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Annual State Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

The Department of Developmental Services congratulates Sofia Garcia of Los Angeles, CA, who has been selected by Harbor Regional Center (HRC) to help the Governor and First Lady light the tree at this year's Annual Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Sofia represents over 300,000 persons with developmental disabilities who receive services and supports from the State developmental centers and twenty-one nonprofit regional centers.

Sofia was born prematurely at 29 weeks gestation and 1070 grams birth weight, and referred to HRC from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

Sofia was initially served through what was known as the HRC Prevention Program. During this time, she received developmental and psychological assessments from HRC and from Stramski Developmental Center. Her mother, Elia Arizpe, was also encouraged to participate in HRC's parent education programs in early childhood development.

When Sofia was two years of age, concerns were noted regarding her development. HRC provided a psychological assessment at which time she received a diagnosis of Autism, and she began receiving services through the Early Start Program.

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 Elia. During this time Sofia received a Behavioral Assessment and began receiving Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Treatment from the ACES program.

Sofia currently 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.

Last Updated: 4/24/2018