The Education and Family Ministries Team of West Los Angeles United Methodist Church is hosting a series of programs to increase awareness and knowledge of special-needs ministries.

The first program will be held on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the church sanctuary. The topic is “It Takes a Village: Supporting Children with Autism in our Congregation.”

Guest speakers Janet Hifumi Gunter and Mariko Yamazaki are trained and experienced occupational therapists who work with children.

The presentation will include the role of occupational therapy in supporting children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), current diagnosis criteria, myths and misconceptions, perceptions of the child and the parents, and how a child with ASD might experience Sunday morning at church. The presenters will offer supportive strategies and problem-solving suggestions, followed by Q&A.

Everyone is invited to attend — parents, grandparents, church members and friends — as the church seeks to learn more and expand its outreach to persons and families with special needs.

West L.A. UMC is located at 1913 Purdue Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 479-1379.

Planned and hosted by Jane Shimotsu, Jeri Okamoto Floyd, Sharon Kinoshita Gill, and Rev. Janet Cromwell.

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