Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 17, 2017

In This Issue

What I learned as a dad the day my son was diagnosed with autism

Gov. Brown agrees not to hold back money from California schools next year

Preparing Teachers for Inclusion: What Still Needs to Be Done

Brain scans may forecast autism in high-risk infants

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

The Summer Is A Wonderful Time to Include!  Check Out What's New at IA!

San Diego Special Needs Law Center

Summer Kickoff with CARD!!

Summer Workshops Start July 8th! at Positive Action Community Theatre

Join us for our June Family Beach Day on Sunday, June 25th at Moonlight Beach!

Face Your Fears! For Children 9-12 with ASD

North County Summer Park Playdates!

Looking for a Holistic Approach to Therapy?

Book: Anatomy of Autism: A Pocket Guide for Educators, Parents, and Students

San Diego has a New Comprehensive Center Dedicated to the Treatment of Autism

Summer Social Clubs!

Autistic Pride Day, Museum exhibits, opportunities and more


A Taste for Sports!, June 29th



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!

  • What I learned as a dad the day my son was diagnosed with autism
  • This guest blog post is by Chris Clinch, a small business owner in Toronto, Ontario. His only child has autism.

    I remember the day like it was yesterday, Saturday April 19th, 2014. The Child Psychologist who had finished assessing our 1 year 10-month old son informed my wife and I that our son had autism spectrum disorder. I had known for some time before his assessment this would be the result, as Tyler was completely non-communicative at the time, but it still didn't take away the feeling of being punched in the gut when his Child Psychologist said those words. In the few seconds it took for her to say them, it was like every dream and aspiration I had for him had completely vanished. Later that night after Tyler had gone to bed, I gave the day some more thought and came to the realization I had better put my pity party aside, and as his Dad, help him find his aspirations and goals, whatever those maybe.

    Just after his second birthday Tyler started the Early Start Denver Model programme. Most two year olds spend their days playing and taking a nap or two, Tyler spent his doing two hours of intervention 5 days a week for the entire second year of his life. This didn't include the bi-weekly visits to his OT and weekly appointments with speech pathologists. He made incredible progress that year. He was talking a mile a minute, and was able for the most part, to communicate his wants and needs. It was never lost on me how hard he had to work to achieve these things. What most people take for granted as "just a kid growing up" he had to work hard for. Read on...

  • Gov. Brown agrees not to hold back money from California schools next year
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    California school districts won't have to wait an extra year to get nearly $1 billion in one-time funding, as Gov. Jerry Brown proposed last month. And after-school and summer program providers will see their first funding increase in more than a decade, under the terms of the 2017-18 state budget that legislative leaders and the Brown administration negotiated last week.

    The Legislature must pass the proposed $126 billion state budget by Thursday to meet a constitutional deadline. Schools and community colleges will get a sizable share of the funding increase. Funding under Proposition 98, the formula that determines K-12 and community colleges' share of state revenue, will rise $3.1 billion - 4.4 percent - to $74.5 billion. School districts' share of the increase will be $2.8 billion. Read on...

  • Preparing Teachers for Inclusion: What Still Needs to Be Done
  • An important part of making inclusion work in our schools and for our kids is making sure teachers are well-equipped for this new way of doing things. In the first half of this interview, published last month, Friendship Circle asked Dr. Dusty Columbia Embury and Dr. Laura Clarke, associate professors of special education at Eastern Kentucky University, to answer some questions about how teacher training has changed to accommodate diverse learners in a single classroom. In this second part, they'll consider how things could improve.

    What more would you like to see done to prepare teachers for truly inclusive schools?
    Laura: Definitely, we would want to see more teachers taking both content coursework and special education coursework. Many university programs require their general education teaching students to take only one or two classes that address disability across their entire program. When we consider the numbers of students with disabilities in our general classrooms, common sense tells us that teachers need more knowledge about disability, how to teach students with disabilities, and resources available to them as teachers to make sure they are making the most impact. Special education teachers need more content knowledge in literacy and math especially, but if they are co-teaching in biology or world history, they need that content too. If they are really going to co-teach well, they have to know the content. Read on...

  • Brain scans may forecast autism in high-risk infants

  • Patterns of brain activity in 6-month-old babies accurately predict which of them will be diagnosed with autism at age 2. The findings hint that brain scans may one day help doctors detect autism in infants1.

    The study is small, and its findings need to be replicated before they can be used clinically. But researchers were nearly unanimous in their praise of the study's promise for early diagnosis of autism.

    "This is a game-changer for the field," says Kevin Pelphrey, director of the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the work. Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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!

    Looking for credentialed teacher, graduate student in education, or ABA trained individual to assist with supervising school work for 4-8 hours per week during 2017/2018 school year. Location in North County San Diego. Student is HFA boy in 8th grade and mostly independent in completing all school work. No learning disabilities but needs some help with focus and organization. All curriculum and assignments are provided - he just need some supervision and guidance while he completes his work. Pay is completive based upon experience. Please contact if interested. Thank you!

    Hello! I will be moving to the San Diego (South Bay/Chula Vista) area and I'm looking for the best private school for my 3 year old son who is on the spectrum. His therapist recommended that he attend general education classes with typical peers assisted by a therapist. Helen

    Seeking IHSS caregiver for my female teen in SDSU neighborhood for weekday mornings. Please call Lisa 619-890-2652 or email

    I have a very gently used Kaufman Praxis Treatment Kit 2 (Advanced Level) for sale as my son is no longer in need of them. New they cost $199 but would like to see them for $90 plus cost of shipping. Kaufman Kit 2 refines intelligibility for children who have mastered sounds in Kaufman Kit 1 (p, b, m, t, d, n, h, w). Advanced level Kit 2 then works to refine articulation and build higher motor-speech coordination. Kit 2 uses familiar two and three-syllable words to target more complicated motor-speech movements and synthesis into initial and final word positions. Kit 2 targets synthesis of /f, g, k, l, s, sh/ and blends /s, r, l/ plus ber and ter.Kit 2 includes 285 visual referent cards and employs the same successive "word shell" approximation approach as found in Kaufman Kit 1. Email me at if you are interested.

    I am an adoptive parent on an extremely limited budget. I'm hoping to find free activities for my two children 9 and 12 years old.
    My children are both special needs and I'm looking for places that give reduced or free entrance.
    Please email Thanks so much!

    I have recently removed my daughter from the San Diego Center for Children. As a parent in a crisis the treatment I received from both staff and management was unbearable.
    I am looking for other parents who have had experience with the Center either positive or negative.
    I greatly appreciate it. Please email:

    Hi, I have a 10 year old son on the spectrum who has always been in a regular school. We moved almost a year ago from Tijuana to Chula Vista. He has a good therapist in Tijuana but he needs a social skills group in San Diego or Chula Vista. If you have any information, please email me at

    We are parents to a 13 year old boy who has aspergers and ADHD. We are looking for a program and/or tutor that can help him with his writing. He is really having a hard time getting his thoughts and ideas on paper. Thank you.

    If you have a question or request for this newsletter group, please send your email request to People who can help you will email you directly with their responses.

  • The Summer Is A Wonderful Time to Include!  Check Out What's New at IA!

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

  • San Diego Special Needs Law Center
  • If you have a family member with a disability, you want to assure they have the best possible care and quality of life, both now and later when you are no longer able to be the advocate you are today. If you are a person with a disability, you want to be able to qualify for the benefits and programs you need to achieve as much independence as possible. At San Diego Special Needs Law Center, it is our mission to make sure you have all the support and tools in place to achieve these goals.

    We have over 30 years experience in Special Needs Law and our community, working in the following practice areas:

    • Special Needs Trusts and Estate Planning for Families Developmental Disablilities
    • Conservatorships and Limited Conservatorships for those with Developmental Disablilities
    • Public Benefits Planning
    • Care Advocacy
    • Preservation of Benefits Eligibility in Litigation Settlement or Inheritance Scenarios
    • Life Care Planning
    We also enjoy our relationships with various advocacy groups and the disability community. It is through the interaction with our clients and these groups that we continue to learn and grow, and better serve our client's needs.

    Our Senior attorney, Phil Lindsley, is both a Certified Special Needs Law Attorney and a Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate (State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization). He has been serving families and individuals with disabilities for over 30 years.

    To learn more about us, click HERE

  • Summer Kickoff with CARD!!
  • CARD San Marcos
    334 Via Vera Cruz, Suite 107
    San Marcos, CA 92078
    (760) 304-5010 x1420

    CARD Carlsbad
    5140 Avenida Encinas
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    760-795-9898 x2629

  • Summer Workshops Start July 8th! at Positive Action Community Theatre
  • Since 2008 our Saturday theatre, dance, and group singing workshops in Encinitas have been a port of entry for teens and young adults who have been isolated by autism. In our relaxed and fun atmosphere they can enjoy the arts with their peers and develop some friendships. Our goal is to teach them life skills that will enable them to reach their goals in all areas of their lives. New people join us, and many stay with us for years. We have developed a supportive community that is very important to its members. I continue to be inspired by the quality and potential of these individuals, and by the love their parents have for them.

    Although our workshops are inclusive and include neuro-typical teens and adults, some of our long-term participants with autism have developed into our best peer mentors. We have all watched them grow as actors and as leaders, and PACT has hired several of them as employees of our organization. For the past year and a half some of them have met under the leadership of PACT's artistic director to develop a 'Beyond Bullying' theatre event, which they are now performing for young teens in our community. We have received great feedback from their audiences, who say that the event has inspired them to respect their peers.

    Our newest project is an on-the-job training program at our local Boys and Girls Club, where we are mentoring young adults with autism as theatre workshop directors. The long range goal of this and all our programs is to empower those with autism to lead self-determined lives and maintain meaningful employment.

    If you would like to bring your teen/young adults to visit our Saturday workshops in Encinitas to see if it is a good fit for them, or if you'd like more information about scheduling a 'Beyond Bullying' theatre event for your young teens, contact PACT at, or 760-815-8512.

  • Join us for our June Family Beach Day on Sunday, June 25th at Moonlight Beach!
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    We will meet one Sunday per month from 10 AM - 1 PM at various beaches around the county, starting in April and running through September. This is a great chance to meet other families and have an enjoyable day out in an understanding and supportive atmosphere. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Face Your Fears! For Children 9-12 with ASD
  • The "Face Your Fears" program provides your child the skills to more effectively manage their behavior in anxious situations and enhances your child's ability to cope with anxiety that negatively affect their daily lives. Face Your Fears is provided to kids in a small safe group and at the same time, parents participate in a separate group, so they can support what their child learns. Face Your Fears is a cognitive-behavioral evidence-based intervention with over a decade of funded research support.

    Center for Thoughtful Lasting Change, Inc.
    9606 Tierra Grande St, Suite 203
    San Diego, CA 92126

  • North County Summer Park Playdates!
  • We will be having North County Summer Park Playdates every Wednesday in July & August from 9:00-11:00am at Sunset Park in San Marcos. For families who need an extra helping hand, ARCC Center can provide a respite worker! Just email in advance to request FREE assistance from a respite worker & Spanish-speaking families can email

    We recommend bringing a blanket & sunscreen. Picnic tables are limited. The Splash Pad usually starts at 10:00am! All are welcome, we hope you can join us! More information can be found online at:

  • Looking for a Holistic Approach to Therapy?

  • Book: Anatomy of Autism: A Pocket Guide for Educators, Parents, and Students
  • "Trust me, I want to talk to you. My inability to speak is confused for my intelligence." Diego Peña is a sharp-witted 9 year old boy whose goal is to deliver a message that shatters misconceptions about autism. Only Diego cannot yet speak. By pointing to letters on a laminated letter board and typing on a keyboard, he breaks through his silence to express his inner-thoughts in Anatomy of Autism. In this pocket guide for individuals who support autistic students, Diego concisely articulates the challenges and dilemmas he faces with his sensory system, communication, and motor system. He thoughtfully explores the implications and possibilities of these challenges as a primary school student. His experiences nudge educators, therapists, parents, and students to rethink their approaches to supporting individuals who are autistic and non-speaking. Diego's words reveal a disarming truth. The real experts of autism are actually autistic themselves. Anatomy of Autism adds to the emerging generation of autistic voices-from Ido Kedar in Ido in Autismland to Naoki Higashida in The Reason I Jump-challenging us to listen and consider their perspectives about what it means to have autism and complex communication challenges in a world that has yet to fully realize their capabilities. But as Diego reminds us, they have incredible potential given the proper opportunities and supports. In the foreword to Anatomy of Autism, bestselling author Ido Kedar praises Diego for his advocacy and leadership at such a young age: "The insights found in these pages reflect my experiences and those of other people with autism clearly and succinctly. I am proud of Diego for undertaking this task to help improve the lives of those with autism and their loving families." Click here to view the book on Amazon!!

  • San Diego has a New Comprehensive Center Dedicated to the Treatment of Autism
  • A state-of-the-art clinic featuring advanced biomedical, behavioral, & sensory-motor therapies for children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

    This Clinic is headed up by Dr. Suzanne Goh. Dr. Suzanne Goh is a board-certified pediatric neurologist with expertise in the evaluation and treatment of children with neurological conditions that impact brain development, cognition, and behavior.

    Dr. Goh received her Bachelors of Arts degree, summa cum laude, in History and Science from Harvard University (1993-1997). She went on to attend Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar (1997-1999). In 2004, she graduated from Harvard Medical School, cum laude. Dr. Goh completed her Pediatrics internship at Massachusetts General Hospital and her Pediatric Neurology residency at University of California San Francisco.

    Pediatric Neurology Therapeutics
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121

  • Summer Social Clubs!
  • Crimson Center for Speech & Language
    Phone: 858 695 9515

  • Autistic Pride Day, Museum exhibits, opportunities and more
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info and upcoming events!!!

  • Congratulations to our recent graduating class of the 7-month NFAR Tech training program! Our graduates are completing their training for ISTQB certification and are looking forward to their internships. Hats off to our graduates for all their hard work!

    Do you know someone in the Tech industry? We'd love to start a conversation with them. Industry internships allow our participants to gain valuable experience while providing the tech company with qualified software testers. Contact us at 858-679-8800.

  • A Taste for Sports!, June 29th
  • "A Taste 4 SPORTS" is a unique event that features food from some of San Diego's best local restaurants.

    Balboa Park Club
    2144 Pan American Road West
    San Diego, 92101

    June 29, 2017
    6 - 9pm

    Benefits S4EA!

    The proceeds from 'A Taste 4 SPORTS' benefits SPORTS for Exceptional Athletes, a community based sports program serving over 1.400 athletes with developmental disabilites ages 5 through adult in San Diego County in 24 sports. Click here for all the info!!!

  • 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.

    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.

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

  • 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!

  • 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!!!

  • 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:


    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.