Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 08, 2018

In This Issue

An Overview of Drugs Used to Treat Autism Symptoms

Dear future husband: Thank you for accepting my brother with autism

Flurry of studies hint at folic acid's protective role in autism

Why Microsoft is hiring autistic talent to drive creativity

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Parents Who have a Child with Autism Wanted for an Online Survey

Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!

Parent Power Lab: Autism, Health & Wellness

YOU can be a SUPERHERO for Autism!

NFAR: North County Mom's Group - Mar 15

TAG Talks with Dennis Spiegelman - In Carlsbad

East County Autism Support Group

Cara Lucier & Associates

TACA San Diego's 2nd Annual IEP Day Workshop

Author of the Month: Saturday, April 7, 1:00 - 2:30 pm at the San Diego Central Library

Support & Information for Adults: Department of Rehabilitation Services

Autism Awareness Night with the San Diego Gulls!


S4EA Surf Camp April 20-22 at YMCA Camp Surf



  • An Overview of Drugs Used to Treat Autism Symptoms
  • No drug can treat autism specifically, but many can help with its symptoms

    You've read that there's no known medical cure for autism, yet your doctor is prescribing medication. What's that about? The answer is simple. Your doctor is not treating autism: he or she is treating specific symptoms of autism. Often, when symptoms are treated, people with autism are better able to learn, communicate, and generally connect with others.

    Symptoms of Autism That Can Be Treated With Drugs
    Not everyone with an autism spectrum disorder has the same symptoms, and not all symptoms can be treated with pharmaceuticals.

    Most often, when drugs are prescribed for people with autism, they are intended to address specific symptoms including behavioral issues, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attentional issues, hyperactivity, and mood swings from issues such as bipolar disorder. Read on...

  • Dear future husband: Thank you for accepting my brother with autism
  • This blog post is by 17-year-old Seana Wheeler. Seana's 15-year-old brother Ethan is on the autism spectrum.

    To the man who chose me,
    There are many reasons I am with you. Yet, you and I both know that at the top of my list of reasons is one very simple fact. That fact being you chose me, accepted me and you chose and accepted my brother with autism.

    We both know when it came to choosing a life partner, being accepting of and informed about autism was a major priority for me. There is very little in this life that means more to me than Ethan. We have been by each other's side for almost two decades, possibly more by the time you read this. Ethan has always been my biggest motivation for finding a love that is accepting of the world of autism and all the differences that come with it. Read on...

  • Flurry of studies hint at folic acid's protective role in autism
  • Folic acid, a B vitamin, may lower autism risk and ease features of the condition, according to findings from five unrelated studies published over the past few months.

    Three of the studies suggest that prenatal supplements of folic acid offset autism risk associated with in utero exposure to epilepsy drugs or toxic chemicals1,2,3. The supplements are also known to prevent birth defects.

    Another study found that people with autism and their immediate family members are more likely than controls to carry immune molecules that could block folate's passage into the brain. Read on...

  • Why Microsoft is hiring autistic talent to drive creativity
  • Microsoft has said that its ongoing drive to hire autistic talent and spearhead inclusive design is driving creativity and innovation across the business.

    Speaking at the #DiverseMinds conference in London today (1 March), Michael Vermeersch, digital inclusion lead at Microsoft, said that the company's drive to hire autistic talent has an 80% success rate.

    Sharing what he described as "the greatest feedback he had ever received," he explained how one such employee had stated: "For the first time in many years I feel like it is not a weakness to have a disability." Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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!

    Can you recommend someone in San Diego to establish a special needs trust for my 2 children on the Autism Spectrum. We live in Carmel Valley area.

    Hi im from chula vista my son is autistic and im having so much problems with his school theres any way you can give information about an advocate on this area please.

    Hello! I am a mom of an 12 yr old in an out of state residential placement. I am trying to find moms in a similar situation for support and questions. Please contact me at

    Our pediatrician/family doctor is an ok doctor and is pretty good with my son with ASD. However, he did not understand the impact of ASD on our family well enough to adequately complete the health form for IHSS. Can anyone recommend a Sharp pediatrician for my son with autism (or another one who takes Health Net HMO insurance)? Please email me at with your recommendation. I would greatly appreciate it.

    Hello! I am a graduate student studying speech-language pathology and am planning to one day work with adults who are on the autism spectrum. I am currently seeking a summer practicum placement with the adult population that would last for 6 weeks and consist of 10 hours per week. If you are or know of someone who is a certified speech-language pathologist and would be open to supervising me, please contact me at Many thanks!
    Kathleen Winger

    Looking for someone to mentor and support my high functioning adult on the spectrum. Need someone at least over 25 and available weekends and possibly open to overnight stays. We are in east county, La Mesa area.

    Looking for a primary care physician for my 18 year-old severely autistic son -- non verbal with intense self-injuries behaviors and aggression. Prefer internal medicine specialty. Must have patience and compassion; must understand that autistic individuals manifest illnesses and pain with "behaviors"; must respect the parental point of view and expertise in developing treatment plan. Anthem Blue Cross PPO. Please send suggestions to: 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.

  • Parents Who have a Child with Autism Wanted for an Online Survey
  • Click here to take the survey!!!

  • Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!
  • Real Connections Child Development Institute
    Supporting and partnering with families of children on the autism spectrum through understanding, engagement and relationships.

    Developmental Play Therapy - 1:1 developmental therapy in your child's natural environment. Evidenced- based, emotional, cognitive and neurobiological therapy that assists your child in developing meaningful relationships.

    Parent Coaching & Support - Real-time training and education in your child's individual profile. Learn new ways to engage and connect, while focusing on communicative and cognitive/ social emotional development. Maximize your child's developmental growth through both daily interactions and parent-child intervention sessions.

    A "Whole Child" Program

    • Flexible Thinking
    • Problem Solving
    • Scripting
    • Perserveration
    • Meltdowns
    • Executive Function Skills
    • Regulation
    • Sensory Integration
    • Spatial Processing
    • Individualized Program
    Real Connections San Diego
    415 North Highway 101, Suite C
    Solana Beach, CA 92075
    619-840-0015 or 858-768-0313

  • Parent Power Lab: Autism, Health & Wellness
  • Join us for our March Parent Power Lab. This month's topic is Autism, health and wellness. Let's discuss strategies to help our children with Autism with their mind, body and soul. Come with questions, leave empowered!

    Wed, March 14, 2018
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    Sanford Autism Consulting
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: $20

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

  • YOU can be a SUPERHERO for Autism!
  • You can be a SUPERHERO for those with autism on Saturday, March 24th!

    Race includes a commemorative medal, T-shirt or cape and includes a fantastic Resource Fair, children's activities, music, dancing & lots of fun!

    100% of the Race proceeds stay in San Diego and help to fund early identification and education efforts, technical training in software testing for young adults, parent programs, instructional workshops and has funded more than 700 community programs and classrooms, benefiting thousands of local children and families.

    Please join us in making a difference on March 24th. Because everyone can be a SUPERHERO! Register Today at

  • NFAR: North County Mom's Group - Mar 15
  • Thursday, March 15, 2018
    6:30 - 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 for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    March Topic: What Your Child Can Learn Through ABA

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • TAG Talks with Dennis Spiegelman - In Carlsbad
  • RSVP by calling 858-689-2027!!!

  • East County Autism Support Group
  • Monday, March 12, 2018
    6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
    Office of Dr. Rienzi Haytasingh
    5550 Baltimore Drive, Suite 150 ยท La Mesa, CA

    Support, information, resources and referral for families of persons on the autism spectrum. Join us to learn the experiences of others and share your own. Light refreshments.

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Cara Lucier & Associates
  • At Cara Lucier & Associates we believe in the ability of every person to reach their potential. We believe that education is the key to opportunity. We advocate for the rights of individuals and their families:

    • IEP team meetings
    • Mediation
    • Due Process Hearings and Appeals
    • 504 Meetings and Appeals
    • Regional Center Meetings and Appeals
    • IHSS Appeals
    • Civil Rights Litigation
    For a free 60-minute initial consultation, please contact us at (760)505-2498.

    Law Offices of Cara Lucier
    Civil Rights and Education Law
    701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite #300
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Phone: (760) 717-3451

  • TACA San Diego's 2nd Annual IEP Day Workshop
  • Hosted by Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) San Diego Chapter

    Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church
    12845 Poway Rd, Poway, California

    Come be a part of TACA SD's 2nd Annual IEP Day Workshop. Learn as much as possible to prepare for your child's IEP Meeting. The IEP (Individualized Education Program) is the foundation for your child's education, and you are a very important member of the team that develops it. Increase your knowledge so that you can be an active, prepared member of your child's IEP team. RSVP to save your chair at this very-knowledgeable table. If you are new to TACA, you'll receive the Autism Journey Guide as a take-home resource. We will have short presentation by the attorneys followed by direct support from the 2 attorneys and 2 advocates for your loved ones IEP. Remember to bring the IEP to receive maximum support.

    Special Education Attorneys Cara Lucier, Esq., Thomas S. Nelson Esq., Special Education Advocates Alishia Goyette and Shannon Primer will be here to support you.

    *Please note we meet in the Lower Fireside Room on the Southside of the Church.

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Author of the Month: Saturday, April 7, 1:00 - 2:30 pm at the San Diego Central Library
  • Join a wide-ranging, inspiring conversation about stories, families, and compassion with award-winning children's author, Sally J. Pla, and therapist/founder of the Love & Autism Conference, Dr. JennyPalmiotto, Saturday, April 7, at 1:00. - 2:30 at the Central Library. Their talk is entitled "Kids & Books & Love & Autism."

    Humans make sense of the world through story-telling. We all love good stories, but they may be especially meaningful for those whose brains operate just a bit differently - and for those of us who know and love them.

    Award-winning San Diego author Sally J. Pla has written two highly acclaimed books that touch upon what life is like with a slightly different neurology: The Someday Birds, and Stanley Will Probably Be Fine. She is eager to share why she felt compelled to write them, and what her ongoing literary mission may be.

    Dr. Jenny Palmiotto's nationally renowned Love & Autism Conference is held annually in San Diego. Its theme this year is "Stories." We'll hear from Jenny about why this theme is important to her conference, her practice, and her clients.

    Perhaps someone you love, someone you teach, someone you work with, or live with is somewhere on the spectrum. Or perhaps you care about compassion, acceptance, and the celebration of differences in our world. Or perhaps you just love good books and good stories from a unique perspective. In any case, we hope you join us for what's sure to be an enlightening talk.

    Refreshments will be served during a meet-and-greet after the talk. Sally's books will be available for sale.
    Resource information on autism also will be available.

    THE SOMEDAY BIRDS -- Winner of the 2018 Dolly Gray Children's Literature Award. Junior Library Guild Selection. "Nerdies" Book Award Winner. A New York Public Library Best Kids Book of 2017.

    "Offering a mixture of suspense, mystery, tragedy and humor, Pla's story captures both the literal and figurative meanings of journey." -Publishers Weekly Starred Review

    "Pla gives us a memorable hero in this lyrical and funny book." -Shelf Awareness Starred Review

    The Someday Birds is a debut middle grade novel perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree, filled with humor, heart, and chicken nuggets. Charlie's perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan.

    When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels crosscountry with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn out okay.

    Author Sally J. Pla has written a tale that is equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an autistic boy who feels he doesn't understand the world, and an uplifting portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.

    This is a free event and all the info is here.

  • Support & Information for Adults: Department of Rehabilitation Services
  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018
    6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
    Autism Society of San Diego
    United Way Building
    4699 Murphy Canyon Road
    San Diego, CA 92123

    This month will feature two presenters from the Department of Rehabilitation. They will discuss training programs and services and how the DOR can assist individuals with autism and disabilities to find employment.

    Megan Contreras, M.S,CRC
    Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Qualified Rehabilitation Profession
    CA Department of Rehabilitation
    San Diego District Office
    Megan has a Master's Degree through the San Diego State University's Rehabilitation Counseling program and am is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Autism Awareness Night with the San Diego Gulls!
  • Join the San Diego Gulls for Autism Awareness Night on March 30th! This year, the San Diego Gulls will be warming up in specialty Autism Awareness jerseys that are being auctioned off after the game to raise funds for Autism Tree Project, Autism Speaks and Autism Society! Jerseys will also be available at auction through DASH Auctions which can be downloaded to your mobile device by texting 'DASH' to 66866. All tickets purchased through this link will be sat together in Terrace level, section T9A.

    This section is strategically located close to restrooms (located at every turn/corner), a quiet room (First Aid, located in section 6) and the Autism Information table (located in section 10).

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

  • s4ea

    Click here to read their latest edition for all the news and upcoming activities!!!

  • S4EA Surf Camp April 20-22 at YMCA Camp Surf
  • s4ea

    S4EA Surf Camp Session #1 on April 20-22 at YMCA Camp Surf in Imperial Beach offers surfing & other beach activities. Athletes spend 2 nights in cabins under the guidance of chaperones/camp counselors. Persons with disabilities, families, friends, volunteers, coaches & supporters are all welcome to join S4EA at the Camp. Session #1 is not wheelchair accessible. Click here for Surf Camp Flyer.

    The S4EA Surf Camp Registration Fee is $170 per session to help pay for lodging, meals, insurance, supplies, etc. Mail Fee & S4EA Camp Registration Form by March 30th to S4EA (9575 Aero Drive #B, SD, CA 92123). A non-refundable deposit of $70 will reserve your spot in S4EA Surf Camp. For more info, please call S4EA at (858)565-7432 or go to the S4EA website at

  • 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.

    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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!!!


    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.