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

In This Issue

13 Ways to Help Prep a Child With Autism for Back-to-School Season

17 helpful tips to transition your child with autism back to school

Parental concern may skew scores on autism test

Genetic Autism and Spontaneous Mutation

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

Early Bird Registration Extended to August 24th!!!

Video Games to the Rescue

Parent Support Group in La Mesa

Social Communication Specialists!

Open House at Banyon Tree's Compass Academy in Point Loma

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

August Updates!

Start a Speech Program Today at TAG!!!

Coordinator Position at Life Works

San Diego Special Needs Law Center

Banyon Tree Learning Center Homework Club


August events and specials!

IEP Resource: SES Tutoring/Coaching News


  • 13 Ways to Help Prep a Child With Autism for Back-to-School Season
  • The end-of-summer countdown has begun, and while most kids aren't thrilled with the prospect of going back to school, the transition can be especially tough for those with autism. Three experts share their best tips for making the process smoother-for children of all ages.

    While going back to school each fall can be tough for any student, it's particularly challenging for children and teens with autism, especially if your son or daughter is transitioning to a new school.

    "Most people with autism have trouble with any changes in routine, so they may find it hard to go from camp or summer school back into the classroom," explains Gahan Pandina, Ph.D., Senior Director, Venture Leader, Janssen Research & Development, who's currently developing a system known as JAKE, or the Janssen Autism Knowledge Engine, for measuring autism symptoms so studies can better test treatments for the condition.

    The good news: Most children with autism will do just fine if they are given some support along the way. Read on...

  • 17 helpful tips to transition your child with autism back to school
  • Summer vacation is ending all too fast, and before we know it those bright yellow school busses will be darting through our neighborhoods and a new school year will commence. Moving to a different classroom, grade, or school can be stressful for any child; for those on the autism spectrum, handling anxiety about the unknown can be exceedingly difficult. These fears can be reduced by taking small steps to familiarize your child to his or her new situation prior to the beginning of the school year. I've used many of these strategies over the years with both of my autistic boys, who are on different ends of the autism spectrum. Of course all children are unique, so some may work better than others. I've actually revisited several that haven't worked in the past and found them to be helpful as the boys grew older.

    Below are some tried and true tips that have helped my kids make a smooth transition in September, and have helped them to start a new school year successfully. Read on...

  • Parental concern may skew scores on autism test

  • A widely used test for diagnosing autism may miss children whose parents are not concerned that their child may have the condition, according to a new study1.

    The tool, called the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), is a 93-item questionnaire that caregivers fill out. It is often used with another test, called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), that clinicians complete. Results on the two tests usually agree, but children who score high on the ADOS sometimes score low on the ADI-R.

    The study provides a possible explanation for this mismatch: Some parents do not recognize autism features in their children, or do not consider them to be problematic. Read on...

  • Genetic Autism and Spontaneous Mutation
  • New Mutations: Genetic Autism Is Not Always Inherited
    According to a significant study at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island, New York, at least 15% of children with autism have genetic mutations that are not inherited from their parents. Another study, conducted only with children who have classic autism, found an even higher rate of new ("spontaneous") mutations.

    So far, says researcher Dr. J. Sebat, there is no indication of why these mutations occur- or whether they are on the rise. It is clear, however, that these mutations are more prevalent among children with autism. Typically, developing children have only about a 1% likelihood of having a spontaneous mutation. Interestingly, Sebat says, while autistic children have mutations, they don't all share the same mutation. Instead, there are many different mutations that occur along with autism. Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • We are looking to find friends for our 12-year old son Robbie, who is high functioning ASD.
    He is quite isolated and would love to develop relationships with other kids. Among other things, Robbie loves reading; computer games; shooting hoops and soccer.
    We live in Tierra Santa with 2 dogs.

    Hi! My name is Rosalyn. I am a highly experienced and exceptional house cleaner with a genuine personal touch. I am looking to find a monthly or bi-monthly house cleaning job for a family in need of these services in the North County Area. If you are interested please email me at or call me anytime 209 241 9489.

    I am looking for a 2-3 bedroom house (if possible), apartment or mobile home in North County for my sister, who is severely autistic and non-verbal, and will be in a supported living program (24-hour caretakers plus hopefully another similar roommate).

    The ideal house would be:
    --Anywhere in North County
    --Somewhat isolated so neighbors are not disturbed by her occasional screaming
    --Rustic or "fixer-upper" so we could fix up to our specifications and there would be less concern over possible damage
    --One of the bedrooms large enough for 2 beds
    --No carpet
    --Not depressing - possessing some sort of charm
    --Affordable (a relative term)

    Thank you everyone! Just putting it out there in case anyone knows of such a house!

    Daria 619-294-6577 (home), 619-788-2042 (cell) or

    My son is aging out of his school program (TERI - The Learning Academy) in May 2018, he will be 22, and I'd like to begin the search for an adult day program for him. Is there a list or directory that contains the programs available in north county ?

    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.

  • Early Bird Registration Extended to August 24th!!!
  • Love & Autism: A Conference with Heart held annually in San Diego, focuses on relationships - bridges lived experience, clinical practice & research.

    September 30 - October 1, 2017
    Liberty Station Conference Center
    2600 Laning Road
    San Diego, CA 92106
    SDRC Vendor Number PQ9571
    Questions? Call 619-600-0683 or email

  • Video Games to the Rescue
  • Cost: $19.95.
    Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online.

  • Parent Support Group in La Mesa
  • Family Wellness Center's Autism Team is pleased to announce that our Parent Support Group is resuming this fall! Parent Support Group Part 1 is a 6 week round that will cover a wide range of topics related to raising a child with autism, understanding autism over the lifespan, sharing experiences and knowledge and addressing stressors. This is a therapeutic support group and FREE childcare is provided in our clinic during the groups. Once a parent/caregiver or parent/caregiver couple completes Part 1, there is an on-going Part 2 offered once a month as a way to provide an on-going community of support.

    If you are interested or have any questions, please contact 858-634-8300 or

    San Diego Center for Children
    7339 El Cajon Blvd, Suite J * La Mesa, CA 91942

  • Social Communication Specialists!
  • At Social Communication Specialists, we help socially quirky kids, teens and young adults connect.

    We understand the social challenges kids face today. In order to have healthy friendships, kids need to understand not just the "how", but the "why" of social interactions.

    Social Thinking
    Our program is for bright kids, teens and young adults with good language skills. Many of our students have a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism, Asperger Syndrome, ADHD or Social Anxiety while others have no formal diagnosis. Our students are intelligent, creative and want to have friends but often struggle with social interactions.

    SCS's cutting-edge Social Thinking® groups are based on the work of world renowned expert Michelle Garcia Winner. Social Thinking teaches the thinking that we do when we interact with others. This helps students use their social skills in a variety of settings. Our program teaches a wide variety of concepts with the lessons targeted to the needs of the students in each group. Click here for more info about our Social Thinking program!!

    Executive Functioning
    Even the brightest students can struggle to keep track of assignments, plan out and manage their time and prioritize and initiate tasks needed to meet their goals.

    Executive functioning skills help us with everything from getting dressed and out the door on time to managing distractions so we can complete the task at hand. While these skills develop naturally for most of us, some children need direct teaching and therapeutic treatment to help develop these skills and put them into practice. Click here for more info about our Executive Funtioning program!!

    Social Communication Specialists
    5703 Oberlin Dr, Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121
    (858) 558-9552

    Information on fall groups coming soon!

  • Open House at Banyon Tree's Compass Academy in Point Loma
  • Open House at Banyan Tree Learning Center's Compass Academy
    When: Friday, Aug 18th, 10am-12pm
    Who: Parents (childcare available)
    Why: Take a tour and learn more about the Compass Academy

    What is the Compass Academy? 
    The Compass Academy is a focused academy for children requiring individualized learning plans. Class sizes are small offer one-to-one instruction to help children experiencing learning disabilities, trouble focusing, or help in catching up to grade level. 

    Spaces for Fall 2017 are still available. 
    For more information or to talk to one of our staff please contact us: 858-578-6616

    Banyon Tree Educational Services
    Liberty Station, Point Loma
    2820 Roosevelt Road, Suite 104
    San Diego, CA 92106
    Tel: 858-578-6616 #1
    Direct: 858-367-5428

  • Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment
  • We design and deliver comprehensive treatment programs for children with autism and their families. Our multi-disciplinary clinical team harnesses the insights and technologies of emerging neuroscience to change lives.

    The Cortica Care Model is an evidence-based, neurological approach to autism treatment that involves the application of specific therapies in the right way at the right time.

    During childhood, brain networks form in distinct patterns with an orchestrated sequence. It's an extraordinary, intricate choreography of neurophysiological and biochemical events. These events can be shaped and guided in many different ways.

    The Cortica Care Model, with its six treatment areas and integrative approach, simultaneously addresses all important aspects of the developing brain. The treatments and techniques that we use at Cortica map purposefully to specific neural networks. The strengthening of these neural networks allows a child to develop new abilities for life.

    Explore the Cortica Care Model:

    • Neurophysiolgy
    • Biochemistry
    • Sensorimotor
    • Communication
    • Cognition and Behavior
    • Family and Home
    Click here for all the info on the Cortica Care Model!!!

    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121

  • August Updates!

  • In this month's newsletter learn about free IEP evaluation day, the new and improved Parents' Corner, and upcoming events in your community! Click HERE!!!

  • Start a Speech Program Today at TAG!!!
  • Programs Offered at Therapeutic Approach to Growth:

    • Adult Program
    • Art Therapy
    • Handle
    • Home Programs
    • Life Balance Yoga Therapy
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Professional Training
    • RDI
    • Sage Learning Center
    • Speech Therapy and MORE!!!
    Therapeutic Approach to Growth Inc.
    9466 Black Mountain Road, Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    5411 Avenida Encinas, Suite 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    (858) 689-2027

  • Coordinator Position at Life Works
  • LIFE WORKS is looking for a dynamic person to join our team of support services for persons with developmental disabilities. A coordinator plays a vital role in the health and success of a team that surrounds a person receiving our support. The coordinator will acquire the role of supervisor, trainer, implementor, partner, identifier, teacher, listener, creator, encourager and student of both the team members and the persons receiving supported living services. We provide customized services for individuals to live in their own homes and to feel welcome and connected to their community. This is a full time position that requires the person to be on-call. Our corporate office is in San Diego but our services expand over the entire county.

    This position requires the person to:

    • Have experience with persons with developmental disabilities
    • Have experience supervising team members
    • Have experience training team members
    • Be creative
    • Have excellent communication skills
    • Be autonomous
    • Be flexible
    • Have a reliable vehicle to use for work
    • Be able to pass a fingerprinting process
    • Have excellent organizational skills
    This position begins training immediately.
    This is a salaried position with benefits.

    If you are interested please send your applicable resume' and cover letter to Beth at

    Please check us out at

  • 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
    • Special Needs Trusts and Estate Planning for Families 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.

    For more info and to contact us for an appointment, click here!!!

  • Banyon Tree Learning Center Homework Club

  • Presentation: SEXUALITY AND AUTISM
  • We have arranged for a Stacy Everson the founder of SEEDS to explain to parents about sexuality concepts for 3-25 year olds with autism.

    Stacey is an expert in social-sexual education and has provided training to many schools, the San Diego Sheriff's Department, U.S. Fire Department, Homeland Security to name a few.

    This presentation is a must for parents, as Stacy will talk about general strategies for dealing with sexuality as well as tips for getting help through Regional Center.

    The presentation followed by Q&A will be on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 from 7pm - 9pm at ATSC offices located at 10640 Scripps Ranch Blvd. Suite 200, San Diego 92131

    You may invite any parents that you know who have children with autism. However space is limited so only those who RSVP will be permitted to attend.

    Please respond to by August 18th if you would like to attend and tell us if your spouse/significant other will be attending.

    We look forward to seeing you at this important presentation.

  • August events and specials!
  • Hello We Rockers! Summer is winding down, but we still have some cool specials and events happening this month at We Rock The Spectrum San Diego! Click here!

  • IEP Resource: SES Tutoring/Coaching News
  • Dear Parents and IEP Professionals,

    I'm sure you are aware that California has stopped funding the SES Tutoring services for schools. With the change in the NCLB law to ESSA , now individual districts and even individual schools can contract out their intervention services to outside providers. This opens up the doors for schools to have more flexibility in providing contracts to specific tutoring and coaching organizations such as Club Xcite, as a Direct Service Provider. When you set up your IEP this year and see the need to add 1-on-1 Tutoring or Executive Functioning coaching, then it may be possible to request Club Xcite as a Direct Service Provider.

    Club Xcite is unique in that they offer social, emotional and other executive functioning skills development as a foundation in addition to academic subject support. For children with IEP's, a private tutor or executive functioning coach can support the teachers, clinical staff and parents with innovative and individualized academic, social and behavioral support in school or at home.

    If you would like to learn more please contact Club Xcite at 858-779-9674 or visit!

  • 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

  • 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!!!

  • 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!!!

  • 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.