Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 26, 2019

In This Issue

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What It's Like To Experience A Meltdown

The Battle to Define Autism

Some ADHD medicines may increase psychosis more than others, 'real-world' data show

Faulty mitochondria may fuel features of fragile X syndrome

Where Does Cannabis Fit In With Autism Treatment?

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Cara Lucier & Associates

CALLING ALL SUPERHEROES! Make a Difference with 10% Off Use Code SUPER10

No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance

North County Autism Support Group: IHSS Benefits

Therapeutic Approach to Growth Offering Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) & More!

Get Safe Presents Safety Training and Risk Reduction

Brian Herritt - Autism Cop - New Book on Special Needs

NFAR and Kid Ventures Presents Engage & Connect

Support Group in La Mesa!

Come and Learn About Beacons and How You Can Help - TONIGHT!

Pesach Model Seder at Friendship Circle San Diego

Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk Autism & IEP Goals

Job Opening for School Aide

Claudia J. Peralta, LMFT in Chula Vista


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  • What It's Like To Experience A Meltdown
  • Often those of us on the autism spectrum do things that neurotypical people have difficulty understanding. To outsiders, autistic behavior can look "odd" or seem "not to make sense." Sometimes a person's behavior can even be frightening.

    It's not uncommon for autistic people to sometimes engage in behaviors that are harmful or dangerous, especially during a meltdown. For their loved ones, watching someone they care about have a meltdown can absolutely be scary and confusing at times. Lets face it, meltdowns aren't pretty, and they're certainly not fun, especially for the person experiencing it!

    Meltdowns can be caused by a whole host of things. Their triggers are different depending on the individual. Many autistic people report struggling to think clearly during a meltdown. They feel held at the mercy of their emotions and senses until it passes. The good news is, many also report feelings of clarity after the meltdown has passed. Read on...

  • The Battle to Define Autism
  • Autism history was shaped by Nazis, mother-blamers, and phony vaccine studies.

    Hans Asperger was giving a speech that was a matter of life and death. It was 1938 and Asperger was a pediatrician in Nazi Germany, working with an unusual group of children who didn't fit common diagnoses or disabilities. At the time, Asperger's young patients were under the scrutiny of the Gestapo, who were seeking to eliminate "undesirable" children as part of a new Nazi eugenics program which eventually became the broader system of mass murder in concentration camps.

    Recently, Asperger has fallen under scrutiny by historians seeking to understand the moral spectrum that he embodied. For years, he was portrayed as a hero of children with autism, as he identified their strengths and unique characteristics, and also was reported to have protected them from the Nazi regime. However, other information paints a different picture of Asperger-a physician who opportunistically referred some of these children to Nazi eugenics programs and worked closely with the Third Reich. Read on...

  • Some ADHD medicines may increase psychosis more than others, 'real-world' data show
  • Adolescents and young adults being treated for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may be at a higher risk of having a psychotic event if they are provided amphetamine medicines, such as Adderall and Vyvanse, instead of medications based on the compound methylphenidate, such as Ritalin or Concerta, according to a study published Wednesday.

    The risk of psychosis was generally low, occurring in one in 660 patients, according to the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    The risk is "low enough that you can't say, 'just don't prescribe Adderall,'" said Dr. Lauren Moran, the study's lead author. "But from a public health perspective, there's so many millions of people being prescribed these medications that it actually leads to thousands of people at increased risk of psychosis." Moran is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, and a psychiatrist who treats inpatient schizophrenic and bipolar patients at McLean Hospital. Read on...

  • Faulty mitochondria may fuel features of fragile X syndrome
  • Problems with the minute 'factories' that yield energy for cells - the mitochondria - contribute to learning problems and other traits of fragile X syndrome, a new study suggests1. The findings also unexpectedly implicate huntingtin, the protein mutated in Huntington's disease, in fragile X.

    Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability and single-gene cause of autism. It stems from mutations that silence the gene for a protein called FMRP. The absence of this protein alters the production of many others, with consequences trickling down to affect the form and function of neurons.

    One such consequence, the new study suggests, is faulty, fragmented mitochondria. Read on...

  • Where Does Cannabis Fit In With Autism Treatment?
  • Autism typically causes social difficulties and repetitive behaviors, as well as intellectual disabilities, and even physical symptoms like insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity and digestive troubles. Caregivers often turn to herbal substances or alternative medications to treat these types of symptoms.

    In fact, about 40 percent of families with children with autism or other developmental disorders turn to alternative therapies in combination with conventional therapies in a treatment plan, according to the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the MIND Institute at the University of California.

    We often see many individuals who are already taking some kind of herbal or natural medicine before they seek professional treatment for autism. While our treatment focus at Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health is on traditional medications and therapies, it is important that we physicians-and the scientific community-remain open to alternative solutions that show promise in reaching our common goal: to improve the lives of children with autism. The approach, therefore, should be to use all the evidence available to develop the best treatment plan for each patient. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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.

  • Cara Lucier & Associates
  • At Cara Lucier & Associates we believe in the ability of every person to reach their potential. We believe that education is the key to opportunity. We advocate for the rights of individuals and their families:

    • IEP team meetings
    • Mediation
    • Due Process Hearings and Appeals
    • 504 Meetings and Appeals
    • Regional Center Meetings and Appeals
    • IHSS Appeals
    • Civil Rights Litigation
    For a free 60-minute initial consultation, please contact us at (760)505-2498.

    Law Offices of Cara Lucier
    Civil Rights and Education Law
    701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite #300
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Phone: (760) 717-3451

  • CALLING ALL SUPERHEROES! Make a Difference with 10% Off Use Code SUPER10
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    Be a Superhero for those with autism! Join us at the Race for Autism on Saturday, April 6th as the community comes together to make a difference.

    The Race consists of a 5K Run, Walk and family fun walk. All registered participants will receive a Race T- shirt or kid sized cape, and a commemorative medal. And check out our Race Resource Fair with over 50 incredible autism organizations and agencies!

    Because YOU can be a HERO for those with Autism!

  • No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®)

    Our primary approach for treatment of autism spectrum is a developmental program called Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®). RDI® is a unique treatment approach that empowers parents to guide their child to succeed in our dynamic world. Children who learn to actively engage with the support of their parents in safe but challenging learning opportunities develop a strong motivation to explore and expand their world, as well as develop competence and trust in themselves and their guides.

    Why RDI®?
    Foundations of the adult mind are developed in the first years of life through the "Guiding Relationship". From the middle of the first year of life, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, in every culture on earth, children interact with parents and other important adults in deceptively simple encounters, with a very serious underlying agenda; constructing the architecture of the child's mind and brain. Click here for all the info about RDI®!!!

    The Family Guidance and Therapy Center
    Locations in Point Loma and Mira Mesa

  • North County Autism Support Group: IHSS Benefits
  • Monday, April 1, 2019 at 5:30 PM - 7 PM
    Senior Center Carlsbad
    799 Pine Ave, Carlsbad, California 92008

    Three amazing local Advocates will be presenting on IHSS benefits... including eligibility, functional rankings, hourly task guidelines & protective supervision.

    Back by popular demand. Do not miss this!!!

  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth Offering Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) & More!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth believes that every individual is unique and has the potential for significant growth. We assume and foster competence while honoring family values and priorities. Our holistic approach is built upon trusting, supportive relationships and collaboration between disciplines and families.

    We specializing in the development and implementation of individualized comprehensive programs utilizing Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, Applied Behavior Analysis, Art Therapy, and Life Balance Yoga Therapy.

    Offering support in the San Diego, Carlsbad, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

    In addition to supporting our clients directly, we offer guidance to parents, grandparents, therapists, teachers, siblings, school staff, babysitters etc.

    Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    (858) 689-2027

  • Get Safe Presents Safety Training and Risk Reduction
  • To save your seat, contact Get Safe at or call 714-834-0050 and ask for Tee.

  • Brian Herritt - Autism Cop - New Book on Special Needs
  • I am proud to announce my first book has been published and is currently in pre-order status. The book is designed to be a field reference for public safety officers and fire fighters on handling calls for persons with special needs. This includes mental illness and developmental disabilities. I am still touring and teaching autism courses and am proud to announce a special needs course that is based upon this book. The link to pre-order the book is below. It is a safe link and not spam. You can also go to the website to order it as well. I am very excited to share this project with you. Please feel free to forward the link or this email to anyone you feel can benefit. You can also call or email me if you have any questions, feedback or training requests.

  • NFAR and Kid Ventures Presents Engage & Connect
  • Engage & Connect is a program for the whole family of children with autism, ages 2-8 years of age.

    Activities include circle time, motor activities, and fun activities meant to increase communication and social skills, in a fun filled, creative environment.

    To find out more, or to sign up on our interest list for our May 2019 session, please call us at 858-679-8800 or contact us at, and give us your name, and the name and age for each child. The program takes place at Kid Ventures.

    It's a way to engage and connect for the whole family!

  • Support Group in La Mesa!
  • Call 858-634-8300 or email

  • Come and Learn About Beacons and How You Can Help - TONIGHT!
  • Come to Beacons tonight and learn about volunteer opportunities with us! Fun and rewarding! RSVP to

  • Pesach Model Seder at Friendship Circle San Diego
  • Sunday, March 31st at 1 PM - 3 PM
    Friendship Circle of San Diego
    16934 Chabad Way, Poway, California 92064

    Join us for our annual Pesach Model Seder. We will have both youth and adult Seders as well as various activities, Matzah making and more! Click here to register!!!

  • Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk Autism & IEP Goals
  • Thu, April 18, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 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 month we will discuss Autism and IEP goals as we celebrate Autism Awareness Month...

    This event is free and you can register here!!!

  • Job Opening for School Aide
  • Please send your resume to:
    Gilda Shadle
    Director of Operations
    Colmena Academy

  • Claudia J. Peralta, LMFT in Chula Vista
  • 217 Landis Ave
    Chula Vista, CA 91910

  • 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.

  • Learn About RDI in San Diego!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    9466 Black Mountain Road
    Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    Phone: (858) 689-2027

  • Learn About RDI in Carlsbad!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    5411 Avenida Encinas
    Suite 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    Phone: (760) 448-5837

  • 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.


    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.