Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 16, 2020

In This Issue

Therapy dogs help some kids with autism more than others

Making it all the way through: From Fs and hardships to a high school diploma

Thousands sick from COVID-19 in homes for the disabled

Decade of data dents idea of a 'female protective effect'

Senate Proposal Seeks Protections For Family Caregivers

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Transition Therapy

Villa de Vida Social Club Walk

Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together

Social Skills-Based Summer Camp 2020 for Youth with ASD and Their Siblings

2020 Summer Online Groups

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

We're Seeing Patients Again!

NFAR Online Parents Meeting

Virtual Coffee Talk on Zoom!

Villa de Vida Movie Event

Villa de Vida Arts and Crafts

Villa de Vida Yoga!

Friendship Walk SD is going Virtual!



  • Therapy dogs help some kids with autism more than others
  • Therapy dogs may help some children with autism improve their social skills, but this approach doesn't work in all cases, a new study finds.

    Many people with autism have difficulty socializing with others, and previous research has suggested that therapy dogs can help children with autism feel more comfortable speaking with others and socializing.

    In this study, University of Missouri researchers compared the willingness of children with autism to speak to a therapist when in the presence of a therapy dog, when they were able to earn time to play with the dog, or when they were able to earn time playing with a favorite toy. Read on...

  • Making it all the way through: From Fs and hardships to a high school diploma
  • Ashley Rothamel started out her senior year of high school five credits behind the track to graduate this spring. Despite enrolling in credit recovery courses, she was told just before winter break that she likely wouldn't finish on time, because she had fallen too far behind and had poor grades.

    The 18-year-old Eisenhower High School student has faced the challenges of ADHD and autism. She also had been in and out of school as her mom battled severe cases of pneumonia and stage-three breast cancer throughout the duration of her high school career.

    But Rothamel said she models her life after her own mom's resilience. In the final stretch of her senior year, she not only caught up on credits but turned her grades around. Read on...

  • Thousands sick from COVID-19 in homes for the disabled
  • Neil Sullivan was angry, frustrated and crushed with guilt. His brother Joe had been rushed by ambulance from his home for the developmentally disabled to the emergency room with a possible case of the coronavirus.

    Neil had known the people at the Elisabeth Ludeman Developmental Center near Chicago were at risk. Regulators had flagged the facility over the years for violations such as neglect of residents and not keeping restrooms stocked with soap and paper towels. And now, in the middle of a pandemic, a staffer told Neil they were still short of life-saving equipment like surgical masks, gowns, hand sanitizers and even wipes. Read on...

  • Decade of data dents idea of a 'female protective effect'
  • Brothers and sisters of people with autism are both about two to three times more likely than the general population to have an autistic child themselves, according to a new study1.

    The finding challenges a popular theory that girls are inherently more resistant to factors that predispose someone to autism, says co-lead researcher John Constantino, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis.

    The theory, called the female protective effect, offers an explanation for why autism occurs in about four times as many boys as girls. In support of the theory, studies have shown that girls need to have more genetic mutations linked to autism than boys to show signs of the condition. Read on...

  • Senate Proposal Seeks Protections For Family Caregivers
  • Employers would be barred from discriminating against workers who care for family members with developmental disabilities or other special needs under a new federal bill.

    Legislation introduced this month in the U.S. Senate would prohibit employers from refusing to hire an applicant or taking "adverse action" against an employee - including firing, demoting or mistreating them - because of their caregiving responsibilities.

    The measure would also make it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against workers who want the protections enforced and it would create a grant program to support efforts to prevent discrimination against family caregivers. 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.

  • Transition Therapy
  • We Now Offer Telepractice Services!

    We Help People Who Have Social Challenges Navigate Life Through Engagement, Education, and Real World Experience.

    Our Social Learning sessions provide dynamic learning experiences and awareness building for young adults transitioning into self-sustainable and independent lifestyles.

    Transition Therapy
    P.O. Box 210606
    Chula Vista, CA 91921
    (619) 354-8806

  • Villa de Vida Social Club Walk
  • Saturday at 5:30 PM - 7 PM
    Old Poway Train Park
    14134 Midland Rd, Poway, CA 92064, Poway, California 92064

    For adults with special needs! Social Club Members! Join us for a social walk and RSVP by June 18th, only 12 spots available!

  • 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

  • Social Skills-Based Summer Camp 2020 for Youth with ASD and Their Siblings
  • For Children Ages 6-12
    Our social skills based camps led by our team of adult experts will support your child in learning skills appropiate to their age in a fun and supportive enviorment that blends sports, recreation games and play!

    (858) 634-8300

  • 2020 Summer Online Groups
  • Our social learning groups are interactive, educational and fun! All summer groups will meet via Zoom. The last 15 minutes of every group are for parent talk time. This is when we teach you the concepts and strategies worked on during the group.

    Not sure which program is best for your child? Reach out to us at 858-558-9552 or email Janet Dudley at

    Click here to view the entire flyer for all the info!!!!

    Social Communication Specialists
    5703 Oberlin Dr., Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121
    (858) 558-9552

  • 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!!!

  • We're Seeing Patients Again!
  • Hello to our Patients and Families

    We hope this email finds you healthy and thriving during this uniquely extraordinary time.

    We are excited to announce that we are seeing patients again in the office! We are so very happy to see all your faces and are taking all the state and county health guidelines very seriously here at Microcurrent 4 Kids. Click here for all the info on the reopening guidelines!!!

    MicroCurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Road, Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123
    858 367-9108

  • NFAR Online Parents Meeting
  • All parents are welcome to attend!

    NFAR PARENT'S GROUP - Zoom Virtual Meeting Wednesday, June 24, 2020 from 6:30pm - 8:00pm

    GUEST SPEAKERS: Jenna Sleichter M.A., BCBA and Sophia Felix, BS Child Development

    TOPIC: Innovative ways to independence: using Fitbits, activity schedules, and more to increase conversation, participation, and social skills

    * Please RSVP by no later than 4pm on June 24 using this link to Eventbrite (please select the June 24th date) for ZOOM session access. >>> <<<

    * On June 24th, we will send those that have RSVP'd an email with a link to join the meeting on ZOOM. (Email sent by 10am for early RSVPs and another by 5pm.)

    Any questions? Please feel free to call us at 858-679-8800

  • Virtual Coffee Talk on Zoom!
  • Wednesday, June 17th at 9 AM - 11 AM
    Click here for all the info on how to attend!!!

  • Villa de Vida Movie Event
  • Thursday, June 18th at 2 PM - 4 PM
    Online Event
    To RSVP please email
    Click here to see all their upcoming social events for adults with special needs!!!

  • 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!!!

  • 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.