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

In This Issue

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People with autism have an altered sense of self

Sesame Street Launches New Storyline Starring Julia and Her Family in Honor of Autism Awareness Month

Ohio State professor provides new film opportunities to students within the disabled community

From fixating to living

False hope for autism in the stem-cell underground

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

NFAR's Race for Autism! Saturday April 6th in Balboa Park

IMAX film, Superpower Dogs!

Flourishing Families is celebrating its 10th anniversary!

17th year of Camp I CAN!

Social Communication Specialists

FREE Webinar: Transition Planning: A Bridge to Adulthood

The DIR® Approach to Pediatric Feeding: May 16 -17

East County Autism Support Group

Free Seminar: IEP's and 504 Plans

Join us to Celebrate Sundiata's 50th Year of Impact!

Shine Ministery - Free Baseball Tickets!

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Autism Tree Project Fnd Parent Mentor Night



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  • People with autism have an altered sense of self
  • New research has indicated that people with autism have an altered sense of self, which may explain some of the differences shown in social functioning.

    The study, which was carried out by scientists at Anglia Ruskin University and published in the journal Autism, involved a group of 51 adults, half with and half without autism.

    It is the first time that responses to the self-altering 'full body illusion', which simulates an out of body experience, have been measured in people with autism.

    The research found that, unlike neurotypical participants, people with autism do not experience the 'full body illusion'. This is a test that causes people to experience their self as being located outside of their body and to identify with their own virtual 'avatar' viewed through virtual reality goggles. Read on...

  • Sesame Street Launches New Storyline Starring Julia and Her Family in Honor of Autism Awareness Month
  • Videos and books will celebrate family and highlight the unique traits kids with autism have.

    Sesame Street's current fans and followers already know about Julia, the 4-year-old neighbor who has autism. This April, in honor of Autism Awareness Month, Julia's world is about to get a whole lot bigger: The Sesame Workshop has announced that it's unveiling Julia's family, along with her adorable companion dog.

    Fans will get to meet Julia's parents, Elena and Daniel, her big brother, Samuel, and her companion dog, Rose, through a bunch of newly released materials. Though they were introduced in the Family Forever storybook, the first glimpse of them in action comes via a few online videos available at According to the Sesame Workshop, the goal of these videos is to celebrate the things all families share in common, while also highlighting the specific everyday challenges (and strengths!) that kids with autism face. Read on...

  • Ohio State professor provides new film opportunities to students within the disabled community
  • Some film students might look up to Steven Spielberg or Michael Bay, while students at Bridgeway Academy in Columbus look up to Matt and Nikki Swift.

    The students at Bridgeway are part of the Adaptation, Integration and Arts program, a short film project for students who have autism that was guided by Matt Swift, Ohio State's director of film studies, and his cinematographer wife, Nikki Swift.

    Bridgeway Academy wanted to expand its programs, so it turned to VSA Ohio - The State Organization of Art and Disability - to make this dream a reality. VSA Ohio then approached the Swifts. The partners believe they were chosen because of their experience working with students and the disabled community. Read on...

  • From fixating to living
  • What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time I was beginning a journey of transformation. Part of having autism meant that I had this intense fixation and obsession of a getting a girlfriend. This could have been considered a special interest. My special interest fixation was unhealthy for me and caused me a great deal of pain. I am proud to say I have beat that fixation.

    In the past year I have went from sitting around my house moping about my intense fixation to connect with people to beginning to enjoy life again. This was not easy and took a magnitude of faith to take some giant leaps. I had that faith. I made the leaps. About two years ago I started practicing mindfulness. I even meditate daily. It is peaceful. It calms my mind. Before I started mindfulness, my mind was racing all day with unhealthy fixations. We know people with autism fixate, I felt as if I was dying from my fixation. It had complete control over my life. Read on...

  • False hope for autism in the stem-cell underground

  • Parents of autistic children are paying tens of thousands of dollars for stem cell therapies that often use medical waste. Despite the dangers, regulators have been slow to act.

    In July 2017, Jodi Kaufman Perskin spotted an intriguing post in a newly formed Facebook group where parents share advice on stem cell therapy for children with special needs. She had joined the group looking for help for her teenage son Jason, who has autism.

    In the post, pediatric surgeon Thom Lobe introduced himself and included a link to Regenevéda, his chain of 'regenerative medicine' clinics in Beverly Hills, New York and Chicago. Lobe's profile picture shows a bald man in his 60s with a white goatee and a surprisingly youthful complexion. His clinics focus on wellness and anti-aging treatments but also offer stem cell therapy for autistic children. "I'd be happy to provide my services and knowledge as a resource for you and answer any questions that come my way," Lobe wrote. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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

    Direct Support Professionals 1:1 (Little Italy)
    Hello! A young man and his family are looking for dependable, flexible, energetic, positive, and supportive individuals to work with him in the Little Italy area. This young man is a successful intuitive artist who sees emotion as color, and writes descriptions of what he sees. The young man has autism and communicates using assistive technology. He has a team of people that support him 24 hours per day. He has a rich full life with a thriving career, exercise, friends and participates in art gallery shows and art festivals. This is a rare opportunity to work with a gifted young man who struggles with sensory-motor challenges, and needs help with most aspects of daily living - but the gifts of working with this young man outweigh the challenges for the right individual. Training of support person will be provided on how best to support him in his daily life and in his method of communication (using letter board and iPad).

    We are hiring for two different positions:

    1. Community Support Facilitator - This person would fill in the hours of support mostly during the afternoon/evening hours, and support the young man during daily activities: painting at his art studio (in the East Village), food shopping, chores, social activites.

    2. Live-in Aide - As the live-in aide, this person would be assisting this individual during the overnight hours, 5 nights per week. Overnight support includes: implementing all safety features (i.e. locks, alarms, etc.), assisting with restroom (if needed), communicating with team members, and any other overnight support that may be needed. Position is Sunday through Thursday 11:00p.m.-8:00a.m. Live-in Aide would have own bedroom and bathroom, and pay a share of utilities and a small stipend for rent.

    Candidates for these positions would be individuals that are interested in a job that is diverse, intimate and always changing. The person we support relies heavily on his team for opportunities, safety, and a communication partner. Prior practical experience with autism, ABA ,OT, is helpful. The support staff hired will be paid $15.90 an hour, and will be working for the agency Lifeworks, who believe in Person-Centered Supports for people. To learn more about the agency, visit

    Serious inquiries only. If interested, please send a copy of your resume to

    Seeking nanny with autism experience
    Position Type: Nanny in Poway

    Work Schedule: Part-time position, Monday-Friday from 12:15 to 5:15 (Desired start ASAP)
    Click here for all the info!!!

    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
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    Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 7 AM - 11 AM
    Balboa Park
    1549 El Prado, San Diego, California 92101

    On Saturday, April 6, 2019 we are celebrating the 15th 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 more than 900 community programs and classrooms, benefiting thousands of local children and families. To learn more about NFAR, click here:

    Please join us in making a difference on April 6th. Because everyone can be a SUPERHERO!

  • IMAX film, Superpower Dogs!
  • San Diego's own Surf Dog Ricochet is one of the stars of the IMAX film, Superpower Dogs! Ricochet will be at the Fleet Science Center on April 20th, and is inviting the special needs community to a FREE sensory friendly showing!

    Seating is limited, so please RSVP to

    Starting at 9am, adults and families with children with special needs can enjoy the Fleet's exhibit galleries in a quieter setting, an hour before they open to the general public. The film will start at 10am with the house lights on, and a lower soundtrack volume.

    There is also access to a special cool-off space, and you are welcome to enjoy the museum all day if you arrive before 10am. Hope to see you there!

  • Flourishing Families is celebrating its 10th anniversary!
  • We're excited to share with you our newly released 2019 issue which is the most comprehensive listing to date, with over 1,050 special needs resources in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

    Use the guide to find service providers, research institutes, specialized doctors, resource providers, camps, therapists, advocates, associations and so much more.

    Flourishing Families is available NOW as a print magazine, a digital issue and on so you can access via your mobile phone.

  • 17th year of Camp I CAN!
  • We have a few openings left as we are looking forward to our 17th year of Camp I CAN!

    Registration for Camp I CAN is OPEN to members of Autism Society San Diego.

    Camp I CAN was created and developed by the Autism Society San Diego in partnership with the YMCA to provide a fun, safe and nurturing camp experience.

    More information on Camp I CAN can be found here.

  • Social Communication Specialists
  • At Social Communication Specialists, we help socially quirky kids, teens and young adults connect.

    We understand the social challenges kids face today. In order to have healthy friendships, kids need to understand not just the "how", but the "why" of social interactions.

    Services We Offer:

    • Executive Functioning
    • Social Thinking
    • Group openings available for all ages We have groups for grades K-12. We also teach executive functioning! Contact Janet at
    At SCS, we follow the Social Thinking® approach pioneered by Michelle Garcia Winner.

    At the heart of this approach is the understanding that we think about people when we are around them. Then we modify our behaviors based on what we think they may be thinking about us!

    Through fun and innovative lessons and activities, we teach our kiddos social thinking concepts that increase their awareness and improve their abilities to interact with others at school, at home, and in the community.

    Social Communication Specialists
    5703 Oberlin Dr, Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121
    (858) 558-9552

  • FREE Webinar: Transition Planning: A Bridge to Adulthood
  • This webinar will provide information on the following:

    • How and when to prepare for the Individual Transition Plan (ITP) as part of the IEP
    • What to expect from an ITP
    • What services are available through the Regional Center and Department of Rehabilitation after Secondary Education
    Featuring Claudia Wenger, M.S. in Special Education from the University of Southern California. Claudia holds State of California teaching credentials in Education and Special Education, and is currently working toward becoming a Behavior Analyst. She has developed and managed Adult Services programs vendored through California Regional Centers and Department of Rehabilitation.

    Join us by registering at

    The webinar will air on April 23rd at 12:00 noon and will repeat on April 25th at 7:00 pm.

  • The DIR® Approach to Pediatric Feeding: May 16 -17
  • May 16 - 17, 2019
    Shriners for Children Medical Center
    909 S Fair Oaks Ave
    Pasadena, CA 91105

    For more informarion, please visit or call Anne Yee at (626) 793-7350 ext. 280

  • East County Autism Support Group
  • Monday, April 8, 2019 at 6:30 PM - 8 PM
    Excelsior Academy
    7200 Parkway Drive, La Mesa, California 91942

    Support, information, resources and referral for families of persons on the autism spectrum. Join us to learn the experiences of others and share your own.

  • Free Seminar: IEP's and 504 Plans
  • Tuesday, April 9th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
    Park Village Elementary School
    7930 Park Village Rd.
    San Diego, CA 92129

    Speaker: Thomas S. Nelson, Esq.

    This is a free event, but RSVP is required. Please email or call 858-945-6621.

  • Join us to Celebrate Sundiata's 50th Year of Impact!
  • Celebrating 132 Years as San Diego's Oldest Children's Nonprofit
    Dinner | Auction | Live Concert by Matt Savage

    The San Diego Center for Children's 132nd Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, May 11th will be a fun and inspiring night! This year's PATH Award Honoree is Sundiata Kata, Music Director, in celebration of his 50th year of impact at the Center.

    You may have heard about the Center's powerful Music Program under the leadership of Sundiata, or have personally witnessed the therapeutic and healing benefits music has on our children and teens through our weekly Blues Thursday Program in the Sundiata Kata Music Center. We are proud to honor Sundiata who by introducing an array of innovative therapeutic music programming has created hope and healing for tens of thousands of youth.

    Click here to purchase your tickets!!!

  • Shine Ministery - Free Baseball Tickets!
  • It is that time again for FREE baseball tickets for individuals of all ages who have a disability and their families!

    This year we have 3 more games than we did last year so there are plenty of games to enjoy and you can request 8 tickets per game.

    Please let me know which game you want to attend and I will email you the tickets.

    Here is our line up this year:
    Reds, Friday April 19th 7:10 PM
    Dodgers, Friday May 3rd 7:10 PM
    Mets, Wednesday 8th 12:40 PM
    Pirates, Friday May 17th 7:10 PM
    Marlin, Friday May 31 7:10 PM
    Nationals, Friday June 7th 7;10 PM
    Cardinals, Friday June 28th 7:10 PM
    Braves, Friday July 12th 7:10 PM
    Giants, Friday July 26th 7:10 PM
    Rockies, Friday August 9th 7:10 PM
    Red Sox, Friday August 23rd 7:10 PM
    Dodgers, Wednesday August 28th 6:10PM
    Rockies, Friday September 6th 7:10 PM
    Rockies, Sunday September 8th 1:10 PM
    Cubs, Monday September 9th 7:10 PM
    Diamondbacks, Friday September 20 7:10 PM

    Please let me know if you have any questions and/or which tickets you would like to have!
    Skyline Church-Shine Special Needs Ministry

  • 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, April 15, 2019
    7:00 PM

    Please R.S.V.P. with your host Bene' Raphael no later than Apr. 12th at or for any questions please call (760) 845-4551

  • Autism Tree Project Fnd Parent Mentor Night
  • Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    2845 Nimitz Blvd, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92106


    Mentors are both parents and professionals with strong knowledge of autism spectrum disorders in addition to a passion and commitment for empowering those who face the daily challenges of raising or educating a child with autism. Mentors are there to lend an ear, help families problem solve, find the help they need for their child and offer emotional support. The ATPF Parent Mentor Program is a way to provide face-to-face support in a caring and warm environment for families new to the autism diagnosis. Mentors are both parents and professionals with strong knowledge of autism spectrum disorders in addition to a passion and commitment for empowering those who face the daily challenges of raising or educating a child with autism.

  • Thursday, Apr 11, 2019
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123
    Dinner: Pizza, Salad. Dinner is provided for free.

    The Men's Group is for dads, step dads, and granddads helping to raise a child with autism. We offer dinner, guest speakers and a chance to network with other men in a relaxed setting.

    April Topic: "Medicines and Autism, What We Know"

    What do we know about medicines for treating symptoms associated with autism, for attention, anxiety and depression, etc. Come find out!

    Guest Speaker: Joshua D Feder, MD, Child and Family Psychiatry

    Dr. Joshua Feder is a child and family psychiatrist in Solana Beach, California, an Associate Clinical Professor at University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, and an Adjunct Professor at Fielding Graduate University. He is a Father of a young man on the autism spectrum.

    Dr. Feder develops programs, conducts research and works with clinicians, caregivers and children to promote regulation, social communication, and learning. Dr. Feder advocates nationally and internationally on issues related to Evidence Based Practices, and he serves as Medical Director at SymPlay, developing interactive technology and distance learning systems to support relationship-based interventions. Many of his lectures can be found online at

  • 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.