Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. February 04, 2020

In This Issue

Using virtual reality to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder

New clinical practice guideline for complex ADHD in children and adolescents

MSU Researchers discover disease, autism link

Medicaid Change Prompts Worries About Disability Services

Homeschooling, with Autism

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

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

A Night to Remember

Looking to Spotlight your Expertise to the Special Needs Community?

Social Skills Groups at Ascent Psychological Services

ATPF - USD Baseball Mentor Program

Club Beacons: Valentine's Day Celebration!

Free Intensive Independent Facilitators Training for Diverse Individuals

D'Vine Path's Latest Newsletter

Karaoke at Kaminski's BBQ

Parent Speaker Series: Early Diagnosis Through Rapid Whole Genome Sequencing: The Process, Present Outcomes and Hope for the Future for Families

Participate in a Study at Research on Autism and Development Laboratory at UCSD

Lil' Athletes Soccer

Virtual Group ~ Moms of Special Needs~ Tuesday Morning



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!

thomas nelson

  • Using virtual reality to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder
  • Novel interventions using virtual reality to aid individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) handle common scenarios may include helping youngsters navigate air travel. This example and more are included in a Special Issue on Virtual Reality Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

    The article "Virtual Reality Air Travel Training with Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Preliminary Report" was coauthored by Ian Miller, Brenda Wiederhold, Ph.D., Catherine Miller, and Mark Wiederhold, MD, Ph.D., Interactive Media Institute (San Diego, CA), Virtual Reality Medical Center (La Jolla, CA), and Speech Tree Therapy Center (Chula Vista, CA). The researchers used an iPhone and Google Cardboard device to deliver the virtual reality intervention once a week for 3 weeks to each child with ASD. At week 4, the children went to the airport for a real-world air travel experience. Both the parents and researchers observed improvement in the children's air travel skills after the intervention and all of the children were able to navigate the real-world airport under their own power. Read on...

  • New clinical practice guideline for complex ADHD in children and adolescents
  • New clinical guidelines call strongly for providing psychosocial supports for children and adolescents with complex attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Developed by the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (SDBP), the guideline provides a framework for diagnosing and treating complex ADHD in these age groups. Its recommendations complement existing ADHD guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The new guideline is published in a supplemental issue of SDBP's Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

    "The time has come for us to take a determined step forward to improve the care and outcomes for people affected by ADHD," says William Barbaresi, MD, chief of the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital and chair of the SDBP Complex ADHD Guidance Panel. "ADHD is not just an annoying childhood behavior problem. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can have lifelong impact in key areas including mental health, educational and vocational outcomes, and relationships." Read on...

  • MSU Researchers discover disease, autism link
  • A team of Michigan State researchers discovered a connection between the rare disease tuberous sclerosis complex, or TSC, and autism and epilepsy.

    The correlation connects the three disorders to the mutation of two different genes that result in the restraint of proteins that are related to multiple disorders with high rates of autism.

    TSC affects multiple organ systems, causing benign tumors to grow on the skin, heart, kidneys and lungs.

    It was known prior that there were high rates of people with TSC also having autism and seizures, but the study - published in Nature Communications - focuses on mutations in two specific genes that are critical to the pathway that retrains a protein often correlated with high rates of autism. Read on...

  • Medicaid Change Prompts Worries About Disability Services
  • Disability advocates are decrying a Trump administration plan to alter Medicaid that they say could ultimately compromise services that people with disabilities rely on.

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a proposal late last week giving states the option to accept fixed payments from the federal government to cover some Medicaid expenses. In exchange, states would gain more control over the parameters of their programs. Read on...

  • Homeschooling, with Autism
  • While certainly not for everybody, some autism parents choose to homeschool. One mom explains why she does it.

    If you follow me on 2 Dollops of Autism, you already know of our decision to homeschool our littles. If you don't already follow me (Facebook & Instagram), what are you doing with your life? Get on that. Like now. I mean, right after you finish reading this post.

    Back to why you're here.

    I always knew that homeschool was going to be where I eventually landed. I have two boys with autism, one who is speaking and one who is not, and as they have grown older, and as I became more involved with advocacy, my frustration with the public school system only magnified. The plan was to finish my Master's and then start homeschooling the following school year. Well, degree accomplished (yay me!), so now it's time to take on homeschooling. 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.

    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!

    My 23 year-old son's psychologist is retiring and I am having trouble finding a new psychologist who has experience working with young adults with special needs/disabilities. My son is on the spectrum and has recently suffered anxiety and depression due to some difficult health issues. He also suffers from feelings of isolation and loneliness. I would love any recommendations for someone in the San Diego area and it would really be a plus to find a provider who also contracted with Medicare. You can contact me 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
  • Now is a great time to sign up for the 2020 Race for Autism Superhero 5K on March 28, 2020 in beautiful Balboa Park!


    This family friendly event attracts thousands of local SUPERHEROES, big and small, and features music, dancing, refreshments, children's activities, capes for kids, medals, and an amazing resource fair.

    Start a company or school team and enjoy extra savings on registration!

    The Justice League Package is for:
    *Groups of 15 persons or more
    *Flat discount rate as follows:
    --$30 per person through March 5th by 4:00 pm.

    *Includes children, youth, adults, chip-timing for runners and larger shirt sizes.
    *Upon receipt of payment, your group will be set up with a special code for team members to register.

    Already Have a Justice League Team?
    --You can add team to your team in groups of 5 or more.
    --Additional members can be added at the Justice League rate available at the time.

    To purchase a Justice League Package, please contact NFAR. For questions, please call us at 858-679-8800 .

  • A Night to Remember
  • April 24, 2020
    About A Night to Remember
    A Night to Remember is a FREE Prom honoring students with special needs ages 15-22 years old. Every Honored Guest attending the prom is offered, free of charge, a tuxedo or prom dress, hair styling and make-up by professional cosmetologists, a corsage or boutonniere, a ride in a limousine, a walk down the red carpet (complete with paparazzi and cheering fans), a night of dinner and dancing, a gift bag and special memories that will last a lifetime. Each student with special needs is partnered up with a San Diego student who serves as their host. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Looking to Spotlight your Expertise to the Special Needs Community?
  • Providers -
    We've had an amazing response from parents towards our free webinar series which has grown to over 150 participants with our recent webinar!

    If you'd like to expand your reach to the Special Needs Community and be highlighted in our upcoming San Diego newsletter, sign up to launch a webinar with us!

    We do all of the work!
    We come to you, film + edit + release the webinar

    If you are an OT, PT, Speech Therapist, Advocate, Educational Specialist, Psychologist, LMFT, Transition Specialist, ABA Provider, or any other provider that has information to share with the Special Needs Community, please click below !

    Sign up!

    Click here for all the info about My Special Needs Connection!!!

  • Social Skills Groups at Ascent Psychological Services
  • Our clinic is located in Rancho Bernardo, and our in-home services are available throughout San Diego county.

    All of our services take an understanding, collaborative and strength-based approach. Please feel free to reach out, we would be happy to answer any questions. We accept both insurance and San Diego Regional Center funding. Please call for details.

    Ascent Psychological Services
    11665 Avena Place, Suite 204
    San Diego, CA 92128
    (858) 888-9062

  • ATPF - USD Baseball Mentor Program
  • Starting Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 2 PM - 4 PM
    USD Fowler Park
    San Diego, California 92110

    Join us for a fun afternoon to kick off our 2020 season! Kiddos will get a chance to meet their player mentors and play some baseball. Kids and siblings of all ages are welcome!

    New to this ATPF Program? Here's why you'll want to join:
    - Your kid (siblings included too!) will each be paired with a baseball player as their buddy to cheer on for the 2020 season
    - Chance to develop a long-term relationship between your family and your player mentor, who is happy and eager to support the growth and development of your kid

    - Kids might not love sports, but LOVE their player! Long lasting friendships often happen in this program
    - Your family is invited to attend ALL USD Baseball Home Games throughout the season
    - Be a part of a community - all our families sit in the same section of stands at home games and cheer together!

    This event is FREE to atttend.

    Interested in attending? Sign your family up TODAY! Click this link:

    Questions? Contact or call our office at (619) 222-4465

  • Club Beacons: Valentine's Day Celebration!
  • Please RSVP by Thursday 2/6/20

  • Free Intensive Independent Facilitators Training for Diverse Individuals
  • Click here to register!!!

    Click here for all the info about Disability Voices United!!!

  • D'Vine Path's Latest Newsletter
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all their upcoming events and programs!!!

  • Karaoke at Kaminski's BBQ
  • By popular request, we're going to be meeting for Karaoke at Kaminski's BBQ on Sunday February 23rd from 2pm-5pm. Please bring $10 for snacks and a drink (or you can buy your own meal). I've heard amazing things about their food from other social club members and I'm looking forward to singing with you guys and gals!

    We will be having a strict 15 person maximum for this event. So please let us know you'll be attending by sending an email to

  • Parent Speaker Series: Early Diagnosis Through Rapid Whole Genome Sequencing: The Process, Present Outcomes and Hope for the Future for Families
  • Do you have (or support) a child who is repeatedly sick, but undiagnosed?
    Does your child have a less commonly known genetic anomaly?

    Come to this parent-friendly education session with the Rady Genomics Team who will share their results from genetically testing sick infants, toddlers and parents. The team will explain how understanding the results has lead to more accurate diagnoses, improved medical treatments and therapies, and other findings that affect the future health of children.

    We recommend this workshop for parents, social workers, doctors and therapists who serve this population.

    February 20
    6:00-7:30 pm
    San Diego Regional Center, Room #101
    4355 Ruffin Rd., San Diego CA 92123

    Sign up for your FREE tickets on Eventbrite today!

  • Participate in a Study at Research on Autism and Development Laboratory at UCSD
  • Click here to view the PDF for all the info!!!! For questions, please contact

  • Lil' Athletes Soccer
  • Structured, basic skills training program to support kids with social and behavioral challenges, to build self -confidence, and have fun! Reduced fees and scholarships available

    Contact Family Wellness Center at or call 858-634-8300.

  • Virtual Group ~ Moms of Special Needs~ Tuesday Morning
  • Your leaders Sandi Anderson and Mary Winter have a passion for helping other moms, like themselves, who serve as caregivers for their special needs children. First Place helps them stay on track with four core areas of their lives: spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mental well-being.

    Meeting Time: Tuesdays, 9:45 to 11:00AM Central Time 7:45am-9am PST
    Topic: Beyond Free
    Session Length: Twelve Weeks
    Leader: Sandi Anderson and Mary Winter
    Virtual Group Session Cost: $44.99, plus order materials.
    The first meeting for all members Tuesday February 4th, 2020, 9:45 to 11:00AM Central Time

    Information Meeting Friday Jan 24 10:30AM and 7:30PM Central Time provides an overview and time to familiarize yourself with the video conferencing technology.

    Group size limited to ten participants, developing close connections as you journey to wellness together. Virtual meeting via video conferencing using your PC, Mac, iOS or Android device, on Zoom.

    Each participant needs the My Place Member's Kit (basic) with the Bible study Beyond Free Order your materials directly from the First Place for Health Online Store at

    Any questions please call Sandi Anderson 760-579-8929

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.