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Behavioral & Developmental Pediatrics


The following courses are currently enrolling participants or are ongoing at the Center for Developing Minds in Los Gatos. Please click on the course title for more detailed information.

* Reading Tips and Tricks: Intensive Help for the Struggling New Reader
* Let's Get Organized
* Meltdowns to Shutdowns ~ Holiday Edition!
* How to Survive the Holiday Season
* Dynamic Dyads


Reading Tips and Tricks: Intensive Help for the Struggling New Reader

Reading Tips and Tricks Flyer

This unique new group is designed to help children in early-elementary school grades who are falling behind their classmates in reading and pre-reading skills. The instructor will be focusing intently on each child’s individual reading breakdowns to build stronger foundational competence, which should assist in an easier acquisition of future skills. By using a variety of multisensory and multimodal approaches, students will learn or solidify letter/sound correspondence, and practice foundational phonological and phonemic awareness skills (such as rhyming and identifying sounds in words), which are the fundamental building blocks needed to be successful and fluent readers.

Based on the needs of the students, other skills to be practiced may include:
• Appropriate articulation of sounds, while reading and writing basic
• Learning orthographic patterns to help improve decoding and encoding skills and aid the storage of word and letter formations into memory,
• Discriminating between similar sounds ( children might spell pit instead of pet),
• Increasing awareness of non-salient sounds (children might spell stop instead of stomp),
• Improving morphological awareness (children might spell mist instead of missed).

Class size is very limited to provide participants with personal attention with our specialist, who will be on the lookout for risk factors of dyslexia, signs of any underlying language difficulty that may be impacting their reading skills, and how any speech delays may also be affecting their reading progress. Classes are held at the Center for Developing Minds. Course fee is $900 for the ten class sessions and the pre-test meeting.

Instructor: Carlin Graveline, M.S., CCC-SLP

Class schedule
Classes on Mondays and Wednesdays:
3:30-4:30 pm (for students in K and 1st-grade),
4:30-5:30 pm (for students in 2nd and 3rd-grade),

Meeting dates:
Nov. 13, 15, 27, 29, Dec. 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 2017.
Pre-test sessions individually scheduled on Nov. 8.


Let's Get Organized

Let's Get Organized Flyer

Organization problems are common among students who struggle with school. Even the most motivated of these children may find it hard to adapt to the increasing load of expectations as they grow older. This fun and encouraging group will help home-schooled students build new executive functioning skills essential for good organization. By working in a supportive environment among students that face similar challenges, the classes may also help to improve individual’s self-esteem.

This six-week support group will specifically address:
• Cognitive Flexibility
• Planning and Goal Setting
• Time/Homework Management
• Self-Monitoring and Mindfulness
• Organizing Ideas, Information and Your Stuff
• Memory
• Metacognition

Classes are held at the Center for Developing Minds. Course fee is $650 for the twelve class sessions and the parent orientation. Class size is limited to provide participants with personal attention with our education specialist.

Instructor: Josie Porcella, Education Specialist

Class schedule
Classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays:
9:00-10:30 am (for ages 10-13 years old),
11:00-12:30 am (for ages 14-18 years old),

Meeting dates:
Jan. 9, 11. 16, 18, 23, 25, 30, Feb. 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 2018.
Parent orientation session: Monday, January 8, 7:00pm.


Meltdowns to Shutdowns ~ Holiday Edition!
Emotional Regulation and Stress Management Group

Meltdowns to Shutdowns: Holiday Edition Flyer

Many children struggle to cope with the stress created by extra expectations and demands put on them around the holidays. Children with low thresholds for frustration, tendencies toward negativism, or difficulties tolerating losing or not getting their way, demonstrate this stress with an extreme emotional reaction (meltdown) or a closed emotional reaction (shutdown). This class will help children to learn to recognize their feelings before becoming overwhelmed by them. The mini-session is specifically designed to address emotional regulation skills around triggers that happen during the end-of-the-year holidays (i.e. overstimulation, social stresses, having to eat food we do not like, dealing with crowds or people visiting, too many commitments). In addition, this group will:

• Discuss how kids can cognitively manage their emotions by realizing when they may be vulnerable to a stressful situation,
• Teach relaxation techniques, improving the children’s ability to calm themselves, so they can make better choices about how to react in different settings,
• Practice communicating about feelings, in a way that increases the chance of others hearing them,
• Recommend problem solving skills for the students to use in group situations.

Parents will have individualized support specific to their child and receive help in understanding and generalizing new concepts. Class size is limited to provide participants with personal attention.

Classes are held at the Center for Developing Minds and will be supervised by Cassandra Harms, LMFT, and facilitated by marriage and family therapist interns (MFT-Is). Course fee is $400.00 for the four class sessions and the parent orientation.

Lead Instructor: Jen DiVittorio, MFTI
Open to students, ages 9 to 11 years old.

Class schedule:

Classes on Wednesdays:

Meeting dates:
October 25, November 1, 8, and 15, 2017.
Parent orientation session: Tuesday, October 24, 5:30-6:30 pm.


How to Survive the Holiday Season
Keeping Your Family Life Calm and Enjoyable

How to Survive the Holiday Season Flyer

Is taking your kids to visit relatives a struggle?
Do you dread visiting a mall or shopping with any children in tow?
Can’t get the kids to stop playing video games or put down their phone?

The new class, “How to Survive the Holidays,” is ideal for families who are experiencing difficulty managing their children’s behavior, while wanting to make end-of-the-year activities like going to holiday parties or religious services, pleasant and safe. The course will address the challenges of traveling with children – whether it’s a long-distance car ride or a journey on a plane or train – and provide tips for making the trip a fun adventure. Closer to home, the topic of how to moderate online gaming and media consumption and encourage alternative play will be discussed.

At the conclusion of the class, participants will be able to:
• Recognize potentially triggering situations for disrupting behaviors,
• Apply behavioral strategies over the triggering situations,
• Use behavioral tools in their own specific family settings,
• Stabilize calmer routines, either at home, or away on holiday.

The Family Series of courses at the CDM are designed to bring new skills and information directly to parents through interactive group sessions facilitated by experienced and knowledgeable CDM practitioners. If you are interested in enrolling, please contact the front office staff to reserve a space. The class is held at the Center for Developing Minds, and the course fee is $40 per family, which includes take-home materials.

Lead Instructor: Victoria Tenenbaum, B.A., BCaBA

Class schedule:

Friday, November 17, 10:00-11:30 am or
Thursday, December 7, 7:00-8:30 pm.


Dynamic Dyads

Dynamic Dyads Flyer

Dynamic Dyads is a new parallel and complimentary service to the Meltdowns to Shutdowns groups that are held at the Center for Developing Minds. This smaller-sized group – just two children – is an ideal option for children who may need additional practice and generalization of their emotional modulation, stress management and social abilities. Each dyad is designed and led by a child and adolescent therapist, and children will work together in a casual classroom setting. Individualized skills to be worked on may include relaxation techniques, social rules and expectations, problem solving, and practice communicating about feelings -- while participating in games and leisure activities.

The instructor will design specific curriculum for participants, and dyads will be formed based on children's current abilities. If you are interested in dyad work for your child, please contact the Center for Developing Minds and our instructor will contact you to determine an appropriate classmate match for your child. Once a dyad is formed, one or multiple sessions will be scheduled. Classes will be 50 minutes with a 10-minute write-up period. At the end of each class, parents will be given an individualized note that includes a session summary, homework, and specific teacher comments and observations. The cost of each session is $80 per student.

Instructor: Cassandra Harms, Child and Adolescent Therapist
The age range for participants is generally 9-14 years old.

Class schedule
Based on each participant’s availability.

To register for any of these courses, or for more information,
please contact 408-358-1853 or

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