Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 01, 2017

In This Issue

It is an honor to have you as my brother

How Speech Therapy Benefits Children with Autism

Mental Health Therapy and the Autistic Client: The Autistic Operating System

Brain's reward region may drive social problems in autism

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

Special Olympics San Diego

Dynamic Intelligence 1 Day Training

Privateer Sunset Cruise to benefit adults with intellectual & developmental disabilities!

Monthly Membership Program at MicroCurrent 4 Kids!

S4EA June Newsletter

"Beyond Bullying" on Sunday, June 11th

ATPF Parent Mentor Night, June 8th

8 Helpful Articles on Mental Health Issues for Children with Special Needs

Camp Let Loose!

ATPF Ready, Set, Go! College Readiness Workshop


5 Books That Can Help Inspire Your Child with Special Needs

The Awesome Power of LEGO Groups

Summer is right around the corner and our camps are filling up fast!

ATPF Teen Time Bowling Party, June 3rd



Want to learn more about Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) for your child on the spectrum?

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®) is a unique treatment approach that empowers parents to guide their child to succeed in a truly dynamic world. Children who learn to actively engage with the support of their parents in safe but challenging learning opportunities (problems and situations that are just beyond their level of competence), develop a strong motivation to explore and expand their world, as well as develop competence and trust in themselves and their Guides. The program has no defined length. It is designed to accommodate parents and children with a wide range of obstacles and handicapping conditions. Therefore participation may range anywhere from one to several years. Have specific questions? See the RDI FAQs for answers!

  • It is an honor to have you as my brother
  • Below is a letter by 17-year-old Seana Wheeler to her 15-year-old brother Ethan. Seana wrote the letter to share all the things she wants to say to her brother.

    Dear Ethan,
    I remember when you were diagnosed. I was five and you just three. I remember never thinking there was any difference between us. It is only when I look back now, that I see them.

    You didn't walk. Other three-year-olds walked. Mom and Dad carried you everywhere we went. You couldn't speak like I could either. I remember never actually having a conversation with you. But boy, you were a great listener! Read on...

  • How Speech Therapy Benefits Children with Autism
  • Virtually Every Child with Autism Can Benefit from Speech Therapy

    What Exactly IS a Speech Therapist?
    Speech therapy involves the treatment of speech and communication disorders - which means it's a very wide-ranging field. A certified speech pathologist (sometimes called a therapist) must hold a master's degree. That person may work in a private setting, a clinic, a school, or an institution, and may well work as part of an educational team. They use a wide range of tools and interventions, ranging from toys and play-like therapy to formal tests and speech curricula. Read on...

  • Mental Health Therapy and the Autistic Client: The Autistic Operating System
  • Mental health diagnosis and treatment has evolved over time according to what makes sense and what works for most people. We have an increasing body of research around mental health issues that informs us today. However, when it comes to autistic people we do not have a body of research that informs us about diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. Autistic people are not like most people. This means we need to understand the underlying autism neurology along with its impacts in the realm of diagnosing and treating mental health disorders in clients also diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

    Autism is an Operating System

    As a clinician it is important to understand that autism is much more than a diagnosis. Autism is a way of being. It is like being blind in that we cannot separate the blindness from the person, but the blindness - or in this case, the autism - defines the person. As an autistic I see, experience, interact with and give back to the world as an autistic. Autism is my operating system. It defines me.

    Autistics have a different operating system than typical people. This is not good or bad. It is just different. Think of PlayStation and Xbox gaming systems. Some gamers prefer one to the other, but most gamers like owning both. This is because some games can only be played on PlayStation while other games need an Xbox system. Neither gaming system is good or bad. They are just different systems. Read on...

  • Brain's reward region may drive social problems in autism

  • Having too many copies of a gene called UBE3A mutes a brain region that may mediate the satisfaction a person derives from social interactions, suggests a new study in mice1. The findings hint at how excess UBE3A, which is linked to autism, leads to problems with social skills.

    People with autism may find social interactions less rewarding than their typical peers do. The new work points to a possible mechanism for their lack of motivation, and suggests an avenue for therapy.

    "If we can ramp up the activity of those neurons, we may be able to rescue social behavior," says lead researcher Matthew Anderson, associate professor of pathology at Harvard University. "Ultimately, we might be able to find drugs that target the activity of those cells." Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • Hi! We have two energetic boys. I'm looking for a reliable respite worker who is fun loving and understands Aspie kids. Boys are 11 and 13.
    Legoland, parks, bike riding, basketball, Yugio, board games, and Minecraft are in your future.
    Please contact me for more info. Ideally, after school 2-3x a week with younger kiddo and a weekend afternoon/early evening 2x a month. Summer schedule will shift a bit.
    Please Contact me if you are interested - Carmel Valley area-thank you!

    I am looking for a half day kindergarten program in San Diego county. Currently my daughter is in preschool in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. CVESD does not have any half day programs or EAK programs for the 2017-2018 school year. My daughter turns five in July, is autistic and epileptic, and has an IEP. We feel she would be better served in a half day program for one additional year. If anyone has any information they can share with me I can be reached at Thank you!

    Our son is 12, about to turn 13. He was diagnosed with high functioning autism, apraxia, and academic disabilities (cannot read or write independently). However, he is very artistic, loves to draw, loves movies of all kinds (comedies: Lego Batman, Boss Baby, anything by Pixar/Dreamworks and adventure movies: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc). He also loves nerf guns, zombies, video games, building legos (so so soooo many legos), watching Youtube about building Legos, and also likes to create Lego brick films. Most recently he has been talking about wanting to create his own movies with friends.

    The problem is, we have struggled with finding friends similar to our son's abilities. His one best friend moved away and the other few friends he does have don't share the same interests. We thought by posting here we might be able to reach a few families with children who are either typical developing or with special needs that have similar interests. I know other parents have to struggle with the same problem for their kids!?

    Are there any families with kids out there looking to find a friend with similar interests like our son? If so, we would love to meet you!

    We have also started looking into group therapy sessions through ABA companies and also speech to see if we can make new friendships. Does anyone have any recommendations for groups they participate in?
    Jennifer & Derek Thomas

    We need some serious Psychiatry help for our son. He is 18 and mild/moderate autistic. But now we believe he is dealing with a secondary mental health issue. Where can we get help?
    Thanks Laura

    Residential supportive living opportunity in families home in Encinitas. Room and board in exchange for part time (after school and some weekends shifts) support and companion for our healthy, 17 yr old, high functioning ASD son who attends LCC High school. Support with meal prep, self-help skills, independence building, home work, IEP goals social outings and companionship. Son will have a newly remodeled 2nd floor studio space in our home. Private bedroom/bath suite provided with balcony for IHSL person in our beautiful, spacious home.

    References and autism experience required as well as back ground check. Ideal candidate between 20-30 years, single and on a special education career path, with positive, outgoing nature and flexibility to possibly travel with family or be companion for son 24/7 for paid income when parents travel occasionally for business. Legal drivers license, proof of current insurance, good driving record, and must own reliable car. Available to begin in June or July, 2017. Contact Kalli for more info and send resume to:

    Job Coach
    Life Works has a career opportunity for you! We are looking for an outgoing, dependable full-time job coach working with a young, Autistic male who lives in the SDSU area. The job coach primary role is to assist the individual in performing his work duties at 3 different places of employment. Other tasks include: administering medication, assistance with morning routine, daily note documentation, and behavioral support. Experience working with people with Autism is required. Behavioral support experience is preferred. The hours are Monday thru Friday 8-3p.m. To review more about our agency, please visit us at For all serious inquiries, please submit a cover page, resume, and three professional references.

    Hi, we're looking to teach our 6 year old boy to swim. He has receptive and expressive delays, as well as sensory and motor delays. We're looking for someone who could teach him in his swimming pool, as our community's one is very small and usually overcrowded. If you can help, please contact us at

    I have 6 different GeoTrax train sets that we would like to sell. We know many kiddos on the spectrum enjoy trains very much.

    Please give our email to have people contact us if interested in buying them. They are in very good condition. We have had them stored in plastic containers inside. They are the older style, but they all fit together. Laura

    Looking for SIERRA ACADEMY & SPRINGALL ACADEMY families!
    My son attends Sierra Academy/Springall Academy and we recently started a Facebook group to better connect with other families from the school. We are new to the school and want to meet/talk to others. Their students come from all over San Diego County so I thought it would be nice to have a way to connect.

    If you have a child at either school and would like to be a part of this Facebook group please email me. I will send you a friend request, once you accept, I will invite you to the group. Please feel free to reach out to other families you may know at the school too.

    Looking forward to meeting other families,

    My son is a high functioning middle schooler with significant behavioral challenges including explosive aggressive outbursts. We are looking for any insights/experience into the San Diego Children's Center or Rileys? Also, any other non-public school options that can provide academic support in a safe environment with expert staff to address explosive outbursts? If so, please reach out to Thanks so 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.

  • Special Olympics San Diego
  • Special Olympics San Diego Region enriches the lives of more than 2,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities and their communities through sports, education, and athlete health. Click here to learn more and to sign up!!!

  • Dynamic Intelligence 1 Day Training
  • Join Dr. Gutstein, founder of RDI, Jennifer Perry and Lisa Blackwood, RDI consultants in discovering the necessity of dynamic intelligence to live a purposeful life. We all want our children to be able to develop the expertise to meet life challenges, to be growth focused, to have a coherent positive self-narrative, and to recognize their own value and worth.

    Questions? Call 619-600-0683 or email us:

    Click here to register!!!

  • Privateer Sunset Cruise to benefit adults with intellectual & developmental disabilities!
  • Complimentary appetizers, champagne, opportunity drawing and a cash bar included with the sunset boat cruise for only $20. RSVP to save your place today!

    RSVP NOW!!!

    5050 Murphy Canyon Road
    Suite 220
    San Diego, CA 92123
    T (858) 565-9870

  • Monthly Membership Program at MicroCurrent 4 Kids!
  • We are offering everyone the easiest and most cost-effective way to come in for regular and follow-up therapy sessions. Announcing our New Monthly Membership Plan!

    Monthly Membership $89
    With the ease of a monthly auto-payment you will earn 1 session each month, plus any additional sessions you wish to buy will all be billed at our member rate of only $80 each! Membership provides the lowest cost-per-session option (36% off single session rate) and relives the burden of paying a large lump sum up front. Best of all the effects of microcurrent therapy are cumulative! So the more you come in, the better results you will see in your child's mental and physical health!
    *6-month contract required

    Membership Benefits Include:

    • One 30-min Microcurrent Therapy session; a full-body detox (systemic), or an anti-aging facial* for Mom (*Now offering facials, call for more details)
    • Unlimited additional sessions at our lowest member rate
    • Discounts for adding family members to your membership
    • Unused sessions roll over from month to month and can be shared with others
    • Earn free sessions by referring friends
    If you are looking for autism treatment like cranial sacral, PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field), transcranial magnetic stim, FSM (frequency specific microcurrent), hyperbaric oxygenation, MRT (magnetic resonance therapy), chelation, or other alternative treatment options -give us a call to learn about how Microcurrent 4 Kids may be the better choice for you and your family!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Rd, Ste 211
    San Diego, CA 92123
    858 257-1404

  • S4EA June Newsletter
  • s4ea

    Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the news and upcoming events!!!

  • "Beyond Bullying" on Sunday, June 11th
  • Bring your young teens to "Beyond Bullying" on Sunday, June 11th, 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Dance North County, 535 Encinitas Blvd., Ste. 100 (large ballroom), Encinitas, CA 92024.

    This free theatre event is presented by Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT)'s traveling theatre troupe, which consists of four teens and young adults with autism and two neuro-typical teens. Their 'Beyond Bullying' theatre event includes sketches, interactive improv activities and video clips that illustrate the harm bullying can do, address how to avoid being a victim, show how to be a positive influence on bullying happening to others, and look at the causes of bullying. 'Beyond Bullying' utilizes humor and audience participation to create a moving and entertaining event.

    In April of this year the troupe began performing 'Beyond Bullying' at schools and Boys and Girls Clubs. Here are some quotes from San Dieguito Academy students after experiencing 'Beyond Bullying':

    "I saw how bullying really effects people and I know I don't want to ever affect anyone like that." "It inspired me to be kind!" "It opened my eyes to how many bullying events I have let slide by me, and now I'm more aware."

    RSVP at 760-815-8512, or You can learn more about PACT at

    Contact PACT if you would like to host a 'Beyond Bullying' theatre event for your group of young teens. You are welcome to come on June 11th to experience the event. We also invite anyone to attend who is just interested in what our traveling theatre troupe has been up to!

  • ATPF Parent Mentor Night, June 8th
  • June 8th, 2017 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation
    2845 Nimitz Boulevard, San Diego, California 92106

    The ATPF Parent Mentor Program serves families new to the Autism diagnosis by offering personal support in a caring and warm environment. Parent mentors are there for mentees to lend an ear, help you problem solve and guide you to the resources your child needs. This is a FREE event hosted at ATPF that includes light dinner and beverages. If you have not already completed a participant registration form, you'll find it online at

    For further information and to RSVP please contact Lisa Kaufmann: or 619-222-4465

  • 8 Helpful Articles on Mental Health Issues for Children with Special Needs
  • May is Mental Health Month. Since children with special needs often face mental health issues, we've gathered eight posts from our archives to inform and enlighten parents and provide strategies for help and prevention.

    1. Could Depression Be a Problem for Your Preschooler?
    Intro: "Depression was once thought to be an impossible ailment for young children. Yet research has found that depression in young children is real and can be identified as young as two years of age. The diagnosis, though rare, is becoming more acceptable in child psychiatry." Click here for all the info!!!

  • Camp Let Loose!

    Another amazing week-long summer program is coming to Friendship Circle! Customized activities to match your child's needs. Each camper is paired one-on-one with a teen counselor for the entire week to enhance social skills and have fun! Activities range from yoga, arts & crafts, music, baking, sports, water fun day, face-painting and more! Camp week includes 1 field trip day - TBD Register your camper below!

    August 7th - August 11th
    Dropoff: 10AM
    Pickup: 2PM
    Where: 16934 Chabad Way, Poway, CA 92064

    $100 per camper to guarantee a spot
    $50 deposit to reserve (does not guarantee until full payment is posted)
    Scholarships are available - please contact
    Click here to register!!!

    Orientation Workshop: Sunday, August 6th (Time TBD) Monday Aug 7th through Friday Aug 11: 9:30AM - 2:30PM Total 27 Community Service Hours
    Counselors sign up here:

  • ATPF Ready, Set, Go! College Readiness Workshop
  • June 10 - June 11
    Jun 10 at 9:30 AM to Jun 11 at 12 PM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation
    2845 Nimitz Blvd, Ste C, San Diego, California 92106

    ATPF Ready, Set, GO! Readiness Workshop is a FREE workshop for teens and young adults with Autism.

    These free monthly workshops are open to teens with autism, ages 14-21, who are looking for a way to prepare themselves for life away from home. Workshops are led by volunteers who teach and practice with our teens basic life skills such as interviewing for a job, writing a college essay, balancing a checkbook, etc.

    RSVP with or call 619-222-4465

  • Social learning programs for kinder through young adults. Innovative methods and fun activities including Lego Based therapy, SCS Film Festival and an executive functioning bootcamp for teens! Click here for group descriptions, dates and registration info.

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

  • 5 Books That Can Help Inspire Your Child with Special Needs
  • As a speech language pathologist and parent, I love to use storytelling as an opportunity to initiate meaningful conversations and encourage children to follow their dreams regardless of their disabilities and delays. Children with special needs face many challenges in their lives, and reading inspirational children's literature can help improve their self-esteem and make them more mindful and confident in their skills and abilities. These five inspiring children's books are a great place to start. Click here to view all the books!!!

  • The Awesome Power of LEGO Groups
  • N. Jennifer Oke, Ph.D.
    5677 Oberlin Drive, Suite 214
    San Diego, CA 92121
    Office phone: (858) 452-9596

  • Summer is right around the corner and our camps are filling up fast!
  • How to register your child today.

  • ATPF Teen Time Bowling Party, June 3rd
  • Saturday, June 3 at 11 AM - 2 PM
    Kearny Mesa Bowl
    7585 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, California 92111

    Calling all ATPF Teens 18 and over! We have rescheduled our bowling party and want you to come join us! For more information, call 619-222-4465, or email

  • ASD Mornings at theNAT

  • Please visit for more information.

  • Autism Accessibility Morning at the Fleet!

  • In February we began our, Autism Accessibility Mornings at the Fleet (, program. This morning is dedicated to the ASD community to come and enjoy the Fleet in a quieter setting and catch an IMAX film! Our film showings are presented with raised house lights and a lowered soundtrack volume, to provide a more comforting environment. Our goal is to provide an enriching experience for the ASD community

  • SIBSHOP 2016-2017 Schedule

  • October 2016 - August 2017

    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 21: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center

    July 9: Day at Mission Bay, family picnic **

    August 13: Santee Lakes, 9310 Fanita Pkwy, Santee, CA 92071**

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

    REGISTRATION: Pre-registration requested (if possible) the Thursday before the event.
    CONTACT: Email for a registration form and / or additional information.

    Sibshop Leaders: Jody BonDurant-Strong, Administrator Gina Clifton, ECSE Medically-Fragile Teacher, Special Education
    Pat Moulton, Retired

    **Information for family / community locations will be emailed.

  • Participate in Research: Survey About Access to Services
  • Autism Effects on Attentional Blink
  • For more information, please contact Sofia Schugar at the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab: 858-353-4929 (feel free to leave voicemail) or via email at

  • Seeking Research Participants for Autistic Sibling Study
  • business_finance_research.jpg

    Seeking individuals over the age of 18 who grew up with an autistic sibling to participate in a study exploring the experiences of growing up in a family with an autistic brother or sister.

    Participation will involve an in-depth interview, lasting between 1 to 1.5 hours about your autistic sibling experiences and a brief follow-up meeting about six weeks later.

    The purpose of the study is to provide an in-depth retrospective exploration of the experiences of adults who grew up with an autistic sibling.

    Eligibility requirements for participation in the study include:
    • Must have lived with autistic sibling for at least 8 years
    • Sibling must have been diagnosed with autism during childhood
    • Interested participant must be at least 18 years of age
    Participants will be provided a $100 Amazon gift card following the interview.

    Interested participants can email Barbara Tierney at:

  • 2017 Edition of Flourishing Families

  • The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego is excited to present the 2017 edition of Flourishing Families, San Diego's resource guide for parents of children with special needs.

    This year's issue contains more than 950 resources including service providers, research institutes, specialized doctors, resource providers, camps, therapists, advocates, associations and so much more.

    Visit to see the digital issue now!

  • San Diego Regional Center's Recreation Resource Page
  • sdrc

    Recreation is important in promoting inclusion and quality of life. Studies have shown that it increases self-esteem and confidence, leads to improved communication, social interaction, and friendship skills.

    The San Diego Regional Center supports clients having time to recreate and believes it is essential to a healthy and well-balanced life. Below are links to some popular recreation activities in the San Diego and Imperial Counties. However, SDRC does not endorse, nor provide funding for any recreation activity. SDRC is not liable for anything occurring while participating in any of the recreational activities. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Special Needs Law Center: Insights 2017 Directory

  • The San Diego Special Needs Law Center has put together a great magazine for the special needs community here in San Diego. Great articles and a resource guide. Available in a print edition and also on their website. Click here to view the magazine!!!


    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.