Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. April 07, 2018

In This Issue

Mounting evidence links mitochondrial DNA to autism

Autism Informed the Entire Design of This Revolutionary Boarding School

Autistic Adults Do Not Look Like Autistic Children

Top 10 Positive Traits of Autistic People

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Sports 4 Exceptional Athletes Newsletter for April!

Friendship Walk San Diego, April 29th!!!

Chula Vista Jam Session Registration Now Open

The NEW 2018 Flourishing Families is Out!!

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Safer Than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and the Effects are Permanent!!!

Bobcat Buddies at the Boys and Girls Club of Bressi Ranch, TOMORROW!

Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!

Jeremiah's Ranch April Newsletter

Sensory-Friendly Play & Learn for Autism in Escondido

8th Annual Community Agency Resource Fair

TAG Summer Camp - Pre-teen/Teen Program

See you at our next Dance for Teens & Adults with Special Needs

Learn About RDI in San Diego!

6 Session Course Coaching Young Adults with Autism



  • Mounting evidence links mitochondrial DNA to autism
  • Several types of genetic alterations that affect mitochondria increase the risk of autism, two new studies suggest.

    Mitochondria, the organelles that power cells, have a circular genome with 37 genes. People inherit their mitochondrial DNA from their mothers, so the DNA stays relatively consistent from one generation to the next.

    As a result, people's mitochondrial genomes fall into distinct groups, each of which has essentially the same DNA. Each of these so-called 'haplogroups' reflects an ancestral line. Haplogroups 'M' and 'N,' for instance, arose from women who left Africa for Eurasia about 65,000 years ago. There are nine known European haplogroups. Read on...

  • Autism Informed the Entire Design of This Revolutionary Boarding School
  • Every detail of the new Shrub Oak International School near NYC-from windows to wall colors-was crafted with autistic students top of mind

    Renee Marcus, an architect and the studio director of H2M Architects + Engineers, has worked on a number of school and college projects, but when she was tapped to design Shrub Oak International School, a boarding school for autistic teenagers outside of New York City, she discovered that she'd need to evaluate everything from windows to wall colors through a different lens.

    "Even the lighting has to be considered carefully: Some of the ballasts have this high-pitched hum, and the children might be so bothered by that frequency that they can't work," says Marcus, who spent the past two and a half years overseeing the renovation of a 400,000-square-foot former seminary in Westchester County that sits on 127 acres. Read on...

  • Autistic Adults Do Not Look Like Autistic Children
  • Stories from the Spectrum - Autism from an Autistic Perspective

    I recently presented to a room full of people on the topic of Autistic People and Literacy. A few days later I again presented to another group of people on another autism-related topic. It doesn't matter the autism topic or whether the group I am presenting to are educators, therapists, or parents of children with autism - I am almost always approached by someone wanting to know how it is that I do not look or act anything like the autistic children they know.

    There are many reasons autistic adults do not look like autistic children. Here are some to consider:

    1. The first reason is that all children grow up. Adults, whether autistic or not, generally do not behave in their everyday lives the same way they behaved as small children. We all grow and change with maturity. Autism does not prevent a person from growing and changing over time. Read on...

  • Top 10 Positive Traits of Autistic People
  • What are the best aspects of autism?

    If you're the parent of a child with autism (or an adult on the spectrum) you've probably heard a lifetime's worth of information about the challenges and deficits associated with the disorder. But for every downside to autism, there seems to be an upside too. People with autism have uniquely positive traits that are rare or even nonexistent among typical individuals. It's important to note that these positive traits are not unique to savants with special talents or skills; rather, they are present in almost every person with autism.

    If you're tired of hearing about the problems associated with autism, try pinning this list up on your fridge or sharing it with friends, family, and school staff. It's time to celebrate the positive! Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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.

    Seeking Roommate for Autistic Older Adult
    I am seeking a roommate for my sister, who is almost 60, severely autistic and non-verbal. My sister is not aggressive toward others - she is affectionate and enjoys the company of other people, and is intelligent - but she is not verbally communicative and is very low-functioning.

    Roommate would need to also be a Regional Center client, non-aggressive and be in or entering the Supported Living program.
    Please contact Daria at Thank you!

    Hello! I am looking to get any information, experiences and guidance regarding SSI applications. My daughter is 17 1/2 and we never applied before. George

    We are wondering what parents experiences has been with some organizations for young adults.
    Our son is a client of the Department of Rehabilitation. We need to select a program for job training. We hope to get some feedback about The Arc, Goodwill and Toward Maximum Independence.
    Thanks Laura S.

    I am trying to find a social group for my 17 year old daughter.She has a mild learning disability and although she does not actually have a diagnosis of autism I definitely think she is on the spectrum with certain behaviors(obsession with time,picky eating, watching shows over and over) My greatest concern is her lack of social skills or awareness and I would love to get her together with some similar teenage boys and girls for fun, friendship ,outings. We live in zip code 92129. Thank you if anyone can help point us in the right direction. Kim

    Our family is looking to find an occasional (possibly weeknight event,etc./day date/date night) babysitter for our 3.5 year old son with moderate ASD (and nut allergies). He is very verbal but with pragmatic language delays, has some transition sensitivities causing some protesting, but overall he is a fun loving little guy who just likes to be on a schedule. We want someone we can rely on with great references and EXPERIENCE with children on the spectrum (which we haven't been too lucky through We live in the Carmel Valley/Torrey Highlands area and we also have a 1 year old Bernese Mountain Dog. If you have had an amazing sitter or are a sitter with ASD experience, please email me, Brittany,

    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.

  • Sports 4 Exceptional Athletes Newsletter for April!
  • s4ea

    Click here to view their newsletter for the month of April, highlighting all of their upcoming sporting and fundraising events!!!

  • Friendship Walk San Diego, April 29th!!!
  • Walk With Your Heart!!!

    Sunday, April 29th
    Liberty Station, NTC Park, Preble Field
    2455 Cushing Rd., San Diego, CA 92106

    Join us for the 5k Friendship Walk San Diego to raise funds and community involvement for children and adults with special needs. The Friendship Circle, San Diego provides inclusion programming, fun community outings and friendship for children, teens and adults with disabilities throughout San Diego County.

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

  • Chula Vista Jam Session Registration Now Open
  • For Teens and Young Adults with Special Needs

    Has your teen or young adult with special needs ever wanted to be in a rock band? Here is their chance. Unlocking their potential and spotlighting their abilities, this youth group learns the dynamics of building friendships, social skills and self-expression through fresh and creative avenues. Drawing on peers and professionals from the music community, this group experiences music recording, instrument exploration, improvisational songwriting, drumming and other projects based on the interests and needs of the group.
    Check out this video that gives an overview of the program

    Location: Chula Vista
    Mandatory New Parent Meeting: April 12th from 6:00-7:30pm
    Session Dates: April 26; May 10, 17, 24, 31; June 7, 14, 21
    Time: 7:00-8:00pm

    Click here for registration

  • The NEW 2018 Flourishing Families is Out!!
  • The new edition of Flourishing Families, San Diego and Imperial County's resource guide for families with special needs, is now available! Find helpful articles, resources for specific diagnoses and disabilities, as well as special needs camps, educational programs, support groups and more.

    Access the digital edition on the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego website at

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • In Scripps Ranch!
    Please R.S.V.P. with your host Bene Raphael no later than April 13th at or for any questions please call (760) 845-4551

  • Safer Than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and the Effects are Permanent!!!
  • 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 clinically proven, 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.

    4540 Kearny Villa Road, Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123

  • Bobcat Buddies at the Boys and Girls Club of Bressi Ranch, TOMORROW!
  • Bobcat Buddies at the Boys and Girls Club of Bressi Ranch
    Hosted by Bobcat Buddies Club of Sage Creek High school!

    All ages welcome up to high school! Play basketball with the local high schoolers of Sage Creek High school. This activity will only be for one hour from 2:30-3:30pm on April 8th. Sign up Fast! Only the first 15 will be accepted. This activity is FREE!!! Parents are required to stay. For more information and to sign up visit

  • 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

  • Jeremiah's Ranch April Newsletter
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all of the info about their upcoming activities and events!!!

  • Sensory-Friendly Play & Learn for Autism in Escondido
  • April 29, 2018
    8:30 to 10:30am
    Totally Thomas' Toy Depot
    200 E Via Rancho Pkwy
    Escondido, California 92025
    Hosted by Autism Speaks, San Diego


    Totally Thomas' Toy Depot and Autism Speaks is proud to host the first Sensory-Friendly Play & Learn on April 29th.

    This free event will be offered before official store hours and includes activity stations for the kids and a learning educational environment for parents including local resources from Autism Speaks.

    Register here for this free private event!!!!

    There will be a limited number of goodie bags for those who register in advance.

    Questions? Contact:

  • 8th Annual Community Agency Resource Fair
  • As a part of Autism Awareness and Acceptance month, we are hosting our 8th annual community agency resource fair in Kearny Mesa. This is a great opportunity to increase your awareness of services and supports that are available here in San Diego and have a chance to speak with representatives one on one. Hope to see you there!
    Click here for all the info!!!

  • TAG Summer Camp - Pre-teen/Teen Program
  • TAG for Grow in Carlsbad
    5411 Avenida Encinas, Ste. 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008

  • See you at our next Dance for Teens & Adults with Special Needs
  • RSVP to Caroline at 602-502-2743!!!

  • Learn About RDI in San Diego!
  • April 11, 2018
    6 to 7:30pm
    9466 Black Mountain Rd., Ste 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    Click here to RSVP!

  • 6 Session Course Coaching Young Adults with Autism
  • Interview and Beyond: Skills to Get and Keep a Job

    This 6-session course, facilitated by occupational and speech therapists, will coach young adults with autism how to navigate the unspoken rules of the workplace. As participants work through simulations, virtual reality practice, and group projects, they will develop awareness of common employer expectations and develop skills to navigate them confidently. Skills targeted include: successful interviewing, workplace social skills, organization and time management, self-advocacy and ability to accept workplace feedback. Participants must be at least 16 years old and have a high school diploma or verification from a teacher that they have a 6th grade or higher reading level. Tuition includes a year subscription to two web-based job training programs, SIMmersion and Jobtips.

    TO REGISTER, CALL (858)673-5437 OR GO TO

  • 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.

    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.

  • 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!!!

  • Parents Who have a Child with Autism Wanted for an Online Survey
  • Participate in Research: Attention Differences in Boys with ASD and their Family Member

  • Boys with ASD between the ages of 8 and 16 and both of their biological parents are invited to participate in a study examining attention skills and genetics.

    Boys who are typical developing and their biological parents are also invited to serve as a control group.

    This research is 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. You must be able to travel to the lab to participate.

    Study Requirements
    -Both biological parents and the son must participate.
    -Each parent will complete questionnaires about him or herself.
    -This should take about 30 minutes.
    -Each parent will complete a brief standard cognitive measure. This should take about 30 minutes.
    -Each parent will complete a computer task. This should take about 30 minutes.
    -One parent will complete questionnaires about your son. This should take about 25 minutes.
    -Your will complete the brief standard intelligence measure. This should take your child about 30 minutes.
    -Your son will compete the computer task. This should take about 30 minutes.

    Upon completion of participation, your son will receive $20 and each parent will receive a $10 gift card. You may also receive, upon request, results of your performance and/or your child's performance.

    Refer another family to the study and be entered in a drawing for a $200 Visa gift card.

    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. If a parent is excluded, he or she will be given a $5 gift card for participation in the preliminary assessment.

    If you are interested in participating, please call 858-635-4068 or by email: or Thank you in advance for your time and assistance!

    Approved by Alliant IRB (#1604025150R001)


    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.