Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. September 14, 2017

In This Issue

NIH awards nearly $100 million for Autism Centers of Excellence program

A Robot Designed To Help Kids With Autism Learn Social Cues

Lengthy scans yield detailed maps of individual brains

Special Needs Motherhood Is Messy

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

North County Mom's Group - Sep 21, 2017

Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!!!

Jam Session Registration Now Open!

The 35th Annual Pro-Am Golf Classic Benefiting Home of Guiding Hands

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Summer Sports Spectacular!!!

FREE Seminar: ABA Therapy: What is it? Why does it work? How do you get it?

College of Adaptive Education to offer an Introduction to American Sign Language

Autism Tree Project Foundation

Love and Autism Conference in San Diego, September 30th!

RDI Information Night at TAG in Carlsbad!!!

San Diego Special Needs Updates!

Autism Moms of San Diego!!!

FERIA Partnership Conference 2017



  • NIH awards nearly $100 million for Autism Centers of Excellence program
  • The National Institutes of Health has awarded nine research grants totaling nearly $100 million over the next five years for the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE), a program that supports large research projects aimed at understanding and developing interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The ACE program was created in 2007 from the consolidation of previous programs. Grants have been awarded every five years, and 2017 marks the third cycle of ACE grants.

    ASD is a complex neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in life and affects how a person acts, learns and interacts with others.

    "Autism spectrum disorder has myriad environmental, genetic, neurological and behavioral components," said Diana W. Bianchi, M.D., director of NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), 1 of 5 institutes funding the ACE program. "These awards will allow us to understand how autism differs in girls versus boys, to develop earlier methods of screening, and to improve treatments based on specific symptoms." Read on...

  • A Robot Designed To Help Kids With Autism Learn Social Cues
  • A Cornell University professor has partnered with Google to develop robots that help children with autism learn to react emotionally in social situations. The key? Machine learning-and good old-fashioned crochet.

    Blossom doesn't look much like a robot. Of the two current prototypes Guy Hoffman and his team have made, one takes the shape of a bunny, with hand-carved wooden ears; the other looks like an octopus, with yarn tentacles that can curl up and down. They resemble rag dolls more than Roombas, and that's entirely by design.

    Hoffman, an assistant professor at Cornell University who studies human-robot interaction, partnered with Google to develop the robot to watch YouTube clips alongside children with autism. These children often have trouble understanding how to react emotionally to social situations. Using machine learning, Hoffman and the team at Google are working on designing ways for Blossom to act during different videos to help autistic kids learn key social cues. Read on...

  • Lengthy scans yield detailed maps of individual brains

  • A new database contains high-fidelity brain maps of 10 typical adults1. Each atlas includes neuronal connections particular to an individual rather than averages across the group.

    Detailed maps of individual brains could help researchers understand the heterogeneity in autism.

    The map of each brain comprises data from five hours of scanning per person, about three times as long as the longest scans in other datasets. The longer the scan, the more reliable the data derived from it2. But the scanners, called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machines, are expensive to use, running upward of $600 per hour.

    To lower the cost, the researchers took advantage of off-hour pricing - which starts at midnight. They paid $50 per hour, a 90 percent discount. Read on...

  • Special Needs Motherhood Is Messy
  • My son and I watch the show, Dirty Jobs, every night as a way to wind down before bedtime.

    He loves it. I love it. It works for us.

    Last night, he looked at me in the middle of the show and said, "You don't get paid, so Mike Rowe couldn't come here. But you have a really dirty job."

    I smiled and agreed.

    I do.

    Special needs motherhood is messy. Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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 ?

    I am a single mom of 8 years old boy with autism who is looking for part time job to help me to get through my graduate program for Clinical Counseling. I worked as ABA behavior therapist for about a year, have extensive experience as a care provider for children with special needs, trained in RDI as well. In addition, I worked as art instructor for 12 years teaching children, typical and with special needs. I am wondering if anyone may need part-time help with their children. I have my son 50 % of the time and My availability is every Monday, Tuesday and every other Friday, Saturday and Sunday at any time. I live in Carmel Valley/Del Mar and planning to stay here.
    My phone number is 858/342-3118
    Thank you so much,
    Yulia Serebryakova

    Looking for 1-2 roommates to share cute 2 bedroom 1 bath house in Encinitas with my sister, who is autistic and non-verbal, and her caretaker. My sister will be starting Supported Living in 6 months or more, so roommates(s) could move in now or later. Please email or call me for more information - Daria at 619-294-6577 or

    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.

  • North County Mom's Group - Sep 21, 2017
  • Thursday, September 21, 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.

    September Topic: Strengthening Relationships between loved ones of Families with Autism

    Discussion includes:

    - How family-focused treatment differs from typical autism interventions and why it is an important aspect to incorporate
    - What you might not be considering if your focus is only on behaviors
    - Review of some clinical ways that family-focused treatment has been done

    Guest Speaker: Courtney Olinger, PsyD, LMFT, Clinical Supervisor/ASD Specialist, San Diego Center for Children Family Wellness Center

    Courtney has been working with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and their families since 2000. She is trained in ABA including discrete trial (DTT), pivotal response training (PRT), Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Professional Assault Crisis Training (ProAct). She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), who specializes in autism spectrum disorders, social communication challenges, behavioral concerns and the family system.

    As a sibling of someone who had Asperger's Syndrome, Courtney is personally driven to find ways to help support individuals on the spectrum and the ENTIRE family with their changing needs. As the Clinical Supervisor for San Diego Center for Children's Family Wellness Center, she manages a wide variety of programs from school based behavioral and social supports, social skills and play based groups for children and teens, sports and recreation programs, teen and young adult programs as well as individual and group sessions for parents and family. For more information about San Diego Center for Children's Family Wellness Center programs

    Click here for all the info and to RSVP!!

  • Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!!!
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    NOW IN SAN DIEGO!!! Why choose us?
    In a program such as ours the child learns to think reflectively and base behaviors on their own desires and feelings rather then on repetitiously learned non-reflective patterns of behavior. We work from a multi-displinary perspective considering functional language use, visual-spatial processing, auditory processing and motor function.

    Real Connections Child Development Institute
    415 North Highway 101 Suite C
    Solana Beach, CA 92075
    (858) 354-2006

  • Jam Session Registration Now Open!
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info about upcoming events and activities!!!

  • The 35th Annual Pro-Am Golf Classic Benefiting Home of Guiding Hands
  • Join us on the greens for a spectacular day of golf on Friday, October 27th at one of the top ranked courses in San Diego, Maderas Golf Club.

    The day begins with the pairing of your team with a San Diego PGA Pro. Shotgun starts begin at 10 am. As you head out to the course you'll be greeted by HGH clients who line up to wish you luck. Players will enjoy lunch, on-course games and craft beers, a hole in one competition, dinner, awards and much more. The top three teams will be invited to play in the Randy Jones Golf Invitational for a chance at $10,000 for the charity of their choice.

    Register now. Last year's tournament was completely sold out!

    The Pro-Am Golf Classic raises money for the HGH programs that support more than 2,500 infants, children, adolescents, and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • In Scripps Ranch
    Monday, September 18, 2017
    7:00 PM

    Please R.S.V.P. with your host Bene' Raphael no later than Sept. 15th at or for any questions please call (760) 845-4551.

  • Summer Sports Spectacular!!!
  • Miracle 139 is excited to team up with Shine ministry and Skyline Youth ministry from Skyline Church for our 5th annual Summer Sports Spectacular! This truly is a spectacular sports event for children with special needs and their siblings! It features a variety of sports-themed social and recreational opportunities for children and youth ages 3-22!

    Summer Sports Spectacular will include 10 different sports stations, ranging from soccer, football, beachball volleyball, frisbee, baseball, basketball, Island Dance and more! On-site will also be sports themed crafts and activities, face painting and balloon art. Light Endurance will be on-hand to award participants with real medals donated by athletes from around the country! Popcorn and snow cones are also available to keep our athletes energized :)

    This FREE event will run from 10:00 am through 1:00 pm on Saturday, September 30th, 2017 at Skyline Church in La Mesa, CA. Parents are asked to remain onsite while their child(ren) are participating in the activities. Volunteers will assist the children through the various sports stations. Siblings are welcome and encouraged to attend!

    Register your family to attend this year's Summer Sports Spectacular!

  • FREE Seminar: ABA Therapy: What is it? Why does it work? How do you get it?
  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017 from 6:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
    Gateway Learning Group - San Diego Office
    2525 Camino del Rio South, Suite 335
    San Diego, CA 92108
    Parking is FREE! Childcare is not available.
    Please email to reserve your space.
    (Our event space is limited, so please RSVP soon)

    Speakers: Nicole Powell, M.Ed., & Nicole Ballinghoff, M.Ed., BCBA
    Gateway Learning Group

    Research shows that Applied Behavior Analysis is a highly effective treatment for people with developmental disabilities. In this presentation, caregivers will learn to define and describe ABA therapy, learn how to obtain ABA and understand how insurance companies fund ABA.

    The seminar will cover:
    -What ABA Is
    -How ABA Works
    -How ABA is Funded

    About Gateway Learning Group: Gateway is a leading provider of autism and behavior intervention services in Northern and Southern California. Gateway Learning Group's direct therapy programs are organized on behalf of children and their families, often in collaboration with school districts, regional centers, and health insurance providers.

  • College of Adaptive Education to offer an Introduction to American Sign Language
  • The College of Adaptive Education, a non-accredited "college experience" for adults of all abilities in Fallbrook, will be offering an Introduction to American Sign Language at the CAE campus, 911 E. Elder. The eight-week class will begin on Wednesday Sept. 20 from 6:30 - 8:00 PM and be offered weekly at the same time. This class is for parents, caregivers, and anyone who wants to learn to communicate with those who are hearing impaired. The class will teach students 100 common signs. The class will be taught by Linda White.

    Registration forms on the CAE website Class is limited to 15. Email Linda White to secure your place.

    The College of Adaptive Education is a program under Jeremiah's Ranch -

  • Autism Tree Project Foundation
  • Supporting Families Affected by Autism

    Founded in 2003 Autism Tree Project Foundation (ATPF) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving communities in San Diego County and The Bay Area by assisting with Education, Advocacy, Early Intervention Preschool Screening, Research and Mentoring for families impacted by autism.

    ATPF provides free Early Intervention Preschool Screenings to over 2,000 youth annually with over 13,000 preschoolers screened to date since 2006.

    ATPF's Youth Education and Developmental Services coordinates and provides 20 FREE intensive programs, designed to engage youth with autism in a variety of services which aim at improving their confidence, behaviors and their social communications.

    Click here to visit their website!!

    Click here to visit their Face Book Page!!

    Click here to sign up for their FREE enewsletter for all the info about their programs and events!!

  • Love and Autism Conference in San Diego, September 30th!
  • Love & Autism: A Conference with Heart held annually in San Diego, focuses on relationships - bridges lived experience, clinical practice & research. Click here to see the list of speakers!!!

    September 30 - October 1, 2017
    Liberty Station Conference Center
    2600 Laning Road
    San Diego, CA 92106

  • RDI Information Night at TAG in Carlsbad!!!
  • RDI is a developmental and cognitive based family focused intervention dedicated to treating the core deficits of autism spectrum disorders. Prior to beginning, families are extensively assessed and provided with specific tools and objectives to remediate (treat until they are no longer deficits) the core deficits of autism spectrum disorders. Click here for all the info!!!

    To RSVP call 858-680-2027 or email

    Therapeutic Approach to Growth Inc.
    5411 Avenida Encinas
    Suite 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008

  • San Diego Special Needs Updates!

  • Click here to read their latest newsletter!!!

  • Autism Moms of San Diego!!!
  • Tuesday, September 26th at 11:30am to 12 noon
    Therapeutic Approach to Growth Inc.
    9466 Black Mountain Road, Suite 100
    San Diego , CA 92126
    Click here for all the info!!!

  • FERIA Partnership Conference 2017
  • Conferencia AsociaciĆ³n FERIA 2017
    The Voices of Latino Families: Cultural Understanding, Inclusion and Quality Education = Empowerment

    Saturday, November 4, 2017
    8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
    Southwestern Community College

    For Regional Center funding, please talk with your SDRC Service Coordinator. Registration closes on October 3rd.

    Click here to open the flyer 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

  • Fall 2017 Therapeutic Recreation Services Calendar

  • Click here for all the info!!! Registration online or in our office.

  • 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!!!

  • Weight on Me

  • Our goal is to make durable weighted blankets with safe materials affordable for everyone.
    Contact Jill for all the info!!!

  • Book: One Track Mind

  • Driven by her intense journey parenting a child with special needs, Andrea Moriarty relays life-changing inspiration and practical ways to help parents maximize the potential of their unique learner. One-Track Mind is at once an uplifting memoir, a practical parenting guide, and a collection of music metaphors to help you leverage your child's special interest into a purposeful niche-promoting confidence and life-affirming joy.

  • Book: I Know You're In There

  • I Know You're In There shows what is possible when a child's medical issues are treated in conjunction with intensive behavioral and educational rehabilitation. This story chronicles the long and difficult road traveled to help Ryan become the successful young man he is today. Our family couldn't give up on him, because sometimes we caught a glimpse of the kid we knew was in there.

  • Book: The Someday Birds

  • The Someday Birds is a debut middle grade novel perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree, filled with humor, heart, and chicken nuggets.

    Charlie's perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan.

    When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels cross-country with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn out okay.

    Debut author Sally J. Pla has written a tale that is equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an autistic boy who feels he doesn't understand the world, and an uplifting portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.

    Buy the book here!

  • Book: Eikona Bridgge

  • Eikona means "image" in Greek. Eikona Bridge takes you on a journey to a world that you have never been to before: the inner world of people with autism. This bridge helps parents, educators and the public in general understand today's children with autism. You will learn to discover these children's talents and ways to communicate with them. You will come to see autism as a communication problem, and that once the communication problem is solved, everything else falls in place.

  • Book: Surviving the Cure

  • Surviving the Cure: Cancer was Easy,* Living is Hard is the humorously frank story of life after cancer and the challenges that face nearly every survivor, all rolled into one battered individual. I thought I knew cancer. After all, I'd lived it. And when I went into remission, I thought I was in the clear. It wouldn't be long before I could get back to a normal life and rejoin my friends. However, I soon learned cancer was only the beginning. Not long after I returned home, my lungs started failing. The cure was killing me. Extreme treatments prevented an all-but-certain death, but at great cost: 100 pounds of weight gain, emotional and mental trauma, and a bone disease for which joint replacements were the only fix. Though I was in physical and mental agony after my release from the hospital, I decided to try to piece together a life worth living. One where I could be happy, could joke about my condition, could have the best parking spots. Maybe even one day hold the supremely enviable world record for most joints replaced. But none of that could happen until I picked myself up. The only question was: could I?

    Click here to buy the book!

    About Andrew Bundy

  • Book: Improve Your Health and Cooking Skills with Breakfast

  • This isn't any ordinary cookbook. This book was specifically written for people who learn best through pictures. Our book contains typical breakfast recipes and is organized from simple to more difficult. Our goal was to put together recipes that are not only tasty but also healthy. All of our recipes are balanced and include a calorie count. Our focus is on fiber and protein to promote colon and heart health.
    Buy on Kindle!

  • Book: Healthy Relationships

  • Healthy Relationships (Blue)
    My special education students share that they are going to complete high school, go to college, and then get married. The challenge is providing students and adults with the skill set necessary for them to be safe, independent, and build the relationships that they long for. Be it a friendship or dating relationship the many hidden rules and nuances that are part of relationships are difficult to understand. Healthy Relationships is a workbook for teens and adults with Williams Syndrome, Autism, ADHD, Intellectual Disabilities, Learning Disabilities and other human conditions that may present challenges in building relationships. Through activities, cartoons, and many scenarios the workbook teaches how to investigate and build friendships and relationships safely over periods of time. The workbook provides the reader with the skills for thoughtful and proactive steps necessary for healthy relationships. This workbook comes with an interactive multimedia CD ROM.
    Click here to purchase!

  • Book: A Full Life with Autism: From Learning to Forming Relationships to Achieving Independence

  • A guide for helping our children lead meaningful and independent lives as they reach adulthood

    In the next five years, hundreds of thousands of children with autism spectrum disorder will reach adulthood. And while diagnosis and treatment for children has improved in recent years, parents want to know: What happens to my child when I am no longer able to care for or assist him? Autism expert Chantal Sicile-Kira and her son Jeremy offer real solutions to a host of difficult questions, including how young adults of different abilities and their parents can:

    *navigate this new economy where adult service resources are scarce

    *cope with the difficulties of living apart from the nuclear family

    *find, and keep a job that provides meaning, stability and an income

    *create and sustain fulfilling relationships

    Click here to buy the book

  • Book: Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism

  • Newly revised and updated, this award-winning guide covers every aspect of understanding and living with autism today.

    Comprehensive and authoritative, Autism Spectrum Disorders explains all aspects of the condition, and is written for parents, educators, caregivers, and others looking for accurate information and expert insight. Newly updated to reflect the latest research, treatment methods, and DSM-V criteria, this invaluable book covers:

    * The causes of autism spectrum disorders
    * Getting an accurate diagnosis
    * Treatments based on behavioral, psychological, and biomedical interventions
    * Coping strategies for families and education needs and programs
    * Living and working conditions for adults with ASD
    * Community interaction and teaching strategies and resources for educators and other professionals

    **Best Book on Autism for 2017 --Healthline

    Click here to buy the book

  • BRAIN DEVELOPMENT IMAGING LABS - Recruiting Participants

  • If you are interested in participating in any of these studies, please call 619-594- 0176 or email

  • 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.