Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. July 13, 2017

In This Issue

Why model autism programs are rare in public schools

Scale tests mental flexibility in children with autism

Why Children with Autism Deserve Rules and Discipline

The Cost of Silence on Mental Illness

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

Camp Let Loose Registration Now Open!!!

Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together

Announcing the CC Social Club!

The Alternative, Safe and Effective Therapy Option!!!

Sensory Sensitive Sundays at Chuck E. Cheese!

N. Jennifer Oke, PhD., Specializing in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Children with ASDs

UCSD Gymnastics for Youth, Teens and Young Adults with Special Needs

NFAR Mom's Group - July 19, 2017

No. County Mom's Group - July 20, 2017

Inclusion Baseball League Sign-Ups Now Registering! Space is limited!

Friendship DOJO!!!

Join Our Study! Video Games to Train Attention and Eye Movement

Conference: Love and Autism - Registration Now Open!!!



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!


  • Why model autism programs are rare in public schools

  • There's no single way to teach children with autism. Regardless of which method a school adopts, though, it's no mystery what helps them to thrive: calm, not chaos, in the classroom; one-on-one attention from teachers, aides and therapists; lessons tailored to the individual child's needs, whether that means learning not to bite or how to make eye contact while shaking hands; and the opportunity to regroup through soothing activities such as swinging, rolling on mats or listening to music.

    Most importantly, nearly all of these students need to work on language development, in whatever form is appropriate - writing, speech, sign language or pointing to images. For example, a child can signal that she wants to go to the bathroom by speaking, using American Sign Language (thumb between middle and index finger and twisting the wrist twice) or pointing at a picture of a toilet in the Picture Exchange Communication System.

    As an administrator, professor and researcher in the field of special education for the past 40 years, I am continually struck by the rarity of programs for children with autism that include all of these elements. Read on...

  • Scale tests mental flexibility in children with autism
  • A new assessment offers a broad measure of 'flexible thinking' in children and teenagers with autism1. Flexible thinking encompasses the ability to switch tasks or strategies, and see situations in a new way.

    Learning more advanced skills may require unlearning old approaches. For example, children may first learn to tie their shoelaces using the 'bunny ears' method (making a loop out of each lace) and later master the faster technique of wrapping one lace around a loop made with the other.

    Inflexible or rigid thinking - which is common among people with autism- can make this shift harder.

    Available tests of flexible thinking, or 'cognitive flexibility,' tend to focus on a single aspect, such as a child's response to interruptions or insistence on sticking to a routine. This narrow focus means researchers can't relate flexible thinking to other cognitive and behavioral characteristics, such as social engagement. Read on...

  • Why Children with Autism Deserve Rules and Discipline
  • Everyone Needs Structure in Their Lives

    It's an all-too-common scenario. A child with autism does something for which any other child would receive a timeout -- hits another child, throws food on the floor, screams rather than using a more acceptable means of communication. And, instead of a consequence, the child with autism gets a "pass," along with a comment such as "that's ok, I understand," or "well, he did his best."

    There's no doubt that the adults who give a pass to bad behavior in autistic children are doing so out of the kindness of their hearts.

    They may believe that the child is incapable of better behavior. They may believe that consequences will cause some sort of emotional damage. They may believe that the child with autism will lash out if confronted with disapproval. Read on...

  • The Cost of Silence on Mental Illness
  • Nothing is more disastrous for individuals and families struggling with mental health challenges than isolation. Stephen Hinshaw offers us a powerful reminder of the damage that shame and secrecy can do in a gripping memoir of his father, Another Kind of Madness.

    Dr. Hinshaw, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, writes that his dad was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1946 at the age of 16. He had jumped off the roof of his boyhood home, naked, thinking he could fly. The treatments he endured were often harrowing, but the most stunning thing about his long struggle with mental illness was that it was kept secret from virtually everyone around him - including his two children. Periodically Dad would behave erratically and then disappear, with no explanation to the kids. He'd reappear weeks or months later - with no comment, and no questions asked.

    Dr. Hinshaw describes the acute distress this silence caused him as a child, when he agonized over his father's absences and felt overwhelming pressure to act as if all were well. "Whatever lay behind the silence must have been so devastating," he writes, "that it would have destroyed us if brought into the open." Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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 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 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.

    Do you know of any private home agencies willing to take a very high functioning 23 year old female with ASD and supply them with room and board for a year. My niece who is in the LA area will be moving to San Diego in September to attend a special school during the day. I am aware of the California Mentor program which is funded through the Regional Center of which my niece is a member of. Can you give me the names of any FHA agencies?

    I have a 10 year old who was diagnosed by the San Diego Regional Center with autism in April. He doesn't have a US health insurance so he can't get any services. When the social worker gave us the diagnosis she gave us a document where she mentioned that the SDRC could provide him with ABA through one of their agencys and now our newly designated social worker and his supervisor told me that the SDRC doesn't provide that service anymore. My question is: Should my son get any services from the SDRC?

    Hello! I am looking to connect with someone who has their child in an out of state residential educational setting. Please email me at

    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.

  • Camp Let Loose Registration Now Open!!!
  • Our week-long day camp program that is open for registration: It will be Monday Aug 7th through Friday Aug 11th (10AM-2PM) and includes a field trip and a one-on-one counselor pairing for each camper. Counselors (teen & young adult) are also welcome to apply and can email me directly.

  • Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together
  • aefct

    AEFCT provides high quality services that are structured, comprehensive, and individualized. Our mission is to provide intervention to children with autism, putting the needs of each child first so that they are met fairly and appropriately. We use developmentally sound strategies supported by empirical evidence, combined with a team approach that involves family participation. Autism affects the entire family unit, and we recognize that parent education and participation are essential to achieve success.

    Our Services:

    • Assessment
    • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
    • Supervision / Consultation
    • Parent/Caregiver Training
    • Funding Sources

    3954 Murphy Canyon Rd., Suite D105
    San Diego, CA 92123

  • Announcing the CC Social Club!
  • Include Autism's CC Social Club is a community-based, Saturday social skill and friendship development program for teens and young adults ages 13 - 17 and 18-29 that have challenges in the areas of social communication and relationship building as part of their developmental disability. The CC Social Club meets morning or afternoon on either two or four Saturdays a month in peer groups including typically developing peers. Our goal is to build the skills to maximize functional independence, enhance social inclusion opportunities, and build natural networks of support to live, work, and socialize as independently as one chooses.

    To learn more please visit:

  • The Alternative, Safe and Effective Therapy Option!!!
  • MicroCurrent4Kids is San Diego's premiere microcurrent therapy program for children, teens and adults with special needs. Our program is the BEST therapy for Autism and ADHD, as you will see by the rapid improvement in your child's skills and abilities, because of how well it promotes developmental growth and couples with ALL other therapies. (Inquire about other therapies also available!)

    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

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

  • Sensory Sensitive Sundays at Chuck E. Cheese!
  • San Diego County Chuck E. Cheese's are offering Sensory Sensitive Sunday's on the first Sunday of each month from 9-11 AM:

    Oceanside- 2481 Vista Way, 92054
    San Diego - 3146 Sports Arena Blvd., 92110
    San Diego - 9840 Hibert Street, 92131

  • N. Jennifer Oke, PhD., Specializing in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Children with ASDs
  • Dr. Oke has been in private practice in the San Diego area for over 16 years specializing in the area of autism, Asperger's, and Pervasive Developmental. She is dedicated to providing a warm, supportive environment for children and families while collaborating with parents on treatment goals.

    N. Jennifer Oke, Ph.D.
    5677 Oberlin Drive, Suite 214
    San Diego, CA 92121
    (858) 452-9596

  • UCSD Gymnastics for Youth, Teens and Young Adults with Special Needs

    For questions or to RSVP please contact the Program Director:

  • NFAR Mom's Group - July 19, 2017
  • Wednesday, July 19, 2017
    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! These meetings are for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet the 3rd Thursday of the month for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    July Topic: Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT)
    What happens when your teen or young adult with autism is out in the community and there's a concern? If the police are contacted, that's when PERT steps in. Come find out more!

    The Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams (PERT) consist of specially trained officers and deputies who are paired with licensed mental health professionals. Together, they respond on-scene to situations involving people who are experiencing a mental health related crisis and have come to the attention of law enforcement. The goal is to provide the most appropriate resolution to the crisis and least restrictive level of care. For more information PERT.

    Guest Speaker: Lt. Carole Beason and Marla Kingkade
    Marla Kingkade is a Law Enforcement and Community Liaison for PERT and the Community Research Foundation. She has been with PERT since 1996. PERT currently provides forty-one clinicians to eleven law enforcement jurisdictions. In July 2017, PERT will receive an additional ten clinicians.

    Lieutenant Carole Beason has been a member of SDPD for over 21 years. She is currently assigned to the Homeless Outreach Team, and serves as the mental health liaison for the police department.

    To RSVP

  • No. County Mom's Group - July 20, 2017
  • Thursday, July 20, 2017
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Tio Leo's Mexican Restaurant
    3510 Valley Centre Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92130

    Dinner: Mexican Food (GF available)
    Dinner is provided

    Join us for the NFAR Mom's Group! It's an evening for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet the 3rd Thursday of the month for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    July Topic: Increasing your child's independence using TEACCH strategies
    Jan will discuss how to use visual strategies to increase a child's everyday independence in areas such as with academics (homework), social, and leisure skills, as well as functional activities of daily living.

    Guest Speaker: Jan Dalby, OTR/L and Co-Director of K.I.D.S. Therapy Associates Inc.
    Jan's specialty area is treating children and adolescents with Autism and sensory integrative disorders in the clinic, home, and school setting. She received her degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California in 1977, and received her SCSIT Certification in 1980. Jan is a Certified TEACCH Practitioner, and has extensive experience in how to assist teachers and families with using visual structures to increase functional and academic independence in the school and home environments. For more information about KIDS Therapy Associates.

    To RSVP

  • Inclusion Baseball League Sign-Ups Now Registering! Space is limited!
  • Include Autism's Inclusion Baseball League provides a fun and exciting baseball experience to youth who are diagnosed with autism, offering teams matched with peer pal volunteers from all over San Diego county. The goal of this sports inclusion program is to serve as a social bridge between kids and teens with a developmental disability and their typically developing peers. On the second Saturday of the month, September through June, teams of kids and teens with a developmental disability are paired up with local youth baseball players to promote a fun athletic experience for both the kids with autism, ages 8 - 22 (players do not have to be Community Coaching program participants) and young athletes in the community. Registration is $75 for the season.

    Also currently seeking sponsors. To register or sponsor, please contact Coach Johnny at 858.603.7344 or email

  • Friendship DOJO!!!

    For questions or to RSVP please contact the Program Director:

  • Join Our Study! Video Games to Train Attention and Eye Movement
  • Join our study at UCSD's Research on Autism and Development Lab ( We are currently recruiting participants for a study to measure the effects of training visual attention using video games. Click here to view the brochure!!!

  • Conference: Love and Autism - Registration Now Open!!!
  • 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!!!

  • Jeremy's Vision

  • Jeremy's Vision: Local San Diego resident, Jeremy Sicile-Kira, is an intuitive artist and paints colorful abstract portraits of people. Jeremy has synesthesia: he sees people's emotions in color. In August 2012, he began to paint in real life the portraits he was painting in his dreams. Now, Jeremy meets people in person or online, 'reads' their colors and then paints their portrait. Jeremy has his own art studio in downtown San Diego at Space4Art and recently had his first curated solo art show. For more information, visit

    Jeremy also is the coauthor of A Full Life with Autism ( about preparing for the transition to adult life.

  • Reset Fitness with Pam Bundy

  • I started off my career as a legal secretary then moved on to be a legal assistant, with the ultimate goal of becoming an attorney. After two of my boys were diagnosed on the autism spectrum 23 years ago, I came to the realization that I needed to be in a less negative environment. What I really wanted to do was to help people which puts me where I am today.

    I am a certified Stott Pilates Full Level One Instructor and ACE Certified Personal Trainer with 20 years of experience working with very large facets of the population. I also hold certifications as a Nutrition Coach, Parkinson's Wellness Recovery trainer, and Bosu Master Trainer. I am currently working on my ACE Behavior Specialist and Group Fitness Instructor certifications. My specialties include back rehabilitation, weight loss and toning, menopause management, Parkinson's clients, and bodybuilding. I have had several life experiences that has helped shape me to become a fitness coach who understands life's challenges, and I excel in helping people overcome obstacles to reach their health and fitness goals. Click here to visit my FB page and please contact me for more info!!!

  • Lisa Hawley-Jennings, Massage Therapist/Holistic Health Practitioner

  • Lisa Hawley-Jennings, Massage Therapist/Holistic Health Practitioner of 28 years, offers compassionate, experienced massage in her home office in Encinitas or in your home (within reasonable distance). As a mother of a 28 year old autistic son, Lisa carries a special place in her heart for working with caregivers and parents of special needs children. Please call or text Lisa at 760-212-2109.

  • Discounted Photo Services For Special Needs Families

  • As the parent of a child with ASD, I know how challenging a photo session can be. In an effort to pay it forward for the hardest working people I know, I am offering discounted rates for special needs families all year long. You will receive a 33% discount on all photo services, and a promise to be as creative and patient as possible, in order to get you the beautiful family photos or child portraits you deserve! Photo samples and standard rates are on my new Facebook page Openings fill up fast, so if you are interested in a photo session or event any time in the next 6 months, please email now to be added to the calendar

  • Parents and Children Needed for Student Research

  • My name is Shamayne Brown and I am a doctoral student at Alliant International University. This study is examining the attention abilities of kids with ASD and their parents. I am recruiting families with a child with ASD as well as families with typically developing children.

    We are looking for boys, ages 8 to 16 years old, who have a diagnosis of ASD and their biological parents - both mother and father need to participate. We are also looking for boys, ages 8 to 16 years old, who are typically developing and both of their biological parents to serve as a control group.

    If you and your family are eligible for participation, you will be asked to come to a lab at the Neuroscience Institute at Alliant International University. You and your child's other parent will be asked to complete consent forms and questionnaires about your own behaviors; this should take you each about 25 minutes. You will also be given questionnaires about your child's behaviors. Only one parent needs to fill out these questionnaires and should take about 25 minutes complete. You, your child, and your child's other parent will complete a cognitive test, which will take about 30 minutes. Each of you will then play some games on a computer. This will take each person about 30 minutes. Your child's participation will take approximately one hour. Your participation and that of your child's other parent will take approximately one and a half to two hours.

    After your child completes his tasks, he will receive a $20 cash gift as an appreciation for his participation. Once you and your child's other parent have completed all tasks, you will each receive a $10 gift card as a token of appreciation for your participation. For further information, please contact Shamayne Brown at or 619-416-1799. Thank you for your time.

    *Approved by Alliant IRB
    IRB #1604025150


    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.