Week of December 14-18, 2021

Christmas is one of the greatest times of the year and our students have been anxiously waiting for it after all the events of this crazy, hectic year!

Our annual Christmas party is the highlight of the season for us and the students. This year, to make add some extra fun, the students came dressed in their Christmas pajamas. Everyone looked so cute! Because Christ is the reason for the season, we started off the party with each student placing their ornament on the tree (which was beautifully decorated by Jane Fenton) and sharing what gift they were going to give to the Savior this year. Their gift is something they can do to improve their lives that helps them to become more Christlike and follow His commandments that He gave while here on this earth. These were the beautiful gifts they are striving to give this year:

  • Jill wants to spend more time with her family.
  • Macey wants to be nicer to her sisters.
  • Jessie wants to be kind to her mother and read the Doctrine and Covenants all the way through.
  • Melissa wants to go to the temple more.
  • Austin wants to be more respectful to others.
  • Jennica wants to work hard at her education.
  • Chantel wants to develop her talents through music.

We are so eternally grateful for the Savior’s infinite sacrifice and how we can continue to grow and change because of it. After that, we got to celebrate another person we think is pretty great…Jill! Our Jilly Bean’s birthday always lands right after we leave for the holiday break but this doesn’t stop us from showing her how much we love and care about her! These are just a couple of the reasons we love our Jill:

  • Jessie loves Jill because she is one of her best friends. She is proud of Jill for all the hard work she is doing in school.
  • Macey loves Jill because she is awesome.
  • Melissa loves Jill because she is the best sister and has been so helpful to her since she broke her arm (she has been helping Melissa do her hair). She is also proud of the hard work she has been doing at school and can see her getting smarter every day!
  • Chantel loves Jill’s big, beautiful smile.
  • Jennica loves Jill because she is a hard worker and is progressing well in school. She also thinks Jill’s hair is super cute.
  • Bobbi loves Jill because she is always so happy and excited to come to school.
  • Austin loves Jill because she is really funny.
  • Courtney loves Jill because she is silly , kind to everyone, and gentle.
  • JJ loves Jill because she has good dance moves.
  • Steph loves Jill because she is smart, hard working, and her smile brightens up any room she is in.
  • Kenzie loves Jill because she is always so happy.
  • Kennedy loves Jill because she is such a positive person.
  • Bobbie loves Jill because she is a true friend to all, has a beautiful smile/laugh, and is smart. She loves when Jill comes in and has conversations with her in the morning.

Happy Happy Birthday Jill! We can’t wait to see all the amazing things you will do this next year!

Next, we did our gift exchange. Each student drew a name out of a hat to be a secret Santa for one of the other students. They all were so thoughtful and gave wonderful gifts to one another. Throughout the month of December, every morning during opening exercises, we have been learning about the ABC’s of Christ which is where we talk about His life, attributes, and gospel. We surprised the students by making them their own books of what we talked about so that they could go and share with their family and friends. Hearing their thoughts on the Savior and His influence in their lives this past month have been so touching and tender; we truly are so grateful for their Christ like examples in our lives every day and couldn’t ask for better jobs.

After exchanging gifts, it was time to really get the party started with some fun games! The students did the “Santa Shake” freeze dance (they had a Kleenex box filled with Christmas ornaments tied around their waist that they had jump up and down and shake all around to get them out; if the music stopped they had to freeze), a “Snowball Shovel” (they had a straw that they had to suck up the cotton balls and move them from one bowl to another), a “Santa Says” (like Simon says, but Christmas edition), and a pin the heart on the Grinch. To top off our wonderful day of fun, we enjoyed a delicious lunch of whole wheat pancakes topped with a strawberry Santa hat, turkey bacon, and hot, steaming Wassel. While we ate we had the pleasure of listening to Cindy and Diana Wade play Christmas music on the violin and piano!

Our students have been through a lot this last year adjusting to a new way of doing things and being able to see their bright, smiling faces enjoying one of their favorite times of the year was absolutely priceless. We are incredibly grateful for all of those who helped with the party and have served our school this past year; we couldn’t do it without you!

Until next year, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at the Children of Hope Academy!

NACD Coach Note: Jan 5, 2021

Hi Everyone,

Let’s start off with a clear vision for 2021. There are key components to making progress with your child that include doing program activities correctly and consistently, communicating with your coach when you run into roadblocks which usually include behavior, sleep, diet issues and health issues, and communicating with your coach when you see change and when you don’t.
With so many things going on in our lives, it is incredibly easy for you to get distracted. Be goal-oriented or as I like to say, outcome-based. We are. If we stay focused and communicate well, this can really be your best year, your child’s best year, our best year working together. I’m really looking forward to it.

Take care,

Week of Nov 30-Dec 4, 2020

Thanksgiving was such an amazing time of year for us all to reflect on our blessings of the year. This year we are especially grateful that all of our students and their families are in good health, happy, and safe. To celebrate the season the students made some fun crafts. Our gratitude turkey is a COHA tradition and is something we look forward to every year. Each day our students write one thing they are grateful for on a feather and then we add it to our turkey (which we still need to name! I thought Grateful Greg was a stellar choice but the students weren’t buying it). Some things our students wrote were:

  • Family and Friends (This was everyone’s first thing and we get why! Our students are so loved and supported. We are grateful for all of those who teach, support, and love them; they are who they are today because of their friends and families!)
  • Tuacahn
  • Disneyland
  • Sports
  • Jesus Christ and His Atonement
  • Their jobs
  • Their bishoprics
  • Food and water
  • The scriptures
  • The Lion King

And so many more! Our students also did a craft where they made a turkey headband that they could wear during Thanksgiving. Each student is so creative and we love seeing all the differences in each of their artwork!

Christmas season is finally here at COHA and we could not be more excited!! The students kicked off the Christmas season by making some fun snowmen (making paper snowmen is the best, and warmest way, to have some winter fun!). Our bulletin board is ready to celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year”.

We also got the opportunity to celebrate our sweet Jessie Girl! Jessie has been coming to COHA for years and has graduated from the NACD program but continues to come to school to learn and help her friends. Some things we love about Jessie are:

  • Jill loves Jessie because she is nice and a really good friend.
  • JJ loves that Jessie has amazing parents.
  • Jennica loves Jessie’s personality! She is outgoing, has a great laugh, loves to have fun, and is always happy. Jennica also loves to make Jessie laugh.
  • Melissa loves Jessie’s smile and Jessie makes her laugh all the time.
  • Courtney loves Jessie because she is an amazing artist, is kind, caring, and considerate to everyone, and is very fashionable.
  • Bobbi R. loves Jessie because she is a hard worker and when she sets her mind on something, she is determined to accomplish it.
  • Stephenee loves Jessie because she is always so happy and loves to come to school. She is helpful, a good artist, and has good style.
  • Bobbie loves Jessie because she is so smart and talented. She is kind to others and tries to serve wherever she is at.

We know that Christ is the reason for the season so our students have been doing the ABC’s of Christ in their opening exercises to learn more about Christ’s birth, life, and attributes. They are also participating in the “Light the World” Christmas challenge done by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. On each day leading up to Christmas, they have some kind of service to do that helps “light the world” and bring about the loving and giving spirit of Christmas. They would like to extend that challenge to all their family and friends this Christmas season.

Another great week in the books, can’t wait to see what fun is around the corner for next week!

NACD Coach Note Dec 7, 2020

Good Morning Families,

So on Sunday night we often make our list for the week.  We have edited the list twice in order to make it realistic and less stressful. When it comes to program, a lot of you end up whittling down your list as the day goes on to reduce your stress and make your goals more realistic. Just keep in mind that if you do this too often, you can really slow down or even stop progress by cutting out or reducing activities that were essential to the whole. Although programs can appear to be fragmented, they actually are not. 

Here are a few examples of things some of you might have on your program; We didn’t get to do the more complicated chores but we did all of the sequencing activities. What’s the problem with this? The complex chores were a mechanism to force the child to use more working memory functionally. We did the auditory sequencing and some of the assigned reading but we just never found time for the books on audio. What’s the problem with this? The books on audio  promote a love of reading and a desire to read better as well as supporting auditory processing and attention. We did the crawling but not the deep pressure. What’s the problem with this? The deep pressure provides essential tactile information on where the muscle groups are located so that the brain is able to move the limbs more efficiently.

We all have days in which we don’t get everything done. It’s inevitable. Just be sure that what you’ve not been doing wasn’t essential for the progress of what you are doing.

Have a wonderful week!

Glenda Girazian

NACD Coach Note Week of Dec 1, 2020

Good Morning Families,

Although this year our Thanksgiving Day may have been a bit different, we still remember all of the things for which we are thankful. I am most thankful for my children and grandchildren, of course, but I am also thankful for the opportunity to get to know your precious children and to know you as well.  It is our plan at NACD to make sure  we are doing all we can to provide you with the most efficient and effective program possible. We have spent decades figuring how to do this well and continue to constantly search for even more effective strategies. 

Did you know that your child’s program is the result of a huge amount of collaboration among professionals? The depth of NACD’s expertise is enhanced by collaborations with many brilliant experts over many years. Our knowledge about vision, hearing, health, mobility and language development have been immeasurably enhanced by the input of leaders in those fields over the past decades. It is our ongoing effort to find what works the best in a huge variety of circumstances. When it comes to your child, there is no one protocol that is right. This is why we constantly study and explore what works and what doesn’t and under what circumstances a strategy will work. 

So when a therapist tells you that they have worked with many children like your child, I will tell you two things: there is no child exactly like your child AND our experience and expertise has more depth than that therapist. We believe in the uniqueness of your child which is why we constantly look at the whole child. We believe in the potential of your child because we have seen countless children far, far exceed expectations of other professionals. 
Together we can and will make positive changes happen. Have a question or concern? We’re right here.

Have a great week!


NACD Coach Note for Nov 16, 2020

Good Morning Families,

Do you have neighbors who have put up their Christmas trees already?   Maybe you have put up your own.  It’s a clear reminder that the holidays are not far away. In the coming weeks, I’ll give some suggestions for how to handle program with the challenge of the holidays and still have a good time. 

I have two suggestions for you this week. The first suggestion is that you increase your knowledge of why you are doing what you are doing by going to our website at www.nacd.org and reading some journal articles on topics that relate to your child.  Your other option is to watch some of Bob’s videos on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/NACDDOTORG or by  searching for “Bob Doman” videos. They aren’t long but they are packed with information. 

My second suggestion is to review your child’s program again including the instructions and notes. You might be amazed by what you forgot was on the program or how the activity is meant to be done.

Both of these things will help you do better this week and during the upcoming holidays. Let’s have a wonderful week together!

Glenda Girazian

NACD Coach Note Nov 9, 2020

Good Morning Families,

Congratulations parents! You are the best teacher your child will ever have and you are not teaching virtually! Just yesterday I heard another parent lament that they really couldn’t be both a parent and a teacher to their child. It always seems like such an odd remark to me. Parenting requires fairly incessant teaching on many levels, often simultaneously! It is actually hard Not to teach your child constantly as a parent. You teach your children how to eat with a fork, play with toys appropriately, climb stairs, put on socks, brush their teeth, settle down and go to sleep(hopefully), talk, use manners, cross a street and much, much more. 

So you do teach, all the time. You teach without reflecting on it. So maybe you don’t think of yourself as a teacher because no one is paying you for this constant teaching. Maybe you don’t consider yourself a teacher because you are really overwhelmed by the thought of having to teach everything. I have to say that after so very many decades of parenting and teaching parents to teach, there is a tremendous joy to it particularly when you love that person you are teaching. 
Yesterday I went on a hike through the woods with my son and two of my grandchildren. He was teaching them about deciduous trees since we were hiking through leaf-covered trails. They were quite proud of themselves when they could explain what a deciduous tree was. He was quite pleased that they had learned it and I was very nostalgic for the days when I taught that to him and his sisters. They say that knowledge is power and I am sure that this is true. Teaching is a joy when you know exactly how to do it,  particularly when you are teaching your own. We will help you every step of the way.

Don’t be afraid to be a teacher. You’ve been a teacher since your child was born!Keep up the good work!

Glenda Girazian

School Pictures

This is one of the days that our student’s look forward to every year…school pictures! They love getting dressed up and showing their million dollar smiles and sense of style! We are so grateful to have Rochelle Slade, a Southern Utah Photographer, come and donate her time and talents to make treasured memories for the students, parents, and all of us at COHA.

And of course we had to get a little silly!

We are so blessed to have these bright smiles and loving personalities a part of our lives every day! Until next year school pictures….

Week of Oct 26-30, 2020

Another exciting and fun week at COHA, but do we expect anything less with all these awesome people?!

This week Austin was able to listen to the last presidential debate and got registered to vote! He filled out his ballot and is ready to mail it in. We are so proud of Austin and all the amazing ways he surprises us every week!

We also got to celebrate our first birthday of the year; SAMO! Sam turned 32 years old and could not be more excited! On every birthday, our students sign a card for him and everyone writes down what they love about the birthday boy. These are all the reasons we LOVE Sam:

  • Brady loves that Sam is so nice!
  • Mitzy loves Sam’s personality and how it shines so bright.
  • Rilla loves that Sam always makes her smile and how he is always so fun to be around.
  • Austin loves that Sam is always so funny and makes him laugh.
  • Steph loves that Sam is always happy to be at school and ready to learn new things.
  • Bobbie loves that Sam is so joyful and kind to other people, and how he is so smart and fun, and that he makes her smile.

There are a million and one reasons to love Sam and we are so grateful he was born! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM!!

Lastly, spooky season hit hard during our annual Halloween Party! We had such a good time celebrating with all of our students! This year we made our party outside and combined with the boys and the girls, so it was extra fun to see everyone together! Those who chose to dress up looked super spooky! We had Jessie dressed up as Mulan from the new Disney live-action movie! Brady was a super spooky Werewolf! We also had JJ dressed as the Ninja Turtle, Donatello! Jennica wore a shirt that said “Laziest Costume Ever” and a cute Halloween hat and sunglasses!

Our first game of the party was “Trick or Treat,” each student brought a non-sugar treat to give out to each other. We made it into a social distancing game where the trick or treater had to stand back and catch the treat in their bag as it was tossed to them! They all had great healthy treats to give out such as Halloween pencils, Halloween stickers, apple sauce, water, popcorn, and Cheez-its! Then we played Halloween bowling with a pumpkin, and Pin the Face on the Pumpkin while we listened to spooky Halloween music! Our last game of the party was called Pass the Pumpkin. The students stood in a circle and passed around a pumpkin, whoever had the pumpkin when the music stopped playing was out! We had a tie between Brady and Chantel! After our games we all ate our Cutie Pumpkin treats and a fruit bowl provided by one of our sweet tutors! It was a great Halloween party and we are so blessed to have such amazing and fun students!!

As sad as we are for the end of Halloween, we are equally excited for Thanksgiving to come around!

Week of October 5-9, 2020

Fall is finally here and everyone at COHA is here for it! This week has been one with lots of excitement and celebrating the Halloween season. On Monday, we talked about how it was National Inner Beauty Day. We asked each student what inner beauty they thought they had and what they loved about themselves. We were so touched by the answers we got, such as; kind, very smart, my sense of humor, that I can make other people laugh, that I protect others and keep them safe, etc. Some students didn’t know what to say so all their classmates jumped in with the kindest comments; they are true examples of unconditional love and being true friends! The best answer we got from many of them was they loved how creative they were! Which worked perfectly with…our fun Halloween craft! We cut opening exercises a little shorter for the students to make a pumpkin to decorate our bulletin board in the library for all students, tutors, and visitors to see. Each student’s pumpkin packed so much of their personality; they were all are so creative and fun!

Our students have really dived into reading this year and we have loved hearing what they have had to share about all the new things they are learning. Last week, Brady even decided to make a poster about the book he read on lions. It turned out so great!

Brady’s awesome lion poster! He is so crafty and neat!

Another exciting thing happening at our school this week is for the first time ever, COHA has hired our students to help clean the inside of the building and do the yard work. Brady, Austin, and Chantel all had their job interviews this week. To prepare, their parents and tutors practiced the interview questions, helped them fill out the application, and gather reference letters from people who could attest to them being good and trustworthy candidates for the positions. It was the first job interview that any of them had and we were very impressed with how prepared and professional they were! They have started their jobs this week and it has been so great to see them work hard, learn new skills, and help keep their school a clean and organized place for them and their classmates to learn and grow in!

The students were also very excited to have Special Needs Mutual (a religious church group) start back up again after 5 months of it being cancelled because of COVID! We have loved hearing about what they do and seeing the smiles it brings.

Fall is in the air and we are excited to see what this new season brings! Bring on the Halloween spirit!

Some pictures of the girls getting physical during opening exercises! Sam got here a little early one day so we went out and laid in the grass, soaked up some sun, and talked about life. We are so blessed to have these precious spirits in our lives!