Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. April 24, 2020

In This Issue

Providers Want To Protect Clients With Disabilities. Nobody's Telling Them How.

Five strategies for improving social skills for people with autism

New partnership focuses on autism awareness in courts

Gene linked to schizophrenia tied to autism-like behaviors

Beacons, Inc. and MiraCosta's adults with disabilities program lead the way in virtual instruction

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

IEPs and 504s

The Art Of Autism Announces Women History Art Contest Winners

Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!


Autism Research Survey

2020 Autism Speaks North County Walk

Autism Tree Project Foundation Online Projects

School at Home

Communication Options for Non-Speaking People with Autism


thomas nelson

  • Providers Want To Protect Clients With Disabilities. Nobody's Telling Them How.
  • Christi Estrada has no idea when she'll be able to visit her son again.

    John Estrada, 33, has autism. He lives in a government-funded group home in Tucson. In mid-March, Christi received a call informing her that John's house was quarantined because of fears of COVID-19. He was not allowed to go to a day program where he worked one-on-one with a care provider, participated in games, drew on his iPad and went hiking and bowling. Christi was barred from visiting.

    "He called and wanted me to pick him up and he doesn't understand. He doesn't understand anything about the coronavirus," she said. "It's just a real confusing time for him, and it's hard to talk to him on the phone because it's hard to know what to say." Read on...

  • Five strategies for improving social skills for people with autism
  • For people on the autism spectrum, having a social life can be challenging. According to VeryWell Health, some people lack the necessary social skills, like making eye contact or responding to questions. Others may have excellent communication skills but struggle to understand other people's thoughts or feelings, or they may not be interested in interacting with others. Without proper training, people on the autistic spectrum may say or do things to offend other people, even though it's unintentional. In the end, it may become difficult to establish healthy relationships. Read on...

  • New partnership focuses on autism awareness in courts
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, along with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), is launching a statewide initiative focused on helping judges better understand and communicate with individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    The initiative is a first-of-its-kind partnership and will provide practical guidance, best practices and resources to judges managing cases involving an individual with autism as well as court information and services for families.

    With nearly one in 59 children diagnosed with an ASD, judges hearing cases in criminal, juvenile, orphans', family court, etc. are sure to have individuals living with autism come before them. Read on...

  • Gene linked to schizophrenia tied to autism-like behaviors
  • Mice with mutations in a gene called DLG2 are anxious and asocial; they also sleep poorly and overgroom themselves, according to a new study1. These characteristics resemble those seen in some people with autism.

    The results offer the first evidence that mutations in DLG2 may account for some of the condition's behavioral traits.

    "This study is a baby step indicating DLG2's implication in [autism's] core behavioral symptoms," says lead investigator Soo Young Kim, assistant professor of pharmacy at Yeungnam University in Gyeongsan, South Korea. Read on...

  • Beacons, Inc. and MiraCosta's adults with disabilities program lead the way in virtual instruction
  • As many families struggle to get daily instruction from school districts, local programs such as Beacons, Inc. and MiraCosta's adults with disabilities program launched virtual and daily instruction almost immediately to make sure students' instruction was not interrupted by COVID-19. Dedicated instructors teach their lessons using Zoom, Google Suite options, Padlet, SMore and other engaging programs to meet their students' needs, and in the case of MiraCosta even modified the class hours to better support their students' learning differences.

    Beacons, Inc., a Carlsbad nonprofit that provides postsecondary support and services to individuals with disabilities, launched virtual instruction within three days of the Governors' March 20 shelter-in-place order. The Governor's order was issued on Friday the 20th and by Monday, March 23rd, the Beacons customer service skills vocational workshop was up and running three hours a day, Monday through Thursday. Trainees are developing websites, employment profiles, social skills and workforce skills to help them transition to employment post workshop. Virtual "Tailored Day" sessions are also in place to provide 1:1 services to its clients. Beacons is a vendor of the San Diego Regional Center (SDRC), so workshops and Tailored Day services are provided at no cost to eligible SDRC consumers. To make sure the individuals who Beacons serves are not isolated during site closures, Beacons volunteers also present Club Beacons social activities and its Leadership Council virtually. 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.

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

    RSVP Required for log in instruction:

  • The Art Of Autism Announces Women History Art Contest Winners
  • The Art of Autism is proud to announce the winners for the 2nd Annual Women History art contest. Thank you Art of Autism Board Member Kimberly Gerry-Tucker who curated this exhibit during the month of March, Women's History Month, on The Art of Autism Facebook page. We were overwhelmed with the number of entries. Thank you all who participated!

    This year we had two categories: 18 and under and over 18. Click here to view all the winning art!!!

  • 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

  • Save the Date: ATPF SWEET 16 CANDLES GALA
    6:00 PM - 11:00 PM
    DEL MAR, CA 92014

    $1,850 TABLE AMBASSADOR (seats 10)
    BUY YOUR Table by contacting Lisa Kaufmann, Director of Development - 619-318-6713 OR LISA@AUTISMTREEPROJECT.ORG

    It's all hands on deck to make this event our best yet! Want to JOIN our VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE? Sign up to be a volunteer here:

    Our ATPF 16 Candles 1,000 person Gala Celebration believes that every child is entitled to the best possible start in their development. IGNITE EVERY CHILD is about creating access to all children, regardless of income, language or family status. Early intervention services for children are vital to their health and development and reduce costs by minimizing the need for special education and related services in later years. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Autism Research Survey
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    Please help us make a difference and change lives with those who are affected with autism by completing our Status of Autism Research survey. PLEASE SHARE with anyone who you know/think maybe able to participate and Contribute.

    We are conducting research through Point Loma Nazarene University. The survey will take 10-20 min & your participation will affect the lives of children in many countries.

    We want to understand the trajectories in the lives of individuals who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (formerly known as Pervasive Developmental Disorder).

    The purpose of this study is to determine the current status of those individuals in order to better inform current treatment practices and create recommendations for the treatments and therapies that will be used for the next generation of kids with autism.

    The more people who respond and the more diverse the individuals with autism, the better the statistics and therefore the better quality recommendations will be. Dalia

    This study is open to the following:
    * Any parent or caregiver over the age of 18 of a child with Autism
    * Any spouse of an individual over the age of 18 with Autism or Asperger
    * Any individual over the age of 18 with Autism as long as they can participate without the help of a caregiver/aide.
    * The study is open to individuals regardless of current location

    *** Apologies to those who object to the term "person with autism" as opposed to autistic person. All questions had to be approved by the IRB and as such had to follow medical guidelines.

  • 2020 Autism Speaks North County Walk
  • Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 9 AM - 12 PM
    Mance Buchanon Soccer Fields
    Oceanside, California 92057

    The annual Autism Speaks North County 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 through Mance Buchanon Park.

    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 County.

    Click here to sign up today!

  • Autism Tree Project Foundation Online Projects
  • ATPF has been doing a lot of online projects that may be of interest. Please check out their FB page to view them!!!

  • School at Home
  • Now through April 30th. From your own home. Any time.

    Log in at

  • Communication Options for Non-Speaking People with Autism
  • Have you wondered what you, as a parent, can do to build communication with your non-speaking child?

    Have you struggled with exploring strategies and supports that can help them access academics or social opportunities?

    Join fellow TACA parent, Michelle Del Rosario, as she shares her journey to presuming competence and successfully utilizing multi-modal communication across settings with her son, William.

    When: Thursday, April 30th
    Time: 10:00 am PST * 1:00 pm EST

  • 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.