Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. April 13, 2017

In This Issue

Supreme Court FAPE Ruling May Be A Watershed Moment

Mental Health Therapy and the Autistic Client: Establishing Context

What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew

If Not ABA, Then What?

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

Developmental Factors Survey

A Free Seminar Providing Information and Answers About IEPs and 504 Plans, Sponsored by CHADD

NFAR Mom's Group - Apr.19, 2017 - In Kearny Mesa

North County Autism Mom's Group, April 20th - In Carmel Valley

NFAR: Family Fun and Games!bowling2 Join Us Saturday Night, April 29 at Parkway Bowl!

SPORTS for Exceptional Athletes 2017 SURF CAMP


Help us build the work room for TERI students with special needs!

AAC: Past Requesting

Autism Summer Camp Guide

FREE! Review of Your Child's IEP, Saturday May 6th!

iCan Bike Almost Full!!!

Two open positions on the California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities

The Friendship Walk

Life Skills Class Every Friday!!!


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!

thomas nelson

  • Supreme Court FAPE Ruling May Be A Watershed Moment
  • The U.S. Supreme Court's decision affirming a high standard for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mandate that children with disabilities be provided a free appropriate public education is likely to have significant implications for years to come.

    In a ruling last month, the high court found that public schools must provide students with disabilities more than a minimal benefit.

    "When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing 'merely more than de minimis' progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling. "The IDEA demands more." Read on...

  • Mental Health Therapy and the Autistic Client: Establishing Context
  • Background Information:
    The autism neurology gets hit with elements of confusion, chaos and change as a person goes through their day. How this happens is different for each individual on the spectrum. For example, Brady's neurology startles to a touch on the arm, DeShawn's neurology reacts adversely when it perceives a surprise change in the therapy room such as new curtains and Aysia's neurology delivers a punch when her therapy routine was altered by Grandma bringing her rather than mom.

    Each of these individuals was abruptly thrown into a situation with an element of unexpected surprise. It doesn't matter whether the surprise was good or bad or whether it was a big or small surprise. Most of the time these surprises do not even consciously register, meaning the individual doesn't even think about them. That is why it is important to understand that it is the neurology that gets hit with the unexpected surprise. This surprise, whether a good or a bad surprise, is often perceived by an autistic neurology as confusion, chaos and change. Read on...

  • What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew
  • In a new book, autistic women share their experiences and offer tips to parents with daughters on the spectrum

    Sharon DaVanport, an autistic and disabled activist and the founding executive director of the Autism Women's Network, says the group's new book, What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew, was born when AWN went online. "Parents most commonly inquire about how autistic women approached various topics when they were their daughter's age," says DaVanport, one of the book's three co-editors. "This led to the idea of putting together a publication where parents could readily access a wide variety of views and suggestions from autistic adults."

    DaVanport sees parents struggling with fear generated by their child's diagnosis, based on information from non-autistic people, who often catastrophize disability. "It's only when parents reach out to the autistic community," she says, "that they begin to build an accurate understanding of autism by learning from the lived experiences of actually autistic people." Read on...

  • If Not ABA, Then What?
  • In the two and a half years since I published my essay on ABA therapy, and it was republished in the book The Real Experts, I have been asked this question more than any other: "You've convinced me to avoid compliance-based therapies ... but what else is there? We are not coping well in my house. What can we do?"

    I have spent the last couple of years answering that question again and again, on an individual level. I knew I needed to write this essay answering that question, but life kept getting in the way. Still, the question kept coming, from people all over, and I knew I could put it off no longer. So here we are, dear reader, and I hope that I am able to offer you some help and hope with these words.

    You are a parent who is struggling and feeling desperate, but you're firm in your resolution to avoid subjecting your children to dog-training techniques and spirit-crushing compliance methods. So let's talk about your alternatives for one of the most common situations in which families tend to end up bringing ABA into their lives: aggressive behavior. Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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.

    We are looking for a reliable respite care provider. We are located in Oceanside.
    Please email highly recommended provider info to

    My 21 year old daughter with high functioning autism is looking for a female roommate starting in the fall of 2017. Apartment is located in the 5025 Collwood Blvd student oriented community near SDSU. She is hoping to find a like minded girl who likes anime, cosplay, gaming and who does not smoke/drink/drugs. The apartment complex is student oriented but you are not required to be a student. The apartment is a 2 bedroom/2 bath and the roommate must be willing to share a bedroom and bath. There will 4 residents (2 in each bedroom). Each tenant has an individual lease and all utilities are included. Rent is approx. $660 each. There is a pool, gym and free shuttle to SDSU, Grossmont and Mesa. Please contact Debra at (619) 672-8893 or and leave a message.

    Parent of child with Dyscalculia (math disability) seeking to find other parents having this experience. It is very commonly undiagnosed yet has a serious impact on a child's learning and life. As with many things it can be very difficult to receive an appropriate response from the school district tasked to make the necessary accommodations.
    Please email me if you share this or a similar experience. Thanks so much.

    Seeking parent experiences in the Poway Unified School District IEP process.
    As a parent of two special needs adopted children I have had some seriously difficult experiences with Poway Unified School District. Having been inexperienced in raising children, much less special needs children, I was very naive in the process. I am hoping to learn more through hearing about other special needs parent experiences, good and bad. I will not share any personal stories.
    Please email me at Thanks so much.

    Hi! We have two energetic boys. I'm looking for a reliable respite worker who is fun loving and understands Aspie kids. Boys are 11 and 13.
    Legoland, parks, bike riding, basketball, Yugio, board games, and Minecraft are in your future.
    Please contact me for more info. Ideally, after school 2-3x a week with younger kiddo and a weekend afternoon/early evening 2x a month. Summer schedule will shift a bit.
    Please Contact me if you are interested - Carmel Valley area-thank you!

    I am looking for a half day kindergarten program in San Diego county. Currently my daughter is in preschool in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. CVESD does not have any half day programs or EAK programs for the 2017-2018 school year. My daughter turns five in July, is autistic and epileptic, and has an IEP. We feel she would be better served in a half day program for one additional year. If anyone has any information they can share with me I can be reached at Thank you!

    Our son is 12, about to turn 13. He was diagnosed with high functioning autism, apraxia, and academic disabilities (cannot read or write independently). However, he is very artistic, loves to draw, loves movies of all kinds (comedies: Lego Batman, Boss Baby, anything by Pixar/Dreamworks and adventure movies: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc). He also loves nerf guns, zombies, video games, building legos (so so soooo many legos), watching Youtube about building Legos, and also likes to create Lego brick films. Most recently he has been talking about wanting to create his own movies with friends.

    The problem is, we have struggled with finding friends similar to our son's abilities. His one best friend moved away and the other few friends he does have don't share the same interests. We thought by posting here we might be able to reach a few families with children who are either typical developing or with special needs that have similar interests. I know other parents have to struggle with the same problem for their kids!?

    Are there any families with kids out there looking to find a friend with similar interests like our son? If so, we would love to meet you!

    We have also started looking into group therapy sessions through ABA companies and also speech to see if we can make new friendships. Does anyone have any recommendations for groups they participate in?
    Jennifer & Derek Thomas

    We need some serious Psychiatry help for our son. He is 18 and mild/moderate autistic. But now we believe he is dealing with a secondary mental health issue. Where can we get help?
    Thanks Laura

    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.

  • Developmental Factors Survey
  • business_finance_research.jpg

    Do you live in the USA and have a biological child between 3 and 12 years old? If so, we would be grateful if you would take a short research survey.

    The goal of this research is to examine whether certain factors are associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders. If none of your children have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, we still would be very grateful if you participate as it is important to have results for all groups.

    Participants may also choose to be entered into a raffle for a $50 Amazon gift card.

    After completing the survey, if you want to help us more, and if you have previously shared the developmental status of your children with your friends, please share this link with your friends and consider asking a friend or friends whose children do not appear to have Autism Spectrum Disorders to take this survey as well as we anticipate needing more participants from this group.

    If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact Seth Bittker, the principal consultant, at or 212-203-6550. Thank you.

  • A Free Seminar Providing Information and Answers About IEPs and 504 Plans, Sponsored by CHADD
  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 7:00-9:00 p.m.
    Park Village Elementary School
    7930 Park Village Road
    San Diego, CA 92129

    RSVP Required: 858-945-6621 or

  • NFAR Mom's Group - Apr.19, 2017 - In Kearny Mesa
  • Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Giovanni's Italian Restaurant
    9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad, Soda.
    Dinner is provided

    Please join us! These meetings are for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet the 3rd Thursday of the month for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    April Topic: Social and Communication Skills for Children with Autism.

    Colleen will discuss strategies and techniques that Moms can use to further their child's social and communication skills. Colleen will lead more of an open discussion and wants to hear what questions along this topic are important to you. You can send your questions in advance too.

    Guest Speaker: Colleen McNish-Heider, M.S., Behavioral Specialist, Autism Discovery Institute Rady Children's Hospital

    Colleen earned her master's degree in educational counseling from National University. She has been implementing home and school based behavioral interventions for children with autism and other developmental disorders since 1999. Her clinical experience includes the implementation and development of early intervention programs for children with autism spectrum disorders in addition to training therapists in a variety of research-based approaches.

    To RSVP

  • North County Autism Mom's Group, April 20th - In Carmel Valley
  • Thursday, April 20, 2017

    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Tio Leo's Mexican Restaurant
    3510 Valley Centre Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92130

    Dinner: Mexican Food (GF available)
    Dinner is provided

    Join us for the NFAR Mom's Group! It's an evening for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet the 3rd Thursday of the month for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    April Topic: Living with Autism

    Please join us for a special evening with guest speaker Erik Weber, a young man with autism as he talks about his journey, and the strategies used to overcome his struggles with communication, behavior, and learning issues.

    "In 1991, my parents took me to a doctor.

    *My parents were told I was retarded and Autistic.

    *My parents were told I had no hope.

    *My parents were told to find an institution.

    That institution turned out to be college."

    Guest Speaker: Erik Weber, Esq.

    Doctors said I would not be mentally older than eighteen months, but my parents did not give up on me.

    In 2009, I completed my Bachelor's Degree program in International Development Studies with a 3.9 GPA at Point Loma Nazarene University. In May 2011, I graduated from San Diego State University with a Master's Degree in Public Administration and a 3.7 Grade Point Average. In December 2014, I graduated from the California Western School of Law (CWSL) and in 2015, I took for the first time and passed the California Bar Exam.

    Now I am pursuing my passion of helping others with special needs. Being a person with Autism gives me a unique first-person perspective on what works or does not work toward servicing individuals with intellectual differences.

    To RSVP

  • NFAR: Family Fun and Games!bowling2 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 fun and social activity for the whole family!

    SIGN UP and reserve your space today!

  • SPORTS for Exceptional Athletes 2017 SURF CAMP
  • s4ea

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 10:30 To 11:30 am

    Location: State Council on Developmental Disabilities
    8880 Rio San Diego Drive, San Diego, CA 92108
    Suite 325, Conference Room, Third Floor

    Please RSVP by calling 619-688-4238

    If you have questions please contact Michele Geving at 619-688-4238 or

  • Help us build the work room for TERI students with special needs!
  • Did you know that TERI has a resale shop? TERI Inspired Resale (formerly Potpourri Resale) is a vocational training site for people with special needs from TERI Inc.

    Opening in May, we will continue selling high-quality furniture, clothing, home goods, and handmade crafts! Profits help us sustain our unique programs!
    Click here for all the info!!!

  • AAC: Past Requesting
  • Crimson by the Sea
    2210 Encinitas Blvd. Suite I Encinitas, CA
    Email INFO@CRIMSONBYTHESEA.COM to register
    Cost: $10 ($5 for a student)

  • Autism Summer Camp Guide
  • NFAR's Summer Camp Guide is out!

    We have updated a lot of the camps and are continuing to add and update as information comes in - so check back often.

    Don't miss out!
    Registration for many of the popular camps are already open and filling up quickly.

  • FREE! Review of Your Child's IEP, Saturday May 6th!
  • RSVP Required: 858-945-6621 or

    The Special Education Advocacy & Law Firm of Thomas S. Nelson
    16466 Bernardo Center Drive, Suite 106
    San Diego, California 92128

    Tel: (858) 945-6621

  • iCan Bike Almost Full!!!
  • Click here for all the info!!!

  • Two open positions on the California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities
  • Have you ever wanted to influence or make changes to programs for people with disabilities or increase the rate of employment? Or you think -how can programs work better together to serve people with disabilities? Well, this position may be for you. The California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (CCEPD) is recruiting for two open positions.

    We are looking for a person with a disability and a business representative, who have diverse perspectives working with both businesses and people with disabilities to serve on the CCEPD. The person with a disability must self-identify on the application. Please note: the Committee has mandated positions slated for people with disabilities.|

    If you are interested in applying, please complete the membership application located on the CCEPD website and return by mail to by May 1, 2017:

    Maria Aliferis-GjerdeCalifornia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities
    721 Capitol Mall, 6th FloorSacramento, CA 95814

    For additional questions about the Committee, please call Maria Aliferis-Gjerde, Executive Officer, at (916) 558-5698 or email her at

  • The Friendship Walk
  • Friendship Walk 2017 and the Israel Fest will be held at San Diego Jewish Academy on Sunday May 21st. Enjoy a beautiful afternoon at with hundreds of old and new friends. Walk, skip, or roll on the wheelchair and stroller friendly 1 mile walk route. Join in the celebration at Israel Fest, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of San Diego. Early registration is FREE until May 7th, which includes a commemorative t-shirt, fruit & a bottle of water, and fun family activities. Standard and on-site registration will be available for $20, (t-shirt quantities will be limited). Visit and help the Friendship Circle make a difference in the lives of children, teens and adults with special needs. Show your support for inclusion by joining our friends and walking with them on May 21st!

    Friendship Circle: "The Friendship Circle is a non-profit organization with a mission to provide programs and support to the families of individuals with special needs. In addition to offering fun social outings and events for families to enjoy, the Friendship Circle provides friendship to individuals with special needs through a network of teen volunteers who want to make a difference. In this way, volunteers discover the impact of selfless giving that will last them a lifetime."

  • Life Skills Class Every Friday!!!
  • ABA Behavior Therapies & Testing (The ABA Group)

  • 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.

    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.

  • Participate in Research: Survey About Access to Services
  • 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:

  • 2017 Edition of Flourishing Families

  • The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego is excited to present the 2017 edition of Flourishing Families, San Diego's resource guide for parents of children with special needs.

    This year's issue contains more than 950 resources including service providers, research institutes, specialized doctors, resource providers, camps, therapists, advocates, associations and so much more.

    Visit to see the digital issue now!


    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.