Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. April 26, 2018

In This Issue

An Art of Autism Original Project

How Exactly Does Autism Muddy Communication?

What About Curriculum For Children With Special Needs?

Variants In Non-Coding DNA Contribute To Inherited Autism Risk

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

North County Autism Support Group, May 7th

Social Communication Specialists: Executive Functioning Skills

San Diego Artist with Autism will have Booth at Art Walk!

No Wait for RDI!!!

Xcite Steps is Now in Temecula!!!

Include Autism's Gatsby Gala

Summer RPM Classes for Nonspeaking Individuals

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

Charity Ride for Autism Awareness - Glow Ride - Benefits NFAR!

Cara Lucier & Associates

Now Enrolling: South County Social Clubs! Sign up by April 27

Encinitas Learning Center hosts Workshop on Sleep and Brain Health Improvement

Now Enrolling: "XciTeens" Social Club! Sign up by April 27



  • An Art of Autism Original Project
  • For Autism Acceptance in April, Art of Autism contributors across the United States explored digital art as a new medium using iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. What they created was amazing!

    Over the last few weeks, participants have been creating new forms of art on iPad Pro. Though some had previous experience with iPad, most artists had not previously worked with Apple Pencil to create art. Through one-on-one sessions at Apple stores, drawing apps, and other support from Apple these artists gained confidence with the new method and learned how to maximize their creative potential. The participants have differing abilities, and are of different genders and ages ranging from 15 to 53. Read on...

  • How Exactly Does Autism Muddy Communication?
  • The quirks in Ramsey Brewer's conversation are subtle. The 17-year-old repeats himself from time to time and makes small mistakes in the words he uses. For instance, he says he and his best friend look scaringly, not scarily, similar. He also pauses at odd spots, and for a beat or two longer than most people do. When he's talking, he makes eye contact briefly but then slides his eyes sideways-or closes them. And his comments swerve in unexpected directions: Asked where he goes to school, he says Boston Latin Academy, but then suddenly adds, "I'm not actually from this state," even though he and his family have lived in Massachusetts for years.

    Ramsey knows he regularly misreads other people, but he leaves it to his mother, Kathryn Brewer, to explain how. Once, she says, when she had just climbed some stairs and was short of breath, he thought she had been about to cry. During a visit to the dentist, when Ramsey put on the safety sunglasses, the dental hygienist joked with him: "Hey, you can really pull those off." Taking her comment literally, he pulled the glasses off his face. Read on...

  • What About Curriculum For Children With Special Needs?
  • It's what I hear about most from moms considering homeschooling their children with special needs.

    What about curriculum?

    There's just so much. I don't even know where to start!

    Should it be different because of my child's learning differences?

    Maybe I should just do online public school first.

    I'm overwhelmed and ready to give up before we have even started homeschooling!

    I totally, 100% understand.

    When we first began this eight year and counting homeschooling journey, the curriculum question was almost too much to even consider. I ended up doing what my friend did in an effort to keep it simple.

    I learned all too quickly that what works for one family is not always what works for another. There was nothing simple about curriculum for us in those early years. Read on...

  • Variants In Non-Coding DNA Contribute To Inherited Autism Risk
  • In recent years, researchers have firmly established that gene mutations appearing for the first time, called de novo mutations, contribute to approximately one-third of cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In a new study, an international team led by scientists at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have identified a culprit that may explain some of the remaining risk: rare inherited variants in regions of non-coding DNA.

    The findings are published online in the April 20, 2018 issue of Science.

    The newly discovered risk factors differ from known genetic causes of autism in two important ways. First, these variants do not alter the genes directly but instead disrupt the neighboring DNA control elements that turn genes on and off, called cis-regulatory elements or CREs. Second, these variants do not occur as new mutations in children with autism, but instead are inherited from their parents. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • We are wondering what parents experiences has been with some organizations for young adults.
    Our son is a client of the Department of Rehabilitation. We need to select a program for job training. We hope to get some feedback about The Arc, Goodwill and Toward Maximum Independence.
    Thanks Laura S.

    I am trying to find a social group for my 17 year old daughter.She has a mild learning disability and although she does not actually have a diagnosis of autism I definitely think she is on the spectrum with certain behaviors(obsession with time,picky eating, watching shows over and over) My greatest concern is her lack of social skills or awareness and I would love to get her together with some similar teenage boys and girls for fun, friendship ,outings. We live in zip code 92129. Thank you if anyone can help point us in the right direction. Kim

    I'm wondering if you know where I could refer a 16-year-old who is low income but does have insurance to be tested for ASD/Asperger's? They live in Encinitas.

    We are moving to San Diego this June. We have a 10 year old son with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is very intelligent and strong academically but struggles with stimming, restricted interests, anxiety, and finding close friends. Can you refer us to a good psychologist? We are moving to Pacific Highlands Ranch in Carmel Valley, and would prefer someone close if possible. Thanks!!

    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.

  • North County Autism Support Group, May 7th
  • IHSS Everything You Need To Know!

    April Villafaña will provide a compressive overview of In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) including the application process, eligibility, age appropriate guidelines, hourly task guidelines, protective supervision, personal services & paramedical services.

    Monday, May 7 at 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
    Kirsch Therapy
    1949 Avenida del Oro, Ste 118, Oceanside, California 92056

    To RSVP click going on this FB event page!!

  • Social Communication Specialists: Executive Functioning Skills
  • 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.

    Among the Services We Offer:

    Executive Functioning
    Even the brightest students can struggle to keep track of assignments, plan out and manage their time and prioritize and initiate tasks needed to meet their goals.

    Executive functioning skills help us with everything from getting dressed and out the door on time to managing distractions so we can complete the task at hand. While these skills develop naturally for most of us, some children need direct teaching and therapeutic treatment to help develop these skills and put them into practice.

    At SCS, we don't just set up a color coded folder system that your child will never use, We use advanced techniques to directly teach executive functioning skills. The concepts and strategies we teach kids helps them become more independent so you can stop constantly reminding them of what they need to do.

    We teach students to develop a "memory for the future" that allows them to create and implement plans to achieve their goal. We help kids develop self talk so they can monitor how their plan is working and make any necessary changes in their behavior.

    At SCS our techniques are modeled after the work of Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC-SLP and Kristen Jacobsen, M.S., CCC-SLP. Sarah and Kristen are nationally renowned for developing cutting edge, research based therapeutic interventions for those with executive functioning challenges. After working with us, kids develop the language and skills for understanding, analyzing and applying efficient strategies that help them to become more successful, independent learners.

    If you're nodding your head because you know what I'm talking about, give us a call at 858-558-9552 or email to find out if our services might benefit your child.

    Social Communication Specialists
    5703 Oberlin Dr, Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121

    Social communication groups enrolling now! For more information about our program and registration information, please call us at 858-558-9552 or email us at

  • San Diego Artist with Autism will have Booth at Art Walk!
  • Save the Date! April 28 & 29
    11:00 am to 6:00 pm
    Come see us at ArtWalk @ Little Italy
    Booth # 553
    near the new Piazza Della Famiglia, corner of Date and Columbia

    Jeremy has some new art to show you - large and small - perfect gifts for the upcoming Mother's Day.
    Invite your friends and come by and say hello!!

    Click here for all the info and a look at some of Jeremy's art!

  • No Wait for RDI!!!
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®) Our primary approach for treatment of autism spectrum is a developmental program called Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®). RDI® is a unique treatment approach that empowers parents to guide their child to succeed in our dynamic world. Children who learn to actively engage with the support of their parents in safe but challenging learning opportunities develop a strong motivation to explore and expand their world, as well as develop competence and trust in themselves and their guides. Click here for all the info!!!

    Two Offices to Serve You
    3555 Kenyon Street, Suite 101
    San Diego, CA 92110
    10731 Treena Street, #105
    San Diego, CA 92131
    619-600-0683 ext. 1

  • Xcite Steps is Now in Temecula!!!
  • Xcite Steps specializes in the treatment of Autism and related developmental disorders, providing compassionate commitment and care to each and every individual and family we serve. We adhere to this mission by operating within the theoretical practices and evidence-based principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

    We do not believe in a "one size fits all" model. We recognize that every client can be individually reached through a variety of different treatment approaches to create a unique and tailored program. Our staff is highly trained to identify and create natural learning opportunities, and transform everyday social outings into enriched therapeutic experiences. The versatility of our programs allows clients to enjoy a comfortable, contoured, and natural therapy experience.

    --Individualized and generalized curriculum Learning across naturalistic environments & stimuli Highly trained and energized staff

    --Attentive and collaborative supervision

    If you would like to learn more about our programs please contact Pamela Garrity, Director of Client Relations, at 858-428-0222 or We look forward to hearing from you!

  • Include Autism's Gatsby Gala
  • Special Pricing During Autism Awareness Month!
    Get your tickets for as low as $68!

    Saturday, May 19th, 2018
    6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
    This year, we will be having our 11th Annual Gala, The Gatsby Gala, at the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa on Mission Bay.

    Click here for all the info and to purchase your tickets!

    Click here for info about Include Autism and all of its' programs!

  • Summer RPM Classes for Nonspeaking Individuals
  • More for info please email

  • Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment
  • Experience a unique and effective approach to autism therapy.

    Our aim is to bring to families everywhere the most effective therapies for the treatment of autism. Our integrated care model is based on the scientific research and clinical practice of our founder, Dr. Suzanne Goh. We seek to set a new global standard for autism care by achieving superior developmental outcomes for the children and families we serve.

    At Cortica, we believe the world needs a higher standard of care for all those living with autism, or a potential diagnosis of autism. Families like yours deserve effective, collaborative, caring therapies that are accessible and reasonably priced, no matter who you are or where you live.

    The Cortica Care Model

    • Neurophysiology
    • Family and Home
    • Biochemistry
    • Cognition and Behavior
    • Sensorimotor
    • Communication
    Therapists with specialized expertise collaborate to understand and treat the whole child.

    Your customized program will focus on what your child's developing brain needs most to gain new abilities.

    The Cortica Care Model is based on a proven methodology that gives you confidence you're doing the right thing.

    Together, we clarify the complex, celebrate extraordinary efforts, and witness moments of brilliance as our children grow new skills and abilities. Many of our services are covered by medical insurance plans. Contact us for all the info!!!

    Cortica Care
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121

  • Charity Ride for Autism Awareness - Glow Ride - Benefits NFAR!
  • Join us as we light up the room blue with a SUPER fun 45 minute glow spin class!

    CycleBar Carmel Valley
    12720 Carmel Country Rd.
    San Diego, CA 92130
    Sunday April 29th, 2018 @ 11:30AM

    Goal: To raise funds and awareness, 100% proceeds are provided to the NFAR Foundation.

    Registration $25

  • Cara Lucier & Associates
  • At Cara Lucier & Associates we believe in the ability of every person to reach their potential. We believe that education is the key to opportunity. We advocate for the rights of individuals and their families:

    • IEP team meetings
    • Mediation
    • Due Process Hearings and Appeals
    • 504 Meetings and Appeals
    • Regional Center Meetings and Appeals
    • IHSS Appeals
    • Civil Rights Litigation
    For a free 60-minute initial consultation, please contact us at (760)505-2498.

    Law Offices of Cara Lucier
    Civil Rights and Education Law
    701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite #300
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Phone: (760) 717-3451

  • Now Enrolling: South County Social Clubs! Sign up by April 27
  • Click here for more info about these clubs!!!

    Sign Up: or call 858-428-0222

  • Encinitas Learning Center hosts Workshop on Sleep and Brain Health Improvement
  • We are hosting some workshops and the first two are May 1 and 15 and the subject is Sleep and Brain Health with Dr. Tony Hall, DC CCSP

    Dr. Hall is a Sports Chiropractor who is also very interested in Concussion Care and working with children and adults who have sleep deprivation and what that looks like.

    The workshop will be held at 543 Encinitas Blvd. Suite 100, Encinitas, CA 92024 from 7:00 - 7:45 p.m. and we would love RSVP to (760) 634-6886.

  • Now Enrolling: "XciTeens" Social Club! Sign up by April 27
  • Click here for more info about these clubs!!!

    Sign Up: or call 858-428-0222

  • ASD Mornings at theNAT
  • 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

  • San Diego Sibshop

  • October 2017 - August 2018

    WANTED: Siblings who have a brother/sister with special needs

    AGES: 7 - 12 years old
    Older siblings are welcome to attend as "Junior Leaders"

    WHAT: A fun-filled opportunity geared to the specific needs of siblings with brothers/sisters with special needs. Join us for games, crafts, hikes, cooking, and art. Meet other sibs - lunch provided

    TIME: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

    May 20: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center
    August 19: Santee Lakes, 9310 Fanita Pkwy, Santee, CA 92071**

    DONATION: $5.00 - $10.00 per meeting per family for craft materials, supplies and lunch for the kids

    REGISTRATION: Pre-registration requested by email (if possible) the Thursday before the event.

    CONTACT: Email for a Sibshop registration form and / or additional information.

    Sibshop Leaders:
    Jody BonDurant-Strong, Administrator
    Ndoto BonDurant-Strong - adult sibling & CSUSM student
    Gina Clifton, ECSE Medically-Fragile Teacher, Special Education
    Pat Moulton, Retired

    Directions for Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor's Center (MTRP):
    1 Father Juniper Serra Trail (92119). Interstate 8 to 15 North / East on Friars Road.
    Stay to left - turns into Mission Gorge Road / Turn left on 1 Father Juniper Serra.

  • Vanderbilt Kennedy Center: Residential and Respite Care Services Survey

  • The survey will take less than 30 minutes to complete. The survey is anonymous and voluntary and the responses are confidential. The responses will be helpful in determining issues and supports related to residential and respite care services. We will raffle ten $25 gift cards at the close of the survey for participants who complete the survey.

    Click here to take the survey and help with research to improve lives!!!

  • Parents Who have a Child with Autism Wanted for an Online Survey
  • Participate in Research: Attention Differences in Boys with ASD and their Family Member

  • Boys with ASD between the ages of 8 and 16 and both of their biological parents are invited to participate in a study examining attention skills and genetics.

    Boys who are typical developing and their biological parents are also invited to serve as a control group.

    This research is taking place at the Neuroscience Center of Alliant International University under the supervision of Alan Lincoln, Ph.D., MSCP, BCBA-D and Shamayne Brown, M.A. You must be able to travel to the lab to participate.

    Study Requirements
    -Both biological parents and the son must participate.
    -Each parent will complete questionnaires about him or herself.
    -This should take about 30 minutes.
    -Each parent will complete a brief standard cognitive measure. This should take about 30 minutes.
    -Each parent will complete a computer task. This should take about 30 minutes.
    -One parent will complete questionnaires about your son. This should take about 25 minutes.
    -Your will complete the brief standard intelligence measure. This should take your child about 30 minutes.
    -Your son will compete the computer task. This should take about 30 minutes.

    Upon completion of participation, your son will receive $20 and each parent will receive a $10 gift card. You may also receive, upon request, results of your performance and/or your child's performance.

    Refer another family to the study and be entered in a drawing for a $200 Visa gift card.

    Some individuals may be excluded from participation in the study on-site. If your child is excluded, he will receive a $5.00 cash gift for his participation in the preliminary assessment. If a parent is excluded, he or she will be given a $5 gift card for participation in the preliminary assessment.

    If you are interested in participating, please call 858-635-4068 or by email: or Thank you in advance for your time and assistance!

    Approved by Alliant IRB (#1604025150R001)


    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.