Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. February 20, 2018

In This Issue

New blood test predicts autism with 92 percent accuracy

Directly linking autism to violent behavior misleads public

How to Keep Students with Disabilities Safe in Lockdowns, Evacuations, and Other School Crises

Synesthete Jeremy Sicile-Kira: Why I Paint New Year Dreams

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Autism Society San Diego Spring Family Camp

Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Presentation: Neurotransmitters in Individuals with Autism

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

Tilak Healthcare is hosting focus groups and needs participants

Helping People with Autism Reach Their Potential

Join UCSD Autism Center of Excellence on either SATURDAY OR SUNDAY, APRIL 7-8 for our first SPARKforAutism live-registration event!

Safer than Prescription Medication for Anxiety

Spring 2018 Therapeutic Recreation Services Calendar

It's Tax Time!

An Improv Program Designed for Teens on the Autism Spectrum

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center: Residential and Respite Care Services Survey

Free Download: Building Blocks Handout

iCan Bike San Diego 2018 - Registration is open!

It's Our 16th Annual Splash for Cash


  • New blood test predicts autism with 92 percent accuracy
  • Researchers led by those from Warwick University in the United Kingdom have developed a diagnosis test for autism that may predict it with an unprecedented level of accuracy.

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that impacts cognition, behavior, and social interaction.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 1 in 68 children have ASD.

    Given its developmental nature, ASD may have an early onset, but it typically takes a while for the first symptoms to appear. As such, early diagnosis is not usually possible.

    Therefore, a chemistry-based diagnosis test for the early detection of ASD may be crucial, enabling children to receive the care that they need much earlier on. Until now, no such test was available. Read on...

  • Directly linking autism to violent behavior misleads public
  • It is being reported that Nikolas Cruz, the alleged shooter associated with the killings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school, has autism. It started with certain news outlets mentioning that relatives of this young man seemed to remember that he may have been diagnosed with autism. Other papers report that neighbors interviewed thought he may have been autistic. And then it seems his defense attorney has brought it up as well.

    Many of us in the autism world are outraged. This is not the first time that a horrendous act of violence has been linked to someone who was reported to possibly be on the autism spectrum. There is a huge problem with reporting that may or may not be totally accurate or precise. While this individual may actually have a formal autism diagnosis, this is not the issue. The major difficulty with statements such as these is that it links autism and unthinkable violent acts together in the minds of the readers of these articles. And especially when they read it over and over again in several media publications. Read on...

  • How to Keep Students with Disabilities Safe in Lockdowns, Evacuations, and Other School Crises
  • With lockdowns and evacuation drills becoming a regular occurrence in schools, students with disabilities are often faced with disruptions of routine, unrealistic behavior expectations, accessibility problems, and other challenges that may not have been addressed in the IEP and remove necessary supports. Friendship Circle asked Dr. Dusty Columbia Embury and Dr. Laura Clarke, who've written about safety and students with disabilities, to answer some questions about how schools can include these students in their planning for unexpected events and how parents can make sure their children's needs are accounted for.

    Introduction from Dusty and Laura
    We are passionate about creating and sustaining inclusive settings and experiences for all children, and we began our research about school safety and children with significant disabilities after the Newtown school shooting. Read on...

  • Synesthete Jeremy Sicile-Kira: Why I Paint New Year Dreams
  • San Diego-based intuitive artist Jeremy Sicile-Kira is a synesthete - he sees emotion in color (and a person with autism). In this blog he shares his New Year dreams and paintings.

    By Jeremy Sicile-Kira

    Truly greatly I love making new year paintings, like people like making resolutions: dearly it is a chance for new beginnings and a fresh start. Truly kindly I love seeing the changes ahead and giving people nice hope for a great year. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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 !

    I'm a mom of a 17 year old student with high functioning autism who will be applying to college this fall. I wondered if anyone has worked with a professional college coach/planner who has some knowledge of best colleges for students with high functioning autism. Would love to talk to other parents for advice on making the transition from high school to college. Please email me at

    Hi! I am wondering if anyone has a name of a Medical marijuana doctor in San Diego(north county preferred) not a recommendation doctor- but a real doctor who can give advice for strains and doses. Also any info for trials would be appreciated. Please email me at:
    Thank you!

    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.

  • Autism Society San Diego Spring Family Camp
  • Registration is now open for our Spring Family Camp, happening Friday, April 13th, through Sunday, April 15th, at YMCA Camp Marston in the beautiful hills of Julian. This fun-filled family weekend is open to all ages, and all activities and meals are included. Visit our website for more information and to register!!!

  • 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

  • Presentation: Neurotransmitters in Individuals with Autism
  • *RSVP REQUIRED* or call 760-448-5837.

  • Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment
  • Experience a unique and effective approach to autism therapy.

    Our aim is to bring to families everywhere the most effective therapies for the treatment of autism. Our integrated care model is based on the scientific research and clinical practice of our founder, Dr. Suzanne Goh. We seek to set a new global standard for autism care by achieving superior developmental outcomes for the children and families we serve.

    At Cortica, we believe the world needs a higher standard of care for all those living with autism, or a potential diagnosis of autism. Families like yours deserve effective, collaborative, caring therapies that are accessible and reasonably priced, no matter who you are or where you live.

    Meet our extraordinary team of autism specialists.
    Our multi-disciplinary team includes specialists from many different fields. All of our team members have specialized training and expertise in autism care.

    • Pediatric Neurologists
    • Electroencephalography & Neuromodulation Specialists
    • Neurology Nurse Practitioners
    • Nutrition and Holistic Health Practitioners
    • Speech-Language Therapists
    • Occupational Therapists
    • Physical Therapists
    • Music Therapists
    • Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA)
    • Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT)
    • Social Workers and Marriage-Family Therapists
    • Special Education Teachers
    We provide every child at Cortica with an individualized program to accelerate learning and development. An essential ingredient for success is collaboration among physicians, therapists, parents, children, and our extended communities.

    Together, we clarify the complex, celebrate extraordinary efforts, and witness moments of brilliance as our children grow new skills and abilities. Many of our services are covered by medical insurance plans. Contact us for all the info!!!

    Cortica Care
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121

  • Tilak Healthcare is hosting focus groups and needs participants
  • When: Wednesday February 28th and Thursday March 1st 2018

    We need your input: San Diego gamers and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) community

    Age ranges needed: from Middle school through College

    The purpose of these focus group is to get your input on a new gaming product.

    Participants will receive a $30 Visa gift card for approximately one hour of your time.

    Location; The New Children's Museum in San Diego downtown and/or Liberty Station Point Loma.

    Please email or call Karen Keeley at #760-519-0310

  • Helping People with Autism Reach Their Potential
  • Gateway Learning Group is California's Premier provider of ABA therapy. We are excited to announce a recent expansion of our services to Riverside County.

    At Gateway, we help individuals develop and strengthen their learning, language, behavior and social skills with proven-effective therapy treatment to support not only them, but your whole family as well. Gateway works with most health insurance plans and also provides services through school districts.

    Click here to learn more about our team and services, call us at 877-264-6747, or email us at

    San Diego Office
    2525 Camino Del Rio South
    Suite 335
    San Diego, CA 92108

  • Join UCSD Autism Center of Excellence on either SATURDAY OR SUNDAY, APRIL 7-8 for our first SPARKforAutism live-registration event!
  • Join UCSD Autism Center of Excellence on either SATURDAY OR SUNDAY, APRIL 7-8 for our first SPARKforAutism live-registration event! There will be free parking, drinks, child care, games, and giveaways. Come out, join the fun, and enroll in the largest, genetics study of autism with over 9,000 families already participating nationwide! Staff will help guide families through the online registration process and assist with saliva collection. Child care will be provided while parents complete registration. Families who complete the study will receive up to a $50 Amazon e-gift card. Help us understand the genetic causes of ASD and develop better, more effective treatments so that each child can reach their full potential!

    Time: 9 AM- 5 PM
    Where: UCSD Autism Center of Excellence- 8110 La Jolla Shores Drive, Suite 201/202, La Jolla, CA 92037

    To reserve a registration spot, please RSVP by March 29th by calling 858-534-6906 or emailing Hannah Kaplan at
    RSVP is required for attendance and gift card giveaways. BOTH biological parents and the individual/child with ASD are encouraged to attend this event as this is a genetics study. Families must be able to consent and complete registration in English. We can't wait to see you there!

  • Safer than Prescription Medication for Anxiety
  • Safer than prescription medication for anxiety.

    Offering your child hope for a better future.

    Call 858-367-9108 to schedule your FREE consulation.

    Microcurrent 4 Kids is San Diego's premiere pediatric microcurrent therapy program for children with special needs. Our program is the BEST therapy for Autism & ADHD, as you will see by the rapid improvement in your child's skills and abilities, because of how well it promotes developmental growth and couples with ALL other therapies. Proudly serving all of San Diego and conveniently located in Kearny Mesa, just off the 163 freeway and Balboa Avenue.

  • Spring 2018 Therapeutic Recreation Services Calendar
  • Click here for our new Spring 2018 calendar. Please note the following important dates:

    >>First day of registration for Spring activities
    Saturday, February 17 at 10:00 a.m.

    >>First day of registration for Summer Camps
    Saturday, March 3rd at 10:00 a.m.

    You may sign up online at or at our office 3325 Zoo Drive, 92101.

  • It's Tax Time!
  • Need help navigating the tax ramifications of receiving public benefits such as IHSS? Have questions about which expenses are deductible (special diets, therapies, etc...)?

    As a mother of twins diagnosed with Autism, I am able to provide a personal level of service due to first-hand experience.

    Individual & Business tax returns welcome.

    Serving the special needs community since 2008

    Yvette M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax
    3633 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 205
    San Diego, CA 92108
    (619) 977-6586

  • An Improv Program Designed for Teens on the Autism Spectrum
  • Connections
    A Program of Unscripted Learning

  • Vanderbilt Kennedy Center: Residential and Respite Care Services Survey
  • The survey will take less than 30 minutes to complete. The survey is anonymous and voluntary and the responses are confidential. The responses will be helpful in determining issues and supports related to residential and respite care services. We will raffle ten $25 gift cards at the close of the survey for participants who complete the survey.

    Click here to take the survey and help with research to improve lives!!!

  • Free Download: Building Blocks Handout
  • Parents, teachers, clinicians, and many others have requested this handout to better understand the development of young children with social learning challenges compared to their neurotypical peers. We encourage its use in IEP meetings, treatment planning, and staff discussions to guide a deeper understanding of the social learning process and pinpoint treatment focus areas.

    The handout attractively displays 15 foundational social learning concepts incorporated into the We Thinkers! early learner series, an extensive product collection for helping children engage in social emotional learning and improve their social competencies. The Building Blocks of Social Development interrelate to reinforce improved social learning. Each level leads to the next, and as a young learner progresses along the social learning building blocks, the social competencies they gain support reading comprehension, written language, working in a group, listening, and speaking-each of which are tied to greater academic and career success.

    Download the Building Blocks Handout free for your classroom, clinic, or home! Click here!!

  • iCan Bike San Diego 2018 - Registration is open!
  • Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • It's Our 16th Annual Splash for Cash
  • Join Us for Our Biggest Event Supporting Our Aquatics Programs and Family Events on Sunday, April 29, 2018

    This is a big, fun Pool Party FUNdraiser to support all of our aquatic programs and family events.

    Join us at Aqua Pros Swim School Pool at the Boys and Girls Club, 4635 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard in San Diego.

    There will be all day swimming plus:

    • Pancake breakfast and chili dog lunch prepared by SD City Firefighters
    • Swimming between 9am-1:30pm
    • Event giveaway for each person who raises funds
    • Hourly "Swimmer in the Pool Prize" drawings
    • Fantastic silent auction
    • Safety information including drowning prevention featuring Safer 3 and Take Me Home
    • Special Guests are planned
    • Team prizes for most money raised by team and individual
    • So much more!
    Day of event: Minimum donation is $25 individual or $50 team/family
    Any individual or team who raises at least $250 may enroll for Surf Camp on day of the event and receive priority registration.

    General Surf Camp registrations accepted via USPS and postmarked on April 30 or later.

  • ASD Mornings at theNAT
  • 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.

    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.


    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.