Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 06, 2017

In This Issue

The ups and downs of being an autism sibling

Play is the answer for healthy emotional development

Sweet Sleep for Special Babies

Oxytocin administered to the nose increases emotion perception in 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!

Prepare for Success When Traveling with Your Child with Special Needs

"Beyond Bullying" on Sunday, June 11th

Summer Reading Intervention

Family Support Tool Kits

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!

Jeremiahs Ranch June Newsletter

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!

  • The ups and downs of being an autism sibling
  • This blog is from Mandy Farmer who writes a blog called From Motherhood where she writes about raising her three children, one who has autism, and her military family life. Mandy recently released a book with her son called, "What About Me? A book by and for an Autism Sibling.

    A little over a year ago our eldest son started having a lot of behavior problems both at home and at school. He has always been our easy going kiddo and definitely the most mellow of our bunch, so imagine my surprise when I was called in for a meeting with the principal, the kindergarten teacher and a counselor to address out of control behaviors and outbursts that were occurring in the classroom. What?? We had been seeing some emotional moments at home, but most of them seemed reactionary to living with a brother on the spectrum who has a lot of behaviors himself.

    As I talked through the meeting with the school (a meeting at which they recommended therapy for him) it dawned on me that I was so busy tending to our autistic child's needs and behaviors that I had lost sight of how hard living in our home must sometimes be for a child.

    "Are there problems at home?" they asked. Read on...

  • Play is the answer for healthy emotional development
  • Play is the cornerstone of Floortime. It is through play that parents and children can share joy. But play is also essential to healthy emotional development because it is through play that we can experiment with and work through our emotions. Play is therapeutic for children and adults alike.

    Last Fall, I saw psychologist Gordon Neufeld speak in Toronto about this very topic. The title of his talk was "Handling Emotions Through Play: Nature's Answer to a Messy Problem" which was a nice complement to his course I had previously taken entitled, "Making Sense of Play". I'd like to share with you what I see so relevant to Floortime from his presentation.

    The Theory
    Dr. Neufeld's 40+ years of clinical experience and scouring the neuroscience, psychology, and developmental science literature guided his elaborate model that is based on the premise that attachment is the preeminent need of all mammals, including human beings. This means that above all else, we seek closeness and connection with others to survive. Read on...

  • Sweet Sleep for Special Babies
  • For babies with special needs, sound sleep requires more than a lullaby and a kiss. According to pediatrician William Sears, MD, author of The Baby Sleep Book and The Fussy Baby Book, infants with special needs sleep differently than their peers, typically taking longer to nod off, waking more frequently, and taking longer to develop regular sleep patterns.

    Naturally, this leads to severely sleep deprived parents. All parents need the patience and problem-solving abilities fostered by restful sleep. Here are tips to help your baby with special needs sleep more soundly (always consult your pediatrician with questions). Read on...

  • Oxytocin administered to the nose increases emotion perception in autism
  • A recent study has demonstrated that intranasal oxytocin can influence how individuals with autism perceive emotion in others. This is an important first step for a potential pharmacological treatment of autism.

    Autism is characterized by difficulties in social functioning. Individuals with autism are generally less sensitive to social information, which can influence their interactions with others as they may overlook social cues. Research has shown that the neuropeptide oxytocin, known to be involved in childbirth and mother-child bonding, also has the potential to improve social information processing in youth with autism.

    In a recent study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, 17 adult men with autism were given a low dose of intranasal oxytocin, a higher dose of intranasal oxytocin, or a placebo over three separate visits. A novel nasal spray device developed by OptiNose AS, which is designed to improve nose-to-brain molecule delivery, was used to deliver the treatment. After each spray administration, the participants were asked about the emotional intensity of a series of facial images. 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. Steven Gutstein, Jennifer Perry and Lisa Blackwood, 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. In this training you will learn:

    • What Dynamic Intelligence is and why its important
    • Explore the importance of self-guiding to developing human potential
    • Discover through video and explanation how families and professionals work together to support growth-oriented mindsets
    • Dive in to ways to introduce or strengthen the culture of dynamic intelligence in your home
    Cost: $45
    Friday, June 9, 2017, 8:30-3:00
    Alliant International University--Green Hall, San Diego
    Hosted by the Family Guidance and Therapy Center of Southern California

    Register Now!

  • 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

  • Prepare for Success When Traveling with Your Child with Special Needs
  • Whether you're driving or flying, traveling has a unique way of causing exorbitant amounts of stress. You worry if you've packed all the essentials and you play out every possible disaster scenario in your head. Traveling with any child is a game of chance as to how they will react, but for your child with special needs, you'll need to do a little more preparing to get from point A to point B.

    Prepare Your Child
    For many children with special needs, any sort of change in routine can be unsettling. Prepare your child for the trip by talking about it for weeks ahead of time. Review the travel process from beginning to end, and show pictures of travel-related things like the airport, airplanes, cars, and your final destination. Social stories can help. Click here for all the info!!!

  • "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!

  • Summer Reading Intervention
  • All sessions will be held at:

    K.I.D.S. Therapy Assoc.
    11838 Bernardo Plaza Ct., Suite 110
    San Diego, CA 92128

    For more information email:

  • Family Support Tool Kits
  • Family members and friends of individuals with autism are presented with many joys and many challenges throughout their lives. Learning that a family member or friend is affected by autism is a powerful moment. People respond with a wide array of emotions: shock, grief, fear, denial, anger, acceptance, and many more. Many begin to feel their lives will never be the same. Parents can feel overwhelmed, siblings can feel isolated, grandparents can feel helpless, and friends can feel apprehensive.

    In an effort to ease the fears of and provide encouragement to all people with individuals with autism in their lives, Autism Speaks has created 4 support tool kits, each designed specifically for the following groups:


    The purpose of each kit is to help teach family members and friends more about autism and its effects on families, and provide resources and support to enable them to lead happy and successful lives with their loved ones with autism. 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!!!

  • Jeremiahs Ranch June Newsletter
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    Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info and 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
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    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.