Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 02, 2020

In This Issue

With masks and social distance, these special ed students have already returned to school

Amidst the pandemic, autism's largest conference moves online

Student developers aim to create a game for children on autism spectrum

Extra proteins alter microglia and behavior in mice

New study shows sharply increasing numbers of adults with autism in SSI system

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Villa de Vida Arts and Crafts

Villa de Vida Yoga! Starting Today!!!

Friendship Walk SD is going Virtual!

Beacons 2020 Summer Workshops

Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together

Heros are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary

June 3rd! - Webinar! Special Education Goals and Distance Learning

Webinar: Accessing ABA Services During COVID-19

Virtual East County Autism Support Group on Zoom!

TERI Today, Monthly Newsletter

ATPF Typers Zoom Meet-Up



  • With masks and social distance, these special ed students have already returned to school
  • null

    While educators across the state are struggling over how and when to bring students safely back to school in the fall, teachers in at least one California classroom have already figured it out.

    At San Jose Middle School, located in Novato in Marin County, Cindy Evans' class for special education students has been in session for ten days. Educators interviewed by EdSource say they know of no other similar effort in the state.

    The students in the classroom, which is overseen by the Marin County Office of Education rather than a single district, come from throughout the county. As of now, five students are in school for a regular full day of instruction from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., while three of their classmates join in via distance learning. Read on...

  • Amidst the pandemic, autism's largest conference moves online
  • Before the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of people planned to spend the first week of May in Seattle, Washington, for the International Society for Autism Research's (INSAR) annual conference. But for the first time in the meeting's nearly two-decade history, it was canceled.

    Instead, the conference's organizers plan to host a series of online offerings beginning on 3 June and continuing throughout the summer - a move that may change the shape of the conference for years to come. Read on...

  • Student developers aim to create a game for children on autism spectrum
  • Over the past decade, game studios have made big strides toward accommodating players with physical disabilities. Features and changes such as color blind mode, holding a button instead of repeatedly tapping it, adding subtitles and adjusting their size and controller remapping have widened the game-playing audience immeasurably. But what can developers do to include players with developmental disorders, such as autism?

    One group, mostly composed of members of the Montreal-based entertainment company Reflector, recently mulled this question with Kelsea Kircoff, a specialized education teacher who had often worked with children on the spectrum. The idea took root, and Project Pālaka was born. Read on...

  • Extra proteins alter microglia and behavior in mice
  • The overproduction of proteins in brain cells called microglia causes social impairments, cognitive deficits and repetitive behavior in male mice, a new study has found.1 These behavioral differences are not present in female mice, or in mice that produce excess protein in other brain cells, including neurons or star-shaped support cells known as astrocytes.

    Microglia help eliminate excess synapses - connections between brain cells - that form early in life; this pruning process is crucial to healthy brain development. But male mice that have been engineered to overproduce proteins in these cells have enlarged microglia. That, in turn, lowers the cells' mobility and may prevent them from migrating to synapses that need eliminating. Read on...

  • New study shows sharply increasing numbers of adults with autism in SSI system
  • Over the past three decades, autism caseloads have increased dramatically across public programs, including special education, vocational rehabilitation, state developmental disability services, and Medicaid. This phenomenon has also been witnessed in the welfare program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides cash benefits to poor elderly people and people with severe disabilities who cannot earn a living: between 2004 and 2014, the proportion of children with autism surged from about 8% to nearly 21% of those with major mental disorders, the largest increase for any diagnostic group.

    Now a new study has found that adults, age 18 and up, with autism also represent a growing share of SSI awards. Recipients with autism increased from 37,041 in 2005 to 158,105 in 2015, a 327% jump. The lead author was Kristy Anderson, who worked with Paul Shattuck, Ph.D of the A. J. Drexel Autism Institute in Philadelphia. The Drexel group is one of the few looking at crucial questions of economic and program burden posed by the growing population of adults 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.

  • Villa de Vida Arts and Crafts
  • Join us every Wednesday, until Jun 24 at 1pm for a Arts and Craft Demo with CAMMIE CASEY! After each session Post your art piece to show off your work! Can't wait to see everyone's final piece. Each week will be a different topic.


    We started our social club in April 2019 and have been meeting twice monthly since. We are providing classes through the City of Poway, that will start in the Fall again, specifically for adult with special needs. We want you to join our groups, classes and now free on-line activities. Click here to view our calendar for the month of June!!!

    To stay up to date on all of the upcoming activities, please sign up for our newsletter here!!!

  • Villa de Vida Yoga! Starting Today!!!
  • 5 Dates · Jun 2 - Jun 30
    Meet our new instructor Janice! She will be hosting a Yoga class Online through Zoom!

    If interested sign up now!


    We started our social club in April 2019 and have been meeting twice monthly since. We are providing classes through the City of Poway, that will start in the Fall again, specifically for adult with special needs. We want you to join our groups, classes and now free on-line activities. Click here to view our calendar for the month of June!!!

    To stay up to date on all of the upcoming activities, please sign up for our newsletter here!!!

  • Friendship Walk SD is going Virtual!
  • Sunday, June 28, 2020 @ 10:00AM
    The Friendship Walk is an annual family walk that raises crucial funds and community awareness for the Friendship Circle of San Diego and individuals with special needs. Join us in promoting an inclusive community that welcomes and nurtures all individuals regardless of their abilities.

    10:00AM - Special Zoom Presentation
    The broadcast will showcase a special presentation for our virtual walkers from around the world.

    The Course - You Pick the Course!
    Whether that's walking 1.8 miles in your neighborhood, on a treadmill or around the house, or going for a swim, riding a bike or other physical activities following social distancing guidelines

    We encourage you to share images and videos as you complete your 1.8 mile journey via social media by tagging @FriendshipCircleSD.

    Registration Fee: $25
    All registrants will receive a 2020 Walking 4 Friendship t-shirt and face mask!

    Be the Captain of your team of friends, family, classmates, coworkers, or just walk as an individual! Contact us for more information on how to get started and for any fundraising tips. Go to

    Want to know more about what programs you will be funding with your registration? Visit

    Click here to Register!!!

    Become a Community Partner! It's FREE!

    Partnerships with local nonprofits & charitable organizations gives us great pride. Community Partners can be organizations, groups, or individuals who want to work together! Your logo & link will be posted here! You will also have access to the community share table to place information & fliers.

    If you are interested in becoming a Community Partner, please contact

  • Beacons 2020 Summer Workshops
  • Summer is coming! Starting June 29 and going through August 6, Beacons will offer six weeks of fun to help individuals aged 16+ learn something new this summer!

    Onsite or Virtual?
    Due to COVID-19, workshops at this time are expected to be provided virtually. Participants in workshops that use materials will be provided "kits" for individuals to pick up to use at home. Ratios are no more than 10:3, although some may be smaller depending on the workshop.

    Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • 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

  • Heros are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter!!!

  • June 3rd! - Webinar! Special Education Goals and Distance Learning
  • Join us in a discussion about IEP goals and distance learning! Presented by Seth Schwartz, Esq., of Schwartz & Storey, with panelists Nanci Engle, of Banyan Tree Inc., Kristi Kelly, a special education advocate, and Karyn Searcy, a speech and language pathologist, we will explore the legal basis for goals and what you should think about when working on goals. We will provide concrete examples in the areas of academic, behavioral, and speech and language and discuss what you can do to address goals through distance learning!

    You can register HERE!

  • Webinar: Accessing ABA Services During COVID-19
  • Check out all of Gateway's Webinars here:

  • Virtual East County Autism Support Group on Zoom!
  • Monday, June 8, 2020
    6:30 PM to 8:00 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!

    Join Zoom Meeting:

  • TERI Today, Monthly Newsletter
  • Click here to read TERI, Inc.'s latest newsletter for all the info and updates!!!

  • ATPF Typers Zoom Meet-Up
  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
    RSVP here:

    Meet on Zoom with different AAC Typer friends across the country, share your favorite books, funny quotes or memes, and enjoy the feeling of community through alternative communication! Led by ATPF Mom Shelly Lana and her son Otto. All kids/teens who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices are welcome! All participants who RSVP will receive a reminder email/text with all details on how to join the Zoom meeting.

    Questions? Contact Shelly Lana at 858-361-0098

  • 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 Liane Wilson, Vice President of Community Services, for more information at 619-938-2889 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.