Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. April 15, 2017

In This Issue

Loneliness in Children on the Autism Spectrum: Tips for Parents

Analysis winnows list of mutations tied to autism

Early brain enlargement augurs distinct form of autism

Music Therapy - A Pathway to Language, Communication and Motor Coordination

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

Special Needs Law Center: Insights 2017 Directory

SPORTS for Exceptional Athletes 2017 SURF CAMP

Banding Together April Newsletter

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!

Special Olympics San Diego County

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

TERI: Healthy Breakfast Options Class

Parenting An Explosive Child Series


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

  • Loneliness in Children on the Autism Spectrum: Tips for Parents
  • When a youngster comes home and says, "no one likes me" or "everyone hates me," it can be hard for a mother or father to tell the difference between temporary exclusion versus ongoing rejection. Fortunately, research studies offer some advice on effective strategies to help "special needs" kids cope with - or avoid - loneliness. Here are some tips:

    1. Before parents intervene in their youngster's social difficulties, they should ask themselves some questions about their own history. For example, do you and your youngster have different temperaments when it comes to socializing? What were your friendships like at that age? Where did you stand in the group in terms of popularity? How did you cope with loneliness as a child? What worked - and what didn't? Read on...

  • Analysis winnows list of mutations tied to autism
  • As many as one in three rare mutations seen in people with autism have nothing to do with the condition, a new study suggests1.

    Researchers looked at more than 10,000 spontaneous, or de novo, mutations identified in people with autism, intellectual disability or developmental delay. De novo mutations are non-inherited mutations that are present in a child but not in her parents.

    The researchers found about 3,000 of these mutations in a database of sequences from people in the general population. Finding the same mutation at similar rates in people with and without autism casts doubt on the notion that the mutation plays a role in the condition, says lead researcher Mark Daly, associate professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Read on...

  • Early brain enlargement augurs distinct form of autism
  • In his 1943 paper first describing autism, Leo Kanner noted that 5 of 11 children with the condition "had relatively large heads1." Since then, dozens of research studies have documented similar observations.

    It's clear that early brain enlargement is an oft-cited feature of autism. What's less clear is how many children have it, and what it means.

    My colleagues and I set out to explore whether early brain enlargement tracks with other features, such as intelligence. We did this because we believe that identifying neural characteristics that correlate with certain traits may point to subtypes of autism. We call these characteristics 'neurophenotypes' (not to be confused with endophenotypes, which reflect a genetic underpinning or heritable trait). Read on...

  • Music Therapy - A Pathway to Language, Communication and Motor Coordination
  • Seven-year-old Brady loves music and he comes by it honestly-Mom Melonie is a jazz pianist and Dad Justin is a bassist who has played with local jazz greats Steph Johnson and Rob Thorsen.

    Brady has an ASD diagnosis and although he was nonverbal as a toddler, he has always loved to sing and he learned to read at age 3. But Brady struggled with expressing himself, which sometimes caused frustration and undesired behaviors. Because Brady's family was so immersed in music, they discovered that using music therapy provided meaningful engagement. 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

  • Special Needs Law Center: Insights 2017 Directory
  • The San Diego Special Needs Law Center has put together a great magazine for the special needs community here in San Diego. Great articles and a resource guide. Available in a print edition and also on their website. Click here to view the magazine!!!

  • SPORTS for Exceptional Athletes 2017 SURF CAMP
  • s4ea

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Banding Together April Newsletter
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the upcoming events and news!!!

  • 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

  • Special Olympics San Diego County
  • The mission of Special Olympics Southern California is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. 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

  • TERI: Healthy Breakfast Options Class
  • To register or speak to someone about the Kilmer College Cooking School, please contact Kilmer College Admin at Click here for more info!

  • Parenting An Explosive Child Series
  • The Parenting an Explosive Child series has resonated with so many other mothers and fathers trying to help their kids with behavioral dysregulation. What continued to grieve me is how alone and how ashamed so many of us feel when our children are explosive.

    It is my urgent wish to help, as much as I possibly can.

    Below you will find the entire Parenting An Explosive Child Series.

    Parenting An Explosive Child

    Why Is My Child So Explosive?

    Calming An Explosive Child

    My Explosive Child Has Lost Control - What Do I do?

    Homeschooling An Explosive Child

    The Best Thing You Can Do To Help An Explosive Child

  • 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.