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

In This Issue

Autistic People Make Great Social Partners if You Actually Give Them a Chance

COVID-19: Preparation Tips for Families Affected by Autism

Newly identified mutations clarify gene's link to autism, intellectual disability

Long-term study charts trajectory of fragile X syndrome into adulthood

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

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

Pre-Order Dr. Temple Grandin's new book, The Way I See It 5th Edition, and add it to your collection!

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

37th Annual Involved Exceptional Parents Day

Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation by Autism Mom Yvette Soto

Livestream: Preparing for Coronavirus in the Special Needs Community

MicroCurrent 4 Kids is Now a Nonprofit!!

Webinar: Toilet Training: A Path to Success

Spring Break Intensive Private Swim Lessons for Students with Autism

I Can Bike Crimson San Diego 2020

Supported employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement & Social Skills training

Therapeutic Recreation Services Camp Registration



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

  • Autistic People Make Great Social Partners if You Actually Give Them a Chance
  • Style, not substance, drives negative impressions of the social life of people on the autism spectrum

    For many years, researchers have treated the individual traits and characteristics of autistic people as an enduring essence of their autism-- in isolation of the social context and without even asking autistic people what their social life is actually like. However, perspective matters. Who is to say it's autistic people who are the "awkward" ones?

    A number of myths about autistic people abound. For one, it's a great myth that autistic people lack empathy. This is how they were depicted for so many years in the clinical literature and in the media-- as emotionless, socially clueless robots. However, the more you get to know an autistic person, the more you realize just how caring they can be, even though they may have some difficulties reading social cues. As Steve Silberman points out, empathy is a two-way street. Read on...

  • COVID-19: Preparation Tips for Families Affected by Autism
  • As Chair of the New York State Assembly's Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorders, with the help of fellow board members of the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), we have gathered some tips and suggestions to keep in mind with the rise of COVID-19 disease cases. These tips are tailored for individuals and families with a loved one on the autism spectrum but can be helpful for many individuals.

    Tip #1 Stay informed
    The most important thing you can do is make sure you have a conversation with your children providing statistics and facts as soon as possible making them fully aware of what is happening. The goal is not to scare them with information, but help them feel informed and prepared. Be mindful of media influence contributing to anxiety, and potential misinformation being shared by peers and other sources. Make sure you are gathering information and updates from reputable sources. Read on...

  • Newly identified mutations clarify gene's link to autism, intellectual disability
  • Researchers have cataloged more than 100 mutations in DDX3X, a candidate gene for autism1. The study is the first to closely analyze the relationship between these mutations and their effects on autistic people.

    The researchers combined clinical observations and brain scans of children with genetic analyses in mice to probe the molecular basis of the children's traits.

    Researchers first linked DDX3X to autism in 2014, and to intellectual disability the following year2,3. The gene is located on the X chromosome, so mutations primarily affect girls; most boys with mutations in the gene are thought to die in utero. Read on...

  • Long-term study charts trajectory of fragile X syndrome into adulthood
  • For people with fragile X syndrome, progress in daily living skills and behavior tends to stall later in life, according to a new study1. And weight gain is a common health issue.

    The study is the first to track the long-term course of fragile X syndrome, by following people with the condition for nearly a decade.

    Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability. Nearly 50 percent of boys and 16 percent of girls with fragile X syndrome also have an autism diagnosis, and 90 percent of boys with fragile X have some autism traits. 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
    Saturday, March 28, 2020

    In response to California Governor Newsom's recent directive that restricts public gatherings of 250+ people, and in an abundance of caution to protect the community we are dedicated to serving, the 2020 Race for Autism Superhero 5K and 1-mile Family Walk will now be held as an INTERACTIVE VIRTUAL event. We are still just as dedicated to making a difference for those with autism in San Diego as you are, and we will continue to accept registrations for our virtual event, as well as all fundraising efforts online - with amazing fundraising prizes (more to come), raffles, and extra surprises.

    We need your help to change lives! Every dollar raised will still stay right here in San Diego, benefiting NFAR's efforts and programs for the 2020/2021 year. The Race is NFAR's ONLY annual fundraiser and in order to keep supporting the wonderful local autism programs, classrooms, monthly parent meetings, and more, we need every SUPERHERO to help us make Race Day successful!

    While we were greatly looking forward to having all of San Diego's superheroes gather together in Balboa Park, we encourage you to instead set aside some of your Sat. March 28 morning to join us online at, where you will be able to showcase your costumes, send us your race mileage and time, and be entered to win some fun prizes!

    We are currently looking into possible solutions to safely host Pre-Race Bib & T-shirt pick ups prior to March 28 and will provide an update on any schedules and locations shortly. We will be sure to also have capes and medals available for all registrants at Pre-Race pick up.

    In the coming weeks, NFAR will mail out bibs, t-shirts, capes, and commemorative medals to all registrants that do not attend a Pre-Race pick up event.

    We will also be hosting a VIRTUAL RESOURCE FAIR on on Race Day, so that you will still be able to learn more about the many autism services and resources available in San Diego.

    We invite you to lace up your running shoes, dust off your hero cape, and complete your Race from the comfort of your own neighborhood. Then just log on and share the reasons you Race, post photos or videos of your Superhero alter ego, and track your distance on your personal Race course. We look forward to seeing all your smiling, happy, and healthy SUPERHERO faces online!

  • Pre-Order Dr. Temple Grandin's new book, The Way I See It 5th Edition, and add it to your collection!
  • In the beloved classic book The Way I See It, Dr. Temple Grandin gets to the REAL issues of autism―the ones parents, teachers, and individuals on the spectrum face every day. In this updated fifth edition, Temple offers helpful dos and don'ts, practical strategies, and try-it-now tips all based on her insider perspective and a great deal of research. Order here!!!

  • Parent Training: Exploring Role of Advocacy in Special Education and the IEP Process
  • This event has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

  • 37th Annual Involved Exceptional Parents Day
  • Keynote Speaker, Kristin Wright, Director
    Special Education Division, CA Department of Education Kristin Wright has spent more than a decade working in education with a focus special Education. Since December 2014, she has worked for the California State Board of Education. Kristin holds a CA Education Specialist Teaching Credential and a Masters in Special Education with a focus on students with moderate to severe disabilities. She is a former special education student teacher, and a mother of a child with disabilities.

    Saturday, April 25, 2020
    7:30a.m. to 3:00p.m.
    Click here for all the info and to register!!!!

  • 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

  • Livestream: Preparing for Coronavirus in the Special Needs Community
  • We invite you to join the Autism Society of California's livestream event, Preparing for the Coronavirus in the Special Needs Community, on Thursday, March 19th from 6:30-7:30 PM at

  • 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

  • Webinar: Toilet Training: A Path to Success
  • Using the toilet independently is an important accomplishment for every child. A little advanced preparation, and knowledge of evidence-based techniques, can go a long way in making the process faster and easier for children with special needs.

    This free webinar will cover:
    -Rapid Toilet Training
    -Non-Intensive Procedures
    -Bowel Training
    -Q&A with a Gateway BCBA

    Mar 18, 2020 12:00 PM
    Click here to register!!!

    About Gateway Learning Group:
    Gateway is a leading provider of autism and behavior intervention services in California, Colorado, and Oregon. Gateway Learning Group's ABA therapy programs are organized on behalf of children and their families, often in collaboration with school districts and health plans.

  • Spring Break Intensive Private Swim Lessons for Students with Autism
  • March 30th - April 3rd, 2020
    Boys and Girls Club
    4635 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
    San Diego, CA. 92117

    During the week of Spring Break, March 30th - April 3rd 2020, Aqua Pros Swim School will be providing a full week of private swim lessons for students with autism.

    The swim lessons will be a half hour long each day Monday March 30th-Friday April 3rd. You will need to register a class time that you will be able to attend for the entire week.

    The cost of the entire week is $125 Non-Members and $50 for current members of the Autism Society San Diego.

    To register or if you have additional questions, please contact Aqua Pros Swim School at:
    Phone: (619) 209-2990

    Non-Refundable Fees are required at the time of registration. In addition, this is a special program and there will be no make-ups or refunds for missed classes.

    Space is limited and registration must be completed by Thursday March 27th at 6PM.

    We hope to see you at the pool!

  • 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

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services 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.

  • 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.