Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 22, 2017

In This Issue

Medley of medical problems may precede autism features

How Is High Functioning Autism Diagnosed in Adults?

New tests extend prospects for 'reading the mind in the eyes'

Summer Sensory Hacks For Kids (and their moms too!)

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

Writing the RIght IEP Goals

San Diego Special Needs Law Center

It's a Sensory-Friendly Family Roller Skating Party

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

Hanen's More Than Words Parent Training Program

Face Your Fears! For Children 9-12 with ASD

Looking for a Holistic Approach to Therapy?

ARI Enewsletter for June 2017

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

Five Goals to Work on This Summer with Your Child with Special Needs

Join Us for Girl Talk!!!



49th Annual Autism Society National Conference



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!

  • Medley of medical problems may precede autism features

  • Children with autism are more likely than their neurotypical peers to have any of a host of medical conditions in their early years, according to a new study.

    The findings come from a review of health records from 42,520 children, 3,911 of whom have autism. Children with autism were more likely than controls to be diagnosed with 1 or more of 38 conditions, ranging from autoimmune disorders to muscle problems1.

    Studies have shown that many children with autism also have epilepsy, gut problems and other health conditions. But much of this work has relied on reports from parents, who might misremember their child's medical history. Read on...

  • How Is High Functioning Autism Diagnosed in Adults?
  • You've never really grasped small talk, and would rather talk to a computer than another human being. Does that mean you have Asperger Syndrome (AS)? Actually, since the publication of the latest diagnostic criteria, there is no longer a diagnosis called Asperger Syndrome. But it is perfectly possible that you are an adult who is diagnosable with a relatively mild form of autism spectrum disorder (or a similar or related disorder).

    Self-Tests and Professional Evaluations
    While you can start the process of diagnosis with a self-test such as the "AQ" designed in 2001 by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, a medical diagnosis must be performed by a medical professional. While it's not easy to find someone with experience in diagnosing autism in adults, most psychiatrists with autism experience should be able to administer appropriate tests and provide a useful diagnosis.

    Dr. Shana Nichols of the Fay J. Lindner Center for Autism on Long Island in New York specializes in diagnosing and treating teens and adults with the symptoms associated with high functioning autism (Asperger Syndrome). While she uses several specific diagnostic tools to identify specific symptoms, she says that even those tools are somewhat out of date. "We've learned an enormous amount since then," she says; new tools are under development but are not yet ready for general use. Read on...

  • New tests extend prospects for 'reading the mind in the eyes'

  • Researchers have revamped a screen for 'mind blindness' - an impaired understanding of others' intentions and perspectives - which is a key deficit in autism. The revised test could increase understanding of exactly how autism develops, the researchers reported in the May issue of Research in Developmental Disabilities.

    A central theory about autism is that it is primarily an impairment of the ability to understand the thoughts, intentions and feelings of other people - a capacity known as theory of mind. Since the mid-1990s, this ability has often been measured by a scale called the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, developed by Simon Baron-Cohen of Cambridge University and his colleagues.

    However, the test - which involves identifying people's emotions from photographs of their eyes - requires significant language ability. This makes it difficult to determine whether difficulties that children with autism have with this test stem from their inability to visually recognize emotions or merely from an inability to name them. Read on...

  • Summer Sensory Hacks For Kids (and their moms too!)
  • I prep for our summer break every year.

    Fun activities, new learning plans, field trips and small getaways - I organize and plan, hoping for some sense of summer order and fun.

    And every single year, what I inevitably forget to factor in is the simple fact that summer, and all of its heat, bugs, smells and then, even hotter heat, overwhelms my children with sensory processing disorder in ways that make even the most exciting and fun activity a disaster.

    But not this time.

    This year, I came to play.

    This year, I put together a list of my best tips and tricks to help my kiddo survive, and actually thrive a little, in the summer heat. Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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.
    To anyone who responded to this post, the email address was incorrect. Would you please resend your email to Thank you. 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.

  • Writing the RIght IEP Goals

  • 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

  • It's a Sensory-Friendly Family Roller Skating Party
  • Calling all autistic kids and adults, their families, and friends, join us for our first ever Sensory-Friendly Family Roller Skating Party!

    Event Details: Sunday, July 16th, from 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    Skateworld, 6907 Linda Vista Road, San Diego, CA 92111

    Non-skaters welcome on the rink in closed-toed shoes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers will also be on hand to help. Pre-registration is required for this event by purchasing a ticket below.

    Thank you to our co-sponsors for this event, Lisa Porter and Anders Wright, for helping make this event possible!

    Click here for all the info and to purchase tickets!!!

  • 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.

  • Hanen's More Than Words Parent Training Program
  • Please contact Crimson Center to schedule an intake session by August 15, 2017.

    More questions? Call (858) 6959415 or email Sarah at

  • 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

  • Looking for a Holistic Approach to Therapy?

  • ARI Enewsletter for June 2017
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter!!!

  • 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.

    Services Offered:

    • Medical Services
    • Nutrition and Holistic Health Services
    • Family Services
    • Sensory and Motor Therapies
    • Language and Cognitive Therapies
    • Behavior Therapies
    Pediatric Neurology Therapeutics
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121

  • Five Goals to Work on This Summer with Your Child with Special Needs
  • "Hi, Greer! Any ideas? What do you guys do in the summer?"

    That's the text a friend sent me. And I understand her concern. Summer is precious, the days are scarce, and we want them to matter. Some of our kids are in Extended School Year programs. But whether or not my own kids have ESY, I like to look at the summer as a time to work on some other goals I have for my them. Here are a few examples, and what I plan to do to get the most out of summertime.

    1. Work on life skills.
    There may not be time during the school year, but summertime offers a great chance to learn some skills that will help kids become independent. I like teaching my kids to make a simple meal-with my help, of course. It's amazing how proud a child feels when she sees she's made her own dinner. Start small: my daughter loves frying eggs in the microwave. There's a real sense of autonomy kids can get from knowing they can make their own burger and contribute by helping to make a meal for the family. Read on...

  • Join Us for Girl Talk!!!
  • We all remember those tumultuous pre-teen and teen years where we struggled with all sorts of challenges. But for girls, some of these challenges are unique and quite difficult. This is why we are proud to announce Girl Talk! - a group specifically for pre-teen and teen girls led by Nicole Guzman, PsyD (PSY 24952). Topics: body-image, friendships, communication, self-identity, and more!

    3760 Convoy St. Suite 118
    San Diego, CA 92111
    To register contact: Nicole Guzman, PsyD at 619-800-0821 or email at

  • San Diego Therapy Group
    3760 Convoy St. Suite 118
    San Diego, CA 92111

  • Join us for NFARs Charity Golf Tournament for Autism on Monday, Oct 9, 2017 at The Crossings in Carlsbad!

    Sign Up now for Early Bird Pricing: Tournament participation is $495 for a Foursome or $150 per individual golfer and includes dinner and lots of fun contests and prizes.

    Learn more or REGISTER

  • 49th Annual Autism Society National Conference
  • July 12-15, 2017 in Milwaukee Wisconsin

    The Autism Society's vision since our founding in 1965 is to increase the quality of life of everyone living with autism. Our 49th Annual Conference is the best way for individuals, families, educators, care givers, service providers and all concerned with ensuring basic human rights to gain insights and learn concrete strategies that allow people to interact with one another and the world in their own terms.

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

  • 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
  • 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!!!

  • 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
  • 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:


    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.