Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. January 17, 2020

In This Issue

Genetic tests of sperm may forecast odds of autism in children

America's most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain

How the autonomic nervous system may govern anxiety in autism

Labor Dept Says IEP Meetings Qualify For Family and Medical Leave

Disability Advocates Discriminate Against the Severely Disabled

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

San Diego Race for Autism Superhero 5K & 1 Mile Family Fun Walk

FREE!: Living With Autism

Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation by Autism Mom Yvette Soto

Parent Group for Medical Kids

Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!

Miracle League for Del Mar

Webinar: Learn About RDI with Kiki Haddad!

Webinar: Learn About RDI with Brooke Wagner

Job Opening: VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAM ASSISTANT - Job Coach/Vocational Specialist

Miracle League in South County

TACA San Diego Breakfast Club: 2020 New Year, New Goals!

Take a Leap Towards Independence at the Randy Jones Run/Walk

Celebrating a Year of Firsts!


On Saturday, March 28, 2020 we are celebrating the 16th Anniversary of the Race for Autism in Balboa Park and it's going to be "SUPER!"

This family friendly event gathers together more than 5,000 families, educators, and autism professionals from across Southern California to help raise awareness and funding for one of our country's largest concerns- autism. Once considered rare, autism affects as many as 1 in 59 children in the US, and more than 20,000 families right here in our community.

100% of the Race funds stay right here in San Diego and helps to provide funding for early identification and education efforts, technical training in software testing for young adults, parent programs, instructional workshops and has funded nearly 900 community programs and classrooms, benefiting thousands of local children and families.

Please join us in making a difference on March 28th. Because everyone can be a SUPERHERO!

Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) is a dynamic non-profit organization that offers improvisational theatre and performing arts workshops that teach life and social skills to teens and adults with autism and other special needs. Those most served by our programs are teens and young adults with high functioning autism (HFA)/Asperger's.

Our workshops include individuals with disabilities, as well as volunteers who act as peer mentors. We encourage a feeling of equality by not pointing out our volunteers or discussing anyone's differences. The fun, low-stress and upbeat environment of these workshops gives those with unique needs an opportunity to express their creativity, reconnect with peers, and learn life skills through observation and interaction.

Mastering an art is a very enriching experience. It also proves to be a great ally in living with the challenges of autism and other disabilities. Studying and expressing the performing arts brings those who have been isolated into a shared world. As they feel more connected, they are better able to express their thoughts and feelings and share their own unique gifts. We all benefit from their contributions.

  • Genetic tests of sperm may forecast odds of autism in children
  • Some men who have an autistic child carry mutations linked to the condition only in their sperm, according to a new study1. In these men, genetic tests of sperm, rather than of blood, may help estimate their chances of passing the mutations to future children.

    "If you look in the blood of the father, you can't track the mutation effectively, because it can be hiding in just the sperm," says co-lead investigator Joseph Gleeson, professor of neurosciences and pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego.

    The study involved 20 families with an autistic child; most of the children carry mutations strongly linked to the condition. Previous studies did not detect these mutations in the blood of the parents, so researchers assumed that the mutations occurred spontaneously in the parents' egg or sperm2. Read on...

  • America's most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain
  • New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, and depression.

    Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans.

    It certainly is not good for mice. The new study, published this month in the journal Endocrinology, compared mice fed three different diets high in fat: soybean oil, soybean oil modified to be low in linoleic acid, and coconut oil. Read on...

  • How the autonomic nervous system may govern anxiety in autism
  • When most people think of the nervous system, they may picture the brain and spinal cord, together known as the central nervous system. Rarely do people think of the peripheral nerves that regulate the functions of our bodies' organs.

    The peripheral nervous system helps us contract our muscles, moderates the flow of incoming sensory information and even oversees automated processes such as heart function and digestion. It is this last set of processes, regulated by a branch of the peripheral nervous system known as the autonomic nervous system (ANS), that is of growing interest in autism research.

    An ANS that does not function correctly leads to a set of conditions called 'dysautonomias.' Dysautonomias are the chameleons of the medical world: Because the ANS interacts with many bodily systems, dysautonomias can mimic the traits of myriad dysfunctions. Still, there are telltale signs - including dizziness, fatigue, heart-rate changes, muscle tremors and brain fog - that can signal dysautonomias. Read on...

  • Labor Dept Says IEP Meetings Qualify For Family and Medical Leave
  • Parents with children in the special education system often struggle to balance work with the many appointments and school meetings kids with disabilities can require. Things just got a bit easier, thanks to a new Labor Department opinion that IEP meetings qualify for leave coverage under the Family and Medical Leave (FMLA).

    IEP meetings, or Individualized Education Plan meetings, are normally held once a year to determine the course of special education services a student will receive through the school system. Those services often include therapy prescribed by a doctor like speech, occupational or physical therapy. Since family doctor visits fall under FMLA, it's logical that IEP meetings should as well. But employers haven't always interpreted the law that way. Read on...

  • Disability Advocates Discriminate Against the Severely Disabled
  • A former civil rights enforcer knows that non-competitive employment for the severely disabled is a humane lifesaver, not discrimination.

    I strongly support the continuation of the subminimum wage authorized under the Federal Labor Standards Act, FLSA, section 14(c).

    My intellectually and developmentally disabled son needs it. As much advocating as I have done on this topic, I was surprised to see this video for the first time. Phillip DeFranco did an EXCELLENT job of explaining the basics of this issue. Of course, as an advocate for the subminimum wage, I think some of the later-mentioned positions were given a bit more time than they should have.

    I'd now like to address several points in the video. The National Council on Disabilities (NCD) has NEVER had a knowledgable representative membership to stand up for persons with SIGNIFICANT intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). In the video, NCD's Neil Romano took a position on 14(c). His rationale was completely flawed. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • Do you receive SSI? Don't miss out on food benefits!
    Beginning June 2019, many Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will become eligible for CalFresh Food Benefits.

    There is NO CHANGE or reduction to SSI/SSP amounts. For more information Click, Call or Come in to your county office to apply and find out more.

    Click to apply online
    Call 1-877-847-3663 (FOOD)
    Come in/find an office at

    San Diego Futures - I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of this organization because it can be a helpful resource to families in need of computers and other technology who may not have the resources they need to secure technology for their homes. If anyone needs a laptop or desktop and cannot afford one, please consider reaching out to this group. Desktops and laptops are available at VERY low prices for eligible families.

    I would love to find a theatre, dance or improv teacher to volunteer teach at my son's school in Poway. They're 18 -22 years old. Can you help? Thank you.

    Seeking Special Needs Ministry Team Volunteers
    I am seeking any volunteers who would be interested to be part of a developing Volunteer Special Needs Ministry Team I have proposed already onboard Miramar Base starting with the Catholic Community at Airman & Marine Memorial Chapel. I am in the beginning planning phase and hoping will be approved . I envision making the Special needs ministry all inclusive meaning for all disabilities if possible and for all ages . I was also envisioning the team to be comprised of but not limited too support volunteers of professionals like a BCBA who could help with addressing any challenging behaviors that may arise , Special education or Faith formation teachers who have experience working with children and adults with special needs so could help modify the curriculum and help with materials , interpreter for the deaf on an as need basis , speech therapist who could help with creating social stories and other communication and social needs , occupational therapist who could help with sensory regulation needs and more , guest speakers for informational sessions may be offering and more .You do not need to be military but that would be most welcomed as we are serving the military community on board Miramar . If all goes well and receive permission to proceed forward with my proposal then would like in the future to include the other faith based communities served on base . As mentioned this is a team I am currently forming so wanted to reach out to the Special Needs Community to see if any of you are interested to volunteer your time to assist me. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or if interested to Michele at

    Looking for LVN for respite in North County
    Regional Center determined my son needs LVN-level respite care because he might need medication by mouth if he has a seizure. Having a very hard time finding anyone. (We live in Encinitas.) If you have any leads, please email me at

    I'm looking for a online high school for my son to complete his senior year. We're currently enrolled in an online Charter school which does a gods job of providing services and accommodations but the curriculum is too hard.
    Does anyone know of an online program that works with kids on the spectrum?
    Than you, Heidi

    I'm seeking diagnostic assessment such as: ADOS, CARS, GARS for my 18yr son. I understood most insurance don't cover so I'm willing to pay cash like everything else. Please email referrals: Thank you for your time! Rebecca

    To East County parents: Our daughter (who is in the middle of the spectrum but is about 4th grade academically) is going to start high school in September and we are looking at high schools in Grossmont Union High School District. Any schools you recommend or would avoid? We are also open to suggestions for non public high schools. Please e-mail Jen at 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.

  • San Diego Race for Autism Superhero 5K & 1 Mile Family Fun Walk
  • Saturday, March 28, 2020 at 7 AM - 12 PM at Balboa Park!!!

    Be a SUPERHERO for Autism! Join us in celebrating 16 years of making a difference and changing the futures for thousands with autism in San Diego at the RACE FOR AUTISM SUPERHERO 5K. Grab your cape and run or walk through the heart of beautiful Balboa Park kick off Autism Awareness Month in heroic style on Saturday, March 28, 2020.

    Help NFAR continue to change lives and sign up today. 100% of Race donations support San Diego autism programs, services, and hundreds of local classrooms.

    Featuring a SUPERHERO 5K chip timed run, 5K walk or 1-mile Family Fun Walk, scenic Balboa Park course, educational resource fair, children's activities, music, commemorative medals, and t-shirts, capes for kids, prizes, refreshments and more! Costumes and strollers welcome!

    Create a Justice League for the 2020 Race for Autism Superhero 5K on March 28, 2020! To purchase a Justice League Team Package, please call NFAR at (858) 679-8800.

    The Justice League Package is for:
    *Groups of 15 persons or more.
    *Flat rate of $30 per person. (Includes chip-timing for runners and larger shirt sizes.)
    *Upon receipt of payment, your group will receive a special code to register.

  • FREE!: Living With Autism
  • Mon, February 10, 2020
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court, Suite 250
    San Diego, CA 92120

    This presentation shares my story of autism and the challenges I grew up with as a person with autism.

    In this presentation by a special education attorney and advocate with autism, the speaker shares his experience with autism and how to work towards success in adulthood. It shares the challenges he grew up with as a person with autism, and emphasizes that the treatment is consistent education. The presentation also serves to empower individuals with "diff-abilities" to charge forward and achieve their dreams. Click here for all the info and to register for this free event!!!

  • Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation by Autism Mom Yvette Soto
  • I offer professional accounting services that are customized to your specific needs, including full service computerized bookkeeping, payroll and tax preparation for individuals and small to medium sized businesses.

    Services Provided:
    - Bookkeeping Services
    - Business Consulting
    - Payroll Preparation
    - Income Tax Return Preparation
    - Notary Public Services

    Customer service is my number one priority. I like to work closely with my clients to make sure they understand how their business is doing.

    As a small business owner it is important that you spend your time on running your business and not on bookkeeping. Let me give you the peace of mind you deserve by utilizing my 20+ years of diversified experience in accounting and in business.

    Call to setup an appointment for a free initial consultation so that I can evaluate your bookkeeping needs and provide you with a quote.

    Yvette Soto
    3633 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 205
    San Diego, CA. 92108
    Phone (619) 977-6586

  • Parent Group for Medical Kids
  • Any questions please contact Lana at 858-722-7503 or email

  • Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!
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    Wondering if your child might benefit from joining a group? Give us a call at 858-558-9552 to schedule a free consultation.

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

  • Miracle League for Del Mar
  • For questions, please contact our Program Director at
    Phone: (858) 964-2222

  • Webinar: Learn About RDI with Kiki Haddad!
  • For questions please email or call 858-689-2027

  • Webinar: Learn About RDI with Brooke Wagner
  • For questions please email or call 858-689-2027

  • Job Opening: VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAM ASSISTANT - Job Coach/Vocational Specialist
  • This position is 20-25hours/week

    NFAR's mission is to drive personal and community transformation by empowering people with autism. In this position, you will be responsible for the delivery of quality vocational programs to those with high-functioning autism by helping them developing the technical and soft skills they need in order to secure an entry-level job in a variety of fields in the technology and manufacturing sectors.

    We're looking for smart, compassionate, and resourceful individuals with a passion for inspiring others. The successful candidate for this position is someone who is fundamentally passionate about helping others gain the confidence and skills they need for employment. The candidate we are looking for will be a role model to others, and deliver quality educational opportunities in a hands-on, practical vocational environment.

    This position is a blend of a typical Job Coach and a Production Lead. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Miracle League in South County
  • For questions, please contact our Program Director at
    Phone: (858) 964-2222

  • TACA San Diego Breakfast Club: 2020 New Year, New Goals!
  • Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Denny's at 10430 Friars Road, San Diego, California 92120

    Bring yourself and your great BIG dreams to Coffee Talk! Come to the TACA table for ideas to get started on your plan. All attendees will receive their own calendar to get ideas, dates and goals written into your new year! RSVP so we can save you a seat!

  • Take a Leap Towards Independence at the Randy Jones Run/Walk
  • Take a Leap Towards Independence!
    The Randy Jones Run/Walk for Independence will take place on Saturday, Feb. 29th (Leap Day) at Crown Point Park. Join us for this can't miss experience.

    Home of Guiding Hands (HGH) and Randy Jones, former San Diego Padre and National League CY Young Award Winner, will once again join forces to support over 3,800 infants, adolescents and adults with a developmental disability.


  • Celebrating a Year of Firsts!
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info!!!

  • ASD Mornings at the NAT

  • The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is pleased to offer a program for the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community: a once-a-month ASD Morning in which the Museum opens early for adults and children on the autism spectrum and their families, friends, and caregivers. This innovative program encourages individuals to explore, play, and discover the treasures The Nat has to offer in an environment that is comfortable for them.

    ASD Mornings take place the second Sunday of every month. The Museum will open at 9 AM*, one hour earlier than its standard 10 AM opening time, providing a quiet and less-crowded environment for visitors to explore the Museum's galleries at their own pace. In addition, on ASD Mornings the Museum will offer a "quiet room" from 9 AM to noon if visitors need a quiet space to decompress or desensitize. General admission rates apply during ASD Mornings.

  • Autism Accessibility Morning at the Fleet!

  • The third Saturday of every month, Fleet invites the Autism Spectrum Community to enjoy our museum through this special opportunity. Adults and families with children with autism can enjoy the Fleet's exhibit galleries in a quieter setting, an hour before regular open hours to the general public and with access to a special cool-off space. Visitors are welcome to stay and enjoy the museum all day. Admission includes a special IMAX film screening at 10 a.m. with the house lights on and a lower soundtrack volume.

    For more information, visit

  • Everyone Deserves a Loving Home

  • Contact Lynn Scott for more information 619-954-7847 or

  • Autism Through the Lifespan

  • Please RSVP for Spanish Translation support

    For further information, please contact:
    Carolyn Carterette, M.A. (619) 725-8080 email:
    Grace Fantaroni, Ed.D. (619) 563-2839 email

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services - Winter Calendar 2019

  • Here is the TRS Newsletter for Winter of 2019.

    First day of registration is Saturday, November 16th at 10:00 a.m.

    You may register online or at our office at the War Memorial Building (3325 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92101). If you plan on paying at the office, please remember we no longer take cash as a payment.

    If you have any questions, please contact the office at (619) 525-8247.

  • Toddler MRI Study at SDSU

  • Our Center's research arm, the Brain Development Imaging Labs, is conducting a fascinating study looking at how young children's brains change as they get older. We are looking for kids (15 months to 5 years old) who are on the spectrum or who are suspected to have autism. Participants get a free assessment (plus assessment summary), free MRI scan, $150, AND a free picture of their brain! For more info or to sign up, please call us at 619-594-2500 or email us at Thank you!

  • Participate in SPARK at UCSD

  • UC San Diego's Autism Center of Excellence is seeking individuals diagnosed with ASD and their biological family members to participate in SPARK, the largest national genetics research project in US history! The SPARK study aims to gain a better understanding of the causes and potential treatments of autism by building a cohort of 50,000 diagnosed individuals to facilitate research on an unprecedented scale. There is NO cost to participate in the study and it can even be completed without leaving the house!

    What we do
    SPARK researchers extract genetic data through a saliva sample and analyze information collected from thousands of people with autism and their biological parents. UCSD and over 20 of the nation's leading medical schools are part of this effort.

    How to join*
    1. Sign up online at -- registration typically takes about 20 minutes. Using this link connects you to our site, which enables us to better follow up with you if you encounter any issues or have specific questions.
    2. Complete a few questionnaires online.
    3. Provide a saliva sample. A saliva collection kit will be sent directly to your home after registration. When you are done, simply mail it back in the prepaid mailer.

    Benefits of joining
    1. Individuals with autism will receive gift cards valued at up to a total of $50 for participation.
    2. SPARK hosts monthly webinars, featuring psychologists, researchers, or speakers from the autism community, that provide useful information for families and individuals with autism.
    3. If a genetic finding is discovered related to the cause of autism, results will be shared back with families.
    4. The information you provide may help others with ASD for generations to come!

    *Our site also offers the option for home appointments where a member of our SPARK team can come to your home and assist you in the registration process, collect the saliva samples, and mail them in for you! This is typically the preferred method for families as everything gets completed at once. Please note that we ask that both biological parents and individual diagnosed with ASD be present for these appointments. We can accommodate a variety of dates and times outside normal business hours on the weekdays or weekends -- whichever is most convenient for you and your family! Alternatively, we can also schedule in-clinic appointments at our office if that is preferred.

    You can visit our SPARK FAQ page for additional details. Please contact us via email at or via phone at 858-534-6906 if you would like to set up an appointment or if you have any questions!

  • Older Adults with Autism (40-75 yrs old) Needed for Study

  • We are looking for older adults with autism (40-75 yrs old) to be in our brain imaging study! Anyone with a diagnosis or suspects that she or he has autism is invited to reach out to us. Participants receive a free assessment, free MRI brain scan, and around $150! If you know anyone who might be interested in this, please have them email or call us at 619-594-0176. Thank you!

  • SDSU Center for Autism Brain Study Needs Volunteers!

  • The SDSU Center for Autism is conducting a behavioral and brain imaging study with youth (7-21 years old) on the spectrum. We are trying to understand how the brain changes as children become young adults. Participants get a free assessment, a free MRI scan, about $150, and a free picture of their brain! If you are interested, call us at 619-594-0176, or email us at Thank you!


    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.