Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. April 14, 2020

In This Issue

For autistic people like me, the pandemic is making it harder to eat. Here's why

R.I.P. Non-Speaking Advocate Mel Baggs

Autistic people report poor health, low life satisfaction

Visual, sensory brain regions in autistic children may have weak links

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

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

Home of Guiding Hands: Even One Mask Will Help!

MicroCurrent 4 Kids is Now a Nonprofit!!

TONIGHT!: Special Education - School Closures & COVID-19

Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together

2020 Autism Speaks San Diego Walk

Free April Resources from Sanford Autism Consulting


Online Activities at Villa De Vida Inc.

Surveys on the coronavirus outbreak for selfadvocates and their families

Free Stuff From Social Thinking

COVID-19 (coronavirus) information and resources



thomas nelson

  • For autistic people like me, the pandemic is making it harder to eat. Here's why
  • I struggle with executive function, making cooking near-impossible. What am I supposed to do now?

    Most people in the world have at least one secret they're ashamed of - a past drug habit or a transgression they wish were forgotten.

    For me, it's something so small that it may seem silly: I can't prepare my own food.

    When you're on the autism spectrum, this is a common problem. Although autism is frequently associated with social difficulties, repetitive behaviors, obsessive interests and depending on routines, it can also make it difficult for those with the condition to develop necessary executive functioning skills. Whenever I'm asked to complete a food-related task more difficult than making a sandwich, I become overwhelmed and anxious. As a result, I've relied on eating out for most of my adult life. Read on...

  • R.I.P. Non-Speaking Advocate Mel Baggs
  • "She told me that because she doesn't communicate with conventional spoken word, she is written off, discarded and thought of as mentally retarded. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I sat with her in her apartment, I couldn't help but wonder how many more people like Amanda are out there, hidden, but reachable, if we just tried harder." Sanjay Gupta

    The Art of Autism is deeply saddened by the death of Mel Baggs (d. April 11, 2020).

    In 2007, her video In My Language was broadcast on CNN who did several special segments about her. The film depicts the different ways people who are non-speaking may communicate. Read on...

  • Autistic people report poor health, low life satisfaction
  • Autistic children and adults report poor physical and mental health and quality of life compared with the general population, according to a new survey.

    And autistic girls and women report a lower quality of life than do autistic boys and men.

    Scientists often assess quality of life using concrete measures such as whether someone has a job, lives on their own or graduates from high school, says Judith Miller, senior scientist and training director at the Center for Autism Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

    In the new study, the researchers instead sought to identify more subjective measures, such as whether people find their life satisfying. Read on...

  • Visual, sensory brain regions in autistic children may have weak links
  • Areas of the brain involved in processing vision are more weakly connected to those that process sensory information in autistic children than in controls, according to a new study1.

    In some autistic children, this underconnectivity tracks with fewer impairments in social behaviors.

    The team focused on connections between the visual cortex and the salience network, which identifies the most important sensory information. The network includes the anterior insula, which plays a role in both sensory perception and processing information that is important for social behaviors.

    The team found some differences between autistic children and controls, but they also found variations among the autistic children, indicating that no one connectivity pattern applies across the spectrum. 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:

  • Home of Guiding Hands: Even One Mask Will Help!
  • Dear friends and family,
    Our team needs your help! To protect the vulnerable population of men, women, and children we serve, and the nurses and staff ´╗┐who are caring for them, we need more face masks. We would welcome hand-sewn or store bought.

    If you can help, please contact Kaye Kelley at 619-938-2856 or
    Thank you, and may you and your families stay healthy!

  • 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

  • TONIGHT!: Special Education - School Closures & COVID-19
  • Join us on Tuesday, April 14th, at 7pm to discuss special education and school closures in light of COVID-19. For the Zoom invitation please RSVP to

  • 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

  • 2020 Autism Speaks San Diego Walk
  • Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 9 AM - 1 PM
    Liberty Station NTC Park
    2455 Cushing Rd., San Diego, California 92106

    The annual Autism Speaks San Diego Walk is now open for individual and team registrations! Event includes local service provider resources, sponsor booths, Kids Zone, live entertainment, and a beautiful walk along the waterfront.

    Registration is FREE but fundraising is encouraged. Every dollar raised goes to advancing research, supporting advocacy, and supporting individuals with autism and their families nationwide and locally here in San Diego.

    Click here to sign up today!

  • Free April Resources from Sanford Autism Consulting
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info!!!

  • Patient Summary for Person with Developmental Disability
    Emergency Contacts, Abridged Medical History, Medication Regimen, Allergy Information, Assistance Needs

    I have a developmental disability. My parent/guardian or support professional believes I am showing signs of COVID-19 infection. If they cannot come with me into the hospital, please refer to the information provided here and call my guardian, service provider, and the county board of DD for any clarifications. Click here to download the form.

  • Online Activities at Villa De Vida Inc.
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the news!!!

  • Surveys on the coronavirus outbreak for selfadvocates and their families
  • I hope you are all safe and healthy during this difficult time. Disability Voices United is conducting a survey of individuals with disabilities and family members to explore their concerns and needs during the coronavirus outbreak. We are hearing significant concerns about access to education, services, and money for rent and food as well as some issues with discrimination in health care settings. We plan on sharing the results with the community, policymakers, and the media. But we need your help in getting the word out about the survey so that we have enough results to draw conclusions.

    If you are a person with a disability or a family member, please take 5 minutes right now and fill out this survey (it might even take less time!). Please also share with others. The survey is in both English and Spanish.

    English survey:

    Spanish survey:

    Coronavirus resource website
    English website:

    Spanish website:

  • Free Stuff From Social Thinking
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info on the deals!!!!

  • COVID-19 (coronavirus) information and resources
  • The situation around the current spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is changing rapidly, so make sure you stay informed by visiting the CDC's information page regularly.

    As Autism Speaks continues to monitor the evolving situation, our sincere hope is that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy.

    We understand that many people with autism and their families are being directly impacted, seeing disruptions in services and coping with the uncertainty of what comes next. We want to share some resources and information that may help you at this time. These pages will be updated regularly as new content is developed.

    Explore more...

  • 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.