Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. April 09, 2019

In This Issue

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County school districts struggle with the rising costs of special education

Teen with autism turns a page in his 'Ottobiography'

Social problems in autism may impair practical life skills

'Game-changing' app helps police interact with people with disabilities

Depression: Brain stimulation may be a good alternative treatment

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech's Program

NFAR MEN'S GROUP - April Topic: "Medicines and Autism, What We Know"

Flourishing Families is celebrating its 10th anniversary!

Celebrate Coffee Talk Day with TACA San Diego Chapter

Social Communication Specialists

FREE Webinar: Transition Planning: A Bridge to Adulthood

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

Two April Happenings at Club Beacons

Jeremiah's Ranch April Newsletter: Ceramics April 20

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

9th Annual ONEHOPE, April 20th

17th year of Camp I CAN!

IMAX film, Superpower Dogs!

Which Autistic TV/Movie Character Are You?


Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

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  • County school districts struggle with the rising costs of special education
  • Federal and state dollars for students with special needs aren't rising with special ed enrollment, so districts are digging into general funds and reserves.

    Special education - which serves students with a wide range of issues, from learning disabilities to autism to hyperactivity disorder to blindness - is driving some San Diego-area districts to spend beyond their means.

    The number of students needing special education services and the costs of those services have climbed faster than the federal or state money that pays for them, county district data show.

    Though the services are guaranteed by law, neither the federal government nor the state of California provide enough to pay for them. That squeezes already tight school budgets, so administrators have to make do with fewer dollars for other student programs. Read on...

  • Teen with autism turns a page in his 'Ottobiography'
  • Otto Lana writes poetry, does distance swimming, and plans to study math and science after high school. Because he couldn't talk, his first school put him in classes for students with low academic expectations.

    Otto Lana is the youngest of three sandy-haired brothers, an energetic 14-year-old with a lively sense of humor.

    He writes poetry and short stories, does open water swimming, and last year he completed a distance swim in Italy with his classmates from Sea Change Preparatory School in Del Mar.

    It might be easy to miss those accomplishments though, because Otto doesn't talk.

    Otto was diagnosed with autism at age 2, his mother Shelly Lana said, and received intensive speech and language therapy as a toddler. Read on...

  • Social problems in autism may impair practical life skills

  • Social difficulties in people with autism may contribute to their troubles with daily living - from brushing their teeth to taking a bus, according to a new study1.

    Autistic people may have daily living, or 'adaptive,' skills that are far worse than their intelligence quotient (IQ) would predict. For instance, they may have a high IQ but be unable to hold down a job because they cannot navigate public transportation.

    Other studies have reported that this discrepancy is especially significant in autistic people who have traits of other psychiatric conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression2.

    The new study found that scoring low on a measure of social ability predicts an incongruity between IQ and adaptive skills. Read on...

  • 'Game-changing' app helps police interact with people with disabilities
  • In the past, police might have had little information to help them navigate interactions with people with disabilities, but one app could help the St. Cloud Police Department change that.

    St. Cloud police began using an app from Vitals Aware Services about one week ago, according to Commander Jim Steve.

    The app allows citizens to fill out emergency contact forms, de-escalation techniques and personalized profiles for people with "invisible and visible conditions and disabilities," according to a company brochure.

    The service is free and voluntary to participants, who range from individuals with disabilities or conditions such as dementia to parents and caregivers. Read on...

  • Depression: Brain stimulation may be a good alternative treatment

  • A new review, which appears in The BMJ journal, examines the benefits of non-invasive brain stimulation for treating major depression and finds that the technique is a valid alternative to existing treatments.

    Over 17 million adults in the United States have had an episode of major depression at one point in their lives.

    Some of these people have treatment-resistant depression, which means common prescription drugs do not alleviate the symptoms.

    Recent studies have pointed to alternative treatment methods for major depression, such as non-invasive brain stimulation techniques.

    For instance, a study that appeared at the end of last year showed that using small electric currents to stimulate a brain area called the orbitofrontal cortex significantly improves the mood of people who did not benefit from conventional antidepressants. 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.

  • Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech's Program
  • Are you ready to work but not finding that opportunity? Then NFAR's vocational technical training program might be the right choice for you!

    NFAR Tech is a comprehensive hands-on training program that helps build technical and employment skills to prepare young adults with autism for entry level jobs in today's workplace as software testers and other vocations.

    NFAR Tech will be starting another class late summer.

    Learn more by visiting our website or contacting NFAR at 858-679-8800.

  • NFAR MEN'S GROUP - April Topic: "Medicines and Autism, What We Know"
  • 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

  • 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.

  • Celebrate Coffee Talk Day with TACA San Diego Chapter
  • Coffee Talks will be held in three locations in San Diego county on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 10 AM - 12 PM See all the info below:

    Rancho Bernardo:
    12156 Carmel Mountain Rd, San Diego, CA 92128

    The Broken Yolk Cafe
    2434 Vista Way, Oceanside, California 92054

    Central San Diego:
    10430 Friars Rd., San Diego, CA 92120

  • 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

  • Two April Happenings at Club Beacons
  • Beacons North County
    Beacons, Inc. is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    6150 Yarrow Drive, Suite E
    Carlsbad, CA 92011

    Click here for all the info about Club Beacons and to register for these events!!!

  • Jeremiah's Ranch April Newsletter: Ceramics April 20
  • Click here for all the info about the ceramics class and to read the rest of their April newsletter!!!

  • 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!!!

  • 9th Annual ONEHOPE, April 20th
  • Be sure to mark your calendar for the 9th Annual ONEHOPE Autism Care Today for Military Families 5k/10k and Family Festival on Saturday, April 20, 2019, to be held at Tecolote Shores Park in San Diego.

    Formerly known as ACT Today! Autism Care and Treatment, this race has truly become a favorite event among runners, military families, the autism community and families with school-aged children; and we hope you will join the approximately 1,000 + participants for another fun-filled event.

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Which Autistic TV/Movie Character Are You?
  • Help us shape our movie by responding via email (see below)

    Whether it be shooting down alien spaceships at warp speed, hunting dragons with the knights of the round table, or winning the heart of a forbidden love, we go to the movies to live out the fantasies that we will never experience in real life. The key word in that sentence is we. We put ourselves in the shoes of the characters on the big screen and as they go through their story, we think to ourselves, "Would I have made the same decision?"

    In order for this phenomenon to happen, the characters you view must be relatable. They must act and feel in ways that audiences can identify with and understand. This is one of the main reasons there has been such a strong push towards more diversity in films. Not everyone in this world is the same, and that's the beauty of it. It's our job (the filmmakers who are writing this article) to present realistic, fully developed and well rounded characters from all walks of life.

    Click here for all the info and the survey!!!

  • 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.