Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. May 12, 2020

In This Issue

Autistic girls may experience more emotional challenges than autistic boys do

Review says MMR vaccine is effective, does not cause autism

New insight on maternal infections and neurodevelopmental disorders

Autistic Model Creator Has A Mind Like A 3-D Printer

In An Instant, His Face Changed, and No One Heard My Cries for Help

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

Webinar Series: Child Regulation - Getting Calm and Staying Calm

Virtual North County Support Group on Zoom!

Finding Our Way

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

Online Activities at Villa De Vida Inc

Webinar: May 15th - Distance Learning & The COVID-19 Crises

ATPF Teen Time: Virtual Social Hour

Sign Up for Summer Sessions at BTES!



  • Autistic girls may experience more emotional challenges than autistic boys do
  • Emotion control eludes more girls than boys with autism, according to a new study of young people hospitalized for psychiatric issues.

    The analysis does not account for what may be driving these differences, which are small but significant, says lead investigator Carla Mazefsky, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. It does, however, highlight the importance of treating emotion-control problems in autistic children and teenagers.

    "We need to be really paying attention to emotional dysregulation, screening for it and targeting it in treatment," Mazefsky says. Read on...

  • Review says MMR vaccine is effective, does not cause autism
  • A new review of data from more than 20 million children shows that the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, is effective and not associated with autism.

    Health authorities licensed the MMR vaccine for use in 1971 after tests showed that adverse reactions from the combined vaccine were no greater than any from the existing, single vaccines.

    Governments have since rolled the vaccine out across the globe, leading to the eradication of measles in many countries, including the United States.

    Despite this, the vaccine has been the subject of much controversy, in particular, due to a 1998 study linking the vaccine to autism. The study was later shown to be fraudulent and was discredited, but not before it received wide publicity, leading to public misconceptions about the vaccine. Read on...

  • New insight on maternal infections and neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Both genetics and a variety of environmental risk factors are thought to play a role in mental illness, said Professor Kim McAllister, director of the Center for Neuroscience and senior author on the paper. Most pregnancies are resilient, she said. Although the risk from maternal immune activation is low, it could provide a way in to the underlying problems that lead to schizophrenia or autism.

    "We don't have a good handle on what causes these diseases," she said. "But, maternal infection is a risk factor that we know contributes. So, our research focuses on how to predict which pregnancies are at risk and discover new ways to intervene and prevent disease in offspring." Read on...

  • Autistic Model Creator Has A Mind Like A 3-D Printer
  • Creativity has always been in my blood.

    I was fascinated with the military and military history when I was young. I started building models back in 2004 when I was 15. The models I built then were very rudimentary.

    I was refused active service in the Canadian Armed Forces, so I decided to develop an operation serving as military historian, specialist for the Carleton County area.

    Since 2007, I have been giving presentations to local schools on war history from WWI, II and onward as well as modern conflicts.

    My model building has continued through my adult life. As I've gotten older my models have become more sophisticated. Read on...

  • In An Instant, His Face Changed, and No One Heard My Cries for Help
  • To promote #AuthenticAwareness, a mother of a son with severe autism shares the enduring trauma of a brutal attack

    As a very private person, this is difficult for me to write, but I am doing so for the opportunity to help others understand the challenges that severe autism presents. My son is 18 years old. He tests as an 18 month old socially, and 1 year 9 months verbally. He is a loving, sweet young man the majority of the time, but there is always a sense of looming instability.

    There have been too many instances of aggression for me to describe in detail, so I will share the most recent one, the one that shook me to my core.

    Last month, I was at home alone with my son. He was bouncing on his yoga ball, listening to his songs on his iPad. I was cooking, and keeping a close eye and ear on him. He came into the kitchen, and sat on the floor. It seemed that he wanted my attention, so I sat on the floor next to him, and proceeded to give him tickles, kisses, scratches, and back rubs... That's when it happened, in an instant, his face changed, and his pupils dilated. He grabbed a hold of my hair with both hands. I was unable to get out of his grip, and he would not relent. 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
    [email protected]

    If you have a question or request for this newsletter group, please send your email request to [email protected]. 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
    General: [email protected]
    Club Beacons: [email protected]
    Pathfinder Workshops: [email protected]
    Tailored Day: [email protected]

  • 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

  • Webinar Series: Child Regulation - Getting Calm and Staying Calm
  • 1. What is self-regulation?
    2. Co-regulation and predictability
    3. Great tips for helping kids get calm and stay calm

    Cara Fairfax is an LCSW who specializes in perinatal, postpartum, and early childhood mental health. She is an early intervention specialist who works with children with special needs and at risk children, and works with families who have babies in the NICU. Click here to view!!!

  • 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!!!

  • Finding Our Way
  • Tele Therapy, Home Programs and an Emotional Regulation Workshop for your child starts soon. Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info!!!

  • 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!!!

  • Online Activities at Villa De Vida Inc
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter!!!

  • Webinar: May 15th - Distance Learning & The COVID-19 Crises
  • Coming on May 15th!!!

  • ATPF Teen Time: Virtual Social Hour
  • Friday, May 15th, at 3 PM - 4 PM
    Calling all ATPF Teens! RSVP Online for our ATPF Teen Time Social Hour on May 15 here:

    The theme of this workshop will be: Food Recipes! Share your favorite recipe and bring along your favorite snack.

    We are excited to partner with Sensory Friendly San Diego for a Teen Time Social Hour every Friday for the month of May! Check in with your friends via Zoom, join us in playing a game and create an easy DIY project together!

  • 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 Michelle Cozad for more information at 619-938-2887 or [email protected].

  • Webinar: Learn About RDI with Kiki Haddad!

  • For questions please email [email protected] or call 858-689-2027

  • Webinar: Learn About RDI with Brooke Wagner

  • For questions please email [email protected] 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 [email protected]. 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]. 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 [email protected]. 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 [email protected] 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.