Every year, the State Department of Developmental Services chooses a child served by one of the state’s twenty-one regional centers or three state developmental centers, to help the Governor and First Lady light the Capital Christmas Tree at their Annual Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
This year, HRC’s Sofia Garcia, age seven, was chosen for this honor. She and her mother traveled with HRC to Sacramento for the 8th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 7th, 2017.
Sofia represented over 300,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities who receive services and supports from regional centers and state developmental centers statewide.
Sofia was born prematurely, and referred to HRC from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.
To support her development, HRC provided speech therapy services through Newport Speech and Language Services, and an Infant Development Program at the Tracy Infant Center. Respite care services were also provided to support her mother, Elia. Her mother, Elia Arizpe, was also encouraged to participate in HRC’s parent education programs, to help her promote Sofia’s early childhood development at home.
When Sofia was two years of age, assessments showed us that she should receive a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Sofia received a Behavioral Assessment and began receiving Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Treatment from the ACES program. Since that time, Sofia has made tremendous progress.
Sofia now attends second grade in a typical classroom at El Cerrito Elementary School, where her mother is very actively involved. When Sofia is not in school, she loves to draw, paint, and play make-believe games. Sofia also participates in a children’s pageant program, Pageant Parade. In the future, Sofia looks forward to taking ballet classes and learning how to play soccer.
Cristina Sanz and HRC Board President Mariano Sanz, who are cast members of A&E TV’s Born This Way, joined Sofia and Elia on the trip to support Sofia and to represent Harbor Regional Center.