. Irene has a special interest in improving health care and reducing health care costs for individuals with severe special needs.)


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