Autism Open House hosted by Pacific Child


Have questions about Autism? Pacific Child & Family Associates is hosting an Open House in Glendale on Saturday, February 20th from 10AM to 11:30AM. Certified clinicians and insurance specialists will be there to educate parents and answer questions about treatment options like ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), service options (in-home, in-school and community) and insurance coverage.

The goal of PCFA’s Open House is to help parents have a better understanding of autism and to ease the often-difficult process of finding services and receiving insurance coverage. Parents are invited to attend the presentation by certified clinical staff and have a one-on-one consultation with an insurance specialist about the process of getting coverage.

Pacific Child & Family Associates provides ABA treatment using proven techniques to achieve significant and sustainable improvement for individuals and families dealing with autism spectrum disorders. Its mission is to provide the highest level of clinical expertise by leveraging the most evidence-based treatment and technology available; promoting parent and family education, engagement and empowerment; and supporting a workplace that encourages collaboration and innovation. The company provides its services throughout California and within several other states.

The address of the PCFA Open House is 741 Glenvia Street, Suite 102, Glendale, CA 91206. A free Continental Breakfast will be served, and there will be free handouts and complimentary on-site childcare during the event. Please RSVP here.  Join us.

Children’s Learning Connection Opens New Office in San Diego


Children’s Learning Connection, a division of Pacific Child and Family Associates (PCFA), which specializes in offering services to children with autism and related disabilities and their families, has opened a new office in San Diego.

This office expands CLC’s reach within California. It has operated offices in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas for over 15 years.

“One in 68 children are diagnosed with autism throughout the United States,” says PCFA CEO Jeffrey P. Winter. “We’re pleased to bring our over 15 years of experience helping children with autism improve and progress to all families in San Diego, and look forward to partnering with school systems, physicians and professionals in the area.”

The lead clinician of the San Diego office is Sarah Torgrimson, M.A., BCBA. Torgrimson received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine, before completing her Master’s Degree in Psychology from Chapman University in Orange County. Torgrimson is also completing her licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy, and has worked with CLC’s interdisciplinary team for over nine years.

“Sarah has worked in the field of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) for over 11 years in home, school, and community settings,” says CLC Chief Clinical Officer Gina Chang. “She loves working with children and helping them reach their full potential, and she’ll be a great asset to the San Diego community and allow us to support more families in need.”

CLC currently provides individual behavior therapy in the home, school, and community settings, as well as in clinic social skills groups to children ages 3 and above to address a wide variety of skills. CLC also offers parent training and consultation as well as functional behavior assessments.

To find out more about CLC’s services or to speak to our care management team, please call 858-401-6511 or visit us at

Dinner is Ready! Tips on Improving your child’s dinner experience!


Practical Advice for Improving your Child’s Mealtime Experience

By Hiram J. Corona Martinez, MS, OTR/LMeals


The table is set. The enticing aroma from a meticulously-seasoned, mouth-watering, sizzling roast beef feels your entire home. As your family sits around the table to enjoy this wonderful meal, you cannot help but wonder…“will my child sit still today and have at least one bite of food this time?”

As many parents of children with Autism know very well, mealtime can be a rather difficult endeavor. Children will often fidget, be unable to sit still long enough to finish a meal, and ultimately get up from the table, forcing parents to chase them around the house with a spoon. Other times children will have a hard time trying out new foods and may gag and spit out food whenever they are presented with something they have never tried before. As time goes on, well-intentioned parents may find themselves frustrated, tired, and desperate to get any food inside their children’s bellies, whenever they are willing to eat it. The result is an irregular eating schedule with typically a very small menu of food items your child will accept. So what do you do?

Occupational therapists are professionals who work closely with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who experience eating difficulties. Often times, children with Autism will have very different sensory needs than their peers, which may significantly affect their ability to eat a meal and perform other activities as well. In order to feel balanced or “at ease”, children may seek more or less of a specific type of sensory input. Once children meet their sensory needs, the result is what we call a state of regulation. To illustrate, imagine you are trying to study for a test at the library but the room is extremely loud. Would it be difficult to concentrate? How about if you are about to take a shower but the water temperature is too hot or too cold? We all seek a state of balance from the sensory information all around us (whether it is going to a quieter corner in the library to study or setting the water temperature just right before we jump in the shower)…and when we find it, it is easier to complete the tasks we are expected to do. Children with Autism often have sensory needs that are different than most of us. Does your child seem to be always “on the go” (e.g., climbing furniture, running around the house tirelessly for prolonged periods of time?). Perhaps your child engages in those activities in an attempt to reach a state of balance or wellbeing that most of us take for granted. The most important thing to remember is that once a state of regulation is reached, it is easier to engage in the activities we want to do or are expected to do.

Let’s go back to our opening story now that we’ve learned how sensory needs affect us. What would be some important points to have in mind or even practical, easy-to-implement strategies that could improve your meal time experience? Consider the following points next time you plan to have a meal with your child:

Know your child’s sensory needs. Every child has different sensory needs, and it is very important to be able to identify these needs in order to improve your mealtime routines. Is your child consistently active and has difficulty sitting down for prolonged periods of time? Providing your child with opportunities to engage in moderately-intense physical activities prior to mealtime may help improve concentration and overall sense of well-being. Take your child to your local park an hour before mealtime. Climbing, running, and jumping are great ways for your child to self-regulate and reach a sense of well-being. For children with oral sensory issues, it may be challenging for your child to accept various types of tastes, textures, and/or temperatures. Knowing and respecting what your child accepts is the first step in helping them improve their repertoire of food. Avoid forcing your child to eat any non-preferred foods. Instead, allow your child to freely explore novel foods with his or her senses at their discretion (e.g., looking, smelling, touching with their fingers, etc.). Gradually introduce small samples of new food in a corner of your child’s plate as a supplement to already-accepted foods. It is okay if your child does not eat the new food right away. It takes an average of 10-12 attempts before a child will begin trying a new food. So be patient!

Adjust your environment. Sometimes it is difficult for a child with sensory needs to sit still for a meal at an unfamiliar place (e.g., restaurant, church cafeteria, etc.). Under these circumstances, it is a good idea to modify your environment to suit your child’s needs. Take a small inflatable seat cushion with you if your child has difficulty seating still. Bouncing gently on a cushion may help meet your child sensory needs. Fidget toys (i.e., small balls that can be squeezed, rubber toys that stretch, etc.) can also be useful tools in assisting your child to self-regulate. For children who appear to be “picky eaters”, it is beneficial to plan eating out ahead of time. Consider restaurants that incorporate menu items which your child accepts. If needed, take small preferred snacks, sauces, and/or condiments with you to a new restaurant in order to help your child transition as smooth as possible into this new feeding environment.

Take Baby Steps. This is perhaps the most powerful strategy to improve your child’s mealtime experience. No matter what type of oral sensory difficulties your child may be experiencing, taking small steps towards a desired outcome (e.g., whether it is to incorporate a new food item into their repertoire of limited accepted foods or to decrease gagging episodes when introduced to new foods) is one of the most fundamental and effective tools used in therapy today. Children are more likely to comply with a small request rather than a large one, especially if a much-desired reward awaits. Asking your child to “kiss” a non-preferred vegetable like broccoli is much easier than asking to eat it altogether, right? One of the benefits of taking small, consistent steps over time is becoming acclimated (or desensitized to) a particular stimulus. Thus, breaking a seemingly difficult undertaking (such as swallowing a piece of broccoli) into smaller, more-manageable tasks (i.e., touching, smelling, kissing, biting) is a great way to help your child incorporate new foods into their diet.

Sharing a meal together with family is one of the most enjoyable experiences in day-to-day life. It allows us to unwind and connect with our loved ones. It brings us joy and helps us build lasting memories. I encourage you to put these simple yet fundamental concepts into practice next time you plan your meal. They will not only help your child eat better but will most definitely enrich your time together as a family.

Pacific Child and Family Associates Hires New Executive Director


Pacific Child and Family Associates, a national leader in the delivery of services for children with autism spectrum disorders, announced a new addition to their clinical management team. Jill E. McGrale Maher, MA, BCBA is now Executive Director for Autism Intervention Specialist for the Worcester, MA, region.

Maher’s background includes program development focused on a variety of issues including accelerating the developmental progress of children in the early years, decreasing problem behaviors, promoting independence and success in inclusive environments, teaching social skills and conducting functional behavior assessments (FBAs). In addition, Maher has developed teaching programs for students of all learning profiles and levels as well as staff and parent education programs.

“Jill has over 30 years of experience and shares the same ideals and values as PCFA when it comes to clinical integrity, the science of ABA and the passion for helping families living with autism and other related disorders,” says Gina T. Chang, PhD, BCBA, Licensed Psychologist, Chief of Clinical Operations of Pacific Child and Family Associates. “She loves the Worcester community and is passionate about offering the best clinical care.”

Prior to becoming AIS’s Executive Director, Maher served as the Executive Director in a Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education approved private school in a variety of senior clinical positions. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at numerous national conferences.

Autism Intervention Specialists, a Pacific Child Company, has been serving children and families living with autism and other related disorders since 2011.

If you have questions or would like more information about our services, please call us at 855.646.8247 or send us a quick note to

Gina T. Chang, PhD, BCBA-D, CA PSY#26473, Chief of Clinical Operations


Gina T. Chang, PhD, BCBA-D, CA PSY#26473 received her Ph.D in Applied Developmental Psychology from Claremont Graduate University with a concentration in developmental disabilities. She is a licensed psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Doctoral level with over 14 years of experience working with persons with autism and other developmental disabilities. Her expertise includes early intervention, parent education, adolescents with autism, school consultation, and staff development. Dr. Chang’s research interests include approaches to increasing generalization of skills, alternative and augmentative forms of communication, video modeling, and the implementation of empirically-validated treatment techniques. She has presented her research at numerous national conferences and been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Special Education Technology. Additionally, Dr. Chang has co-authored a chapter in Ameral, Dawson, Geschwind’s Autism Spectrum Disorders (2011). Dr. Chang has served in senior management with companies servicing families with persons with autism and other developmental disorders for the last six years. She currently serves as the Chief of Clinical Operations for Pacific Child and Family Associates. In her role she oversees all clinical service implementation by supporting executive and clinical directors, program supervisors and direct staff in their work with families. She also oversees the development of new programs to best meet the needs of clients and referral sources.

Jeffrey Winter, Chief Executive Officer


Jeff has 37 years of executive experience in senior leadership positions across the healthcare industry and has a demonstrated and progressive track record in multi-facility management, market-based strategic leadership, Hospital and Health System turnarounds and performance improvement. His leadership experience has included faith-based, non-profit and for-profit systems and he has managed success in rural, urban, and suburban markets.

Most recently, Jeff served as the President of Kindred Healthcare’s Hospital Division overseeing 125 Long Term Acute Care and Rehabilitation Hospitals in 27 states. Prior to Kindred, Jeff was the President of Group Operations for Dignity HealthCare, operating 14 acute care hospitals in Southern and Northern California. Jeff also served in multiple executive roles with HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) for many years. A graduate of San Francisco University and Golden Gate University Jeff also serves on the Boards of the American Lung Association and the Partners in Care Foundation and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Dr. ‘Stickman’ and Iris Grace: Reaching the Unique Minds of Children on the Autism Spectrum



Dr. Cameron, on his blog for the Huffington Post, points out the need to understand that behavioral treatment and neurology-based prescriptive intervention must be personalized when treating children with ASD due to the unique minds of children on the spectrum.

Pacific Child & Family Associates Opens New San Jose Office


Pacific Child & Family Associates Announces Second Expansion in Two Months to Meet Growing Need for Autism Services

GLENDALE, CA–(Marketwired – Nov 17, 2014) – Pacific Child & Family Associates (PCFA), a provider of behavior analysis services for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, today announced the opening of their new office in San Jose. The San Jose office is now open and available to provide in-home applied behavior analysis services for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities in the area.

“Over the past decade, the prevalence of autism diagnosis has grown at a steep rate, and as national providers of care for these individuals, we must grow ourselves to offer the care necessary to help those in need,” said Mark Dorenfeld, CEO of PCFA. “With the opening of our new office in San Jose, we are on the path to providing more and more families with care and support, and we are thrilled to be given the opportunity to help support these families.”

PCFA provides specialty treatments including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), using evidence-based techniques, to facilitate significant and sustainable improvement for individuals and families living with autism spectrum disorders. This process involves systematically applying interventions, based upon the principles of learning theory, to improve socially significant behavior to a meaningful degree. A distinguishing characteristic of ABA is the emphasis on the demonstration of the relationship between treatment interventions and socially significant behavioral change.

PCFA has named Patrick Quinn Jung, M.A., BCBA, as Executive Director of the San Jose office. Patrick Jung received his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from California State University-Hayward and Master’s Degree in Education/Best Practices from National University in San Jose. He studied behavior analysis at Florida Institute of Technology, resulting in a Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification. Patrick Jung is also the Executive Director for the company’s Redwood Coast and San Ramon offices.

“The population in the San Jose area has undergone dramatic change and growth in recent years, and this is in large part due to the Silicon Valley boom that has drawn families of varying backgrounds from across the globe. With this diverse population, there are unique individuals with autism requiring specialized care to meet their individual and cultural needs,” said Patrick Jung, M.A., BCBA, Executive Director of the San Jose PCFA office. “With our new San Jose office, we are equipped to serve as a quality resource and provide cutting edge ABA services to this under-served and rapidly growing population.”

The new facility is located at 1885 The Alameda Suite 204, San Jose, CA 95126. PCFA is an in-network provider for most insurance companies. They will also assist in filing claims with any and all insurance companies not in-network. Their goal is to help all, while turning away none. To learn more about PCFA please call (888) 805-0759 or visit

Pacific Child & Family Associates offers clinic based, in-home, and at-school services that include applied behavior analysis, parenting training and speech therapy for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. They currently have offices throughout California, New Mexico, New York, Texas and D.C. and are actively expanding to other areas of the country. They offer services in 32 states. Pacific Child & Family Associates are committed to providing the highest quality, scientifically-based services built on a foundation of respect for its clients and its employees. To learn more, visit,, and


  • Media Contact:
    Jamie Andersen
    (for Pacific Child & Family Associates)
    Email Contact
    (949) 502-6200 x 210


Jerry Seinfeld reports that he is on the Autism Spectrum



After Jerry Seinfeld’s revelation, Roberta Hill of Autism Daily Newscast conducted an interview via Skype with Dr. Michael Cameron of Pacific Child and Associates. The interview discusses Jerry Seinfeld’s statement about being on the autism spectrum and what this means to the autism community, self diagnosis, autism research including brain activity, and the broadness of the spectrum.

Read the article and see Dr. Cameron’s interview here: