Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 16, 2017

In This Issue

PBS To Broadcast Autism Documentary

Perfectly Normal': Autism Through a Lens

Respecting Parents' Feelings in Special Education Planning: 8 Facts to Remember

Parental origin may alter gene copies' expression in brain

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

Special Needs Resource Foundation's Flourishing Families!!!

Animal Therapy Benefits Kids with Autism

San Diego has a New Comprehensive Center Dedicated to the Treatment of Autism

ABA Group Activities!!!

Face Your Fears!

Friendship Circle San Diego: Young Adults Club

Monthly Membership Program at MicroCurrent 4 Kids!

5 Reasons Why Parents of Special Needs Children Must Have a Will

Estate Planning for Families with Disabilities

ARI Enewsletter for March 2017

ONEHOPE ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k Run/Walk & Family Festival

StefG Photography: Spring-Time Minis

Toilet Training Tips for Children with Special Needs

Collaborative for Helping Improve Learning and Development

Autism Summer Camp 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 (RDIĀ®) 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!

  • PBS To Broadcast Autism Documentary
  • The sensory experiences of people on the spectrum take center stage in a new documentary set to air on television.

    In what the film's creators say is a first, "Spectrum: A Story of the Mind" looks at autism through the lens of taste, smell, touch, sight and sound.

    "This film goes beyond awareness into acceptance," said producer Jill Jones. Read on...

    Click here to view the info from KPBS!

  • Perfectly Normal': Autism Through a Lens
  • At about the halfway point of "Perfectly Normal," the artful short documentary about a man with Asperger's syndrome, there is a rare filmic experience of the sensory overload of autism.

    For about a minute, as Jordan, the articulate middle-aged subject of the film, speaks about his own condition, the music skitters and booms, rapid jump cuts intensify the sense of danger, and in this swelling moment of uncertainty, the viewer experiences a fleeting sense of what it might be like to live in a condition of permanent, anxious neural flood. "You think life has one circle, but no, there are circles which are added to extra circles that create chaos, and it looks like you're drowning," Jordan says. (The film is the latest release in The New York Times' Op-Docs series.) Read on...

  • Respecting Parents' Feelings in Special Education Planning: 8 Facts to Remember
  • I was sitting in one of those meetings where everyone wished they were someplace else. The fake smiles could not dissipate the thick fog of tension that impaired our vision. I, the parent of a child with disabilities, was being told that my son's dysfluency (I used to call it stuttering, but I've caught up with the jargon) had reached serious levels and needed immediate and intensive intervention.

    My husband and I believed the recommended intervention was inappropriate and might lead to an awkward self-consciousness for my son. As far as we could tell, he did not appear even remotely aware of his dysfluency. Our fear was that if we drew his attention to what we were learning to call his "bumpy speech," it would result in even more bumps and bruises to his ego. Our gut told us that the proposed intervention was too much for him. Read on...

  • Parental origin may alter gene copies' expression in brain
  • Some neurons preferentially express the copy of a gene inherited from one parent over the other, suggests a study published last week in Neuron1.

    Many researchers have assumed that most cells express both copies of a gene equally. Studies in cultured cells suggest this might not always be the case. The new study is the first to provide evidence of this phenomenon in the brains of mice and monkeys.

    "This really can shape how mutated genes are expressed at the cellular level," says lead researcher Christopher Gregg, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

    The work has important implications for autism: Most mutations seen in people with the condition affect only one copy of a gene. So the same mutation could have different effects depending on which parent's copy carries the mutation. Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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.

    Our soon-to-be 15 year-old son has Aspergers and ADHD. We would like to find him an occupation (camp, job...) this Summer that would help him progress with his life skills and social skills, and have him experience something different. We have him registered for the LIT camp at the Y (he did it last year), but he doesn't care for it much. He doesn't like sports but loves Science and wants to become a physicist. Would someone have some advice?
    Thank you!

    We are moving to San Diego area and are wondering if anyone can offer recommendations about elementary schools in Poway area that may be suitable for our child who is 6 yr old with high functioning autism/aspergers and ADHD.

    No behavioral issues but needs speech/OT/Executive functioning skills at school which are in his current IEP.

    Any advice on elementary schools in poway area would be greatly appreciated.

    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.

  • Special Needs Resource Foundation's Flourishing Families!!!
  • The new issue of Flourishing Families will be available soon! This year's issue will have more than 950 resources for families with special needs. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Animal Therapy Benefits Kids with Autism
  • Nick and Stitch
    Nick is 15 years old and has high functioning autism, which causes difficulty connecting with peers. As a young child, Nick had delayed social skills and often spoke using repetitive language. For a long time Nick's parents struggled to help their son bond with others, calmly handle personal interactions and speak clearly when spoken to. That changed when Stitch came into Nick's life.

    Stitch is a German Shepherd that became Nick's service dog when he was 7 years old. When Stitch was with Nick, communicating with others was easier. People approached Nick, wanting to learn more about his dog, which gave him opportunities to practice social skills. Nick's parents and therapists created a scripted response he could relay when asked about Stitch. Over time, speaking to others became more comfortable. Read on...

  • San Diego has a New Comprehensive Center Dedicated to the Treatment of Autism
  • A state-of-the-art clinic featuring advanced biomedical, behavioral, & sensory-motor therapies for children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

    This Clinic is headed up by Dr. Suzanne Goh. Dr. Suzanne Goh is a board-certified pediatric neurologist with expertise in the evaluation and treatment of children with neurological conditions that impact brain development, cognition, and behavior.

    Dr. Goh received her Bachelors of Arts degree, summa cum laude, in History and Science from Harvard University (1993-1997). She went on to attend Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar (1997-1999). In 2004, she graduated from Harvard Medical School, cum laude. Dr. Goh completed her Pediatrics internship at Massachusetts General Hospital and her Pediatric Neurology residency at University of California San Francisco. Click here for more info about Dr. Goh.

    Pediatric Neurology Therapeutics
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121

    Dr. Suzanne Goh with the ultimate medical breakthrough that changes lives.

  • ABA Group Activities!!!
    11665 Avena Place Suite 204
    Rancho Bernardo, CA, 92128

  • Face Your Fears!
  • The "Face Your Fears" program provides your child the skills to more effectively manage their behavior in anxious situations and enhances your child's ability to cope with anxiety that negatively affect their daily lives. Face Your Fears is provided to kids in a small safe group and at the same time, parents participate in a separate group, so they can support what their child learns. Face Your Fears is a cognitive-behavioral evidence-based intervention with over a decade of funded research support.

    Center for Thoughtful Lasting Change, Inc.
    9606 Tierra Grande St, Suite 203
    San Diego, CA 92126

  • Friendship Circle San Diego: Young Adults Club

  • Monthly Membership Program at MicroCurrent 4 Kids!
  • Here at Microcurrent Healing, we hope you keep gratitude in your heart this Thanksgiving season. We also wanted to express our gratitude for such wonderful clients by offering you the easiest and most cost-effective way to come in for regular and follow-up therapy sessions. Announcing our New Monthly Membership Plan!

    Monthly Membership $89
    With the ease of a monthly auto-payment you will earn 1 session each month, plus any additional sessions you wish to buy will all be billed at our member rate of only $80 each! Membership provides the lowest cost-per-session option (36% off single session rate) and relives the burden of paying a large lump sum up front. Best of all the effects of microcurrent therapy are cumulative! So the more you come in, the better results you will see in your child's mental and physical health!
    *6-month contract required

    Membership Benefits Include:

    • One 30-min Microcurrent Therapy session; a full-body detox (systemic), or an anti-aging facial* for Mom (*Now offering facials, call for more details)
    • Unlimited additional sessions at our lowest member rate
    • Discounts for adding family members to your membership
    • Unused sessions roll over from month to month and can be shared with others
    • Earn free sessions by referring friends
    If you are looking for autism treatment like cranial sacral, PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field), transcranial magnetic stim, FSM (frequency specific microcurrent), hyperbaric oxygenation, MRT (magnetic resonance therapy), chelation, or other alternative treatment options -give us a call to learn about how Microcurrent 4 Kids may be the better choice for you and your family!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Rd, Ste 211
    San Diego, CA 92123
    858 257-1404

  • 5 Reasons Why Parents of Special Needs Children Must Have a Will
  • Even though we never want to face it, there will come a time when we will no longer be here. This is especially difficult to face when you have a child with special needs. The thought of our special needs child being in this world without us is too much to bear. However, the lack of proper planning for the future will only hurt the child we want to protect.

    In order to have a proper plan in place, it is recommended that parents of special needs children have the following: Read on...

  • Estate Planning for Families with Disabilities
  • Leaving assets, whether through gift, will, or a trust, to a beneficiary receiving means-tested public benefits will in most cases simply cause them to forfeit their eligibility and lose their benefits!!!

    In some cases, if the bequest or gift is of sufficient size to more than compensate for a lifetime of benefits, this may be acceptable. In most cases, however, such a bequest will simply cause a few years of ineligibility until the gifted funds are exhausted. Since there are excellent special needs planning alternatives, such a result is inevitably the result of poor or no planning, and a sad waste of family resources. Thoughtful estate planning can preserve public benefits and supplement care to assure your family member will be provided for the way you want, even after your death. A properly drafted special needs trust can provide for a child or adult with a disability, and assure that there is funding for care beyond what is provided by public benefit programs like SSI, Medi-Cal, IHSS and the Regional Center. Assets in a properly drafted special needs trust will not cause someone to be disqualified from any of these programs. Click here for all the info!!!

  • ARI Enewsletter for March 2017
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter!!!

  • ONEHOPE ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k Run/Walk & Family Festival
  • The 7th Annual ONEHOPE ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k Run/Walk & Family Festival returns to Tecolote Shores Park, Mission Bay - San Diego on Saturday, April 15, 2017. Net proceeds from the event benefit military families impacted by autism. Our 5k, 10k and 1-mile race accommodates all runners and walkers. Our family festival has something for everyone including music, wine & beer garden, 35+ resource booths and an awesome kids' zone with games, a bouncy house & egg hunt!

    Saturday, April 15, 2017, 6:30am - 11am
    Amy Zhang, 818-340-4010,

    Tecolote Shores Park, Mission Bay
    1300 E Mission Bay Drive
    San Diego, California 92109

    COST: Between $20 - $45

  • StefG Photography: Spring-Time Minis
  • Hello, we are hosting an Autism-Friendly mini-photo session on April 1, 5-7 pm. The theme is "Spring-Time"! All ages and abilities are welcome. Please email us at to reserve a spot! We will confirm on a first come, first served basis. Location and assigned times will be sent prior to event. Also, like us on Facebook @StefGPhotography for a chance to win a free mini-session! Don't miss out!

    ***A note to special needs families: The standard allotted time is ten minutes but if your child requires more time please indicate this in your email and we will be sure to schedule your session accordingly. As mothers of children on the spectrum, we understand how challenging a photo session can be. We promise to be as creative and patient as possible, in order to get you the beautiful photos you deserve!***

    See you there!

  • Toilet Training Tips for Children with Special Needs
  • Using the toilet independently is an important accomplishment for any child, though the prospect of toilet training a child with special needs can be daunting. A little preparation will go a long way in making the process faster and easier for you and your child. Traditional toilet training strategies can be adapted to suit the individual needs of children with disabilities to enable them to become toilet trained while minimizing challenges along the way.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 from 5:30 P.M. 6: 30 P.M.

    Gateway Office
    6540 Lusk Blvd.
    Suite C256
    San Diego, CA 92121
    Click here for all the info!!!!

  • Collaborative for Helping Improve Learning and Development
    CHILD is a collaboration of education, mental health, and service organizations that aim to share resources with the local community. They will have a resource fair in April!!! More info coming soon!!!

  • Autism Summer Camp 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.

  • Seeking Research Participants for Autistic Sibling Study
  • business_finance_research.jpg

    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:


    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.