Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 12, 2018

In This Issue

Girls with autism at high risk of sexual abuse, large study says

Ways Autism Focused Couple Therapy Can Change Your Life

The evolution of 'autism' as a diagnosis, explained

The DSM-5 has not improved services for autistic adults

Baby Teeth Give Clues to Autism's Origins

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!

Family Support Network: P2P IEP Workshop

Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) Performing Arts/Social Skills Workshops

NFAR Men's Group - Jun 14

Therapeutic Approach to Growth

My Special Needs Connection June Newsletter

Inclusion Works!

Support Music Therapy for Special Needs

Join Us for NFAR's Charity Golf Tournament!

Sensory Friendly Night at PLAYWERX

Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech

Great News: Self Determination Program Approved for Federal Funding

Autism Speaks launches $1.5 million funding opportunity for treatment studies

Postnatal ASD Risk Factors Study



  • Girls with autism at high risk of sexual abuse, large study says
  • Many women with traits of autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report having been sexually abused as a child, according to a study of 4,500 people1.

    It's unclear why girls with these conditions are at heightened risk of sexual abuse. It may be because girls on the spectrum have trouble understanding social norms or recognizing dangerous situations. Alternatively, they may engage in risky behaviors, such as substance use, that make them vulnerable to predators.

    The findings suggest the risk is not specific to autism or ADHD, but rather a more general trend for anyone who has traits of certain conditions. Read on...

  • Ways Autism Focused Couple Therapy Can Change Your Life
  • As a practicing clinician specializing in adult diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), I have noticed that as the diagnosis of children impacted on the spectrum has dramatically increased (current statistic from the Centers for Disease Control is 1:55), the first time diagnostic rates for adults on the spectrum also continue to skyrocket, making the demand for effective couple therapy a clear necessity.

    ASD (in one or both partners), is a core challenge in marriage and needs to be both acknowledged and appropriately addressed. Adult Autism Spectrum Focused Couple Therapy Model is a flexible approach that combines therapeutic interventions proved effective for both individual adult Autism Spectrum therapy and general marital therapy. Read on...

  • The evolution of 'autism' as a diagnosis, explained
  • You can draw a straight line from the initial descriptions of many conditions - claustrophobia, for example, or vertigo - to their diagnostic criteria. Not so with autism. Its history has taken a less direct path with several detours, according to Jeffrey Baker, professor of pediatrics and history at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

    Autism was originally described as a form of childhood schizophrenia and the result of cold parenting, then as a set of related developmental disorders, and finally as a spectrum condition with wide-ranging degrees of impairment. Along with these shifting views, its diagnostic criteria have changed as well.

    Here is how the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM), the diagnostic manual used in the United States, has reflected our evolving understanding of autism. Read on...

  • The DSM-5 has not improved services for autistic adults
  • In early 2013, the then-emerging edition of the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM-5), proposed merging all autism diagnoses into a single category of 'autism spectrum disorder.'

    The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the largest national organization run by and for autistic adults, strongly supported this move. In the view of the organization, where I now serve as executive director, the prior distinctions made no sense, did not reflect the experiences of autistic people and divided the efforts of advocates.

    Critics of the unified definition feared that some people diagnosed with Asperger syndrome or pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) might not qualify for an autism diagnosis under the new criteria, and would be denied crucial assistance. Read on...

  • Baby Teeth Give Clues to Autism's Origins
  • A close examination of baby teeth is giving new insight into the roots of autism -- and ways to spot it early.

    The research suggests that the way infants metabolize two nutrients -- zinc and copper -- may predict who will develop the condition.

    "We have identified cycles in nutrient metabolism that are apparently critical to healthy neurodevelopment, and are dysregulated in autism spectrum disorder," said one of the study's lead authors, Paul Curtin. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • High functioning autistic adult male looking for a roommate in the North County Inland area. The individual does not need to be on the autism spectrum and if they are should be fairly high functioning, be able to do basic care for themselves, and have no behavioral issues. Open to both male and female roommates. Please contact

    I'm looking for someone who knows about phonics and reading programs to help my autistic 11-year-old son learn how to read.
    Please contact me at

    Anyone interested in a social group for teen boys and girls in 92129 area?
    My 17 year old daughter is probably on the spectrum and her main difficulty is social skills and making friends. Please e mail if interested in getting some of these teens together for fun,outings and lasting friendships. Thanks Kim

    Hello, our son, a 5th grader, is on the autism spectrum and has ADHD. He is very smart. His problems are mainly behavioral. He has had a hard time following directions and doing schoolwork and has been suspended several times. He has been in gen ed, but lately has spent his mornings in special ed due to some episodes. Today the school announced they want to send him to another middle school than the one he was supposed to go to with a BASE program, where he would be 100% of the time in that program instead of gen ed. Has anyone experienced the BASE program? We are very worried as we have very little time to make a decision on this, and it came as quite a shock to us. We don't understand why they won't let him just try the home middle school and see how it goes there. We already had the transition meeting with them. Should I consult with an advocate or would you know of somewhere I can get honest advice/opinion? Thank you!

    Hi! I was wondering if anyone here knows a BI or BCBA who lives or is willing to provide in home therapy in Tijuana? Currently we drive everyday to the ACES clinic in Chula Vista, but ideally I would like a BI coming to our house. If you know of anyone please share my email: TIA!

    We are the parents of a 10 year-old boy with autism. He really loves music and we want to use this interest to help him develop a hobby/skill (playing an instrument) that could add some joy to his life. We're looking for a recommendation on a drum, piano,and/ or guitar instructor who works with kids with special needs and/or has experience with working with individuals with autism. It's our hope to find someone upbeat and fun so lessons feel more like spending time with a fun, new friend rather than a 'therapy' session (he already has enough of those). We're open to individual and group lessons. Any recommendations are appreciated! Thank you!

    My autistic daughter (20) started to show OCD symptoms and behaviors at 17. It has gotten more intense and disruptive over time. The psychiatrist has prescribed a couple of different medications for her but none of them worked. Does anyone have recommendations for effective treatment?

    I am looking to connect with a parent of a young adult with autism and behavior issues. I have twin 20 year old girls with a mod/severe intellectual disability and autism. Both girls have behavior issues. One daughter's behaviors are worse than the other daughter's. The daughter with the more severe behavior difficulties has self injurious behaviors (bangs her head on the carpet, hits herself in the face and picks her fingers and they bleed) and aggressive behaviors ( pulls mother and sisters hair, throws objects and tears books.) In addition, she has broken two large screen T V's, lamps and numerous pictures. She also screams. Except for picking her fingers, she only exhibits these behaviors at home. She does not exhibit these behaviors at school or in the Saturday TERI respite program. I would like to connect with another parent with a child with similar behaviors to exchange ideas on what has helped reduce these behaviors. My e-mail is Thank-you

    Hi I'm in Carlsbad, I have a 14 yr old daughter who needs blood drawn for critical tests but has a major phobia re: needles. Her wonderful/understanding special Needs physician retired. Took her to 3 Dr.'s (including children's hospital SD) who pretty much told her to "suck it up" and were very punishing/not understanding. I need physician and/or lab that understands. Last time we took her to get blood drawn was five years ago it took 4 nurses to hold her down and one was kicked in the head. She was little then, now she's over 5'9". Please help! Thank you!

    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.

  • Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!
  • Real Connections Child Development Institute
    Supporting and partnering with families of children on the autism spectrum through understanding, engagement and relationships.

    Developmental Play Therapy - 1:1 developmental therapy in your child's natural environment. Evidenced- based, emotional, cognitive and neurobiological therapy that assists your child in developing meaningful relationships.

    Parent Coaching & Support - Real-time training and education in your child's individual profile. Learn new ways to engage and connect, while focusing on communicative and cognitive/ social emotional development. Maximize your child's developmental growth through both daily interactions and parent-child intervention sessions.

    A "Whole Child" Program

    • Flexible Thinking
    • Problem Solving
    • Scripting
    • Perserveration
    • Meltdowns
    • Executive Function Skills
    • Regulation
    • Sensory Integration
    • Spatial Processing
    • Individualized Program
    Real Connections San Diego
    415 North Highway 101, Suite C
    Solana Beach, CA 92075
    619-840-0015 or 858-768-0313

  • Family Support Network: P2P IEP Workshop
  • Please join us for an interactive discussion about preparing for and effectively participating in developing your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP). Speaker, Moria Allbritton, parent and advocate, will share key strategies and parent-friendly tips on how best to communicate your child's needs, strengths and goals. Refer to details below.

    Thursday, June 14, 2018
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Family Support Network: P2P IEP Workshop

    State Council on Developmental Disabilities
    8880 Rio San Diego Drive, Suite 215, 92108

    RSVP Required:

  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) Performing Arts/Social Skills Workshops
  • In Tom's mother, Suzanne's own words:

    "Our son, Tom absolutely loves PACT's performance art class. He has completely reversed his previous aversion to music and now enjoys listening to it, even singing and humming around the house. We are so grateful to PACT for this opportunity. It's unlocked a potential we didn't know he had. Tom looks forward to this class all week. When he is at home he is virtually always still, usually reading. At the class he is constantly moving, with great enthusiasm. It's so important for him to find enjoyment in exercise, and to be this physically active. He also greatly enjoys being with the other teens, as he is home schooled and really needed some friends."

    Photo: Tom (center) joins Jacob and Jovyn in a PACT improv activity.

    For more information and to register for PACT's summer 8-week workshop cycles (starts July 7) please contact Kathryn Campion, 760-815-8512,

  • NFAR Men's Group - Jun 14
  • Thursday, June 14, 2018

    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.

    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    **NEW** Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad.
    Dinner is provided

    June Topic: Communication and Autism
    Speaker: Guest Speaker: Karyn Lewis Searcy, M.A., CCC-SLP - Director, TERI Crimson Center for Speech & Language Pathology

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • 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

  • My Special Needs Connection June Newsletter
  • In this month's newsletter we feature our resource of the month, the new and improved Parents' Corner, and upcoming events in your community!

  • Inclusion Works!
  • Inclusion Works! Creating Child Care Programs That Promote Belonging for Children with Special Needs: The purpose of this handbook is to help child care providers learn strategies that promote inclusion of and a sense of belonging for all children. Click here to see the booklet!

  • Support Music Therapy for Special Needs
  • June 24th Youth Helping Youth Concert

    Join our Jam Session rock stars from Banding Together for two upcoming Youth Helping Youth coffeehouse concerts. Sit back, sip a cup of coffee and nosh on tasty treats while enjoying music by our favorite local musicians.

    Your purchase of raffle tickets will music therapy programs for individuals with special needs an who knows you might even be the lucky winner of one of several raffle prizes! You could even be entered into a drawing to win 2 JetBlue airline tickets valued at $900!

    Sunday, June 24th 2-4pm
    Location: Brew Coffee Spot, 6101 Lake Murray Blvd., La Mesa, 91942
    Featuring: Chula Vista and El Cajon Jam Session Rock Stars and other acts TBA
    No RSVP needed! Just show up and enjoy!

  • Join Us for NFAR's Charity Golf Tournament!
  • Special Pricing Now through August 8th!

    NFAR's Charity Golf for Autism will be held at the Morgan Run Golf & Resort in Rancho Santa Fe on Monday, Oct 8, 2018. Check-in will begin at 10:30 am with a 12:00 pm shotgun start.

    Join us on this scenic and memorable course for brews, and lots of ways to test your golf skills and win! Plus, your participation directly helps individuals with autism in San Diego.

    Golfers - don't miss out! Special foursome pricing is $495 through August 8th. Registration includes a box lunch, dinner and lots of fun contests.

    REGISTER Today

  • Sensory Friendly Night at PLAYWERX
  • Sensory Friendly Night at PLAYWERX
    Thursday, June 14th, 2018
    5:00-7:00 PM
    Every Second Thursday of the Month
    6060 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, CA

    Join us for Sensory Friendly Family Night at Playwerx with Autism Society San Diego! This event is open to families and participants of ALL AGES. Play in the climbing structure, enjoy meeting other families, and enjoy an evening of judgement-free relaxing family fun. $8 per participant covers entrance to the event. Food is available for purchase separately. We hope you can join us!

    Autism Society San Diego County

  • Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech
  • Are you looking for that next step after college or high school? Interested in the high tech industry? Then NFAR's technical training program might be a good career move for you!

    NFAR Tech will be starting a new class in August.

    NFAR Tech is a comprehensive hands-on training programs that teaches technical and employment skills needed for today's workplace. It prepares young adults for entry level jobs as a software tester.

    If you are interested in learning more, visit our website, and/ or contact us at 858-679-8800 if you have any questions.

  • Great News: Self Determination Program Approved for Federal Funding
  • The Department is very pleased to announce that the application for federal funding, or Waiver, for the Self-Determination Program was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This news represents an essential step toward providing people who receive regional center services and their families an alternative way to coordinate their services, with more freedom and control over how the services are provided and the individuals who support them. We would like to express sincere appreciation for the assistance and guidance from the Department's self-determination advisory workgroup and other stakeholders, which has been instrumental in gaining CMS' approval of the Waiver. We also thank and recognize the work and technical assistance received from many representatives of CMS and California's Department of Health Care Services.

    In October 2013, Governor Edmund G. Brown signed Senate Bill 468, authored by Senators Bill Emmerson and Jim Beall and co-authored by Assembly Members Holly Mitchell and Wesley Chesbro, into law. This law, championed by remarkable and determined self-advocates, family members and advocacy organizations, established a statewide Self-Determination Program that adheres to the following principles to ensure those who participate have:

    While approval of the Waiver represents the key step towards implementation of the Self-Determination Program, the Department and the self-determination advisory workgroup must continue to focus on finalizing program components for implementation. Providing information and support, in particular training and orientation materials, needed to assist those who are selected and choose to participate is central to implementation and is in the final stages of completion. We remain committed to implementing this important program and look forward to the continued collaboration, not only with the Department's advisory workgroup, but also the local volunteer advisory committees and the Statewide Self-Determination Advisory Committee. The Department will publish a timeline with key dates for implementation by June 18, 2018. Updates will be posted on the Department's dedicated website page for Self-Determination at: If you would like to be notified of future updates about Self-Determination, please send an email to Information for those who are interested on how they can be considered for participation in the Self-Determination Program can be found at

    Please join me in celebrating the approval of the Self-Determination Program Waiver and thanking the Department's self-determination advisory workgroup for their dedication and countless hours of work to make it happen.

    NANCY BARGMANN, Director, Department of Developmental Services

  • Autism Speaks launches $1.5 million funding opportunity for treatment studies
  • Researchers are invited to apply for funding to evaluate new interventions and support services for disabling autism symptoms and associated health conditions

    Autism Speaks is pleased to announce $1.5 million in funding for two clinical trials evaluating new medical and behavioral therapies, with an emphasis on addressing the physical and mental health conditions that frequently accompany autism.

    "Our goal is to identify near-term solutions for autism-related behaviors that reduce quality of life and to develop improved treatments for the medical conditions that affect many people on the spectrum," says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Thomas Frazier.

    Children and adults affected by autism have strikingly high rates of many medical and mental health conditions including epilepsy, gastrointestinal disorders, disrupted sleep and anxiety, as well as behaviors and communication challenges that can interfere with safety, learning and daily function. Read on...

  • Postnatal ASD Risk Factors Study
  • business_finance_research.jpg

    Acetaminophen, antibiotics, ear infection, breastfeeding, vitamin D drops, and autism: an epidemiological study

    Click here to review study!

  • ASD Mornings at theNAT
  • 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

  • San Diego Sibshop

  • October 2017 - August 2018

    WANTED: Siblings who have a brother/sister with special needs

    AGES: 7 - 12 years old
    Older siblings are welcome to attend as "Junior Leaders"

    WHAT: A fun-filled opportunity geared to the specific needs of siblings with brothers/sisters with special needs. Join us for games, crafts, hikes, cooking, and art. Meet other sibs - lunch provided

    TIME: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

    August 19: Santee Lakes, 9310 Fanita Pkwy, Santee, CA 92071**

    DONATION: $5.00 - $10.00 per meeting per family for craft materials, supplies and lunch for the kids

    REGISTRATION: Pre-registration requested by email (if possible) the Thursday before the event.

    CONTACT: Email for a Sibshop registration form and / or additional information.

    Sibshop Leaders:
    Jody BonDurant-Strong, Administrator
    Ndoto BonDurant-Strong - adult sibling & CSUSM student
    Gina Clifton, ECSE Medically-Fragile Teacher, Special Education
    Pat Moulton, Retired

  • Summer Camps 2018

  • Looking for summer activities that will keep your child with autism engaged and learning new skills, all while still having fun?

    San Diego is home to many summer camps, sports activities, art classes and other programs for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In an effort to make this process easier for parents, NFAR's guide lists many of the camp options available in our community.

    Click here to view the list!!!

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services Summer 2018 Calendar

  • Click here to view the calendar!!!
    Registration for Summer activities happening now!!!


    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.