Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. January 13, 2018

In This Issue

The autism paradox

Anxiety drug reverses problems in mice with autism mutation

New measure yields rapid diagnosis in adults with autism

Parents with Disabilities Face an Uphill Battle to Keep Their Children

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

YOU can be a SUPERHERO for Autism!

Therapeutic Approach to Growth

EFMP Information Hour

Social Communication Specialists

Join NFAR and Kid Ventures!! This MONDAY!!!

2018 General & Special Education Conference

TACA - Central San Diego Coffee Talk

NFAR Mom's Group - Jan 17, 2018 in Kearny Mesa

Monthly Autism Parent Support Group

Spring Jam Session Registration Now Open!

Family Gymnastics Night

San Diego Regional Center Communicator

Xcite Steps Now Offers Individual and Family Therapy


  • The autism paradox
  • How an autism diagnosis became both a clinical label and an identity; a stigma to be challenged and a status to be embraced

    In 1991, Donna Williams, a little-known Australian writer, released her memoir Nobody Nowhere: The Remarkable Autobiography of an Autistic Girl. The book sold astonishingly well and became an international hit, spending 15 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Williams recalled her frustration that 'people were forever saying that I had no friends', when this didn't bother her at all. When she retreated from the outside world, she said, it was not because she didn't understand words (a common misconception), but because she simply couldn't relate to them, which forced her to 'shut down' her senses and 'meaning systems'. High-pitched sounds, touch and light became simply 'intolerable', she explained.

    In the early 1990s, narratives told from the perspective of autistic people were virtually unheard of. At the time, most scientists depicted autism as an illness or 'mental disorder', and the focus was on identifying and ultimately eradicating it. Lorna Wing, a British psychiatrist, had developed the clinical classification back in the 1960s that stuck. She claimed that autistic people were 'impaired' in three areas: in social interaction, communication and imagination. Various methods were used to identify these 'impairments', from puzzles and games to family testimony. Psychologists and neuroscientists went on to try to develop quick-fix behavioural interventions, as well as to search for 'autistic genes'. However, after much hype, the idea that the autism diagnosis resided in a unique genetic code quickly faded from view. Read on...

  • Anxiety drug reverses problems in mice with autism mutation
  • A widely used anxiety drug can eliminate some of the cognitive and social problems seen in mice missing a copy of ARID1B, a gene associated with autism.

    The drug, clonazepam, boosts inhibitory brain activity. In addition to behavioral problems, the mutant mice have fewer neurons that suppress brain activity than controls do. So drugs such as clonazepam that ramp up inhibition may improve their function.

    The results also hint at a treatment for people with mutations in ARID1B.

    "For autism or intellectual disability associated with this ARID1B gene mutation, these drugs may be effective for those people," says lead investigator Woo-Yang Kim, associate professor of developmental neuroscience at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. "This gene mutation is one of the most frequently found gene mutations in autism." Read on...

  • New measure yields rapid diagnosis in adults with autism

  • An abbreviated tool enables clinicians to quickly determine whether an adult has autism, a new study suggests1. The test could be used either as part of a comprehensive autism assessment or as an autism screen.

    Clinicians can diagnose a person with autism by observing her, asking her to complete a self-assessment or interviewing her caregiver. An ideal assessment involves all three components.

    The new tool, called the Developmental, Dimensional and Diagnostic Interview-Adult Version (3Di-Adult), involves a caregiver report. It is similar to a standard test called the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). But the ADI-R takes about two hours to administer and, unlike the 3Di-Adult, does not reflect the updated criteria in the latest edition of the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders." Read on...

  • Parents with Disabilities Face an Uphill Battle to Keep Their Children
  • Child removals due to disability are increasingly common, but parents have begun to fight back.

    Nearly one in 10 children in the United States are at risk of being removed from their home by a child welfare agency simply because their parent has a disability.

    In October, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of five parents with disabilities who had their children removed by New York's Administration for Children's Services, alleging widespread discrimination. What happened to these families is not unique or uncommon; rather, their tragic experiences are part of a national phenomenon: Parents with disabilities are disproportionately involved with the child welfare system and once involved are more likely than non-disabled parents to have their parental rights terminated. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • Our daughter is 17 (she turns 18 in June) and is in an out of state residential program. She needs to a different program soon, as she can't stay where she is beyond 18. We are planning to apply for conservatorship/guardianship. Do we apply in California since we live here? Do we apply in Florida where she is now? Should we apply in the state where she goes next (which we don't know yet)? Any help you can give or advice (if you have gone through the process of conservatorship) would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Mo Ruchhoeft (

    Our 19-year-old autistic son and daughter need to have their wisdom teeth removed along with dental fillings. Can anyone recommend a dentist/oral surgeon who have experience working with autistic adults so we can do BOTH procedures in one setting? Please contact me directly or 619-253-8826. Thank you.

    My son has autism and his first insurance is anthem blue cross and secondary insurance is medi-cal. Alexa's playc is the service we are trying to get covered. First insurance will only cover 60% and Medi-cal phone representative I talked with said they will not cover the remaining 40% because Alexa's playc is not registered with them. Neither will they reimburse me if Alexa's playc bill me directly. I am wondering whether any parents had the similar situation and had a way to work around it.
    Also, can you recommend some special needs attorney?

    My name is Sara and I'm wondering if anyone has success with Vital Links headphones? Do you have a used pair you'd like to sell? Contact me:

    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.

  • YOU can be a SUPERHERO for Autism!
  • >>>>>>>>>> SPECIAL PRICING <<<<<<<<<<
    Now thru Jan 15th: get 10% OFF when using the code NewYear2018

    YOU can be a SUPERHERO for Autism!
    Start the new year by being a SUPERHERO for Autism! Sign up for the Race for Autism on Saturday, March 24, 2018. You can have fun while supporting a really great cause! Your support means a great deal to individuals and families in our community.

    Registration includes some super cool medals, and registrants can choose between a T-shirt or cape! Plus, we've got a great line-up of autism resources to check out at our Resource Fair.

    Sign up today at

  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth believes that every individual is unique and has the potential for significant growth. We assume and foster competence while honoring family values and priorities. Our holistic approach is built upon trusting, supportive relationships and collaboration between disciplines and families.

    TAG, Inc. supports individuals of all ages and functioning levels. The following is a list of potential diagnoses we serve; however, this is not an exhaustive list: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder, with or without Hyperactivity, Brain Injury, Bipolar Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorders, Down Syndrome, Dysgraphia, Learning Disabilities, Non Verbal Learning Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Tourette's Syndrome.

    Here are the programs we offer:

    • Adult Program
    • Art Therapy
    • Handle
    • Home Programs
    • Life Balance Yoga Therapy
    • Long Distance Services
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Professional Training
    • RDI
    • Sage Learning Center
    • Speech Therapy
    • Summer Programs
    Offering support in the San Diego, Carlsbad, Orange County, Riverside County, and Bay area.
    In addition to supporting our clients directly, we offer guidance to parents, grandparents, therapists, teachers, siblings, school staff, babysitters etc.

    San Diego Office
    9466 Black Mountain Road, Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    Phone: (858) 689-2027

    Carlsbad Office
    5411 Avenida Encinas, Suite 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    Phone: (760) 448-5837

    Temecula Office
    43537 RidgePark Dr.
    Temecula, CA 92590 Phone: (858) 689-2027

  • EFMP Information Hour
  • To register please contact Tammy Porath at 619-524-8030 or

  • Social Communication Specialists
  • 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.

    Executive Functioning
    Does this sound familiar?Help with Executive Functioning

    Your child...

    • leaves a trail of papers, clothes and belongings behind him?
    • stuffs schoolwork into her backpack which will never see the light of day?
    • has a meltdown because he thinks a task will take much longer that it actually will?
    • waits until the last minute to get started on big, long term projects?
    Even the brightest students can struggle to keep track of assignments, plan out and manage their time and prioritize and initiate tasks needed to meet their goals.

    Executive functioning skills help us with everything from getting dressed and out the door on time to managing distractions so we can complete the task at hand. While these skills develop naturally for most of us, some children need direct teaching and therapeutic treatment to help develop these skills and put them into practice. Click here for all the info about our Executive Function Program!

    Social Thinking
    Our program is for bright kids, teens and young adults with good language skills. Many of our students have a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism, Asperger Syndrome, ADHD or Social Anxiety while others have no formal diagnosis. Our students are intelligent, creative and want to have friends but often struggle with social interactions.

    SCS's cutting-edge Social ThinkingĀ® groups are based on the work of world renowned expert Michelle Garcia Winner. Social Thinking teaches the thinking that we do when we interact with others. This helps students use their social skills in a variety of settings. Our program teaches a wide variety of concepts with the lessons targeted to the needs of the students in each group. Click here for all the info about our Social Thinking Program!

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

    Social communication groups enrolling now! For more information about our program and registration information, please call us at 858-558-9552 or email us at

  • Join NFAR and Kid Ventures!! This MONDAY!!!
    Point Loma Location
    2865 Sims Rd
    San Diego, CA 92106
    Monday, Jan 15th 4:00 - 5:30 PM

    NFAR is hosting a family play session at Kid's Ventures in Point Loma on Monday, January 15th from 4 - 5:30 PM.

    Parents, children with autism and their siblings (ages 2 - 8 years old) are invited to join us for a fun filled afternoon of structured activities, and creative play.

    Kid's Ventures creative indoor play facility is designed to help nurture your child's imagination and creativity in a healthy and fun environment.

    Registration is FREE but pre-registration is required. Waiver will be sent to you in advance so that you can fill it out and bring it with you.
    SOCKS ARE REQURED. Please have your children bring socks.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

  • 2018 General & Special Education Conference
  • 2018 General & Special Education Conferece-San Diego, CA
    Location: Town & Country Resort
    May 2-4, 2018

    Early Registration Fee:
    One Day-$235
    Two Days- $399
    Three Days-$499

    Click here to view the brochure for all the info!!

    Click here to register!!

  • TACA - Central San Diego Coffee Talk
  • Wednesday, January 17 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Dr. Steve Tullius Office
    6342 Riverdale St
    San Diego, California 92120

    It's a new year and time to fill your cup with some new inspiration. Autism can be overwhelming and Nancy wants to make it easier for you. Come get the support, information and of course coffee you need and leave feeling empowered to begin your 2018. Hosted by Nancy Kirkman-Co-Coordinator TACA San Diego. Nancy Kirkman is the proud mom of 3 children. Her younger 2 children a son and daughter are both on varying ends of the autism spectrum. This is located in a local Chiropractors office towards the back an industrial park. We have the space dedicated to ourselves for the entire coffee talk. We will provide coffee and a light snack.

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • NFAR Mom's Group - Jan 17, 2018 in Kearny Mesa
  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018
    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 Wednesday 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.

    January Topic: Supporting Reading Comprehension for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Guest Speaker: Judy Monday, Program Specialist/Consultant and Heather Green, Early Childhood Special Education Teacher

    Click here for all the info and to RSVP!!!

  • Monthly Autism Parent Support Group
  • Start your year off right! Join us for our Autism Parent Power Lab. Come with questions, leave empowered!

    Sat, January 20, 2018
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    Sanford Autism Consulting
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: $20

    Click here for all the info and to purchase tickets!!!

  • Spring Jam Session Registration Now Open!
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info about upcoming jam sessions and to register!!!

  • Family Gymnastics Night
  • Saturday, January 20, 2018
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
    Magdalena Ecke YMCA Gymnastics Center
    6100-B Avenida Encinas
    Carlsbad, CA

    Hosted by the Autism Society San Diego

    Join other families affected by Autism at a Family Fun Gymnastic Night in North County. The Magdalena Ecke YMCA will provide the gymnasium equipment; together, we will provide the fun! Bring the entire family for an enjoyable, relaxing night of family recreation.

    *Please remember that there is NO childcare provided at this event. For safety reasons, attendees are expected to be with their children at all times. The YMCA staff will be enforcing this rule.

    Pizza will be provided for participants - we encourage attendees to bring a side dish or dessert to share.

    *A $5 minimum donation is recommended per family.

    Autism Society San Diego County

  • San Diego Regional Center Communicator
  • sdrc

    See the winter Communicator available on the SDRC website

    This issue includes:
    --Feature Article - Emergency Placement for Shawn --Self Determination is Coming! --Special Education Rights --Informed Choices --Success stories of Annie, Dayana, Steven and Brenda

    Click here to view the latest issue!!!

  • Xcite Steps Now Offers Individual and Family Therapy
  • At Xcite Steps, we care about the emotional well being of the entire family. Our services extend beyond the child, as we provide psychotherapy to parents, couples, siblings, and families who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, or other developmental disabilities. Having a child or sibling who needs extra support can provide stress and additional challenges to life. Coping with these stressors is not always the easiest. At Xcite Steps we want to provide you with the tools needed to cope with the stress and anxiety that comes along with a complicated medical condition like Autism Spectrum Disorder. We work with couples to help rebuild and strengthen relationship bonds, while also learning how to cope with parenting challenges. We also work with siblings or other loved ones who are struggling to cope with the family changes. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Autism Accessibility Morning at the Fleet!

  • The third Saturday of every month, Fleet invites the Autism Spectrum Community to enjoy our museum through this special opportunity. Adults and families with children with autism can enjoy the Fleet's exhibit galleries in a quieter setting, an hour before regular open hours to the general public and with access to a special cool-off space. Visitors are welcome to stay and enjoy the museum all day. Admission includes a special IMAX film screening at 10 a.m. with the house lights on and a lower soundtrack volume.

    Upcoming dates:
    • January 20, 2018
    • February 17, 2018
    • March 17, 2018
    For more information, visit

  • San Diego Sibshop

  • October 2017 - August 2018

    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.

    Feb. 25: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center
    March 25: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center
    May 20: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center
    August 19: Santee Lakes, 9310 Fanita Pkwy, Santee, CA 92071**

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

    REGISTRATION: Pre-registration requested by email (if possible) the Thursday before the event.

    CONTACT: Email for a Sibshop registration form and / or additional information.

    Sibshop Leaders:
    Jody BonDurant-Strong, Administrator
    Ndoto BonDurant-Strong - adult sibling & CSUSM student
    Gina Clifton, ECSE Medically-Fragile Teacher, Special Education
    Pat Moulton, Retired

    Directions for Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor's Center (MTRP):
    1 Father Juniper Serra Trail (92119). Interstate 8 to 15 North / East on Friars Road.
    Stay to left - turns into Mission Gorge Road / Turn left on 1 Father Juniper Serra.

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services, Winter 2017-2018 Calendar

  • The City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services program provides sports, recreation, leisure and outreach services to people with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.

    Services include therapeutic recreation programs and adaptive sports opportunities. These address the special needs of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty accessing and participating in recreation opportunities offered to the general public.

    Under the direction of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, activities and services are designed to maintain or improve the physical, cognitive and social functioning of those who have limitations. The target population is children and adults, ages 3 and up, with any type of disability.

    Click here to view the Winter Calendar!!

    Click here to register!!

  • Parents and Caregivers Needed for Online Survey

  • I am Arek Yetenekian, and as part of my doctoral research at Alliant International University I require the participation of parents or primary caregivers of non-communicative children with autism. Participants are requested to complete the survey packet via the provided URL, within a web browser. The study consists of several measures of mostly multiple-choice responses related to a child's quality of life, as well as related areas of interest such as familial quality of life and parenting stress. Demographic information will also be collected. Participants with at least a fifth grade reading level, residing in the US, with at least one minor child with autism who is unable to communicate through oral and written means, are required. Thank you very much for your consideration.

    Survey URL:

    If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at: 818-406-5199

    IRB #1607037250

  • Participate in Research: Attention Differences in Persons with ASD and their Family Members

  • Verbally fluent children with ASD between the ages of 8 and 16 and both of their biological parents are invited to participate in a new study examining attention skills. This study will follow recently published work that showed Ā­both the male sibling of a child with ASD and the child with ASD demonstrated similar attention abnormalities. This provides an important clue to the development of a better understanding of the genetic basis of ASD. This new study will examine trios, the child with ASD, and the mother and father. If one or both parents shows evidence of the attention difference we observed in children with ASD, we will have one of the first clear examples of a non-ASD core deficit that is experienced in first degree family members. Following with genetic analyses could potentially lead to a better understanding about the basic etiology of ASD. Families of a child with ASD are invited to participate in this research taking place at the Neuroscience Center of Alliant International University under the supervision of Alan Lincoln, Ph.D., MSCP, BCBA-D and Shamayne Brown, M.A.

    Study Requirements
    To participate in this study, both biological parents and your son must participate. Your family must be able to come to the Neuroscience Center at Alliant International University in San Diego, California. Participation for you and your son's other parent involves:
    • Completing questionnaires about yourself. This should take about 25 minutes.
    • Completing a brief standard cognitive measure. This should take about 30 minutes.
    • Completing a computer task. This should take about 30 minutes.
    Participation for your son:
    • Will require your child to complete the brief standard intelligence measure. This should take your child about 30 minutes.
    • You will be asked some background questions about your child and will be asked to complete forms related to your child's skills, abilities, and behaviors. This should take you about 25 minutes.
    • Your child will then be shown how to play the same computer games you will be shown and asked to play them as best he can. This should take about 30 minutes.
    We will try to accommodate your schedule as much as possible. Family members may come to the lab on different days if necessary. Some individuals may be excluded from participation in the study on-site. If your child is excluded, he will receive a $5.00 cash gift for his participation in the preliminary assessment. Upon the completion of participation in this study, each child will receive a $20.00 cash gift. Parents will each receive a $10 gift card upon completion of their participation. If a parent is excluded, he or she will be given a $5 gift card for participation in the preliminary assessment. You may also receive, upon request, results of your performance and/or your child's performance.

    If you are interested in participating, please contact us at our confidential e-mail: 858-635-4068, or by email: or Thank you in advance for your time and assistance. I look forward working with you and your family soon.

  • Participate in a Research Survey!
  • business_finance_research.jpg

    I am a graduate student of Communication Disorders at Eastern New Mexico University. The reason I'm reaching out is to see if ValeriesList can assist me with my graduate research. My focus is how applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques are viewed by parents of children with autism. To collect information for my research I have an online questionnaire with a 12 minute video on survey monkey. Would it be possible for you to put the survey link in a newsletter or email to reach your followers? This research is very exciting to me, as it will illuminate perceptions of an important strategy in improving the lives of children with autism.

    Principal Investigator: Erin Bishop
    This project has been reviewed by the IRB of Eastern New Mexico University and approved as protocol # 1718006. Records pertaining to proposal review and approval are available upon request.

  • UCSD Autism Center of Excellence- SPARK

  • UCSD Autism Center of Excellence is working with the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) as part of an exciting research partnership called SPARK, and we would like to invite you and your family to take part. SPARK is an online, national genetics research partnership that seeks to improve the lives of people with autism. Through DNA analyses of saliva samples, the ultimate goal of SPARK is to gain a better understanding of causes and best treatments for autism. To get started, sign up and a saliva collection kit will be mailed to your home. A gift card totaling up to $50 will be sent to you once saliva samples from both parents and individual with ASD are received. We already have 1,991 participants registered on the website, help us reach our goal of 3,000 today!!!

    To register for SPARK: go to

    For additional information contact Hannah Kaplan at the UCSD ACE: or 858- 534- 6906

  • Children with Autism and Their Mothers are Needed for Student Reseach

  • Ariane Myers-Turnbull, MA
    Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student
    California School of Professional Psychology

    If interested please contact or call 858-414-1076!

  • BRAIN DEVELOPMENT IMAGING LABS - Recruiting Participants

  • If you are interested in participating in any of these studies, please call 619-594- 0176 or email

  • Join Our Study! Video Games to Train Attention and Eye Movement

  • Join our study at 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. Click here to view the brochure!!!

  • Parents and Children Needed for Student Research

  • My name is Shamayne Brown and I am a doctoral student at Alliant International University. This study is examining the attention abilities of kids with ASD and their parents. I am recruiting families with a child with ASD as well as families with typically developing children.

    We are looking for boys, ages 8 to 16 years old, who have a diagnosis of ASD and their biological parents - both mother and father need to participate. We are also looking for boys, ages 8 to 16 years old, who are typically developing and both of their biological parents to serve as a control group.

    If you and your family are eligible for participation, you will be asked to come to a lab at the Neuroscience Institute at Alliant International University. You and your child's other parent will be asked to complete consent forms and questionnaires about your own behaviors; this should take you each about 25 minutes. You will also be given questionnaires about your child's behaviors. Only one parent needs to fill out these questionnaires and should take about 25 minutes complete. You, your child, and your child's other parent will complete a cognitive test, which will take about 30 minutes. Each of you will then play some games on a computer. This will take each person about 30 minutes. Your child's participation will take approximately one hour. Your participation and that of your child's other parent will take approximately one and a half to two hours.

    After your child completes his tasks, he will receive a $20 cash gift as an appreciation for his participation. Once you and your child's other parent have completed all tasks, you will each receive a $10 gift card as a token of appreciation for your participation. For further information, please contact Shamayne Brown at or 619-416-1799. Thank you for your time.

    *Approved by Alliant IRB
    IRB #1604025150


    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.