Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 09, 2017

In This Issue

Five Critical Areas To Strengthen Your Child's Skills for Adulthood

Autism And The Drive To Explain And Explore

Purim, Passover, and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Recognizing and Dealing with the Challenges

World's largest autism genome database shines new light on many 'autisms'

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

Join us in Making a Difference, Race for Autism! 10% Discount Now Through March 10!!!

Announcing the Opening of Community Transition Academy

10th Annual Beach Bash Gala

Register for Involved Exceptional Parents' Day Now Open!

Accounting and Income Tax

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Summer Program Information Coming Soon!

Project College

Micro-Enterprise Summit- March 16

5th Annual International Conference

Friendship Circle DOJO!!!

Willie Wonka Junior!!!

Seeking Research Participants for Autistic Sibling Study

NFAR: Family Fun and Games! Join Us Saturday Night, April 29 at Parkway Bowl!

Autism Summer Camo Guide Now Available!



On Saturday, March 25, 2017 we are celebrating the 13th annual San Diego Race for Autism in Balboa Park, and it's going to be "Super!"

This family friendly event gathers together more than 6,000 families, educators, and autism professionals from across Southern California to help raise awareness and funding for one of our country's largest concerns- autism. Once considered rare, autism now affects as many as 1 in 68 children in the US, and more than 19,000 families right here in our community.

100% of the Race funds stay right here in San Diego and provide funding for early identification efforts, technical training in software testing for young adults, parent programs, educational workshops and has funded more than 600 community programs and classrooms, benefiting thousands of local children and families.

Want to learn more about Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) for your child on the spectrum?

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®) is a unique treatment approach that empowers parents to guide their child to succeed in a truly dynamic world. Children who learn to actively engage with the support of their parents in safe but challenging learning opportunities (problems and situations that are just beyond their level of competence), develop a strong motivation to explore and expand their world, as well as develop competence and trust in themselves and their Guides. The program has no defined length. It is designed to accommodate parents and children with a wide range of obstacles and handicapping conditions. Therefore participation may range anywhere from one to several years. Have specific questions? See the RDI FAQs for answers!

  • Five Critical Areas To Strengthen Your Child's Skills for Adulthood
  • Do you worry about your child after graduation from the school system? Most of us parents do. So, because early intervention starts today, begin preparing your child now in these five critical areas:

    1. Financial Planning
    Coins aren't used much in real life, but plastic is. Set up a minor's debit bank card account tied to your adult accounts. You will be able to load as little as $5 onto it. Your child can carry this card in a pocket, wallet, or purse. If it is lost, you are only out $5.

    When you buy small treats (ice cream, for example) and inexpensive meals, let your child handle the transaction. Help him calculate the tip, and let him do the math. Use a restaurant that knows you, and step back. The cashier can help him sign where needed. Read on...

  • Autism And The Drive To Explain And Explore
  • Young kids are known for exploration and explanation; they poke and they prod, they open and push, they ask: "Why? Why? Why?"

    Some people describe these drives to explore and explain as a key characteristic of our species; others highlight their intimate role in learning. It's of particular interest, then, to understand the basis for exploration and explanation-seeking, and to investigate how they affect the way we interact with the world.

    A paper by researchers M.D. Rutherford and Francys Subiaul, recently published in the journal Autism, offers a fresh approach to investigating our exploratory and explanatory drives by testing whether two populations of children - those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and those without known developmental delays - differ in how they explore and seek explanations in physical and social domains. The results suggest that children with ASD have a heightened drive to explain - but only in the physical domain. Read on...

  • Purim, Passover, and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Recognizing and Dealing with the Challenges
  • The Jewish holiday of Purim starts next week; a month later, Passover will arrive. These holidays can be very stressful for children and adolescents who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and for their families. Observance of these holidays can impose social, sensory, and other demands that trigger the specific challenges created by the ASD. Parents whose children and adolescents receive special education services to address ASD-related challenges may be able to advocate for additional support from school and home-based providers.

    Changes in Routine
    Many families observe the holiday of Purim by dressing in costumes, attending their synagogues in the evening to listen to the reading of a text called the Megillah, and producing loud noises at irregular intervals during the reading. Some families socialize at holiday meals and others participate in carnivals; some eat special foods. Read on...

  • World's largest autism genome database shines new light on many 'autisms'
  • Latest study identifies 18 new autism-linked genes, deepening understanding of autism's broad spectrum

    The newest study from the Autism Speaks MSSNG project -- the world's largest autism genome sequencing program -- identified an additional 18 gene variations that appear to increase the risk of autism.

    The new report appears this week in the journal Nature Neuroscience. It involved the analysis of 5,205 whole genomes from families affected by autism -- making it the largest whole genome study of autism to date.

    The omitted letters in MSSNG (pronounced 'missing') represent the missing information about autism that the research program seeks to deliver. Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • We are a same sex couple with 11year old twins. Seeking an affordable lawyer knowledgeable in LGBTQ laws and special needs' laws. With the new administration it's critical that my partner completes second parent adoption for the boys, that our wills are updated, and that my severely autistic son is protected. Thank you. Laurena

    We are relocating to the San Diego area from WA in the Summer 2017. I have a 5 year old autistic son (mild-mod) who is in Developmental kindergarten (Special Ed), with pull out to general education Kinder during Math , OT 1X/week & ST 2x/week at school, and he gets outside ABA , OT, Social skills. I wanted to get parent feedback on experiences with the teachers, therapist & Special Education with Del Mar, Solana Beach, La Jolla, Poway or San Diego School District? I want to choose the best elementary school/ school district/special education with teachers, para's, OT, SLP who have experience interacting/teaching kiddos on the spectrum. I would also like to know which School District are open to ABA in the school setting. As well as, other resources in the community, coffee/talk, special needs PTA, support groups, swim classes, hairstylist, Dentist, Doctors, Social skills groups, ABA, SLP, OT's etc in the San Diego area that parent's can recommend.
    Any and all help is greatly appreciated...
    Kindest Regards,
    Diana Garzilazo

    I have a sister with special needs. She is now 20 years old and for about one year now, she has decompensated. She had been on depakote for many years which helped managed her aggression and impulsivity but somehow her body is now "allergic" to this medication. Psychiatrists have tried different cocktails of medication to hopefully help her return to her previous lifestyle. She would participate in sports for exceptional athletes and would participate in other community activities. She does not participate in activities that she once enjoyed due to her severe aggression. She is diagnosed with Autism and intellectual disability. She has recently returned to school (she is slowly progressing). My parents care for her full time and it is a tough tough job as you might understand.

    They are working with the regional center to hopefully find some respite for my parents. But honestly, we ran in to a wall with availability of services. My family is looking for a home for my sister to spend several days per week so she can learn some independent skills and detach some from my parents. I was wondering if you had any ideas of programs or homes we could look in to. Preferably in San Diego. She would be considered what they call a "level 14". Thank you! Norma

    My almost 17 year old son has high functioning autism and I'm trying to figure out what services I might be able to find for him. I'm getting nervous as he had more emotional troubles and gets closer to adulthood. Thanks. Linda

    We are new to San Diego and I am in search of a primary care pediatrician who is knowledgeable in ASD, autoimmune disorders, and chronic illnesses. My son has autoimmune thyroiditis and PANS.
    Thank you!

    I am looking for a psychiatrist for my non-verbal autistic son who is 21 years old and has self-injurious behaviors. Does anyone have experience with Dr. Joshua Feder or recommend anyone else?

    Family with Bi-polar and ADHD and other mental illness 12 /15 year olds seeking childcare worker with appropriate experience - especially residential/group home experience to help after school and weekend help. Carmel Valley/Del Mar area.

    If you have a question or request for this newsletter group, please send your email request to People who can help you will email you directly with their responses.

  • Join us in Making a Difference, Race for Autism! 10% Discount Now Through March 10!!!
  • On Saturday, March 25, 2017 we are celebrating the 13th annual San Diego Race for Autism in Balboa Park, and it's going to be "Super!"

    This family friendly event gathers together more than 6,000 families, educators, and autism professionals from across Southern California to help raise awareness and funding for one of our country's largest concerns- autism. Once considered rare, autism now affects as many as 1 in 68 children in the US, and more than 19,000 families right here in our community.

    100% of the Race funds stay right here in San Diego and provide funding for early identification efforts, technical training in software testing for young adults, parent programs, educational workshops and has funded more than 600 community programs and classrooms, benefiting thousands of local children and families.

    Please join us in making a difference on March 25th. Because everyone can be a SUPERHERO! 10% Discount Code HERO10

  • Announcing the Opening of Community Transition Academy
  • Community Transition Academy (CTA) is a non-public transition school (NPS) for emerging adults, 11th grade through transition age (22 yrs.), who have academic, language, social, and/or behavioral challenges most commonly associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The highly trained staff at CTA provide a unique educational program, based on a student's Individual Educational Program (IEP). CTA offers a complete transition curriculum taught both in the classroom and in the community, infused with the evidence-based principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

    CTA's weekday community-based program includes functional academics needed for the transition to adulthood, adaptive social behavior development, social skill training and vocational or post-secondary educational planning and training. Throughout the school day, whether on or off site, CTA students learn self-monitoring strategies to further access the diverse opportunities within the local business, recreational, and social community. By focusing on each student's interests, needs, and competencies, the CTA program gives them the tools they will need to maximize their independence while building long-lasting, meaningful relationships within their greater community.

    To maximize student independence, the CTA curriculum components include, but are not limited to:

    • Teaching core and functional academics taught in both the classroom and in the community
    • Providing safe, functionally adaptive behavior strategies while working to reduce socially inappropriate or unsafe behaviors in community settings, using evidence-based practices
    • Speech and language development and cooperative social communication taught utilizing AAC devices (as written in the IEP) both in the community and with peers
    • Practicing appropriate social skills, relationship development, network-building, and self-advocacy
    • Independent self-care, health & fitness
    • Learning skills in a variety of relevant settings such as restaurant dining, shopping and cooking/meal planning, etc.
    • Vocational skill-building, volunteering with community organizations and local businesses
    • Exploring post-secondary educational opportunities
    • Navigating and riding public transportation, transitioning between environments while acquiring community safety skills
    • Managing rec. & leisure time in a safe, meaningful, and socially-appropriate way
    The CTA program is led by our extremely experienced Lead Educator and Community Specialist that both have a profound understanding of ASD. The CTA support staff includes a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, an Autism Specialist and ABA and ASD specifically trained Coaches. We have partnered with Crimson Speech and Language for our Speech and Language services ​ and taking the lead on our social skills training and relationship development lessons is Dr. Jenny Palmiotto from the Family Guidance and Therapy Center.

    CTA staff members work collaboratively to foster the academic, social, behavioral, and vocational growth of all enrolled students. For more information, please call us at 858 360-0282 or check out our website:

  • 10th Annual Beach Bash Gala
  • Include Autism's
    10th Annual Beach Bash Gala

    Event Details
    An exclusive night out benefiting Include Autism, being held at the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday, April 22nd, 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm.

    To get involved please call 858.603.7344 or email


    Join us for our 10th Annual Beach Bash Gala on April 22nd, 2017 at the Hard Rock Hotel from 5:30-10:00 PM. This lively and meaningful event brings together our greatest families and supporters for an evening of gourmet food, live performances, exciting live and silent auctions, and more.

    About our cause: Include Autism is a local (501c3) nonprofit organization working to empower and include individuals with autism in all aspects of community life through skill-building community-based learning as well as through outreach and education at local businesses, organizations, and schools. Our facilities are located in Hillcrest and Poway/Rancho Bernardo, and participants come from all over the county.

    We need your help to ensure that these essential services are available to the San Diego community for years to come. Please consider this great opportunity to showcase your community involvement and review the following ways to get involved in this year's event.

    There are many ways to be involved in this exclusive event, which include diverse sponsorship options. For a PDF of our sponsorship packet click here or contact or 858.603.7344 for more information.

    Auction Donations
    Showcase your business or organization by donating directly to our silent or live auction. By donating an item, gift basket, or gift certificate to our auction your name and logo will be recognized by over 300 event attendees. Your brand will be advertised before the event via our cutting edge online/mobile bidding program. To donate to our auction, please contact Sophia Davis, Development Coordinator, at or 858.603.7344.

    By volunteering before or at the event you can use your time to help ensure our services are available to kids and teens with autism in San Diego for years to come. Opportunities include serving on the event committee, having a group volunteer at the event, or helping with preparation before the event. To learn more about volunteering at the event, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Steve, at or 858.603.5022.

  • Register for Involved Exceptional Parents' Day Now Open!
  • Involved Exceptional Parents' Day (formerly known as IEP Day) is an annual conference for parents of individuals with special needs.

    This year, the 34th annual conference, will be held on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley. We are busily making plans for the 15 featured workshops (offered in English and Spanish), a networking luncheon, huge resource fair and more for the nearly 400 people who attend. This year's conference theme is "It Takes A Village: Me, My Family, My Community".

    Online registration: Scholarships and SDRC funding may be available. For scholarships please check the conference website. For SDRC funding, please talk with your service coordinator.

  • Accounting and Income Tax
  • I offer professional accounting services that are customized to your specific needs, including full service computerized bookkeeping, payroll and tax preparation for individuals and small to medium sized businesses.

    Services Provided:

    • Bookkeeping Services
    • Business Consulting
    • Payroll Preparation
    • Income Tax Return Preparation
    • Notary Public Services
    Customer service is my number one priority. I like to work closely with my clients to make sure they understand how their business is doing.

    As a small business owner it is important that you spend your time on running your business and not on bookkeeping. Let me give you the peace of mind you deserve by utilizing my 20+ years of diversified experience in accounting and in business.

    Call to setup an appointment for a free initial consultation so that I can evaluate your bookkeeping needs and provide you with a quote.

    Contact Information:

    Yvette Soto
    3633 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 205
    San Diego, CA. 92108
    Phone (619) 977-6586

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • Please R.S.V.P. with your host Bene' Raphael no later than Mar. 17th at or for any questions please call (760) 845-4551

  • Summer Program Information Coming Soon!
  • At Social Communication Specialists, we help socially quirky kids, teens and young adults connect.

    We understand the social challenges kids face today. In order to have healthy friendships, kids need to understand not just the "how", but the "why" of social interactions. We currently have openings in groups for all ages. Summer program information coming soon! For more information email

    Social Communication Specialists
    (858) 558-9552
    Sorrento Valley, San Diego
    5703 Oberlin Dr, Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121

  • Project College

  • Micro-Enterprise Summit- March 16
  • Email for more info!!!

  • 5th Annual International Conference
  • March 31 - April 1
    Honoring Individual Differences:
    The Gateway to Supporting Neurodiversity in Autism & Mental Health Treatment

    A ground-breaking conference dedicated to providing information on strength-based approaches informed by the latest neuroscience.

    The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
    San Marino, CA

    This conference presents a paradigm shift from a disability perspective to approaches that value individual differences. Come join us to hear from neurodiverse individuals, ground-breaking authors and scientists who will help us see the difference between responses to stress (safety vs. threat) and what are commonly thought of as "disorders" and/or challenging behaviors. Through keynotes and in- depth case presentations, this thought provoking and inspirational conference will detail ways to support and presume competence in mental health and autism treatment across the lifespan.

    Click here for all the info about this conference and to register!!!

  • Friendship Circle DOJO!!!

  • Willie Wonka Junior!!!

  • Seeking Research Participants for Autistic Sibling Study
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    Seeking individuals over the age of 18 who grew up with an autistic sibling to participate in a study exploring the experiences of growing up in a family with an autistic brother or sister.

    Participation will involve an in-depth interview, lasting between 1 to 1.5 hours about your autistic sibling experiences and a brief follow-up meeting about six weeks later.

    The purpose of the study is to provide an in-depth retrospective exploration of the experiences of adults who grew up with an autistic sibling.

    Eligibility requirements for participation in the study include:

    • Must have lived with autistic sibling for at least 8 years
    • Sibling must have been diagnosed with autism during childhood
    • Interested participant must be at least 18 years of age
    Participants will be provided a $100 Amazon gift card following the interview.

    Interested participants can email Barbara Tierney at:

  • NFAR: Family Fun and Games! Join Us Saturday Night, April 29 at Parkway Bowl!
  • Calling all Families! Join us during Autism Awareness Month for a bowling party at Parkway Bowl on Saturday, April 29 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm.
    All family members welcome!

    The cost is only $12 per player and includes two hours of bowling, bowling shoes, pizza buffet, and soft drinks.

    This will be a super fun activity for the whole family! Reserve your space TODAY!


  • Autism Summer Camo Guide Now Available!
  • Check out NFAR's Summer Camp Guide!

    While not all the camp information is in yet, registration is already open for many of the popular camps, including San Diego Parks & Rec, I Can Bike, Xcite Steps, and more.

    Camp I Can opens March 20th. For surf camps, such as Surfer's Healing and Surfing Madonna, registration opens soon.

    Don't miss out. Many of these camps fill quickly!

    Summer Camp Guide

  • ASD Mornings at theNAT

  • Please visit for more information.

  • Autism Accessibility Morning at the Fleet!

  • In February we began our, Autism Accessibility Mornings at the Fleet (, program. This morning is dedicated to the ASD community to come and enjoy the Fleet in a quieter setting and catch an IMAX film! Our film showings are presented with raised house lights and a lowered soundtrack volume, to provide a more comforting environment. Our goal is to provide an enriching experience for the ASD community

  • SIBSHOP 2016-2017 Schedule

  • October 2016 - August 2017

    WANTED: Siblings who have a brother/sister with special needs
    AGES: 7 - 12 years old
    Older siblings are welcome to attend as "Junior Leaders"

    WHAT: A fun-filled opportunity geared to the specific needs of siblings with brothers/sisters with special needs. Join us for games, crafts, hikes, cooking, and art. Meet other sibs - lunch provided

    TIME: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

    March 19: Family / Community (Amtrak Train Ride) **

    April 30: Mission Trails Regional Park

    May 21: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center

    July 9: Day at Mission Bay, family picnic **

    August 13: Santee Lakes, 9310 Fanita Pkwy, Santee, CA 92071**

    DONATION: $5.00 - $10.00 per meeting per family for craft materials, supplies & lunch for the kids

    REGISTRATION: Pre-registration requested (if possible) the Thursday before the event.
    CONTACT: Email for a registration form and / or additional information.

    Sibshop Leaders: Jody BonDurant-Strong, Administrator Gina Clifton, ECSE Medically-Fragile Teacher, Special Education
    Pat Moulton, Retired

    **Information for family / community locations will be emailed.

  • Children with autism and their mothers need for student research!

  • My name is Ariane Myers-Turnbull and I am a doctoral student at Alliant International University. I am currently recruiting participants for a project that is examining why children with autism are injured more often than children without autism. To participate you must be a mother of a child who is between the ages of 3 and 7 years old and who has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (i.e. autism, Asperger's, pervasive developmental disorder).

    If you agree to participate in this study, you will be asked to come into a lab at Alliant International University to complete consent forms and questionnaires about you and your child. You will then be asked to observe your child in a room with simulated common household hazards from a live video. Your child will also be asked to complete simple tasks such as working with blocks. Overall, your participation in this study should take about 90 minutes.

    After you and your child complete these tasks you will receive $20, be entered into a drawing for $400, and your child will receive a prize in appreciation for your participation. You will also receive a video of your child in the room and safety proofing materials. For further information please contact Ariane Myers-Turnbull at or (858) 414-1076. Thank you for your time.

  • Know someone who may have autism, age 40-65 years?
  • Participate in a Study!!!

  • We are currently recruiting for the Parenting on the Spectrum Study, a brief study with mothers of children between the ages of 3 and 7 who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The study is completed online, with the option (for participants living in the Greater Los Angeles Area) of conducting additional sessions in the home. We will ask parents about their experiences of parenthood.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Driving Anxiety - FREE 10 week program for teens and adults with ASD in San Diego!

  • This is a FREE group-format intervention for teens and adults with autism spectrum disorders who are interested in driving, but are dealing with driving fear/anxiety.

    Please share this flyer with anyone in the community that may qualify. We are only asking that our participants are minimum 15-16 years of age (i.e. of potential driving age) and have a formal diagnosis of ASD. There is no upper limit for age. The groups will be held in the Kearny Mesa area (zip code 92123).

    858-966-7703 x3682

  • Do you know someone with Autism??

  • Call (619)594-0176 or email

  • Participate in Research!!!

  • Contact 619-594-2500 or email

  • Research Study Recruitment

  • My name is Sarah Hacker and I'm the staff research associate for UCSD's Research on Autism and Development Lab ( We are currently recruiting participants for a study to measure the effects of training visual attention using video games. I was wondering if it were possible to put an ad on your website or in your newsletter for the purposes of reaching out to members of the autism community who might be interested in participating. I've attached a flyer for the study which outlines what happens, inclusion criteria, and compensation. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

    Thank you,
    Sarah D. Hacker
    Staff Research Associate - RADLab 858-246-1932

  • Autism Effects on Attentional Blink
  • For more information, please contact Sofia Schugar at the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab: 858-353-4929 (feel free to leave voicemail) or via email at

  • UCSD TEAM-UP Weight Loss Program for Children with ASD

  • TEAM UP (Transforming Eating, Activity, and Motivation Utilizing Parents) is a 16-week, parent-only group program focused on weight-loss, increasing physical activity, and promoting fruits and vegetables, designed specifically for parents of children with ASD. This research study is free of charge, and families will be compensated for participating. Interested families should call 855-UCSD-4W8 to get started.


    I never endorse anyone or anything. Opinions expressed in what I send out, may not be shared by me. Everything is for informational purposes only.
    People who "advertise" through this newsletter have never been checked out by me. Same goes for the "Sponsors". This includes professionals and even people who are interested in babysitting, etc. So, please take the time to thoroughly check out anyone and everyone who will be working with or caring for your child/adult. We are all sadly aware, through news stories and word of mouth, of people who prey upon special needs children and adults because of their extra vulnerability.

    Valerie Dodd-Saraf
    President, Foggy Coast Ventures, Inc.