Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. May 08, 2020

In This Issue

April is over. Autism acceptance isn't.

NIH-funded study links early sleep problems to autism diagnosis among at-risk children

N.J. balloon artist with autism creates pieces for essential workers

Graduate uses Lockdown to make autism documentary

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

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

Webinars by Gateway

Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together

Virtual East County Support Group on Zoom!

Virtual North County Support Group on Zoom!

ATPF Parent Advocacy Training Workshop led by Matthew Storey

This May, NFAR Mom's Group is VIRTUAL and we'd love for you to join us!

Autism Science Foundation & COVID-19 Webinar Series

Greatest Hits 2020 Art Contest

Sign Up for Summer Sessions at BTES!



  • April is over. Autism acceptance isn't.
  • A year ago, a doctor told me she thought I was autistic. I laughed in her face. I had friends. I understood sarcasm. I didn't like trains. How on Earth could I be autistic?

    "Take the screening anyway," she told me. "What's the worst that can happen?"

    I don't think I'll ever find out the answer to this question, because the best possible thing happened instead: I was diagnosed with autism, and it changed my life. Although I initially rejected the label, the more I learned, the more I realized how unconsciously I had absorbed the ubiquitous, harmful stereotypes: that autistics are all math geniuses, that we never like to socialize, that we can't express our feelings, that we don't have friends and that we're basically carbon copies of Sheldon Cooper. And while some of these descriptors contain small grains of truth, collectively, they come nowhere close to painting a full picture of autism. Using only these stereotypes to understand autism is like drawing a rainbow with three crayons out of a box of 300, and then declaring that, unless they use those exact same three colors in the same configuration, the rainbows everyone else draws are not actually rainbows and should not be treated as such. Read on...

  • NIH-funded study links early sleep problems to autism diagnosis among at-risk children
  • A small study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that sleep problems among children who have a sibling with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may further raise the likelihood of an ASD diagnosis, compared to at-risk children who do not have difficulty sleeping. Previous research has shown that young children who have a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk for also being diagnosed with the condition. The study appears in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

    If confirmed by other studies, the findings may give clinicians a tool to identify sleep problems early and provide interventions to reduce their effects on the health and development of children with autism. The findings may also provide insights into the potential role of sleep problems in the development of ASD. Read on...

  • N.J. balloon artist with autism creates pieces for essential workers
  • There are all sorts of ways to thank the essential workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic: fundraisers, giving platforms, clapouts, and delivered food, for starters.

    But one New Jersey resident is thanking these people a different way-with balloon art.

    Eddie Lin, of Edison, has been creating balloon pieces for grocery store workers, postal mail carriers, and other essential workers as a token of appreciation for their work and dedication.

    He created a balloon-grocery shopping cart for his close friend's mother, a manager at a local supermarket to say 'thank you' last week. Read on...

  • Graduate uses Lockdown to make autism documentary
  • A University of Manchester graduate with Aspergers Syndrome has made the most of the Lockdown to put together a documentary about the impact of his condition on mental health.

    Thomas Henley, 23, a Biomedical Sciences graduate and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist in Taekwondo, home-edited the footage gathered while he was a student.

    The documentary was a final year Science Communication project at The University Of Manchester. It explores different views and experiences of people affected by the condition and asks why mental health problems are prevalent in people with autism. 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.

    Even though the doctor SSI sent us to for eligibility exam commented at the end of the exam that my 10 year old grandson would qualify based on the exam and his diagnosis of autism, my daughter received letter of denial. I think we may be beyond the 60 days to appeal. Looking for help to get thru the appeal process.
    Mary Ann Walker

    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:

  • Webinars by Gateway
  • Gateway's distinguished Scientific Advisory Board members will be presenting three special webinars this month! More information can be found on our Events page. Click the link to "Register for this workshop on Zoom" next to each webinar you'd like to attend.

  • 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

  • Virtual East County Support Group on Zoom!
  • Monday, May 11, 2020 at 6:30 PM - 8 PM
    Join us for an online version of our East County Support Group on Zoom for support and information, and to connect with your community! Click here for all the info!!!

  • Virtual North County Support Group on Zoom!
  • Monday, May 18, 2020 at 6:30 PM - 8 PM
    Join us on Zoom for a virtual support group meeting! Get information and support, and a chance to talk to other families! Click here for all the info!!!

  • ATPF Parent Advocacy Training Workshop led by Matthew Storey
  • Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 6 PM - 7 PM

    You won't want to miss our first Parent Advocacy Training Workshop led by Matthew Storey, Partner at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Storey! He will be giving a presentation on the intersection of COVID-19 and Special Education: what has happened, how it has changed special education, and how to work towards making it a positive experience for your child.

    RSVP today:
    Questions? Contact

  • This May, NFAR Mom's Group is VIRTUAL and we'd love for you to join us!
  • May 13, 2020
    6:30 - 8:00 pm
    May Topic: Navigating the IEP process during Distant Learning

    With schools closed and students working remotely it is more important than ever to understand the special education process and work with the IEP team to improve outcomes. We will discuss the opportunities of distance learning, special education rights, understanding present levels and goals, and how to use this time to get prepared for when school is psychically back in session.

    Guest Speaker: Seth Schwartz, Esq., Special Education & Equality Attorney, Law Offices of Schwartz & Storey
    Seth Schwartz is a managing partner at the Law Office of Schwartz & Storey. The firm focuses on helping children with special needs and their families navigate special education and related areas. Mr. Schwartz received his Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and undergraduate Bachelors of Arts in History from California State University of Northridge. Both of his degrees focused on social interaction and are a driving force behind my desire to find a meaningful way to contribute in the legal field.
    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Autism Science Foundation & COVID-19 Webinar Series
  • The Autism Science Foundation's mission is to support autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.

    Click here to view their past and upcoming webinars!!!

  • Greatest Hits 2020 Art Contest
  • Help us celebrate the 10th anniversary of Banding Together! We have rescheduled the Diamond Edition of our Greatest Hits benefit concert for this fall. Stay tuned for the date and more details. In the meantime...

    We have a great way for all our budding artists to use their creative brains while at home: a T-SHIRT DESIGN CONTEST! The winning submission will have their artwork featured on the Greatest Hits 10th Anniversary shirts along with cash and other prizes.

    We are also still looking for sponsors to help us pull off our best event yet! Contact us to find out how to expose your company or name to this captive audience and other ways to support Banding Together's mission!

  • Sign Up for Summer Sessions at BTES!
  • It's May! Have you and your family decided what you're doing this summer? Here's what we're doing at BTES!

    Banyan Tree Learning Center:
    Point Loma & Oceanside
    Morning Sessions: between 8-12PM
    Afternoon Sessions: between 1-5PM
    Individual and group sessions & FUN!

    Times are available on a first come, first serve basis so please sign up as soon as possible to secure your spot if you haven't already! In each session, students will dive into one-on-one and small group classes to help remediate skills, build foundations, and fill gaps caused by COVID-19.

    Enroll now to help your child build confidence and stay engaged in learning through the summer!

    Call to learn more about our summer sessions:
    Point Loma 858-367-5428
    Oceanside 760-434-7720

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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:

  • Autism Research Survey
  • Autism Research Survey - This research survey is conducted through Point Loma Nazarene University. Please share with both autistic adults over 18 years old and parents of children with autism, autistic parents with autistic children, verbal and nonverbal. #Autistic, Autism parents, Autism dad, Autism mom. The survey will take 10-20 minutes & your participation will affect the lives of children in many countries.

    The research is 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.

    Please fill out our Autism Research survey and PLEASE SHARE with anyone who you know/think may be able to participate and contribute. Please make sure to make a recommendation at the end.

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

    To participate click link


    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.