Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. April 17, 2020

In This Issue

The blurred line between autism and intellectual disability

Autism Speaks statement in response to reports of surge in COVID-19 cases among people with disabilities

Siblings of children with autism may process faces their own way

'Sense of urgency': Caring for adults living with autism during coronavirus leaves some feeling forgotten

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

IEPs and 504s

2020 Created On IPad Gallery 3

Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!

Support "Splash for Cash"

2020 Autism Speaks San Diego Walk

Free April Resources from Sanford Autism Consulting


FREE! - Building Bridges II: Autism Research Symposium

Surveys on the coronavirus outbreak for selfadvocates and their families

Free Stuff From Social Thinking


thomas nelson

  • The blurred line between autism and intellectual disability
  • Doctors often conflate autism and intellectual disability, and no wonder: The biological distinction between them is murky. Scientific progress depends on knowing where the conditions intersect - and part ways.

    Soon after Patrick Kelly started school at age 5, his teachers told his parents he belonged in special-education classes. His academic performance was poor, and his behaviors were disruptive: hand-flapping, rocking, hitting his head with his wrists and tapping his desk repeatedly. He often seemed as if he was not paying attention to people when they spoke to him. He would stare off into the distance, head turned to the side.

    Kelly's teachers assumed he had intellectual disability, known at the time as mental retardation. Then when he was around 9, a routine eye exam at school revealed that he could barely see. With glasses, he went from underperforming to outperforming his peers in every subject but English in just two years. And it turned out that he had been listening in the classroom (and to his parents talk about him) all along. Finally, at age 13, a psychologist diagnosed him with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified, a form of autism. Read on...

  • Autism Speaks statement in response to reports of surge in COVID-19 cases among people with disabilities
  • We must take action to protect our community during this time of crisis

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our communities, Autism Speaks has taken swift action to respond to the immediate needs of people with autism and their families - through advocacy, services and supports, resources and direct assistance. We are deeply concerned by reports of increased incidence of COVID-19 among people with disabilities, particularly in group homes, as reported by the New York Times and other news outlets. In response to news of the rapid spread of COVID-19 among communities of people with disabilities, we urge lawmakers at the local, state and federal level to take immediate action to protect our community.

    We must ensure the equitable distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) to caregivers and service providers to people with disabilities, including autism and developmental disabilities, to ensure their safety and prevent spread of COVID-19.

    Access to PPE can and will save lives. As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with disabilities have an increased risk for complications from COVID-19, making PPE and appropriate infection control practices a critical need to protect their health and well-being. Read on...

  • Siblings of children with autism may process faces their own way
  • Children with autistic older siblings have bigger neural responses than controls do in the brain networks that process faces, according to a new study1.

    The researchers followed these children from infancy to age 7, looking for relationships between neural signals and the children's face-processing abilities that remained consistent during this period of development.

    The work is the first to track face processing in so-called 'baby sibs' - children who have autistic older siblings. Baby sibs are 20 times as likely to be diagnosed with autism as typical children are, and they often show autism traits early in life. For this reason, researchers frequently study them to get new clues about autism's underlying biology. Read on...

  • 'Sense of urgency': Caring for adults living with autism during coronavirus leaves some feeling forgotten
  • April is recognized as World Autism Month and is usually filled with special events to mark the occasion, including what is perhaps the world's largest celebration that has been held at the United Nations every year since 2008.

    The coronavirus pandemic has not only put a stop to all of that but, critically, it has left those who are vulnerable with special needs -- as well as their care providers -- exposed at a time when stability is key to their survival.

    "It's very confusing and unsettling for our residents to have their daily routines so dramatically affected," Alex DiMaio, executive director at Special Citizens Futures Unlimited (SCFU), told ABC News.

    DiMaio oversees 19 residential locations in New York that are home to 68 adult men and women living with autism. For this agency alone, there are approximately 120 direct care workers among the essential personnel who are still reporting to work each day throughout this crisis in order to care for one of the state's most vulnerable populations. Read on...

    This story is playing out across the country, including here in San Diego.

  • 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.

  • IEPs and 504s
  • Free Live Webinar
    Tuesday, May 12, 2020 from 7:00-9:00 pm

    RSVP Required for log in instruction:

  • 2020 Created On IPad Gallery 3
  • For Autism Acceptance in April, Art of Autism contributors across the United States and Canada explore digital art as a new medium using iPad with Apple Pencil. What they created was amazing!

    Over the last few weeks, participants have been creating new forms of art on iPad. Though some had previous experience with iPad, most artists had not previously worked with Apple Pencil to create art. This is the 3rd gallery that The Art of Autism is posting during the month of April, Autism Acceptance Month. The second gallery is here. The first gallery is here. And, the third gallery is here.

    The Art of Autism is a 501c3 nonprofit. We are an international collaboration of talented individuals who have come together to display the creative abilities of people on the autism spectrum and others who are neurodivergent. Our mission is to provide a forum to connect with those who wish to employ these abilities. The Art of Autism accepts many art forms, including blog posts, art, poetry, video submissions and requests for book and film reviews. We seek diverse viewpoints including those from autistic people, parents, siblings, therapists, and others. We look to partner with organizations with similar goals for awareness, acceptance, educational events and the provision of opportunities for our participants.

  • Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!
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    Wondering if your child might benefit from joining a group? Give us a call at 858-558-9552 to schedule a free consultation.

    Tele Health now in use during COVID-19!!!

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

  • Support "Splash for Cash"
  • While we will not be able to hold the 18th Annual Splash for Cash on Sunday, April 26, 2020 in person due to the current situation with Covid 19, this is still our biggest fundraiser of the year and we need your support now more than ever!

    Help us raise money for our Pool PALS programs which include swimming lesson scholarships, Surf Camp, and our monthly family events--Family Pizza and Pool Party, and our Family Gymnastics Night. This events may be temporarily on hold, but we will resume them as soon as the state health recommendations allow us to! Priority Registration for Surf Camp for those who raise at least $250 towards the fundraiser will still happen! All fundraisers who have raised $250 or more by April 26th will be notified by email and sent registration forms to complete.

    Sign up to fundraise as a team OR as an individual fundraiser.
    Sign up here:

    Each month we have over 200 children and adults attend our family swim and gym nights. We provide swim lesson scholarships to 100 individuals/year and provide surf camp for 95 children and adults every summer. Your donation keeps all of these popular programs going at a reasonable cost for families.

    Thank you for your support! It is making a difference in the lives of so many!

  • 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.

  • FREE! - Building Bridges II: Autism Research Symposium
  • The SDSU Center for Autism is hosting its second Building Bridges event!
    Friday, September 25, 2020 at 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM
    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:30 AM - 1:30 PM
    SDSU - Auditorium 11 and West Patio
    Storm Hall
    5550 Campanile Dr
    San Diego, CA 92182

    Join us on Friday afternoon, April 25th, for a research symposium showcasing the multidisciplinary autism research at San Diego State University, which spans basic science, applied, and implementation research across the lifespan.
    Friday, April 25, 1-5pm (symposium) 5-7pm (reception)

    The event continues with a Saturday morning Community Forum-focused on sharing information and gathering feedback from key stakeholders in the autism community. There will also be a screening and discussion of the documentary Autism Goes to College.

    Saturday, April 26, 9:30-1 (forum/movie screening and Q&A)
    To RSVP for this event, please click on this link: Building Bridges II: Community Forum

  • 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!!!!

  • 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.