The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) joins Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and First Lady Anne Brown in kicking off the holiday season with the 81st annual State Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Wednesday, December 5, 2012. The ceremony will be held on the West Steps of the State Capitol beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Christian Anderson (age 10) of Costa Mesa, California, has been selected from the more than 250,000 children and adults served by DDS to help the Governor and First Lady light the tree and hang a special ornament. This will be the 30th year that a child with a developmental disability will participate in the ceremony. Christian is looking forward to the experience and said, “I am very excited to go light the tree and meet Governor Brown, and explore Sacramento.”
The tree is decorated with hundreds of hand-crafted festive ornaments made by children and adults with developmental disabilities who receive support and services from the state’s developmental centers and 21 non-profit regional centers and decorated with 10,000 ultra-low wattage LED lights.
Christian is the youngest of three boys born to Brian and Lee Anderson. All three boys -- Christian, Patrick (16) and Brandon (17) -- have been diagnosed with autism. Christian began receiving specialized therapy at the age of 12 months from the Regional Center of Orange County (RCOC) and was placed in an Early Start Program at 18 months after his autism diagnosis was confirmed. He received therapies and treatment to address his developmental delays. These services give Christian and his family the tools they need to allow him to reach his potential. Today, at age 10, Christian continues to receive services for his autism disability at the RCOC through the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act.
Christian enjoys learning alongside his classmates in a 5th grade classroom taught by Tami Fowler at College Park Elementary School in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. He is involved in many extracurricular activities, including playing the clarinet in the school band, Cub Scouts, playing catcher on his Little League team, participating in two Special Olympics events with the Huntington Beach Roadrunners team and bowling with the Fountain Valley Sharkwaves.
“Christian Anderson is a shining example of how regional center services support children with developmental disabilities and their families to maximize independence later in life,” said Diana Dooley, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency.
“We congratulate Christian Anderson for being selected to help the Governor light the tree during the ceremony,” said Terri Delgadillo, Director of the Department of Developmental Services. “The annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is a wonderful way to welcome the holiday season and to celebrate children and adults with special needs.”
For more information about Christian Anderson, please contact Nancy Lungren, Assistant Director of Communications, at (916) 616-8265, (916) 654-1820, or nancy.lungren@