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Center for Autism

2021 Christmas Party Potluck

Christmas Decorations
Christmas Decorations

For the past two years (2020 and 2021) SECA’s Annual Christmas party potluck has held a Onesies contest, and for two years straight the winner has been Daniel Nordberg.

As in the previous year (2020), there were several contestants vying for first place.

The following were the 2021 contestants:

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Virginia's Sleep -over costume

Brenda's Package costume 

Felicia's Kitty

Abby's Shark costume

Annette's - as a Penguin

The Winner and still Champ : Daniel's Wacky. Inflatable, Arm Failing- Tub Man


by Roberta Ortega


Michael is a very energetic and active five-year-old. He loves to play with flash cards and throwing the ball during a game of catch, he can really throw the ball and has good aim (I should know, I get hit all the time, Ha, Ha, and tickle, tickle).

His favorite foods are pizza, spaghetti, and French fries. He is now able to verbalize which one he wants for a meal, that helps me a lot.

He still has some behaviors that Soaring Eagles is still working on, but they have improved very much. Such as playing with doors, flushing the toilet, and turning lights off and on. These behaviors have subsided somewhat since the Soaring Eagles staff has been reinforcing the rules of these behaviors. I am so pleased with his progress.

Since being at Soaring Eagles, it has been a true blessing for him and me.


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As a result of COVID, many of SECA’s clients improved in many areas which contributes to their overall development.

Social:  Clients became more social with their peers, playing together, exploring other areas such as the multi-media and computer rooms and the playground area. They have become more compliant with staff and learned Bully Behaviors do not work but communication does.

Learning:   They learned to clean up their area after lunch, activities, etc. Also, they learned the art of hand washing upon arrival and leaving SECA for the day; established boundaries and learned to complete their daily living skills; and mastered the use of the microwave to warm their lunches.

Communication: The non-verbal clients had a huge increase in communication skills by independently pointing to and taking the staff’s hand to what s/he was requesting. Verbal clients requested their needs without behavioral concerns. There was an increase is the use of sign language, and ECHO vocalizations, which decreased aggressive behaviors.

Summary: More activities were done independently, teaching them step-by-step to complete a task. SECA’s data shows the increase of tasks learned and completed. Our clients learned how to take turns and share with staff and peers alike.


Automaticity of Reinforcement


Mona Ortega - Medina, B.A.,M.S.

Have you ever wondered why we do what we do?


Every day we do things and get reinforced without even knowing we are reinforced. We stop at the red light (reinforced by not getting a ticket or are not involved in an accident), we buy groceries (because we are hungry and we need food to survive), we drink our favorite drink 

(drinks are essential to our bodies and we choose our preference), we are polite to others (avoid social disapproval), others are polite to us and we reciprocate with a smile (social approval)... and much, much more.


Automaticity of reinforcement: this is what automatically happens to us in our everyday lives. We don’t need to know we are being reinforced for something to be reinforcing. Our behaviors are modified by consequences we encounter daily, even though we are unaware it is happening. How do we know it’s reinforcement/reinforcing? Because we keep doing it. Our behavior of doing something will likely happen again and again when it is reinforcing to us. We don’t need to know the “why” or how it reinforces us, this type of conditioning just happens automatically.


Jason Janssen has been employed at Soaring Eagles for three and a half years as a Behavioral. After nine years at the Pueblo West Safeway, he applied for a position at SECA at the urging of a former co-worker. 

His responsibilities in his position include developing rapport, applying behavioral intervention, everyday living skills, Relationship Development Intervention and Assessment of Basic Language and Learning skills.

Outside of SECA, Jason enjoys going to the shooting range, studying psychology, working on trucks, and learning more about the Bible.

Jason is an Army brat, born in Iowa and moving seven times by the time he was eight; he is the

middle child of two sisters. His father was a veterinarian in the Army and retired as a Captain; his mother is a retired RN.


He choose to work in this field because he wanted to make a difference in the community, work at a place that would give him fulfillment and that the work would make a difference in other people’s lives. He has an Associate’s degree from Pueblo Community College with an emphasis in psychology.

Jason Janssen

When you shop at AmazonSmile ( Amazon will donate to Soaring Eagles Center for Autism. AmazonSmile is the same where you buy books and other products; except they will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to the charity of your choosing.

As we continue to build services for our clients, “Amazon Smile” is another way to help us reach our goals. We continue to work to build our Adult Community Center and to expand service for our children on the autism spectrum. Please help us by choosing “Soaring Eagles Center for Autism” when you shop at AmazonSmile.

Thank you,

Our Leadership Team

Karen W. Colvin M.S.,M.D.-Exec. Dir. Lead Therapist
Mona Ortega-Medina, B.A., M.S., Asst. Director

Betty Nufer – Development Director

Lynzee Griggs B.C.B.A., M.S., Cert. Beh. Aut-Senior Therapist

Velvet Entz, B.A., M.Ed., Behavioral Consultant Assistant

Janet Baer, B.S., Administrative Asst., Editor

Monique Maes - Receptionist


Terry Zupan
Karen W. Colvin, M.D.
Betty Nufer

Shelly Harwood-Even
Mona Ortega-Medina, B.A., M.S. 

Martha Drake, M.S., CCC-SLP

Andrea Aragon        
Reggie Garcia – Vice President

Elizabeth Riffle

J.R. Chavez, President

Vanessa VanEgmond


John Hardy, M.D.

Michael Jordan