Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 05, 2019

In This Issue

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Why no one talks about the physical disabilities that can accompany autism

The quest for autism's causes, and what it reveals about all of us

Special Needs Parents and PTSD: This Is What Happens

What happens when people who have trouble fitting into a traditional workplace get one designed just for them?

Untangling the ties between autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

NFAR's Race for Autism! Saturday April 6th in Balboa Park - Prices go up on March 4th!!!

Spring Break Camp - Dates in March and April

Yvette M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax

Sip and Paint "Fun" Raiser to Benefit Beacons North County

FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

'Dancing Lessons' at Oceanside Theatre

Jeremiah's Ranch March 2019 Newsletter

Children's Dance Program

Sensory Friendly Purim Party at Dan's Place

SAVE THE DATES: Mozart & the Mind

Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk Autism and IEPs

Command and Control Cognitive Training

SUCCESS: Supported Employment with Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement & Social Skills Training


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  • Why no one talks about the physical disabilities that can accompany autism
  • I'm on the spectrum and can't drive - and there are plenty more like me. Now, scientists home in on our struggle

    If you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism.

    I've found myself explaining this quite a bit since 2012, when my piece for Mic responding to Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza's reported Asperger's diagnosis introduced me to the world of personal writing about being on the autism spectrum. It is common for people to assume that if they're familiar with one or two people on the spectrum - or if they've encountered caricatures of autistic people in popular culture - that they know everything they need to understand.

    Yet the truth is that autism manifests itself quite differently from person to person - and one example of this are the physical disabilities that often accompany being on the spectrum.

    Personally, I have always struggled with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Growing up, I needed occupational and physical therapy, and even today I can't drive a car or successfully play most video games, both of which have impaired my social life and, in the case of not being able to drive, led to some considerable economic hardship. It is one of those disabilities which, though invisible to the naked eye, becomes readily apparent whenever other people expect that I'll be able to "just do" certain things, because most other people can also do so. Read on...

  • The quest for autism's causes, and what it reveals about all of us
  • The more researchers look, the more multifaceted the risk factors appear - and the more we learn about how the brain works and develops

    As alarm grew over autism prevalence at the turn of this century, there was much public talk of a growing "epidemic." That language has since softened, and it is now clear that many autistic people were there all along, their condition unrecognized until relatively recently.

    But what is the cause? The emerging narrative today is that there is no single cause - rather, multiple factors, roughly sorted into the categories of genetics and environment, work together in complex ways. Because of this complexity and the hundreds of gene variants that have been implicated, developing human brains may follow many possible paths to arrive at a place on the autism spectrum.

    And this may help explain something true about autism: It varies greatly from one person to the next. Read on...

  • Special Needs Parents and PTSD: This Is What Happens
  • I drove up the freeway, listening to a podcast and not really paying much attention to my surroundings.

    All of a sudden, I started to panic.

    Nothing changed. I was just suddenly gripped by an almost crippling anxiety. I felt like my chest was constricting. I could barely breathe.

    I pulled over and started to cry, trying to figure out what in the world was wrong. As I began to catch my breath, I realized where I was - about 50 feet away from the freeway exit for the hospital.

    My son had been there for ten days, about a year prior.

    A piece of my heart, and apparently also my mind, has been there ever since. Read on...

  • What happens when people who have trouble fitting into a traditional workplace get one designed just for them?
  • BEFORE BEN HIRASUNA showed up for the first job interview of his life, he went for weeks at a time without leaving his parents' home in Santa Monica. Outside, sun poured down; inside, he looked at the top of his forearm and noticed it was every bit as pale as its underside. To say Hirasuna is shy is to say the ocean is big - it captures nothing of the vastness of the feeling. He managed to attend college at Arizona State for just over a year but returned home for good in November 2017. For a few months, he took some classes at a local community college, but eventually his routine gave way to solitude at home. During the day, he slept; at night he rose to battle the enemy in futuristic cities and pastel landscapes on his PC, or tinkered on another monitor with any of the codes (Java, Perl, Rust, C++ and C#) he taught himself in high school. Finally, last November, his parents insisted that he get a job - any job, at the bakery down the street or at McDonald's, if it came to that.

    Hirasuna could not imagine a worse hell than a job in customer service, which would require, he sensed, a more cheerful public face than he could possibly muster. He remembered that in September, he went to an innovation fair at his old high school and met the head of a technology consulting business called Auticon, which specializes in hiring people who are, like Hirasuna, on the autism spectrum. He made an appointment with a recruiter at the office, and in early January, he forced himself to make the 10-minute drive to Auticon's office two blocks from the beach. After going upstairs to the right floor, he stood outside the door of the office, stymied by what to do next. Read on...

  • Untangling the ties between autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder frequently accompany each other; scientists are studying both to understand how they differ.

    Steve Slavin was 48 years old when a visit to a psychologist's office sent him down an unexpected path. At the time, he was a father of two with a career in the music industry, composing scores for advertisements and chart toppers. But he was having a difficult year. He had fewer clients than usual, his mother had been diagnosed with cancer, and he was battling anxiety and depression, leading him to shutter his recording studio.

    Slavin's anxiety - which often manifested as negative thoughts and routines characteristic of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) - was nothing new. As a child, he had often felt compelled to swallow an even number of times before entering a room, or to swallow and count - one foot in the air - to four, six or eight before stepping on a paving stone. As an adult, he frequently became distressed in crowds, and he washed his hands over and over to avoid being contaminated by other people's germs or personalities. His depression, too, was familiar - and had caused him to withdraw from friends and colleagues. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • Seeking Someone for IHSS Provider
    Looking for someone to become an IHSS Provider for my 11 year old son with autism. Will need to be able to work between 6 and 16 hours per week. Wednesday is a must starting at 2:30 pm. You will also watch my daughter at times and during those times, I will supplement your rate.

    Schedule is not firm at this point, but Wednesday's are an absolute necessity. Ideally:

    Monday 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
    Tuesday 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
    Wednesday 2:30 pm to 9 pm
    Friday TBD can discuss
    Saturday TBD can discuss
    Sunday TBD can discuss

    Must be patient and assist my son with redirection, organization, personal hygiene, washing/changing bedding, etc. Constant supervision is required.

    Must be punctual and able to meet the school bus.

    Must be willing to help with transportation to appointments or activities.

    Would like a high school or college student that is close to the Rancho Bernardo area.

    Must like children and pets
    Must be self driven
    Must be punctual
    Must have reliable vehicle
    Must have good, clean driving record
    Must be willing to take and pass a background check
    Must be willing to take 3 hour IHSS Provider training


    Hi, my name is Jennifer and our family is thinking about relocating to the San Diego area. We currently live in Sacramento. My son is 22, adult with autism. I would love to chat with someone in the area. Thank you.

    My son is 27 yrs old. I am looking for a recommendation for a regular MD that accepts Medi-cal in the Chula Vista area.
    Thanks in advance, Tracey

    Professional Office Available for Sublet

    Ideal opportunity for advocate, attorney, or professional. Large private office available with peek ocean views in Carlsbad. Includes wifi, use of conference room, lobby, and children's play area. $500 per month. Preferably someone who cares about and helps people with disabilities.

    Please contact Cara at

    If you have a question or request for this newsletter group, please send your email request to People who can help you will email you directly with their responses.

  • NFAR's Race for Autism! Saturday April 6th in Balboa Park - Prices go up on March 4th!!!
  • On Saturday, April 6, 2019, we are celebrating the 15th annual San Diego Race for Autism Superhero 5K in Balboa Park.

    This family friendly event attracts thousands of local SUPERHEROES, big and small, to Balboa Park each year and directly supports programs that help individuals with autism and their families in San Diego. To date, the Race has funded over 900 community programs and classrooms.

    NFAR's Technical Training Programs
    NFAR's newest programs are helping to address the growing concern of what individuals with autism will do once they graduate/transition out of the educational system, (unemployment rate for those with autism is 85%) and offers a crucial pathway from the educational system to meaningful employment.

    NFAR Tech is a comprehensive vocational training program teaching quality assurance processes in software testing. Since 2016, 52 young adults have completed this 7 month program, with 75% being placed into paid work internships at companies in San Diego.

    In addition, NFAR is also now offering NFAR Codes classes in software coding.
    And coming soon NFAR Works, a new vocational program to include a broader range of individuals and interests.

    Sign Up Today and be a HERO for those with autism, Race for Autism 2019!

    Can't make the race, but want to donate to NFAR to help them continue their great work, click here!!

  • Spring Break Camp - Dates in March and April
  • Our Spring Break camps are for grades 1-6. Participants will learn the rules of various sports games through structured play. Basketball, Baseball, Lacrosse, Soccer and Recess games are the sports that we go over.

    The total cost for the week is $250, but we do offer reduced fees! Please don't hesitate to reach out to see if you qualify.

    We offer two different weeks:
    March 25-29 in Kearny Mesa
    April 15-19 in Spring Valley/La Mesa
    We meet Monday-Friday from 9-12 and will go over one sport per day!

    Contact 858-634-8300 or email

  • Yvette M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax
  • 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.

    I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University of San Diego and have more than 20 years of experience in accounting. Before opening up my business I worked as a Staff Accountant for several local CPA firms. I was also was an Accountant/Office Manager for an owner operator of 20+ McDonald's franchises, a Controller of a manufacturing company, an Accounting Manager for a home builder and was in charge of running a local bookkeeping and income tax firm. I am also a Notary Public and speak Spanish.

    I can navigate the tax ramifications of receiving public benefits and credits for special needs because I have twins with Autism. This allows me to provide a very personal level of service because I understand the needs of these families. I enjoy volunteering for local Autism charities and mentor families of newly diagnosed children.

    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 M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax
    3633 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 205
    San Diego, CA. 92108
    Phone (619) 977-6586

  • Sip and Paint "Fun" Raiser to Benefit Beacons North County
  • Location for Sip and Paint:
    Beacons North County
    6150 Yarrow Drive, Suite E
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Cost is $50 check or cash at the door!
    RSVP to

  • FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!
  • Safer Than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and ADHD/ADD and the Effects are Permanent!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids is San Diego's premiere pediatric microcurrent therapy program for children, teens and adults with special needs. Our program is the BEST therapy for Autism & ADHD, as you will see by the rapid improvement in your child's skills and abilities, because of how well it promotes developmental growth and couples with ALL other therapies.

    Some of the neuro-developmental issues we commonly see include:

    • Autism/Asperger's
    • Anxiety
    • Sensory Processing Disorder
    • Depression
    • ADD/ADHD
    • Tourette's Syndrome
    • Developmental Delay
    • Epilepsy
    • And many more!
    Call 858-367-9108 for your free consultation!!!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Road, Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • "My Time For Dinner" was created to give Parents a special time for themselves to enjoy an evening out to dinner.

    Please join us for Dinner at Little Italy Bar and Grill (Approx. $15 per person)
    In Scripps Ranch
    Monday, March 18, 2019 at 7:00 PM

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

  • 'Dancing Lessons' at Oceanside Theatre
  • 5 local autistic artists will have their art on display at Brook Theater Gallery for the critically acclaimed play Dancing Lessons at Oceanside Theatre about a man with Aspergers who seeks dancing lessons from an injured dancer. Discounts for those connected to the Autism Society of San Diego. ASSD members get 50% off any ticket. Use promo code "ASSD" when checking out. Click here to buy your tickets!!!

  • Jeremiah's Ranch March 2019 Newsletter
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info about upcoming events!!!

  • Children's Dance Program
  • I am a junior at Sage Creek High School who is looking to make a difference. My close friend Ally Zepeda and I are forming a dance program here at Sage for children with special needs. If you could post our flyer it would help us out tremendously, as we need more kids to sign up before we can start dancing. Thank you so much!
    Lela Buda

  • Sensory Friendly Purim Party at Dan's Place
  • Sunday, March 17, 2019 at 2 PM - 4 PM
    Friendship Circle of San Diego
    16934 Chabad Way, Poway, California 92064

    Join FC for a sensory friendly Purim Party on Sunday, March 17th! Enjoy a special Dan's Place Kosher Restaurant luncheon with a magical performance by Abbie & TJ Productions! Fun for the whole family, come make hamantaschen, shalach manos and enjoy music class with your friends!

    $5 per person or $18 per family (4+ people)
    Reminder to wear your costumes! Get tickets:


  • SAVE THE DATES: Mozart & the Mind
  • Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 11 AM - 7:15 PM
    Irwin M Jacobs Hall @ Qualcomm Inc.
    5775 Morehouse Dr, San Diego, California 92121

    Keynote speaker Temple Grandin along with presentations by nationally and internationally renowned speakers in the autism and neurodiversity community focused on empowerment, self-advocacy, education, and the role of music and the arts. Find out how and why to uncover interests, nurture self-expression, boost existing talents or strengths and unleash limitless possibilities. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk Autism and IEPs
  • Tue, March 19, 2019
    5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
    Sanford Autism Consulting Office
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120

    Join me for coffee, tea, and snacks as we discuss your biggest concerns about Autism and IEPs. This will be a relaxed and casual environment.

    This is a FREE event, but registration is necessary. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Command and Control Cognitive Training
  • Intricate Mind Institute
    2247 San Diego Ave #136
    San Diego, CA 92110
    (858) 205-9809

  • SUCCESS: Supported Employment with Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement & Social Skills Training
  • Intricate Mind Institute
    2247 San Diego Ave #136
    San Diego, CA 92110
    (858) 205-9809

  • 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" Monthly Parent Support and Information Meetings

  • October 2018 - May 2019
    PLNU Graduate Education
    4007 Camino Del Rio South - Fourth Floor
    San Diego, CA 92108

    Please join other parents, caregivers and professionals at the following monthly informational and support group meetings in Mission Valley. These meetings will discuss the various aspects of autism through the lifespan. Each meeting will feature an expert speaker and an ASA parent mentor. This is a time for you to meet other parents, ask questions and network.
    The meetings are free and open to all.

    Please RSVP for Spanish Translation support
    For further information, please contact:
    Lisa Larsson - (619) 725-8080 ext. 7946 email:
    Maryann Collins - email:
    Grace Fantaroni, Ed.D. - (619) 563-2839 email:

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services Spring 2019 Calendar
  • Click here to view our new Spring 2019 calendar!!!

    Important dates to remember:
    Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
    Registration begins for Spring activities

    Saturday, March 2nd, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
    Registration begins for Summer Camps

    You may sign up online at or at our office 3325 Zoo Drive, 92101.

  • Beacon's Inc. is Hiring!!!

  • Beacons is hiring a Lead Instructor and Support Staff for our new vocational workshops - 'Beacons Pathfinder Program'. Go to our website for employment opportunities details!

  • 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!

  • Brain Imaging Studies for all Ages with or without Autism

  • The Brain Development Imaging Labs at San Diego State University are looking for individuals with diagnosed or suspected autism to participate in a brain imaging study. Participants would receive around $150 plus free cognitive testing and an MRI scan. Child participants would receive a free assessment summary and image of their brain as a bonus! We are looking to recruit from all ages, but we especially need adults, ages 40-65 years, to participate. If you know someone who might be a good fit for our study, please share this information with them. Thank you.

    At SDSU!!! To find out more, please call 619-594-0176 or email BDIL@SDSU.EDU.

  • Please Participate in Local Research!!!

  • Please click on this link to participate:


    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.