Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 11, 2019

In This Issue

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Federal Proposal Would Ease Path From Special Ed To College

Prevalence estimates for autism indicate bias against non-white groups

Nation's Schools Serving More Students Under IDEA

Anxiety: 11 of 21 studies say regulating gut bacteria may help

How 'social touch' shapes autism traits

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Cool Cats Social Skills Group

NFAR Men's Group - June 13

NFAR Mom's Group - June 19

Beacons, Inc. Community Event

TERI Crimson 2019 Speech & Language Summer Camps

Game Night for Adults With Autism!

Transitioning to Adulthood in San Diego and Oceanside

Fred Finch CARES Social Skills Group

SDSU Center for Autism Brain Study Needs Volunteers!

AWARE: Adults with Autism Recreation Experience

Picnic Saturday June 29 at Live Oak Park!

Raising Hope Dogs - Hope Dog Challenges Summer Camp


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  • Federal Proposal Would Ease Path From Special Ed To College
  • Lawmakers are looking to make it easier for students with disabilities to transition to college.

    Legislation introduced by a bipartisan group of senators late last month would ensure that individuals with disabilities have the information they need to choose the right school and that they don't have to go through too many extra steps to access supports once they get there.

    The bill known as the Respond, Innovate, Succeed and Empower, or RISE, Act, S.1585, spells out that students who already have documentation of a disability can continue to use that same documentation when they enter higher education. If passed, the measure would free individuals who have received special education services from having to undergo additional diagnostic testing, lawmakers said. Read on...

  • Prevalence estimates for autism indicate bias against non-white groups
  • Estimates for autism's prevalence in three U.S. states reveal significant inequalities in how children of different races and ethnicities are counted and assessed, according to two new studies.

    In Wisconsin and Colorado, black and Hispanic children are more likely than white children to lack health or residency records, which excludes them from prevalence analyses, suggests a study published in Autism1. And in New Jersey, black children are half as likely as white children to receive an autism assessment by age 3, according to unpublished work presented earlier this month at a conference.

    "We need to do more," says Maureen Durkin, lead investigator of the published study. "There are so many barriers to getting a full assessment." Read on...

  • Nation's Schools Serving More Students Under IDEA
  • New federal data shows that there are more children in special education and they are accounting for a greater percentage of public school students across the country.

    For the 2017-2018 school year, there were 7 million students ages 3 to 21 receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. These students represented 14 percent of all kids attending public schools.

    The figures come from an annual report released late last month by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics that offers a snapshot of what's happening in American education. Read on...

  • Anxiety: 11 of 21 studies say regulating gut bacteria may help
  • Evidence that suggests our gut bacteria play complex roles in maintaining and impacting overall health is piling up. One new review of the scientific literature has now found that regulating intestinal microbiota may help relieve the symptoms of anxiety.

    Recent research suggests that the bacteria that naturally populate the human gut may play an extensive role not just in a person's physical health, but also in their mental well-being.

    One study drew a link between certain groups of bacteria and a higher risk of mental health conditions, including depression.

    Another suggested that our gut bacteria may influence certain brain mechanisms and contribute to anxiety.

    Now, researchers from the Shanghai Mental Health Center at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in China have evaluated the evidence of 21 studies - involving 1,503 participants in all - that looked at different interventions set to regulate the intestinal microbiota and whether they had any effect on symptoms of anxiety. Read on...

  • How 'social touch' shapes autism traits
  • Autistic people have unusual responses to 'affective touch,' which conveys social and emotional information. Their responses may reveal how autism begins.

    Even the slightest touch can consume Kirsten Lindsmith's attention. When someone shakes her hand or her cat snuggles up against her, for example, it becomes hard for her to think about anything else. "I'm taken out of the moment for however long the sensation lasts," she says. Some everyday sensations, such as getting her hands wet, can feel like torture: "I usually compare it to the visceral, repulsive feeling you'd get plunging your hand into a pile of rotting garbage," says the 27-year-old autistic writer.

    Stephanie Dehennin, an autistic illustrator who lives in Belgium, detests gentle touches but doesn't mind firm hugs. "I will feel actual rage if someone strokes me or touches me very lightly," she says. Dehennin seeks out deep pressure to relieve her stress. "I'll sit between my bed and my nightstand, for example - squeezed between furniture." 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

    This is a salaried full-time live-in support position providing care for an adult with autism. You will live in the client's home in Rancho Bernardo and be responsible for giving medications, grocery shopping, food preparation, laundry, light cleaning, logging daily data, assisting client with showering and toileting, exercising with client and having fun!

    Hours of responsibility are normally from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon and working one weekend per month. There is flexibility with working afternoon hours and weekends. Client is usually at a program between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm Monday through Friday, so this can be free time once chores are done. If there is a holiday or if the client is home sick, you would be responsible for staying home with the client.

    This position is the care team leader and has the overall responsibility for this client's day-to-day life. You can enjoy living in a lovely home, rent-free and earn a good salary while helping a fantastic young man become more independent and enjoy his life.
    Please contact Linda at 858-774-4687

    Great investment opportunity for the right person/company!
    I own and run Social Fusion Center, in the Miramar area of San Diego and am in search of either a person or company who would be interested in taking over my business as I will be moving to the east coast this summer, with my husband who recently received new orders from the USMC. I have been in business for almost 4 years now, the company is profitable and there is a continued need in the community for the services I offer so I do not want to leave these families without the support they need. Although I am a BCBA, the programs could be run by someone else and supervised by a BCBA or this could also be an opportunity for an OT or SLP as well.
    If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please email me for more details and we can talk specifics!

    This is the perfect opportunity for anyone in the autism field looking for additional experience!
    I am hiring 1-2 therapists to fill in for me this summer while I am out on maternity leave, but there is potential for ongoing hours throughout the school year. The position would begin July 1st but training/shadowing opportunities would take place in June.
    You must be available afternoon hours Monday-Thursday as well as Saturdays. There are 15 hours available per week for 1 person or this can be split between 2 if needed. Compensation will be DOE. An advance degree is not required but experience in the field is. If you are in school for your BCBA or BCaBA, supervision hours can be provided.
    To apply, please email your resume and availability!

    Do you type to communicate? Do you use AAC, RPM, FC, supportive typing? Are you looking to meet up with like minded individuals who use a keyboard to tell jokes and give speeches?

    We are forming a social group in the San Diego area of typers and their communication partners, just for fun, imagine that. No copays and our only goal is having a good time.

    If you are interested please email me
    See you soon,
    Otto Lana

    We are an Encinitas family in search of Regional Center independent contractor LVN's. Up to 24 hours/week. Please contact

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a doctor as my son is turning 18 and aging out soon with having a pediatrician? It would be wonderful if the doctor had experience with adults with special needs. We do have dual insurance so have to chose a doctor who takes both TRICARE and Medi- cal. Rady's children was great as had both with an excellent doctor. We live in North County area but would be willing to travel if needed within San Diego County. Any recommendations would be most welcomed.
    You can contact me at

    I have a TBI (brain injury) and am in urgent need of:
    1) an*Imperial County* IEP advocate specializing in multidisabilty sensory needs with native/primary language being ASL. District is refusing to provide proficient ASL staff for ESY - non-compliance with child's IFSP.

    2) *Imperial County* a fluent or proficient ASL tutor to help 2 y/o child reach minimum language markers. He will be enrolled in infant/toddler class in the fall.
    Any assistance or interested individuals are asked to email or text me ASAP.
    Thank you.
    Maria or 619-517-9358

    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.

  • RDI and MORE at 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

  • Cool Cats Social Skills Group
  • Help your child recognize and understand anxious feelings and develop coping strategies when faced with anxiety-producing situations. Using a cognitive behavioral approach, lessons are taught through games, art and acting to keep classes fun and engaging.

    Who: Ages 7-10
    When: Wednesdays from 10:00-10:45 a.m.
    Class length: July 10th - August 14th (6 sessions)
    Cost: $405
    Where: 1550 Hotel Circle North, Suite 190, San Diego, CA 92108
    No more than 5 students per group.

    Come stay COOL with us this summer! Sign up online at

  • NFAR Men's Group - June 13
  • Thursday, June 13, 2019
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad. Dinner is provided for free.

    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.

    June Topic: "How to Keep Your Benefits while Saving - Able Accounts and Special Needs Trusts."

    We will discuss the different planning and savings tools that are available to individuals who receive public benefits, including special needs trusts and ABLE Act Accounts. With a specific focus on the new ABLE Act, we will discuss the benefits of establishing an ABLE account and how ABLE accounts work independently as well as in conjunction with special needs trusts. You will get a comprehensive overview of the important benefits, differences, and applications of both special needs trusts and ABLE Act accounts.

    Guest Speaker: Mary L. Waltari and A.J. Battaglia, Attorneys - Battaglia & Waltari

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • NFAR Mom's Group - June 19
  • Wednesday, June 19, 2019
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad. Dinner is provided for free.

    These meetings are for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet the 3rd Wednesday of the month for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    June Topic: Helping Others Understand What it is Like to Have Autism

    Cheyenne is determined to share her firsthand experiences and opinions in an effort to give insight into daily challenges and common experiences people with autism may experience. She speaks about her strengths and challenges, as well as strategies that have helped her overcome obstacles in her life.

    For parents of recently diagnosed or young children with autism, Cheyenne's message is full of hope. For family members, and caregivers, Cheyenne's insights will change the way you think of your relationships with people with autism. Cheyenne strongly promotes a culture of neurodiversity and invites us to see the world from her own uniquely amazing perspective.

    Guest Speaker: Cheyenne Cyr

    For more info, click here!

  • Beacons, Inc. Community Event
  • Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 5 PM - 9 PM
    Culture Brewing Co - Solana Beach
    111 S Cedros Ave, Ste 200
    Solana Beach, California 92075

    A Community Engagement Evening empowering adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities! Join the Beacons Gang for a Special Donation Night. All ages welcome - Family, Friends and Dogs!!!
    Click here for info about Beacons, Inc. and their mission!!!

  • TERI Crimson 2019 Speech & Language Summer Camps
  • Sing, Say, Move and Play!
    Registration Deadline is June 12th!
    For more info about Curriculum, contact Karyn at 858-695-9415 or email

  • Game Night for Adults With Autism!
  • Fri, June 14, 2019
    6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court
    San Diego, CA 92120

    The SDSU Center for Autism and the Self-Empowerment for Adults with Social Anxiety or ASD support group are hosting a game night and social for adults with autism. Join us for a fun-filled evening and meet new people! Bring your favorite board or card game. This event is FREE. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Transitioning to Adulthood in San Diego and Oceanside

    Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2019
    Transition to Adulthood Town Hall
    Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
    National Comedy Theatre
    3717 India St
    San Diego CA 92103
    Street parking is available.
    Refreshments will be served.
    RSVP Today!

    The Transition Town Hall will present strategies and practical advice to assist in the transition of individuals on the autism spectrum from adolescence into adulthood. The event includes a moderated expert panel discussion and audience Q&A.


    Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019
    Time: 6:30 PM to 8 PM
    TERI Campus of Life
    251 Airport Road
    Oceanside, CA 92058
    Parking is available on site.
    Refreshments will be served.
    RSVP Today!

    North County Community Meeting: Join Autism Speak and learn how we support individuals with autism and their families across the lifespan.

    Outreach Questions? Please contact Marianne Sullivan 831 345-1409 or email:

  • Fred Finch CARES Social Skills Group
    For more info call 858-444-8823 or email

  • 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!

  • AWARE: Adults with Autism Recreation Experience
  • To learn more about this recreation program for adults, click here.

    Autism Society San Diego Members who wish to request registration forms can click here. To become a member, click here.

    Spots are limited, so register today!

  • Picnic Saturday June 29 at Live Oak Park!
  • RSVP to Linda White at 760-805-5214 or email

  • Raising Hope Dogs - Hope Dog Challenges Summer Camp
    For questions and to RSVP, contact Karen Rice, Athlete Coordinator, at 602-380-3377 or email

    HOPE DOG CHALLENGE is an exciting day of dog sport competition designed for kids and teens with autism and other disabilities.

    The athletes learn how to play with highly-skilled sport dogs and develop important physical, social, and emotional skills. Kids and dogs join together on Training Days to learn a range of games using Frisbees, tunnels and jumps. They take these skills to Game Day, and win points for themselves and their team. Kids have fun, earn achievements, and grow in surprising, significant ways. This is a fundraised, donation-based camp. Families can give whatever they can toward cost of $200 per athlete. Scholarships available.

    Info Day & Optional BBQ:
    Wednesday, June 26
    Noon to 3 pm *BBQ to follow
    Training Days:
    Thursday, June 27 & Friday, June 28
    9 am to 12 noon; 1 to 3 pm
    Game Day:
    Saturday, June 29
    10 am to 4 pm

    Agape Ranch Dog Sports 26417 N Lake Wohlford Rd, Valley Center, CA 92082

  • 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

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services Summer 2019 Calendar
  • Click here to view our new Summer 2019 calendar!!!

    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.

    Under the direction of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, activities and services are designed to maintain or improve the physical, cognitive and social functioning of those who have limitations. The target population is children and adults, ages 3 and up, with any type of disability.

    For additional questions about Therapeutic Recreation Services, please call 619-525-8247.

    You may sign up online at or at our office 3325 Zoo Drive, 92101.

  • Learn About RDI in San Diego!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    9466 Black Mountain Road
    Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    Phone: (858) 689-2027

  • Learn About RDI in Carlsbad!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    5411 Avenida Encinas
    Suite 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    Phone: (760) 448-5837

  • 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!

  • Participate in SPARK at UCSD

  • UC San Diego's Autism Center of Excellence is seeking individuals diagnosed with ASD and their biological family members to participate in SPARK, the largest national genetics research project in US history! The SPARK study aims to gain a better understanding of the causes and potential treatments of autism by building a cohort of 50,000 diagnosed individuals to facilitate research on an unprecedented scale. There is NO cost to participate in the study and it can even be completed without leaving the house!

    What we do
    SPARK researchers extract genetic data through a saliva sample and analyze information collected from thousands of people with autism and their biological parents. UCSD and over 20 of the nation's leading medical schools are part of this effort.

    How to join*
    1. Sign up online at -- registration typically takes about 20 minutes. Using this link connects you to our site, which enables us to better follow up with you if you encounter any issues or have specific questions.
    2. Complete a few questionnaires online.
    3. Provide a saliva sample. A saliva collection kit will be sent directly to your home after registration. When you are done, simply mail it back in the prepaid mailer.

    Benefits of joining
    1. Individuals with autism will receive gift cards valued at up to a total of $50 for participation.
    2. SPARK hosts monthly webinars, featuring psychologists, researchers, or speakers from the autism community, that provide useful information for families and individuals with autism.
    3. If a genetic finding is discovered related to the cause of autism, results will be shared back with families.
    4. The information you provide may help others with ASD for generations to come!

    *Our site also offers the option for home appointments where a member of our SPARK team can come to your home and assist you in the registration process, collect the saliva samples, and mail them in for you! This is typically the preferred method for families as everything gets completed at once. Please note that we ask that both biological parents and individual diagnosed with ASD be present for these appointments. We can accommodate a variety of dates and times outside normal business hours on the weekdays or weekends -- whichever is most convenient for you and your family! Alternatively, we can also schedule in-clinic appointments at our office if that is preferred.

    You can visit our SPARK FAQ page for additional details. Please contact us via email at or via phone at 858-534-6906 if you would like to set up an appointment or if you have any questions!


    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.