The Truth About diversity and Why it Matters
Written by: Shelley Zalis
"Diversity is an action, inclusivity is cultural, and belonging is a feeling. Change doesn’t start from top-down leadership; it happens at every level. We can all be leaders if we choose to be, and we all have a responsibility for making people we know feel comfortable."
To read the whole article, click below.
As you all may know, last week Governor Abbott signed an Executive Order to remove several state mandates addressing business capacity and lifting the mask mandate. All staff should begin making preparations to resume pre-COVID level of services. This would require face-to-face services, starting April 1, 2021. It is also important to note that Governor Abbott acknowledged that COVID-19 has not gone away. Therefore, Pecan Valley Centers asks that you continue using all CDC precautionary measures to protect against the COVID-19 virus. Recommendations include COVID-19 screenings, frequent hand washing, wearing a mask, social distancing, and not coming to work if you have symptoms.
- Ruben DeHoyos, AED/COO
Choosing Whole Grain Foods
Whole grains are an important source of zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, and fiber. We now know that they also contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other healthy plant based nutrients. If your whole grain product has greater than 3 grams of fiber, it is considered a good source, and if it has greater than 5 grams of fiber, it is considered an excellent source.
Click below to learn more about whole grains!
-Cortney O'rear, Dietician
autism awareness month
Why is Autism Awareness month important to me? The answer to that question is both very simple and very complicated at the same time. Not only am I professional in the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, but I am also blessed to be called mom by a beautiful daughter who has level 1 autism. My daughter, Chloe, as a newborn infant, would not make eye contact with me. Any time anyone besides me would try to hold her, even her daddy, she would cry and scream until she was given back to me. Chloe would become overwhelmed and overstimulated at family gatherings and would respond by zoning out or covering her ears and finding a room that was quiet until she felt calmer and could manage the sensory input. Some members of the family did not understand this and accused her of being rude, disrespectful, or tried to force eye contact. My mission to educate people about autism started because of the lack of education about autism I saw in my own family and the negative impact it had on Chloe.
Seeing the challenges Chloe has faced and witnessing the courage and fortitude she has exhibited every day inspired me to expand my efforts to bring awareness, acceptance, and education to the world at large. Despite her challenges, Chloe approaches the world with a joyful heart, and she works hard for every little achievement. If my little girl and others with intellectual and developmental disabilities can face their challenges with joy and fortitude, then surely so can we.
Chloe loves without reservation or expectation. She is fiercely protective of her family and her small circle of friends. She has been the victim of bullying, including a physical assault by another child. I have encountered situations where people have said things such as “she doesn’t look autistic” and “she can’t be autistic because she can talk” and “she can’t be autistic because she has empathy.” Statements such as these frustrate me and clearly illustrate the ignorance about autism that is out there. Comments such as these fuel my passion for promoting not just autism awareness, but acceptance and education. From our first responders to the average person out in society, we all need to be autism aware. Actually, we need to do more than just be aware.
We need to educate ourselves about autism so that we can show the compassion and understanding that comes with education and acceptance of those who see the world in a very different way from we neurotypicals. That is why Autism Awareness Month is important to me. IDD individuals, including those with autism, have been marginalized and misunderstood for too long and it is my mission to dispel the stereotypes and ignorance so individuals with autism can enjoy the same dignity and respect that neurotypical individuals receive. We can and must do better.
-Rhonda Gilbert, ICF Program Manager
To Learn More Visit:
Autism Society of Texas: https://www.texasautismsociety.org/
Texas Project First: https://texasprojectfirst.org/node/147