April 2022 Newsletter

This April marks a special day for us here at PlayDate. It is our 15-year anniversary!  While PlayDate was founded 15 years ago, Christina’s passion and dedication go further back. 

When Christina Nulk was in elementary school, there was a student who was deaf in her class. She wanted to be able to communicate with him, so she learned sign language. While in middle school, Christina became a peer facilitator, volunteering with children with disabilities. In 1996, Christina started in the ABA field, as an implementer. After high school, Christina completed her undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders and Emotional Disturbances/Learning Disabilities. She went on to earn her Master of Science in Early Childhood Special Education specializing in Autism. 

After graduation, Christina started her career as an Elementary Special Needs Educator. While teaching, Christina achieved her certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in 2007. She was the fourth BCBA in Colorado Springs. Christina dis­cov­ered a huge gap between the ser­vices avail­able and the num­ber of chil­dren need­ing ser­vices. All of the BCBAs in the Col­orado Springs area had long wait­ing lists and many fam­i­lies lacked the funding to pay for the basic ser­vices their chil­dren needed, let alone the kind of high-quality, research-based pro­grams BCBAs typ­i­cally offer.

Initially, Christina addressed this gap by providing a social skills group for children on Saturdays, while continuing teaching on weekdays. These social skills groups provided opportunities for par­tic­i­pants to engage in guided inter­ac­tion under the super­vi­sion of a trained therapist who helped the chil­dren nego­ti­ate rela­tion­ships and build social con­nec­tions. The group for­mat allowed fam­i­lies on wait­ing lists to access some ser­vices at a rel­a­tively low tuition rate.

The first group was offered in April 2007 with 4 students enrolled. In Decem­ber 2007, PlayDate Inc. became a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing ser­vices to fam­i­lies at an afford­able cost. In 2008, Christina con­sol­i­dated her pri­vate prac­tice with PlayDate Inc. creating Play­Date Behavioral Interventions, and now offers a full range of ser­vices for children with autism and other disabilities.

Since then, the pro­gram has seen enor­mous growth. PlayDate Behavioral Interventions currently provides high-quality aba therapy in Colorado Springs to about 60 children.

Autism Awareness Month

Every April we also celebrate World Autism Month, beginning with the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. This year marks the 15th annual World Autism Awareness Day.

Throughout the month, we focus on providing opportunities to increase the understanding and acceptance of people with autism. We are committed to creating a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential.

Supporters can participate in World Autism Month by visiting AutismSpeaks.org and:

  • Taking the pledge to create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential by increasing understanding and acceptance. You’ll receive free information, resources, and tools to engage and advocate in your community and learn about the impact of your support through Autism Speaks.
  • Join their 2.8 million social followers and help foster understanding and acceptance by sharing the diverse stories of people on the spectrum or telling your own.
  • Invite your colleagues, classroom, and friends to join their Kindness Campaign and encourage acceptance, understanding, and inclusion in daily acts of kindness at school, work, or in your community. Together, we can create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential.
  • Make a meaningful, lasting impact for people with autism with your gift. It’s one of the easiest and best ways to show your support. Donate today!

Everyone is encouraged to participate. Whether you have autism, love someone who does, or are looking to support a diverse, accepting, and kind community – you’re invited to take the pledge to help create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential.

Kiddo’s Corner

On a recent trip, Emily did an amazing job on her flight and greeted every passenger appropriately as they arrived on the airplane! 

Sick Child Policy

The majority of parents are quite careful about children’s health matters, following policies that are more likely to ensure their health, and having therapy only when the child is well. This policy provides specific guidelines so that everyone, including therapists, can be sure of when to cancel/reschedule therapy and so you can be confident in your child’s limited exposure to other sick individuals. 

In the event that your child is diagnosed with a communicable disease, please notify your Senior Therapist so that we may provide warnings to other families and report to the Department of Public Health as appropriate. Your child’s confidentiality will be safeguarded.

Our policies are based on our commitment to helping families and employees stay well so that children can attend and derive the most benefit from therapy. It is equally important for us to protect other children and our employees, whose good health is directly related to their ability to maintain their therapy appointments.

Please read the information and keep these guidelines for your reference:

Children may only participate in services (in-home or center) if they have NOT had a fever WITHIN THE 24 HOURS PREVIOUS TO THE APPOINTMENT. 

This means that even if a fever breaks, services must be canceled until 24 hours have elapsed since the fever broke. This is standard medical policy and parents may verify this with their medical advisor. Since energy levels or fevers alone are not always accurate indicators of illness, our employee may advise you that your child appears to be getting sick even in the absence of a fever. A child can be very contagious and quite sick before a fever appears. Because our employees are careful, they know they are required by law to be aware of each child’s individual health “picture”, to watch children they suspect of illness, and then to advise parents of their judgment.

If, in the judgment of the therapist, a child is deemed ill, a parent must pick up the child within a reasonable amount of time. A therapist may also end a session early if the child appears too sick to actively participate. This is important, to safeguard the ill child and to safeguard other children and employees from being exposed to an illness unnecessarily. This also ensures that service time is used when the child can receive the most benefit.

Cancel services for one (1) calendar day if your child:

  • Is being treated with AUGMENTIN – as this drug creates explosive diarrhea symptoms
  • Is being treated with antibiotics
  • Has vomited and/or had diarrhea
  • Has persistent cough or nasal drainage
  • Has a greenish discharge – as this is an indication of an active infection in the child’s respiratory system

April Anniversaries 

We do not have any employee anniversaries for the month of April. We are thankful to all of our staff for their continued dedication to PlayDate and the clients that we serve.

Physical Therapy

PlayDate is now offering physical therapy for your children! Physical therapy can help to improve strength, balance, coordination, endurance, posture, walking, and safety awareness. Physical therapy will be play-based and completed in a familiar environment with the support of behavioral therapists. We will work closely with your family to develop a unique treatment plan to help achieve your child’s goals.  

How can PT help my child?

PT can help improve core strength, which can provide your child with a stable posture for independently completing more activities of daily living 

PT can help your child feel more comfortable and successful with mobility 

PT can help your child with their balance and safety awareness so that they can easily access their environment and participate in activities of healthy lifestyle recreation 

PT can help get your child the equipment they need to increase 

 Please contact us if you have questions or would like to schedule an initial evaluation!

Parent Therapist Association

We are excited to announce our new Parent Therapist Association (PTA)! Our PTA will be a collaborative group between our PlayDate community,  including guardians, family members, staff, and all that are interested.  

If you are interested in joining the PTA please email [email protected]

Donation Requests

  • Costumes – for imaginative play
  • Puzzles
  • Play-doh
  • Water Balloons
  •  Chalk
  • Paint
  • Construction Paper
  • Cake Mix
  • GF Cake Mix
  • Frosting
  • Cookie Dough
  • GF Cookie Dough
  • Pasta Noodles
  • Pasta Sauce  

Success Stories  

18-year-old alumni successfully completed his Eagle Scout rank. 

A 16-year-old girl had appropriate behaviors while at a community outing with various known and unknown people. 

A 9-year-old girl has been doing well participating in PT with Dr. Lindsay. 

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