Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 09, 2020

In This Issue

Autism and seizures may share roots in development

Music Moves Us: The Buzz on Local Musician Steph Johnson

Scientific breakthrough toward treatment of Fragile X syndrome

Maryland teen living with autism forms relationships with police

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Villa de Vida Arts and Crafts

Villa de Vida Yoga!

Friendship Walk SD is going Virtual!

My Special Needs Connection: Transitioning to Adulthood

Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together

FREE Webinar: Toilet Training for Children with Autism

NFAR PARENT'S GROUP - Zoom Virtual Meeting

Coming to Southern California This Summer!

Update Regarding Camp I CAN!!

ATPF Special Education Advocacy Workshop

Fun with OT at Home!

IEP Parent Bootcamp Part 1



  • Autism and seizures may share roots in development
  • Early behavioral signs predict seizures in autistic children, according to a new study1.

    Previous work has shown that 5 to 46 percent of people with autism experience seizures. And autistic adults with epilepsy have, on average, less cognitive ability and weaker daily living skills than their autistic peers who do not have seizures2.

    The new study shows that people with autism who begin having seizures during childhood show small but significant behavioral differences before they ever experience a seizure, compared with those who do not develop epilepsy. They score lower than their peers on measures of quality of life and adaptive behaviors, which include communication, daily living skills, socialization and motor skills. They score higher on a measure of hyperactivity. Read on...

  • Music Moves Us: The Buzz on Local Musician Steph Johnson
  • Two years ago, Steph Johnson and Brady Grinnell were on the cover of Flourishing Families, our annual publication featuring resources and articles for parents of children with special needs. Brady has Autism and was featured as part of an article on music therapy, while local musician Johnson was highlighted for her work with Banding Together and Voices of Our City Choir. So, what are our cover people up to now?

    Last week Johnson and the choir (made up of San Diegans experiencing homelessness and other volunteers) received the Golden Buzzer on America's Got Talent! The Golden Buzzer catapults them past the second round of eliminations to the final round of competition. See their performance on America's Got Talent at Read on...

  • Scientific breakthrough toward treatment of Fragile X syndrome
  • Scientists at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI), and Owerko Centre at UCalgary's Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) have made a breakthrough discovery that could lead to treatment of Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the leading genetic cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The study, involving mouse models, shows promise of translating to treatment for people diagnosed with FXS.

    FXS causes intellectual disabilities and hyperactive behavior, usually more commonly seen in males than females. Children and adults with FXS are missing a protein vital to brain development called FMRP. Among other functions, FMRP helps develop synapses between neurons in the brain. Read on...

  • Maryland teen living with autism forms relationships with police
  • During these challenging times, parents are having to have more tough conversations with their children when it comes to dealing with police.

    Improving the relationship with everyday people and law enforcement has been the mission of one Maryland teen.

    "It's scary being the mom of a black man," Jenn Lynn said when talking about her 17-year-old son. "He says, 'I'm your average, good-looking teenager, but if you would see me having a meltdown on the street, you might want to shoot me.'" 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!
  • 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

  • My Special Needs Connection: Transitioning to Adulthood
  • Click here to view the presentation!!!

  • 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

  • FREE Webinar: Toilet Training for Children with Autism
  • Wed, June 10, 2020
    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

    The SDSU Center for Autism is pleased to host a free webinar talk in collaboration with Lauren Cox, BCBA and her team. Toileting is one of the most necessary skills for a young child to have in order to be successful outside of the home environment. Many schools require that your little one be toilet trained before she or he is able to enroll in school. Becoming toilet trained is a common struggle for children on the autism spectrum due to language and motor impairments. We will go step by step to prepare you and your little learner to be successful in toilet training. We will cover some common programs to begin with your child, and how we can support the family during toilet training. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • NFAR PARENT'S GROUP - Zoom Virtual Meeting
    Zoom Virtual Meeting
    Wednesday, June 10, 2020
    6:30 - 8:00 pm

    June 10th TOPIC:
    Our guest speaker, Chantal Sicile-Kira will be discussing "What is really important in the long run to preparing your son or daughter for a life of their own." Also, insights and discussion about community safety, things we need to be doing to help and more."

    Guest Speaker: Chantal Sicile Kira, Professional Speaker, Author, and Autism Mom
    Chantal Sicile-Kira is the award-winning author of six books, a professional speaker, an advocate and leader in the field of autism, with over 25 years of experience. Chantal has served on various non-profit and advisory boards. Chantal's first practical experience with autism was teaching functional living skills to severely developmentally disabled adolescents in preparation for their de-institutionalization, then as a case manager at Orange County Regional Center. Little did she realize at the time how these work experiences would help her years later when Jeremy was born.

    Chantal's books include: Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised edition, Penguin 2014); A Full Life with Autism (Macmillan 2012); What is Autism? (Turner 2012);Autism Life Skills (Penguin 2008); Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum (Penguin 2006)​ as well as the workbook A Beginner's Guide to Self-Employment (2019).

    Click here for all the info and how to sign up for this Zoom Meeting!!!

  • Coming to Southern California This Summer!
  • Any questions? Call us at (858) 461-6464 or email We accept most major commercial insurances.

  • Update Regarding Camp I CAN!!
  • A Message from Mr. Jason regarding Camp I CAN for the summer of 2020:

    Dear Camp I CAN Parents, Caregivers and Friends,

    I hope that your family has stayed safe and healthy through this unprecedented time. I am pleased to announce that through the hard work and collaboration between the Autism Society San Diego and the YMCA that we will be able to offer Camp I CAN this summer! Camp will look very different this summer as we have to follow guidelines established by the CDC and local and state governments. The changes as to how camp will look as well as the dates we will be operating are as follows:

    * Camp dates:
    o Magdalena Ecke:
    Week 1: July 27 - July 31
    Week 2: August 3 - August 7

    o Toby Wells:
    Week 3: August 10 - 14
    Week 4: August 17 - 21

    * Camp will be site based this summer meaning that there will be no field trips. All programming will be done on site.
    * There will be 2 camp "pods" running simultaneously at each site to comply with CDC guidelines. Each pod will have 7 campers, 4 staff and 1 supervisor.
    * Camp hours will be from 9am-1PM daily. Before and after care will not be available.
    * Ages 6-17 will be accepted each week. I will assign campers to pods that will best accommodate social interaction with peers of the same age group (one pod for younger campers, one pod for older as best as we can accommodate.)
    * Registration for camp will begin July 1st. Registration packets that have already been turned in will have priority.
    * There will be no swimming but water games will be a part of programming.
    * Both staff and campers will be required to wear masks or a face covering. I can assist with social stories or video modeling so we can best frontload your camper.

    I understand that this is very different from past years of Camp I CAN. I am so glad that we are able to offer Camp I CAN in some capacity this summer. This will be a great opportunity to focus more on social skills and flexibility with our campers as we go into uncharted waters this summer. I look forward to seeing your camper! Stay safe and we will see you at the end of July.

    Warmest Regards,
    Mr. Jason

    For more info and questions, please contact Autism Society San Diego at 858-715-0678.

  • ATPF Special Education Advocacy Workshop
  • Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 12 PM - 1 PM

    Calling all ATPF Parents! We are excited to provide a NEW branch of our ATPF Parent Mentor Program, once a month Special Education Advocacy Workshops! Led by Volunteer Director of our Parent Mentor Program & Special Education Advocate Michelle McGowan, join us in a community of parents learning and sharing as we all navigate distancing learning.

    This class will provide 20 minutes of knowledge and advice on a specific Special Education Advocacy topic, then will allow parents to sharing their challenges and successes, get peer support, and collaborate on more effective ways to educate and advocate for our children.

    RSVP today here:

    Questions? Contact

  • Fun with OT at Home!
  • Would you like to know more about Occupational Therapy activities you can do with your kids at home?
    Sign in anytime now through June 15th.

  • IEP Parent Bootcamp Part 1
  • Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Online Event
    Cost: $99
    Click here for all the info and to Register!!!

    Join us for our online class special parents to learn more about the IEP process.

    San Diego Regional Center (SDRC) parents may attend at no cost. Please contact your service coordinator and register using the link:

    Our Part 1 (Beginner) Class will cover:
    *Intro to IEPs
    *What is the difference between an IEP and a 504 Plan?
    *How to prepare before your IEP meeting
    *Securing and Understanding IEP Assessments
    ...and more...

    Our IEP Parent Bootcamp Series is a great alternative for local families who want to make a small investment, yielding lasting change. You will leave with confidence and knowledge, ready to advocate STRONG at your next IEP meeting.

  • 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.