The OCA Show S2E3

It’s HERE!!! Season 2, Episode 3 of The OCA Show. Grab a coffee or drink and kick back for the next 10 minutes while everyone’s favorite host- Henry Bass talks about what’s happening at OCA!! Check out the info from Executive Director, Coach Silvia Haas about our upcoming Bowl-a-thon and find out how YOU can help support OCA!!  (Please note:  All lanes have been sold for our upcoming Bowl-a-thon, but there are still ways you can support OCA!!  Silvia will explain more in this month’s episode… What are you waiting for?  Click PLAY!!


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Early Intervention Participant Experiences Blue Horizons

Today at OCA Adriana, Behavior Assistant at OCA, shares with us her experience in going with her client, Aurora and Aurora’s Mommy on a visit to the Orlando International Airport.  This was part of the Blue Horizons for Autism program offered in a partnership between Autism Speaks and JetBlue.  The program gives kids with autism and their parents the opportunity to go through the airport security to experience and prepare for future travel.  Here’s Adriana’s story…


Aurora is excited to see the airplanes

As we got to the airport, we went immediately to register and get our tickets, just like it would be if we were going to travel in reality. We then proceeded to airport security.  In there, we practiced waiting in a line for our turn.  Once it was our turn, we had to take our shoes off and pass through the detector. Aurora was confused as to why we had to do all this.  Her Mommy explained that we had to take our shoes off and pass through the big machine so that we could get to the plane. The excitement of getting on the plane for the first time made it easier for Aurora.?

As we walked to our gate, Aurora was mesmerized with everything that she was seeing.  Once at our gate, Aurora got to see the airplane from afar. There was more waiting, which it was great because this is how it would be if we were traveling in reality. This gave us the opportunity to tell Aurora what to do in case she got scared.  We told her that if she got scared she could do deep breaths and hold her Mommy’s hand. We practiced twice and then it was our turn to get in the airplane.


Being on the airplane was both exciting & scary

Once on the airplane, we let Aurora pick her seat. She picked the one next to the window and as per her request, her Mommy sat next to her, and then me.  We waited some more for everyone to get in the plane.  Then, we put our seat belts on and listened to the instructions.  We pretended that we were going to go to New York and the flight was about 2 hours long.  Once in the air (pretending), we got to take our seat belts off. We waited for the snacks, provided by JetBlue.  We then waited some more.  At some point during our pretend flight Aurora mentioned being scared, she requested that her Mommy hold her and we practiced the deep breathing exercise.

Finally, it was time to put our seatbelts on because we were landing.  This was a little difficult because Aurora didn’t want to put her seatbelt on.  We explained to her that she needed it on because the plane was going to land.  We showed her the light that shows when to have your seatbelt on or off in the airplane and she agreed to put it on.  Once the plane landed and it was time to get out of the plane, we walked to the exit.  Aurora started saying good bye to everyone in the plane.  Some of the airport staff and people from Autism Speaks were waiting for us outside.  They greet us with cupcakes and drinks for the kids, something nice to add to this great experience.


With the help of Adriana and her Mommy, Aurora did a great job!

Aurora not only got the experience what would it be to board a plane for the first time, but she also made new friends along the way.  It was amazing to be there as her behavior assistant and to have the opportunity to experience this with her and her family.

Adriana R.
Behavior Assistant
OCA’s Early Intervention Program

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OCA Eagles Bowling Team Strike Again!

Today at OCA was our last Special Olympics training for the Bowling season.  Almost every bowler on our team made a strike today!!  Clark & Tina are working towards learning to bowl without ramps.  They each were successful in accomplishing this great feat today.  Those bowling ball are heavier than they look!!


The OCA Eagles Special Olympics Athletes with Coach Carly

It’s been a great season with a lot of progress made for each of our athletes, so today we spent a lot of time being silly with our friends and having fun!  Tina, Fred & Jacob have been friends for years and really enjoyed all being together for practice each Wednesday this bowling season.

Bowling Fun

Fred & Jacob having fun hiding from Tina.

Last Saturday was Area Games.  Everyone on our team displayed some of their best bowling skills ever!!  We are awaiting news to find out whether we will advance to State Games.  Cheers to all of our Special Olympics athletes who work hard, have fun and accomplish great things!!  Click HERE to see all of the photos from Area Games last Saturday.

Carly C.
Special Olympics Bowling Coach

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Cocktails for a Cause

Cocktails-for-a-Cause (2)

On the first Tuesday of every month, the Young Executive Committee hosts a Cocktails For A Cause networking event at the Citrus Club and October’s chosen charity is OCA!! OCA provides programs and services for kids and adults with autism or other special needs.

The event will be held on Tuesday, October 6th at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando from 5:30p-7:30p. Entry is by way of a $10 donation to OCA, which will include a drink ticket and complimentary hors d’ oeuvres. (cash & credit cards accepted at the door).  Please do not arrive earlier than 5:30pm.

We are expecting over 200 participants so make sure to bring your business cards as the first hour will be for networking, followed by a short presentation by OCA.

The Citrus Club is Orlando’s most exclusive private business club (open to the public for this event) so please note there is a business casual dress code (no jeans, sneakers, etc.).

We will also have some amazing items for silent auction/raffle. If you are unable to attend, but would like to support OCA with an online donation, please click HERE.

Invite your co-workers & friends and plan for a fun evening for a great cause!!!  

Please RSVP by clicking HERE.  

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After School Masquerade Fun!

Today at OCA, (okay, it was actually yesterday, but we ran out of time in the day and could’t post until this morning….) our After School program decided it was time to ring in our favorite fall holiday, Halloween, since October is right around the corner, in two days (now just 1), if you can believe it!!  A few of our After Schoolers broke out the color pencils and crayons and created some not-so-spooky masquerade masks to bring home to their families. With a few different styles and all sorts of color, there was no shortage of personal flair.


OCA After Schoolers getting creative.

Julian and Ian exchanged tips on the best shades of purple for their own masks. The debate of light purple vs smokee purple waged for only a few minutes before it was decided both are good colors to use. Ian, who’s normally a stickler in participating with crafts, seem to really enjoy himself in spirit of the fall season.


Julian & Ian getting creative with their masks.

Craft time always go over pretty well, giving everyone a chance to express themselves freely. It’s the perfect opportunity to work on sensory skill as well.  Especially for those with limited speech capabilities, like Phoebe who takes every opportunity she can to grab some paper and make beautiful art!

P and J

Jordan & Phoebe showing off their awesome masks!

Amanda G.
After School Program Direct Care Staff

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We’re at the Windermere Farmer’s Market!!

Today at OCA the AVT (Adult Vocational Training)- West enthusiastic participants ambitiously helped staff prepare and set up for an influx of potential customers and donors at the Windermere Farmer’s Market.


AVT West at the Windermere Farmer’s Market

The participants of both our AVT locations spend time each day making handcrafted items to sell in order to bring back money into our program.  We make seasonal items and this fall we are featuring handcrafted pumpkin and fall themed candle holders.


Fall Candle Holders Handcrafted by Adults in OCA’s AVT Program








We are visited frequently by return volunteers and customers who eagerly purchase to aid our cause. Our participants work vigorously to greet and work with those browsing the busy, beautiful streets of downtown Windermere, all while simultaneously working to develop and improve their social skills. Fridays are a splendid opportunity for our participants to involve themselves in their community! Often they get special visits; today it was our very own Coach Haas and our president Chuck Carter!

Executive Director Coach Silvia Haas and Board President Chuck Carter

Enrique Leon-
AVT West Lead Direct Care Staff Member


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Adults with Special Needs Helping Those in Need

Today at OCA… The adults in our AVT (Adult Vocational Training) Program- Main Campus went to learn job training skills at multiple local business including Publix, the YMCA, and the Salvation Army.


Katey helps our particpants to a great job

At the Salvation Army our participants helped stock the pantry and make food bags for the community. In each bag, we added many different items, including fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, pasta, juice, milk, peanut butter, jelly, and cereal.  “Whoa, that person is hungry” said AVT participant Stephen.


Ian is working hard to make food bags

The Salvation Army is a great environment for our adults to be in because they are able to give back while also working on sorting and organizing skills. These skills will be very beneficial to our participants when they are searching for jobs, such as grocery stocking or bagging.


Helping other is important to everyone at OCA

While working on our bags, we have conversations about being thankful for what we have and also how nice it feels when we give. The Salvation Army volunteers and staff always do a wonderful job with explaining and demonstrating to our clients what they would like done.  Thank you Salvation Army for giving our adults an Opportunity in the Community to display their Ability.  That is at the heart of what OCA stands for!!

Katey E.
AVT Direct Care Staff Member


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