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

In This Issue

Temple Grandin, Elon Musk And The Interesting Parallels Between Autonomous Vehicles And Autism

National Autism Indicators Report: The Connection Between Autism and Financial Hardship

New noninvasive approach maps seizure-generating brain areas

Trump Administration Releases Aid For Disability Service Providers

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Villa de Vida Arts and Crafts

Villa de Vida Yoga!

Friendship Walk SD is going Virtual!

IEP Parent Bootcamp Part 1

Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together

FREE! Seminar: Special Education & Distance Learning: What comes next?

Save Disability Services - Last Week!!!

Coming to Southern California This Summer!

Update Regarding Camp I CAN!!

ATPF Special Education Advocacy Workshop



  • Temple Grandin, Elon Musk And The Interesting Parallels Between Autonomous Vehicles And Autism
  • Autism is defined by the Google GOOGL dictionary as "a developmental disorder of variable severity that is characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behavior." As a computer scientist, this definition is a bit jarring because it is a pretty good description of an Artificial Intelligence computer. However, in the case of AI computers, one is describing the apex of computing and not a developmental disorder. It appears that Elon Musk can feel safe about AI taking over humanity for some period of time.

    For the last decade, autonomous vehicles have been attempting to become operational with great fanfare with companies such as Waymo(Google) and Musk's Tesla TSLA rolling out solutions. Interestingly, in a similar period of time, an increasing number of people with autism have wanted to join the driving public, and this has prompted research studies on their effectiveness in the driving task. This is reported in an excellent and fascinating New York Times NYT article "The Challenge of Driving With Asperger's." Several comments in the article are directly on-point relative to autonomous vehicles: Read on...

  • National Autism Indicators Report: The Connection Between Autism and Financial Hardship
  • An autism diagnosis can present a number of challenges for families from learning about the neurodevelopment disorder and accessing support services and resources to financial struggles. A new report from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University highlighted the financial challenges facing households of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States. According to the report, households of children with ASD experience higher levels of poverty, material hardship and medical expenses than households of children with other special health care needs.

    The report also found that over half of children with autism live in low-income households (household income below 200% of the federal poverty level, or FPL, with an income of $48,500 four a family of four) and 30% live in very low-income households (household income below 100% of the FPL, $24,250 for a family of four). Read on...

  • New noninvasive approach maps seizure-generating brain areas
  • A new noninvasive method can effectively map the source and scale of seizure activity in people with epilepsy, according to a recent study1. The tool could lower the number of surgeries needed to treat epilepsy and may also reveal brain network differences in conditions such as autism.

    Epilepsy is a neurological condition caused by too much electrical activity in the brain, which leads to seizures. Untreated, seizures can have "profound negative consequences," says Shafali Spurling Jeste, associate professor of psychiatry, neurology and pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Those consequences include cognitive damage, physical risk and, in rare cases, death. Studies estimate that anywhere from 2 to 50 percent of autistic people have seizures. Read on...

  • Trump Administration Releases Aid For Disability Service Providers
  • Amid questions about delays, the Trump administration is sending billions of dollars in aid to disability providers and others funded by Medicaid who have been hard hit by the pandemic.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said this week that some $15 billion will go toward providers serving individuals covered by Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, including home- and community-based services providers.

    The money is part of the $175 billion Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund that federal lawmakers created in a pair of coronavirus relief bills earlier this year to help health care providers. 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 ยท 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: $20
    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

  • 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.

  • 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! Seminar: Special Education & Distance Learning: What comes next?
  • Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 6 PM - 7 PM
    GiGi's Playhouse San Diego, Down Syndrome Achievement Center
    4761 Cass St., San Diego, California 92109

    GiGi's Playhouse San Diego Down Syndrome Achievement Center invites you to a Go To Meeting question & answer with a special education attorney & advocates. We will discuss the current state of school closures, what school may look like in the fall, and what you can do to prepare for what comes next! The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every part of our lives and we are being told that our new normal will look quite a bit different. Let's find ways to bring out the best and figure out "what's next" for our amazing children with Down Syndrome and their education! Register here!!!

  • Save Disability Services - Last Week!!!
  • Time is running out - NOW is the time to protect our services from cuts at The budget deadline is THIS WEEK! Take one minute to tell elected officials that #WeAreEssential.

  • 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

  • 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.