Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. January 30, 2018

In This Issue

Department of Defense Funds Autism Research at Montefiore to Examine Effect of Cannabis Compound on Irritability and Repetitive Behaviors

Play With Your Autistic Child: More Easily Said Than Done

The Truth About ADHD And The Middle School Years

Weighing up autism's obesity crisis

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!


Special Needs Dance Sat Feb 3 in Vista

Start planning your accessible vacation today!

Sensory Friendly Museum Mornings

The Movement Method

Autism Adult Social Support Group, Feb. 3rd in San Diego

ATPF Food & Farming Workshop: Session 1

North County Autism Support Group in Oceanside

Cute Snaps Wanted!

The XciteSteps "Natural Opportunity Model"

Using Prompts Effectively to Support Your Child in Learning New Skills

21st Century Education Symposium

ABA Education Foundation


  • Department of Defense Funds Autism Research at Montefiore to Examine Effect of Cannabis Compound on Irritability and Repetitive Behaviors
  • $1.3 Million Grant Also Enables Researchers to Test Impact of Cannabidivarin on Ability to Communicate Socially with Others

    NEW YORK (January 10, 2018) - The Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded $1.3 million to fund a clinical trial at Montefiore Health System that will examine the effect of a cannabis compound called Cannabidivarin (CBDV) on irritability and repetitive behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These characteristics are common in children with ASD and it is thought that the non-psychoactive and safe compound CBDV may be an effective way to address behaviors such as aggression, self-injurious behavior and tantrums.

    One in 68 children has ASD. In addition to irritability and repetitive behaviors, such as rocking and hand-flapping, these children also have problems communicating. These symptoms are believed to be caused by underlying mechanisms in the brain. Since founding the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Program in 2009, Eric Hollander, M.D., director, Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Program and Anxiety and Depression Program at Montefiore and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Einstein, has conducted numerous clinical trials investigating the use of a variety of compounds and treatments to target these common, but challenging behaviors. Read on...

  • Play With Your Autistic Child: More Easily Said Than Done
  • If there's one issue that's shared by all young children with autism, it's difficult with ordinary play skills. Little ones with autism may line up or stack toys, play by themselves and resist interaction with their peers, or simply spin, rock or otherwise spend time in their own world. It's this self-absorption that makes it so hard for autistic children to learn from imitation, socialize with other children, or connect with the adults in their lives.

    In theory, parents can play a key role in actually teaching their autistic children to play. But while "playing with your child" sounds like a no-brainer, it can be very, very challenging for the parent of an autistic child. Read on...

  • The Truth About ADHD And The Middle School Years
  • My son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 10 - very late by ADHD standards.

    Although I had long suspected it, I also did not feel like there was any pressing need to pursue testing and diagnosis. If I am honest, part of it was fear and maybe even a little shame. We were already homeschooling, so needing to sit still in a classroom was a non-issue. Overall, ADHD seemed minor at the time.

    My son is now 12.

    It doesn't seem minor anymore.

    As we have entered the middle school years, the struggles he faces as a result of his ADHD have only intensified. Read on...

  • Weighing up autism's obesity crisis

  • Autism's underlying biology, associated behaviors and treatments can all put people on the spectrum at serious risk for obesity.

    Nicholas Bavaro has always been bigger than his twin brother. He was nearly a pound heavier than Christopher at birth, and by the time the boys hit their first birthday, their mother, Lynette, had noticed other differences, too. Christopher babbled, made eye contact and pointed as he toddled around the family's home in Long Island, New York. Nicholas did not - and was soon diagnosed with autism.

    Obesity runs in the Bavaros' extended family, but their active lifestyle helps Christopher and the twins' parents and younger sister keep the extra pounds off. Nicholas, however, doesn't share their love of sports. He has motor difficulties and is minimally verbal - he often says "no" when the others propose bike rides or long walks. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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:

    My son has autism and I would like to work on his focus and auditory processing. Does anyone have any good therapies that have helped address these two areas? I'd also be interested in any positive experiences with acupuncture. Thanks.
    Best, Kathy (

    Can you ask the group if anyone has set up an Able account for their son or daughter. I know a law pass to allow up to $100,000 to be set aside in an account.

    However California does not have this in place yet. Other states do have this in place and will allow person out of state to open an account. So I was just wondering if anyone had yet and what their experience has been.
    Thanks Laura S.

    Does anyone have a great referral for multiple overnight respite or IHSL care in Encinitas area? My son is 18, high functioning ASD, healthy, happy and easy to be with but needs supervision and direction. Not untypical of this age, he no longer wants to travel with his parents,​​ which we do for business and pleasure We are wanting to hire someone who has the flexibility and availability to stay with him 3-7 days/nights occasionally. When he is in school no care is needed from 8am-3pm. Regional Center nor our Respite Care providers have given us any good options.​ Looking for referrals or ideas. Thank you, Kalli​

    Can anyone share their experience with San Diego Center for Children residential program, good or bad. Thank you!

    Hi there, I'm wondering if you might have any resources for schools in North County SD that have a reputation for being good for kids with Autism? Public, Private, Charter, any...? Thank you!!!

    We are moving within SDUSD boundaries (Carson) is the school within our boundary. It is too big for my son who is in 2nd grade with an IEP for ADHD, SPD and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder).
    He thrives right now in our current school with no Aide/One to one and he has been in Gen Ed since the start of school 76% of his day 24% of his day spent in SPED classroom. He is doing amazing! The only complaint is he 'is bored' He is ahead academically and required quite a bit of redirection to stay on task during his day. He requires a smaller environment and a very Structured, Patient, Positive Teacher.
    Has anyone heard of any Elementary schools within SDUSD boundaries (closer to Mission Valley, Pt. Loma, Linda Vista, Bay Park, OB, Hillcrest, Mission Hills etc. ) that have strong 2nd grade Teachers and the children have been challenged academically and happy at? Thank you for any suggestions!

    I am looking for a summer camp for my 6-year-old son who has autism in Southern California since we are moving to the area this coming May. Please let me know what camps are good!

    Looking for a daytime assistance for a 13 year old with autism. Someone to help with homeschooling and occasional appointments. Please email resume

    I am looking for some resources for my son. He has high functioning autism, adhd and sensory integration disorder. He also has behaviors that can be pretty aggressive at school. I am trying to find a school in San Diego north county that maybe able to assist. I would appreciate any suggestions.

    Hello, I am a of mom of beautiful boy with autism and also a graduate student of clinical counseling program from University of Phoenix. I am couple weeks away from finishing my theoretical classes and looking for the agency, center or private practice that might be able to host me for my practicum and 2 internships, 700 hours, towards my Master Degree in Clinical Counseling. I have an extensive experience in autism field and I am open to any sites that can be autism and family therapy oriented. Please let me know if you might have some ideas or if you would be to provide those hours for me.
    Thank you much !

    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.

  • Point Loma Location
    Monday, Feb 19th 4:00 - 5:30 PM

    NFAR is hosting a family play session at Kid's Ventures in Point Loma on Monday, February 19th 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.

    For more information, contact NFAR at 858-679-8800!

  • Special Needs Dance Sat Feb 3 in Vista
  • RSVP to Caroline at 602-502-2743!

  • Start planning your accessible vacation today!
  • Do you travel with a loved one who has special needs? Planning a wonderful family vacation should be fun, not stressful. Here are some destinations that go above and beyond to accommodate every member of your family.

    Morgan's Wonderland, San Antonio, TX
    This San Antonio theme park was designed with exceptional accessibility in mind. Experience more than 25 attractions for all ages and abilities to enjoy together. Play make-believe in The Sensory Village, buckle up for the Off-Road Adventure Ride, or hop aboard Wonderland Express, a wheelchair-friendly train. Inspiration Island, a fully accessible waterpark, is open during summer months. Families love the boat ride and multiple splash pads, including one with warm water for guests with muscular conditions. Waterproof wheelchairs are available to borrow for free. Morgan's Wonderland is closed in January and February. Admission is free for guests with special needs. See website for details:

    Click here for more locations and info!!

  • Sensory Friendly Museum Mornings
  • First Sunday of each month from 9:00 - 10:00am
    320 North Broadway
    Escondido, CA 92025

    An early morning geared for families with children on the spectrum or with sensory sensitivities. This early morning event is a welcoming, comfortable environment for your child and family to enjoy the Museum in a quiet and accepting setting. We encourage families to make connections and share resources.

    2018 Sensory Friendly Mornings: Click here for all the dates!!!

  • The Movement Method
  • Movement Method
    An evidence-based, kinetic learning theory, for children with neurocognitive difference such as autism. Through specific movement and interactive interventions, the child will experience increased curiosity and engagement with family members and their environment. Movement Method's focused interventions improve intrinsic motivation, attention, communication, social interaction and emotional regulation.

    February 10th 2018
    Liberty Station Conference Center
    Room 204A & 204B
    Point Loma

    Live workshop that will teach you the Movement Method and will give you practical advice you can start using immediately! Click here to register!!!

  • Autism Adult Social Support Group, Feb. 3rd in San Diego
  • Saturday, February 3, 2018
    6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
    Every 1st Saturday of the month

    United Way Building
    4699 Murphy Canyon Rd
    San Diego, CA, 92123

    Hosted by Autism Society San Diego

    Join us for our new Autistic Adult Social Support Group! This group is a place for autistic adults to come together for support and understanding. Make new friends, share questions and concerns, and get support from your peers, in a non judgmental and accepting atmosphere. This group is a open to all adults with autism as well as any support people that you require to participate successfully. We look forward to seeing you!

    Click here for all the info!

  • ATPF Food & Farming Workshop: Session 1
  • Hosted by Autism Tree Project Foundation
    Saturday, February 3 at 10 AM - 1 PM
    Wild Willow Farm
    2550 Sunset Ave, San Diego, California 92154

    We are so thrilled to launch our 2nd Annual ATPF Food, Farming & Nutrition Program 6 week workshops, partnering with Wild Willow Farm in South Bay! Families are welcome to come out and join our team to work on the farm with Chef Maria Hesse. Kids ages 6+ are welcome to attend! Space is limited to 24 people per workshop!

    We believe that every child should have easy access to local, fresh and healthy food. Led by ATPF Board Member Pablo Fernandez, Owner of Secret Table, this program creates opportunities for our kids and families to learn about food, farming and nutrition within our San Diego community.

    First come first serve RSVP contact or call 619-222-4465.
    Click here for all the info!

  • North County Autism Support Group in Oceanside
  • Hosted by Autism Society San Diego

    Monday, February 5, 2018
    6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
    Kirsch Therapy
    1945 Avenida Del Oro, Suite 120 · Oceanside

    This group is open to all parents, professionals, and members of the community interested in improving the lives of those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. The group's demographic includes all ages, home & out of home placements, and all "levels of functioning." There's a wealth of information to be shared by our more "seasoned" families, and it is a welcoming place for those new to the Autism diagnosis. Click here for all the info!

  • Cute Snaps Wanted!
  • We're looking for good quality photos of San Diego children with special needs to be featured in our annual publication, Flourishing Families. Please email hi-res photo(s) to for possible inclusion. Be sure to provide first and last name of the person who took the photo (so we can give photo credit) and location the photo was taken. Including the name of the child(ren) in the photo is optional. Please put Flourishing Families 2018 in the subject line. Deadline: Feb. 9.

  • The XciteSteps "Natural Opportunity Model"
  • 858-428-0222

  • Using Prompts Effectively to Support Your Child in Learning New Skills
  • Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 9 am - 11 am
    North County Regional Education Center
    255 Pico Avenue, San Marcos, CA 92069

    All parents and caregivers prompt their children many times every day. How we prompt and when we prompt makes a big difference in how quickly and how well our children learn skills and how independent they are in using those skills. Come learn how and when to use prompts most effectively.

    Read more

    Click here to register online

  • 21st Century Education Symposium
  • February 24, 2018
    21st Century Education Symposium:
    Quality Education & Promising Practices: "A Bright Future for All Students"

    Keynote Presenter: Kristin Wright, Special Education Division Director, California Department of Education

    Click here for online registration

  • ABA Education Foundation
  • It is these core values that direct our daily business decisions. Our commitment is to serve our clients, support our employees, and educate our community with integrity and professionalism, always aware that they are the focus that drives our organization.

    Services We Offer

    • Infant Development Program: Early Intervention
    • Intensive Behavior Intervention Program
    • Advocacy Services & Education Consultants
    • ABA Education Foundation Behavior Management Consultation
    • Consultation Services
    • School District Consultation Services
    • Private Pay Services
    • TRICARE Services
    ABA Education Foundation
    7860 Mission Center Ct, Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92108
    (619) 272-0090

  • 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 ­both 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.

  • 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.