Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. April 07, 2020

In This Issue

A time of unprecedented fear for parents of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Coronavirus frays the safety net for people with severe disabilities, leaving many at risk

Autism, Hope, and Family Self-Care in the time of Coronavirus

Amazon Urged To Prioritize Food Deliveries To Group Homes

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

We believe that everyone should be able to be lifelong learners to develop their skills and interests!

Learn From Home: Critical Rolls for Critical Competence

MicroCurrent 4 Kids is Now a Nonprofit!!

Gatway Learning Group

Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together

GYMGUYZ Now Offers Online Personal Training for a Positive Mindset and Better Health from Your Home

Behavior Specialist Consultant - Sari Kuperstein

ABA to the Rescue!!!

A 6-hour Course for Professionals Live Online: DIR in Schools

TERI Newsletter, March 2020



thomas nelson

  • A time of unprecedented fear for parents of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Just a few weeks ago, in the distant-seeming life before coronavirus, Ellen Blackwell marked her son's March 27 birthday on her calendar. "Birthday lunch with Robert," she wrote, because that was what they always did: They would go to his favorite Chinese restaurant, they would celebrate together, she would bake him a cake. They would sing "happy birthday" after, at his apartment just five minutes from his mother's home in Maryland, where Robert - who has autism, intellectual disability and a seizure disorder - is supported by a round-the-clock staff of six caregivers.

    But then Ellen, a geriatric social worker, started following the news of the burgeoning pandemic with particular attention. A couple of weeks ago, she urged Robert's caregivers to be sure to wash their hands thoroughly and told them of the importance of social distancing - a phrase that had not yet become ubiquitous in our cultural consciousness. Robert stopped going to church and his recreational programs; he stopped doing his volunteer work at a horse farm and two charities where he helps sort donated clothing. Read on...

  • Coronavirus frays the safety net for people with severe disabilities, leaving many at risk
  • Sue Swezey, 83, has spent the last three weeks at home caring for her son John, who is 57 and severely autistic.

    John needs 24-hour supervision. He cannot cross a street safely. The other day, he used a metal fork to free a piece of bread stuck in a toaster. His mother rushed in to pull the plug.

    Before the coronavirus outbreak struck, John Swezey and people like him with intellectual and developmental disabilities received state assistance through a network of 21 regional centers that funded programs providing home health aides and other services. Those programs are now closed, and they could remain so for months. Read on...

  • Autism, Hope, and Family Self-Care in the time of Coronavirus
  • We are living through strange times, so I thought I would reach out. It's been a while since I've written to you - but that's a story for another time.

    I'm sure you don't need to be reminded that it's World Autism Awareness Day, you've been getting the same email blasts that I have! Instead I'm going to give you a couple of tips on family self-care and even a little hope of making your current daily life better.

    Many parents are now home with their loved ones. Some of us have help; others don't. We don't know when this is going to end - and that is what makes it worse - the unpredictability of living through what is going on right now. (I cherish the photo above - from a simpler time when we could just go for a hike near a beach....).

    This is the unknown. Most of our loved ones thrive on routine. I know you've probably read all about setting up a schedule, so I won't mention that!

    We don't need to be superheroes in our own homes. We need to be ourselves. And we need emotional support, not just physical help. And right now we have a bit of time on our hands so why not try a few new skills to help us get through the day?

    Below are a couple of tips to help with self-care for the family. These tips are for good for any type of family, so feel free to share.

    --The first tip is a very practical one for those who are living with children who do not understand the concept of "waiting." Some of our children's anxieties are due to the fact that they don't understand the concept of waiting. Waiting sounds like NO if they don't get what they want right away. I had to teach Jeremy this concept when I was raising him and his sister Rebecca and at home alone with both of them. Jeremy would want to go for a ride in the car - he communicated this by bringing me his shoes and saying "car" - and I had to cook dinner and I couldn't leave Rebecca alone at home. So I had to teach Jeremy to "wait" till his dad came home, so one of us could take him for a ride. I couldn't take the tantrums. It took time to teach, but this method demonstrated in the video link below really helped. No more tantrums from Jeremy because he understood it would happen, just not right at that moment. Teach them waiting, then they can eventually grasp that waiting means having something later as opposed to never. For many, this lessens anxiety. (Perhaps they may eventually understand we are waiting for school to start up but we don't know when). Here is the link to a video I made about waiting some years back. Teach Waiting : Autism Parenting Tip: Autism College: Teach Waiting Skill

    --Have you noticed how much our loved one on the spectrum can feel the stress and anxiety we are feeling? And how we start feeling more stressed when we feel their anxieties? We impact each other. But you can break this cycle by taking 5 minutes every morning by yourself (even if it is only in the bathroom or on a tiny balcony) to do a meditation from the book "Code to Joy" by George Pratt, Ph.D., and Peter Lambrou, Ph.D.. Here's a link to the video exercise by George Pratt that will help you charge, stabilize and calm your body's energy system. (You'll only need to watch the video once or twice to get it). It might take a week to feel a difference, but you will. (I recommend the book if you have time to read).

    Putting yourself and your family first is the key to getting through these uncertain times. It's not about how much you get done, it's about being present. Our kids are very present.

    Take care, be kind to yourself, and stay hopeful.
    Chantal Sicile-Kira

  • Amazon Urged To Prioritize Food Deliveries To Group Homes
  • Amazon is being asked to help ensure that people with developmental disabilities living in group homes and other community settings can access groceries and necessities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A trade group representing more than 1,600 disability service providers across the nation wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos imploring him to prioritize food deliveries to people with developmental 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.

    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.

  • We believe that everyone should be able to be lifelong learners to develop their skills and interests!
  • BEACONS, Inc. is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation founded in 2018 to provide vocational, recreational, and social activities as well as services to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Beacons, Inc. offers postsecondary workforce workshops that are progress monitored, structured, low ratio and accessible to those in need of smaller settings, more individualized pacing, and assistive technology. We create pathways and outcomes that improve social connections, community engagement and access to employment.

    Beacons North County
    6150 Yarrow Drive, Suite E
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Club Beacons:
    Pathfinder Workshops:
    Tailored Day:

  • Learn From Home: Critical Rolls for Critical Competence
  • Learn from your home!

    Sign in anytime between now and April 20th for this TACA National Conference presentation.

    Sign In -

  • 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 $3,000. 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

  • Gatway Learning Group
  • Contact our Client Services team for a free consultation and learn how to access ABA services.

  • Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together
  • AEFCT provides high quality services that are structured, comprehensive, and individualized. Our mission is to provide intervention to children with autism, putting the needs of each child first so that they are met fairly and appropriately. We use developmentally sound strategies supported by empirical evidence, combined with a team approach that involves family participation. Autism affects the entire family unit, and we recognize that parent education and participation are essential to achieve success.

    4669 Murphy Canyon Rd.
    Suite 212, San Diego, CA 92123

  • GYMGUYZ Now Offers Online Personal Training for a Positive Mindset and Better Health from Your Home
  • Launches Online Fitness Programs and a free virtual series of at home workout and mindset classes for the community

    SAN DIEGO - Like many businesses, the Coastal San Diego GYMGUYZ franchise - which typically offers in home personal training - has had to pivot due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, to do its part to help stop the spread of the virus, the company is offering online personal training for clients, an unprecedented Workout Migration Program, and a free series of virtual fitness classes.

    "We understand everyone is being affected by this virus, and many people are going stir-crazy at home," said Joey Paglinawan, owner of GYMGUYZ's first franchise in San Diego. "While it's not appropriate to provide in-home training at this time, we've been arranging virtual fitness training sessions to help our clients stay fit. After all, exercise is one of the best ways to boost your immune system and cope with stress."

    Existing GYMGUYZ customers who convert their in-home training sessions to virtual personal training sessions will have them delivered through platforms such as FaceTime and Zoom. Remote personal training sessions are designed to recreate the in-home personal training experience, with dedicated one-on-one instruction for a full hour - and clients earn one free in-person session for every four hours of remote training completed.

    "This is certainly not an ideal situation," Paglinawan said, "but these sessions have been extremely well received by clients."

    GYMGUYZ is also offering an unprecedented Workout Migration Program to those who have gym and fitness program memberships they're no longer able to use due to business closures and other COVID-19-related restrictions. GYMGUYZ will provide a full credit in the amount of any committed funds to these memberships, to be used for in-home and virtual personal training services.

    In addition, to support the community at large - something Paglinawan does on a regular basis - GYMGUYZ San Diego has started a series of virtual fitness, mindset/wellness, and nutrition classes, and is offering free live online training sessions every Monday through Friday. The intent is to help the community stay healthy - body and mind - throughout this crisis. Their calendar of free classes is updated regularly. Starting April 1st, GYMGUYZ will be offering a 30-Day Virtual Fitness Challenge and will reward the person who makes the most dramatic change during that period a $100 Visa Gift Card.

    There's no reason to shelve your fitness goals during the pandemic. GYMGUYZ can help; we can still design an exercise program that keeps you motivated and helps you reduce stress. Ready to go? Call us at 619-641-9740 or visit our website to get started.

    GYMGUYZ is #1 in home personal training, providing convenient, customized and creative workouts wherever clients are. Headquartered in Plainview, N.Y., the mobile brand uses a fleet of vehicles that bring more than 365 pieces of state-of-the-art fitness equipment and expert coaches to their clients' doors to drive accountability and provide tailored workouts. Due to the uniquely personalized approach the company takes, GYMGUYZ prioritizes cultivating a high level of trust and respect between trainers and clients. They cater to men, women and children of all ages and abilities.

    Contact info:
    Name: Joey Paglinawan
    Organization: GYMGUYZ Coastal San Diego
    Phone: 619-641-9740

  • Behavior Specialist Consultant - Sari Kuperstein
  • Contact me at
    FB sdkbehaviors
    Instagram @sdkbehaviors
    Hashtag #behaviorsinautism

  • ABA to the Rescue!!!
  • Our ABA to the Rescue workshop series continues today with "The Magic of Using Visuals!" at 9:30am and 1:30pm PT. We hope you'll join us! Our schedule for next week has changed and we are now offering a 5:30pm PT workshop on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Check our Events page for up-to-date listings and click the link to "Register on Zoom" next to any workshop you'd like to attend:

  • A 6-hour Course for Professionals Live Online: DIR in Schools
  • A 6-hour Course for Professionals Live Online

    DIR 320: DIR in Schools is a live online course focused on creative ways to implement Floortime in the school setting. This course will be led by two of our DIRFloortime Experts from the Rebecca School in New York City. Now more than ever, the principles of DIR will be useful to teachers and school personnel to help children be able to learn. Learning can only happen if we support a child's functional emotional developmental capacities. The current stressors of COVID-19 are going to challenge this core foundation in a very unique way. The course will take place on Tuesdays from April 14 - 28.

    Click here for more information and to register.

  • TERI Newsletter, March 2020
  • Click here to read their latest edition!!!

  • 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

  • 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
  • SJSU Research Study Participants Needed

  • My research team and I are writing to let you know of an exciting opportunity for your online community to participate in a research study. The research study is looking at friendship quality, social participation, and social networks in young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We would like to understand the causes and impacts of social deficits in order to contribute to the development of social skills training programs for use with adolescents and young adults. This is our capstone project to partially fulfil our Master's degree, and the Principal Investigator (PI) of the study is Dr. Megan Chang at San Jose State University.

    We are recruiting individuals diagnosed with ASD between the ages of 18-35 who have adequate conversational skills. If you believe that your community may be interested in participating in this study or if you would like additional information, please contact myself at By volunteering, participants may benefit through reflection and may develop increased self-awareness.

  • 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!

  • Volunteers Needed for Study!!!

  • My name is Thanh Nguyen and I am an occupational therapy student at San Jose State University. My group is conducting a cross-cultural (U.S. vs Taiwan) study, examining the differences in occupational participation of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at home, school and in the community. We are inviting participants who are parents or legal guardians of children with ASD, 9-12 years of age, in the United States to answer an anonymous online survey that takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. I would greatly appreciate if you can share this attached flyer in your newsletter so that anyone who is interested in participating in the study can help us fill out the survey.

    Here is the link to the survey:
    Potential participants can also access the survey by scanning the QR code on the flyer.

  • Autism Resources Research

  • For more info please contact Elizabeth Sanchez Arvizu, M.A. at or (619) 356-1438.

    Survey here:


    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.