FCSN Shines at DDS Symposium

by Johnna Laird, FCSN Reporter and Editor

FCSN was honored to be featured by California’s Department of Developmental Services (DDS) among thousands of services providers in a fall 2020 four-segment symposium featuring outstanding alternative and innovative service providers for special needs children and adults during the pandemic. 

Highlighting programs for children that FCSN has continued to provide, FCSN Executive Business Director Sylvia Yeh discussed: ASP, Enrichment Programs, and One-on One Flexible Subjects. For adults, Sylvia talked about ADP, SLS, ILS, SEP, TDS and transportation services. For families, Sylvia pointed out respite care, increased seminars, mentorships, family support and outreach, plus the new employment training program, Friends Coffee &Tea. 

Sylvia also highlighted the new online tutoring program, launched with FCSN youth volunteers in response to pandemic; on-going enrichment programs that include the Lego Club and the Toastmasters’ Club; a new student council launched during the pandemic; and a range of innovative classes, including cooking on line, art instruction, current events, and language arts comprehension. 

In the presentation which also involved Anna Wang, Sylvia emphasized the adaptability of FCSN’s staff to learn new technology skills, to modify existing curriculum and innovate new courses and to begin offering five hours daily of day programming to FCSN clients after only two weeks of Shelter-in-Place. 

Sylvia noted that FCSN staff made key decisions that contributed to success of programming during the pandemic, including:  one Zoom link for each program, simplifying access for clients; breakout rooms to facilitate support at levels to meet client needs; freedom for clients to choose the classes they want to attend and have voice in classes that are offered; a range of platforms for clients to access; technological support including computers and hotspots for clients who need them; advance schedules sent to consumers and parents; and follow-up phone calls and in-person delivery of class materials tailored to clients’ interests and skills. 

DDS assigned FCSN a November 4 symposium presentation date, three days before FCSN’s annual Gala. Sylvia recalls that she worked every night until midnight for two weeks straight. Sylvia used skills she was learning in the 10-week Train-the-Trainer classes, taught by high student Eric Zhu to FCSN’s staff to boost graphic art and design skills. Sylvia says it was exciting to have an immediate, real-world application of the skills. 

DDS received more than 200 positive comments about FCSN’s presentation. “The presentation provided confirmation that even a pandemic cannot stop us from adhering to our mission. We found a way to continue living our mission, providing services virtually,” says Sylvia. “The positive comments were a pat on the shoulder for the work our staff is doing.” 

Anyone interested can find the presentation at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoEZW_a8A9U

Anyone interested in seeing the slides, go to: 
https://www.dds.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Symposium_FCSNpresentation_11042020.pdf

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