Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. May 03, 2018

In This Issue

Autism meeting evolves to address needs of people on the spectrum

EEG signals accurately predict autism as early as 3 months of age

How a Sesame Street muppet is changing the world for people with autism

Whole Genome Sequencing Reveals New Type of Genetic Influence on Autism

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

The Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Planning

Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!

Autism Men's Group - New Location!!!

Safer Than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and ADHD/ADD and the Effects are Permanent!!!

Soccer for All Abilities in La Jolla

It's a bird...It's a plane...It's a Gala!

Sensory Play time at La Mesa Library

Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Not Your Typical Parenting Workshop

Adult Information and Support: San Diego Park and Recreation Programs

RB TACA Coffee Club

North County Coffee Talk and EATS - Carlsbad

Dance for Teens & Adults with Special Needs Saturday May 5

Adults with Asperger-Like Thinking Therapy Group

Easterseals Southern CA is Hiring!!!



  • Autism meeting evolves to address needs of people on the spectrum
  • I always look forward to the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR, formerly IMFAR). As managing editor of an autism information nexus called the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism, I take pleasure in learning from brilliant autism researchers at this event.

    As the parent of a high-support autistic son who is approaching adulthood, I am gratified that research presented at INSAR increasingly reflects issues faced by autistic people of all ages. It now focuses on quality of life and support needs rather than solely on causes of autism, infant studies and mouse models.

    Autistic people have long insisted on being involved in research efforts on their condition. Yet meaningful inclusion of perspectives and priorities from people on the spectrum is relatively recent, occurring only in the past two years. Read on...

  • EEG signals accurately predict autism as early as 3 months of age
  • Autism is challenging to diagnose, especially early in life. A new study shows that inexpensive EEGs, which measure brain electrical activity, accurately predict or rule out autism spectrum disorder in infants, even in some as young as three months.

    Autism is challenging to diagnose, especially early in life. A new study in the journal Scientific Reports shows that inexpensive EEGs, which measure brain electrical activity, accurately predict or rule out autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in infants, even in some as young as 3 months.

    "EEGs are low-cost, non-invasive and relatively easy to incorporate into well-baby checkups," says Charles Nelson, PhD, director of the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children's Hospital and co-author of the study. "Their reliability in predicting whether a child will develop autism raises the possibility of intervening very early, well before clear behavioral symptoms emerge. This could lead to better outcomes and perhaps even prevent some of the behaviors associated with ASD." Read on...

  • How a Sesame Street muppet is changing the world for people with autism
  • Sesame Street's first muppet with autism, Julia, doesn't talk a lot.

    But a year after she moved to Sesame Street, her message of inclusion and understanding is coming through loud and clear.

    Kerry Magro sees the difference. When Magro, now 30, was diagnosed with autism at age 2, the only portrayal of autism in popular culture was Dustin Hoffman's character in "Rain Man."

    "It made it frustrating because EVERYONE thought I would be fantastic at math," Magro told TODAY Parents. "Thanks to characters like Julia we are expanding the education of autism." Read on...

  • Whole Genome Sequencing Reveals New Type of Genetic Influence on Autism
  • Research taps Simons' and Autism Speaks' whole genome databases to detect hidden structural DNA changes associated with autism

    In a new study, an international team of researchers used the power of whole genome sequencing to discover a previously hidden type of genetic change associated with autism. They also discovered that these rare structural variations are inherited almost exclusively from fathers - for reasons yet to be discovered.

    The report appears today in the journal Science.

    "These unexpected findings broaden our appreciation for the enormous diversity of ways that autism develops, and in doing so, hold promise for the development of personalized therapies and services," says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Thomas Frazier. "This study also illustrates the importance of the detailed, comprehensive research made possible through whole genome sequencing." 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!!

    We are looking for an effective swim instructor for my son with autism. He hasn't progressed much with the current swim school he goes to. Does anyone know of someone who teaches private swim lessons to kids with autism at their own pool? If so, please contact me at . Thank you! Anita

    I am the parent of a 12 year old 7th grader who struggles severely with autism-like behaviors and a host of disabilities. I am unable to find a way to have her diagnosed. My two special needs children are adopted. I am a single stay at home mom and I do not have the resources for a private evaluation. We have a 12 year history of services with Rady Children's Hospital including one year in residential treatment. I'm interested to find any new information about what a parent is to do when both the medical and school communities neglects such severe needs. Thank you.

    My 12 year old daughter suffers from Dyscalculia. I am searching for other parents who have dealt with obtaining academic supports from the school districts. Most specifically what is placed in an IEP in the area of: goals, accommodations and supports. My experience has been the refusal to acknowledge the condition or to provide the research based teaching needed. Thank you.

    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.

  • The Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Planning
  • Thursday, May 10, 2018 from 5:30-7 pm
    Gateway Learning Group
    2525 Camino Del Rio South #335
    San Diego, CA 92108
    This event and parking are FREE! Apologies, no childcare.
    Email to RSVP. Space is limited.

    Join us to learn how to protect and provide for those with special needs.

    The seminar will cover:

    • Special Needs Trusts
    • Wills
    • Guardianship and Conservatorship
    • Trustees
    • The CalABLE Program
    • Letter of Intent
    Speaker: Dennis Spiegelman from the Special Needs Planning Institute

    About Gateway Learning Group: Gateway is a leading provider of autism and behavior intervention services in Northern and Southern California. Gateway Learning Group's direct therapy programs are organized on behalf of children and their families, often in collaboration with school districts, regional centers, and health insurance providers.

  • Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!
  • Real Connections Child Development Institute
    Supporting and partnering with families of children on the autism spectrum through understanding, engagement and relationships.

    Developmental Play Therapy - 1:1 developmental therapy in your child's natural environment. Evidenced- based, emotional, cognitive and neurobiological therapy that assists your child in developing meaningful relationships.

    Parent Coaching & Support - Real-time training and education in your child's individual profile. Learn new ways to engage and connect, while focusing on communicative and cognitive/ social emotional development. Maximize your child's developmental growth through both daily interactions and parent-child intervention sessions.

    A "Whole Child" Program

    • Flexible Thinking
    • Problem Solving
    • Scripting
    • Perserveration
    • Meltdowns
    • Executive Function Skills
    • Regulation
    • Sensory Integration
    • Spatial Processing
    • Individualized Program
    Real Connections San Diego
    415 North Highway 101, Suite C
    Solana Beach, CA 92075
    619-840-0015 or 858-768-0313

  • Autism Men's Group - New Location!!!
  • Thursday, May 10, 2018

    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.

    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Filippi's Pizza Grotto -- NEW LOCATION!!!
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad.
    Dinner is provided

    May Topic: Raising a Child on the Spectrum - sharing insights and resources

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Safer Than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and ADHD/ADD and the Effects are Permanent!!!
  • Microcurrent 4 Kids is San Diego's premiere pediatric microcurrent therapy program for children with special needs. Our program is the BEST therapy for Autism & ADHD, 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. Proudly serving all of San Diego and conveniently located in Kearny Mesa, just off the 163 freeway and Balboa Avenue.

    If you are looking for autism treatment like cranial sacral, PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field), transcranial magnetic stim, FSM (frequency specific microcurrent), hyperbaric oxygenation, MRT (magnetic resonance therapy), chelation, or other alternative treatment options -give us a call to learn about how Microcurrent 4 Kids may be the better choice for you and your family!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Road, Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123
    858 367-9108

  • Soccer for All Abilities in La Jolla
  • You can still sign up!!!

  • It's a bird...It's a plane...It's a Gala!
  • Join us on June 9th from 5:30-11pm at the US Grant Hotel for what is sure to be an evening of epic adventure. You'll enjoy a cocktail reception, three course dinner with wine service, silent and live auction, live entertainment and more.

    Click here to purchase tickets or become an event sponsor.

    For more info or to become a sponsor please call (619)938-2854 or email

    All proceeds from this event benefit Home of Guiding Hands who is one of the largest providers of supports and services in San Diego County, serving more than 2,500 infants, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities. At HGH, we believe that individuals thrive where they can direct their own lives in a setting that offers a more fulfilling lifestyle, provides individualized attention, increased opportunities for self-sufficiency, and encourages greater community integration and access.

    Home of Guiding Hands
    1908 Friendship Dr.
    El Cajon, CA 92020

  • Sensory Play time at La Mesa Library
  • First Sunday of the month at 11 AM - 12 PM -- Starting May 6th
    La Mesa Library
    8074 Allison Ave, La Mesa, California 91942

    Announcing the first ever Sensory Friendly Playtime at the La Mesa Library! Appropriate for children ages 4-10 years old. Please call the library at 619-469-2151 with any questions or for more information.

  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth believes that every individual is unique and has the potential for significant growth. We assume and foster competence while honoring family values and priorities. Our holistic approach is built upon trusting, supportive relationships and collaboration between disciplines and families.

    We specializing in the development and implementation of individualized comprehensive programs utilizing Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, Applied Behavior Analysis, Art Therapy, and Life Balance Yoga Therapy.

    Offering support in the San Diego, Carlsbad, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

    In addition to supporting our clients directly, we offer guidance to parents, grandparents, therapists, teachers, siblings, school staff, babysitters etc.

    Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    (858) 689-2027

  • Not Your Typical Parenting Workshop
  • I hope to answer all queries big and small, from behavioral strategies to potty training issues, toddler meltdowns to teenage angst and anxiety,and from ADHD to ASD.

    We can chat and work together, in a relaxed environment to work out strategies that can be successful for you and your loved ones.

    Click here for all the info and to purchase your $15 ticket!!!

  • Adult Information and Support: San Diego Park and Recreation Programs
  • Tuesday, May 8 at 6 PM - 8 PM
    Autism Society San Diego
    4699 Murphy Canyon Rd, San Diego, California 92123

    This month will feature Aly Larson, CTRS, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, City of San Diego Therapeutic Recreation Services.

    The City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services program provides sports, recreation, leisure and outreach services to people with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.

    Services include therapeutic recreation programs and adaptive sports opportunities. These address the special needs of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty accessing and participating in recreation opportunities offered to the general public. They offer many programs for adults throughout the year.

    We welcome all community members who are interested in issues facing autistic adults to attend our meeting.

    There will be time for questions and networking during the meeting.

    Light Refreshments will be served.

  • RB TACA Coffee Club
  • Tuesday, May 8 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Mason Coffee Works
    16451 Bernardo Center Drive
    San Diego, California 92128

    TACA Mentors Kate Whelan and Shannon DeBlock are excited to host Coffee Talks monthly here in Rancho Bernardo at a convenient location just off I15. They are here to support you through your autism journey. Just bring yourself. Click here for all the info!

  • North County Coffee Talk and EATS - Carlsbad
  • Thursday, May 10 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Beach Plum Kitchen
    6971 El Camino Real #201, Carlsbad, California 92009

    Join TACA San Diego Co-Coordinator Vanessa Surprise and Parent Mentor Malinda Cook for Coffee, Conversation, Support and Breakfast (if you are so inclined). We are here to support you through your autism journey.

  • Dance for Teens & Adults with Special Needs Saturday May 5
  • RSVP to Caroline at 602-502-2743!

  • Adults with Asperger-Like Thinking Therapy Group
  • Connect with other adults in a supportive environment to grow your skills in building relationships, social knowledge and educational/vocational transitions. Mondays, May 14-July 9, 6-7:30 pm at the Family Wellness Center in El Cajon. Having a diagnosis is not a requirement. Groups are led by pre-licensed marriage and family therapy trainees and interns. Register by May 7.

  • Easterseals Southern CA is Hiring!!!
  • For more info please contact Barbara Hatch at 714. 672-0640 or email

  • 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.