Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 03, 2017

In This Issue

Sibling Walks Alongside Twin Brother with Autism at Graduation

Five Unexpected Places to Find Disability-Related Products Online

Shared genetic pathways underlie autism, attention deficit

The unexpected plus of parenting with autism

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

Upcoming Sensory Friendly Films

Dynamic Intelligence 1 Day Training

NFAR Men's Group - June 8, 2017

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

Music Therapy Center of CA June Presentations and Events

Join TAG and Vincent for a BBQ Lunch!!

AWARE - Adults with Autism Recreation Experience

Therapeutic Approach to Growth Upcoming Events

NFAR NEWS - Upcoming Summer Activities!

Conference: Love and Autism



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!

  • Sibling Walks Alongside Twin Brother with Autism at Graduation
  • Aly Bonville is a recent high school graduate who has a twin brother with autism. She shared her touching story about growing up with her brother, Anders, and how she got him to walk with her at her graduation ceremony.

    For all of my life I have been with my twin brother Anders.

    Nearly 18 years ago in a small hospital room in Birmingham, my brother and I were born. We were perfect twins; one girl, one boy, a total of 20 fingers and 20 toes, and a long life ahead of us. My mother was overjoyed about her two healthy twin babies, and could not wait to start dressing us in matching clothing and taking us on family outings to the zoo and to the park. Everything was as it should be until the talking, energetic twins became a talkative, adventurous girl and a quiet, inactive boy. Anders at one time had been a typical functioning toddler who could speak and walk, and then one day he was not.

    When we were 2 years old Anders was diagnosed with autism. That was the hardest thing for my mom. She always dreamed of seeing her son play on a sports team, her daughter and son going to football games on the weekend, her kids walking together at graduation, and going to college. No mother wants to hear that her perfectly developing child is going to be mentally disabled for the rest of his life. Luckily, my mother is not the type of person to give up easily and she realized that some of the dreams she had for my brother and me could still be achieved, but we would just have to take an alternate path to get there. Read on...

  • Five Unexpected Places to Find Disability-Related Products Online
  • Sure, you know all the specialty websites for occupational therapy gadgets. You've pored over resource lists to find companies catering directly to your family's needs. You've bookmarked your favorites, and you're happy to give business to small companies who get it. But every now and then ... man, wouldn't it be nice to get some of this stuff with the quick free shipping you get from the big e-commerce websites? Or pick something up at a store near you? Check out what these sites you're probably shopping at right now offer for special-needs shopping.

    1. Zappos Read on...

  • Shared genetic pathways underlie autism, attention deficit

  • A trio of studies make the strongest case to date that autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) share similar genetic causes.

    The findings could help explain why up to 80 percent of children with autism also meet the criteria for ADHD.

    Several studies have shown that autism and ADHD co-occur in families, but researchers have yet to identify overlapping genes.

    "It's a conundrum," says Amir Miodovnik, a pediatrician at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in the studies. "That's why people are continuing to try to show the genetic linkage in different ways." Read on...

  • The unexpected plus of parenting with autism

  • Having autism as a parent might seem impossibly challenging. But a generation of parents with the condition is showing that it can be an advantage - even when their child does not share the diagnosis.

    It's going on 8 p.m., and Kirsten Hurley's house in West Cork, Ireland, is a scene of happy chaos. The children - Alex, 9, and Isla, 4 - have been promised chocolate if they stay out of their mother's hair while she talks with a journalist via Skype.

    But the bribe doesn't seem to be working - at least not with Isla, who climbs up her mother's back and somersaults over her shoulder, cackling with delight.

    "This is something that drives me nuts," Hurley says. The nonstop and often intense sensory inputs that come along with being a parent - being grabbed at, being climbed on, listening to the drone of "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom" - can be difficult for her to handle because she has a mild form of autism sometimes known as Asperger syndrome. Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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.

    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.

  • Upcoming Sensory Friendly Films

    Please come out and bring the whole family. You will sit and relax with your children knowing that everyone can enjoy the movie.


    Link to AMC Palm Promenade:

    Link to AMC Mission Valley:

    Link to AMC Poway 10:

    Upcoming Films in June are:

    WONDERWOMAN - June 13th

    CARS 3 - June 24th


  • 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!!!

  • NFAR Men's Group - June 8, 2017
  • Thursday, June 8, 2017

    The Men's Group is for dads, step dads, and granddads helping to raise a child with autism. We offer dinner, guest speakers and a chance to network with other men in a relaxed setting.

    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Giovanni's Italian Restaurant
    9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad, Soda.
    Dinner is provided

    Please join us for this informal group discussion where you can get to know other Dads and what they are doing to help their child with autism.

    June Topic: Preparing Your Child for Adulthood - Executive Functioning Skills.

    We'll discuss:
    -What are Executive Functioning Skills
    -Why are these important
    -How I can help my child develop these skills

    Guest Speakers: Dr. Mary Baker-Ericzén, Intricate Mind Institute

    Dr. Mary Baker-Ericzén is a clinical psychologist, Research Scientist at Rady Children's Hospital San Diego, Clinical Faculty at UC San Diego (UCSD), Adjunct Faculty at University of San Diego (USD), Operations Director at Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC) and Director of the Intricate Mind Institute (IMI) in San Diego. She has authored over 50 articles and book chapters.

    Her research, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Mental Health and foundations, focuses on improving community services (behavioral health, health and vocational) by increasing the use of evidence-based practices and measurement systems. She has developed interventions to improve services and outcomes for children through adults in the areas of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), executive functioning (EF), depression and behavior disorders.

    Dr. Baker-Ericzén provides clinical services at the Intricate Mind Institute, LLC in San Diego which specializes in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, tics, anxiety and mood disorders.


  • 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!!!

  • Music Therapy Center of CA June Presentations and Events
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info and upcoming events!!!

  • Join TAG and Vincent for a BBQ Lunch!!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth Inc.
    9466 Black Mountain Road
    Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    T 858.689.2027

    Come support Vincent in his quest for independence and employment opportunities in the cooking field!!!

  • AWARE - Adults with Autism Recreation Experience
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    This is a program to offer fun, summer activities for young adults, ages 18 and older, on the autism spectrum. Some individuals, as they enter adulthood, still need the assistance and support of others to be able to participate in many community activities. The purpose of AWARE is to provide autistic adults a day camp experience that will allow them to socialize with their peers and enjoy various community based activities. Many individuals have participated in Camp I CAN when they were younger. This is an opportunity for similar, fun experiences for adults. The staff for this program are individuals who have prior experience working with persons with autism.

    This is designed for autistic adults, ages 18 years and older. Participating individuals must be a resident of San Diego County and a current member of the Autism Society San Diego. (parents/guardians or individual can be the member)

    Ecke YMCA Gymnastics Center
    6100 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, CA 92011

    August 21-25, 2017

    The cost is $200 for Autism Society San Diego members. This camp is funded in a large part by the Autism Society San Diego, Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA & other donors.

    Click here for all the info!

  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth Upcoming Events
    T 858.689.2027

  • NFAR NEWS - Upcoming Summer Activities!
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info and their upcoming events!!!

  • Conference: Love and Autism

  • 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.