Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 10, 2020

In This Issue

When the Police Stop a Teenager With Special Needs

Brain's motor hub plays unsung role in social skills, cognition

Inclusion Films Produces the Award-Winning Film, Carol of the Bells

Telling friends and teachers about a child's autism has mixed results, say parents

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

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

We hope you can join us for the March NFAR Parent Groups!

Parent Training: Exploring Role of Advocacy in Special Education and the IEP Process

Sensory Sunday Family Time with Heart and Hooves Therapy

Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation by Autism Mom Yvette Soto

Autism One Conference in Chicago

MicroCurrent 4 Kids is Now a Nonprofit!!


Shawn Richardson Life Coaching

I Can Bike Crimson San Diego 2020

Supported employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement & Social Skills training

TRS Camp Registration

Presenting Kevin T. Murphy, MD on Autism & PrTMS



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

  • When the Police Stop a Teenager With Special Needs
  • People with autism or other special needs may repeat words, avoid eye contact and run from authorities.

    A man in his mid-20s regularly roams the streets of my small town in the middle of the night. He looks angry and doesn't communicate clearly.

    Not everyone living in the area knows him. But the police do.

    "His father reached out to us," said Sgt. Adrian Acevedo of the South Orange, N.J., police department, "to tell us his son is blowing off steam, has special needs, and won't make eye contact or listen to us. If we didn't have this information, we could mistakenly take him for a burglar."

    All of South Orange's police officers are aware of this man's disability. His name, his parent's phone numbers, and brief details about his special needs are on file at the South Orange Police Office. Read on...

  • Brain's motor hub plays unsung role in social skills, cognition
  • A handshake, a casual high-five, a polite and efficient end to a phone call: Such behaviors are among the building blocks of social interactions.

    These interactions also require retooling behaviors on the fly - retracting an outstretched hand when the other person moves in for a hug or changing the subject when a conversation partner has lost interest.

    All of these skills can be challenging for autistic people. And they all depend on the brain's hub for prediction, error correction and routine learning: the cerebellum.

    The main job of the cerebellum, a butterfly-shaped structure at the base of the skull, was long thought to be coordinating movement - a function that has only peripheral ties to autism. Read on...

  • Inclusion Films Produces the Award-Winning Film, Carol of the Bells
  • Inclusion Films-dedicated to training filmmakers who have developmental disabilities-celebrated a huge win at the San Diego International Film Festival in October 2019. The organization's first feature-length project Carol of the Bells earned the festival's coveted Audience Choice Feature Film Award after a screening moved viewers to tears. The story follows a troubled young f bellather named Scott (RJ Mitte of Breaking Bad), whose painful childhood memories have begun to strain the relationships he holds most dear. Scott plans to find his biological mother, for whom he harbors deep resentment. The search takes an unexpected turn when Scott's wife discovers that his birth mother is a woman with Down syndrome who never intended to place him for adoption. The film's portrayal of characters with developmental disabilities is both refreshingly genuine and profoundly beautiful. People with special needs comprise an impressive 70 percent of the film's production crew. Carol of the Bells is available for purchase on all streaming platforms as of March 3. Read on...

  • Telling friends and teachers about a child's autism has mixed results, say parents
  • Educating friends and classmates about a child's autism may not necessarily improve inclusion and reduce bullying, according to a University of Alberta researcher, who advises the decision to make a disclosure of this nature is often fluid and subject to change over time based on context.

    "We think strategies like preventative disclosure may improve how much peers interact with and include a child with autism, but we're still not sure," said U of A occupational therapy expert Sandra Thompson-Hodgetts.

    What is known, she said, is that kids with autism take part in fewer community programs-like day camps-than their peers, even compared with children who have other disabilities. 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.

    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

    A quick question about parents dealing with removing wisdom teeth for their kids on the spectrum. Is it really necessary to remove wisdom teeth? I know the dentists will said it is so. But if they are not bothering my son, why bother?
    If parents have children or young adults, that have gone through the procedure, can we get some feedback?
    Thanks Bart, Laura and Jack Schley

    Can I ask your perspective on the Medi-Cal dentist scene in San Diego? Have you heard of any particular M-Cal dentists who are good with adults on the spectrum? Our son has always had his dental work done while he's "asleep" through anesthesia. He simply doesn't have the ability to cooperate--other than getting into the chair and getting through the anesthesia process. That's a challenge in itself but it's manageable. Thank you for your recommendations. Our son lives near SDSU so anything central would be great but we're willing to drive for great service. Thank you! -- Julie

    Hi Valerie, I am a teacher at Linda Vista Elementary and I built a Miller Method Elevated Square years ago to use with my students. I am no longer able to use it with my class because we no longer have a teacher to student ration that would support the program. I would like to give it to someone and feel like your newsletter may be a good way to offer it. The person who picks it up would need a truck. Georgeanne Gedney 619-244-2527

    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: 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.

    JUSTICE LEAGUE DISCOUNT PACKAGE 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 For questions, please call us at 858-679-8800.

  • We hope you can join us for the March NFAR Parent Groups!
  • **Please note - Mom's Group has moved to the 2nd Wednesday of the month**

    Mom's Group - Wed, March 11th, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
    Topic: "Successful Transitions: From Morning Routine to Community Outings"

    Guest Speakers: Abigail Bunt, M.Ed., BCBA, Executive Director of MeBe; Meghan Stuhmer, MA, BCBA, Clinical Director of MeBe
    Details here:

    Men's Group - Thurs, March 12th, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
    Topic: "How to Build Self-Esteem and Confidence in Individuals with Autism"

    Guest Speakers: Dalia Shkedy - Executive Director, Gary Shkedy - Director of Research and Dr. Aileen Sandoval - Clinical Director of Alternative Teaching Strategy Center
    Details here:

    Meetings include dinner and are FREE! (Sorry, no childcare)
    Meeting location: Filippi's Pizza Grotto, 5353 Kearny Villa Rd, San Diego, CA 92123

  • Parent Training: Exploring Role of Advocacy in Special Education and the IEP Process
  • Saturday, March 28th
    10:00 AM to 1:30 PM
    Mission Valley Library
    Community Room
    2123 Fenton Parkway
    San Diego, CA 92108

    Let us know you're coming!
    Phone: 858-430-8166

  • Sensory Sunday Family Time with Heart and Hooves Therapy
  • Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 11 AM - 12:30 PM
    Mission Valley Library
    2123 Fenton Pkwy, San Diego, California 92108

    In collaboration with Autism Society San Diego, Mission Valley Library welcomes families with children who have special needs to a sensory-friendly show featuring a mini-horse! Recommended for children ages 3-10, this interactive program will feature a fun story, a horse show-and-tell, as well as a chance to meet, greet, and paint a horse with bright colors! After the show, families can explore the library, check out items, or enjoy the sunny patio. Regular Sunday hours for the general public start at 12:30. No registration is required. You can prepare your child for this program by using the Social Story, available as a PDF download here.

  • 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

  • Autism One Conference in Chicago
  • The most rewarding educational and networking experience you can have at any autism conference!

    An exceptional value as you gather new hope, answers, help, and direction.

    This conference will help you answer and understand important concepts:

    --Recovery from autism is possible and children get better!
    --There are medical comorbidities of autism that, when treated, allow the child to enjoy improved learning and behavior

    The AutismOne 2020 Conference will be held May 20-24, 2020, at the Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel in Rosemont, IL. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • MicroCurrent 4 Kids is Now a Nonprofit!!
  • Microcurrent 4 Kids is now recognized by the IRS as a non-profit (501(c)(3)) corporation! This means that our innovative therapy program for Autism and other neuro-developmental conditions is now accessible to everyone -- regardless of their financial situation!

    Previously our full 3-month program cost upwards of $3000. Understandably, this was unaffordable for many families. Our mission has always been to make a meaningful impact in the lives of kids and families affected by Autism, and so we made the decision to change our structure so that money is not a barrier for families in need to participate in our program.

    Safer than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and ADHD/ADD and the Effects are Permanent!

    FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!!!

    MicroCurrent 4 Kids is San Diego's premiere microcurrent therapy program for children, teens and adults with special needs. Our program is the BEST therapy for Autism and ADHD/ADD, 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.

    MicroCurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Rd. Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123

  • STEAM Camp
  • A four-day extravaganza of hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math! Plus daily Bible stories and music.

    Monday June 29 - Thursday July 2
    Ages 4 - entering 6th grade
    9am - 12:30pm
    $75 includes t-shirt (scholarships available)

    Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Shawn Richardson Life Coaching
  • Shawn Richardson is a mom to a young adult son living with autism and a certified life coach specializing in families with special needs. Her work with clients is pioneering and centers in healing the challenging emotions and hurt that we parents sometimes feel, reframing our personal narrative in a healthier emotional state, acceptance where that is needed, and action planning when that would be supportive. Reach out to her at

  • I Can Bike Crimson San Diego 2020
  • Hosted by Crimson Treatment & Research Center
    Daily, May 18 - May 22

    Crimson Treatment & Research Center has hosted the national iCan Bike program since 2011, and raises money throughout the year to provide partial scholarships for San Diego County families.

    iCan Bike, helps children with developmental disabilities learn to ride 2-wheel bicycles independently.

    Approximately 80% of the people who participate in our iCan Bike program ride a two-wheel bicycle independently (at least 75 feet with no assistance) by the end of our five-day program while attending for only 75 minutes each day! The remaining 20% make tremendous progress towards this goal and leave our programs accompanied by parents and/or siblings trained as 'spotters' to pick up where we leave off!

    Success rate of riders independently riding a two-wheel bicycle is approximately 80%, with all riders gaining skills throughout the week.

    To register a biker, sponsor this event, volunteer or for more info please contact Karyn Searcy at

  • Supported employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement & Social Skills training
  • A program, designed for adults with ASD/ADHD, using evidence-based compensatory cognitive training and social cognitive training, to develop the soft skills necessary for employment & independent life.

    Intricate Mind Institute
    2247 San Diego Ave #136
    San Diego, CA 92110
    (858) 205-9809

  • TRS Camp Registration
  • Registration can be done online at or at our office at the War Memorial Building- 3325 Zoo Drive, San Diego CA 92101. If you plan on registering at our office, please remember we no longer take cash as a method of payment.

  • Presenting Kevin T. Murphy, MD on Autism & PrTMS
  • Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 6 PM - 7:30 PM
    MindSet Treatment Center
    16918 Dove Canyon Road, Suite 102
    San Diego, California 92127

    Autism Speaks and MindSet Treatment Center are co-hosting this informative gathering for families in search of potential solutions to improve quality of life for individuals with autism or ADHD.

    Please join us for a discussion about Personalized repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (PrTMS), followed by Q&A, and opportunity to learn more about local resources that are available, made possible by Autism Speaks San Diego.

    This presentation is open to current and prospective patients, families, and local healthcare providers. Light appetizers and refreshments will be served. This event is free to the public.

    RSVP is required: 858-924-1116 or (40 seats available)

  • 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 2020 Spring Calendar

  • The Spring 2020 Calendar is now available! Here is the link to the new program calendar:

    The 1st day of registration for Spring activities will be this Saturday, February 15 at 10:00 a.m. Registration can be done online at or at our office at the War Memorial Building- 3325 Zoo Drive, San Diego CA 92101. If you plan on registering at our office, please remember we no longer take cash as a method of payment.

    The 1st day of Summer Camp registrations will be on Saturday, March 7th at 10:00 a.m. Camp dates and times can be found on page 7.

  • 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!

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