Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 19, 2018

In This Issue

Abridged autism assessment speeds access to therapy

Why police need training to interact with people on the spectrum

Growth spurt in head, skeleton mark autism in boys

Deep search reveals gene's link to autism, intellectual disability

Water Play For Older Kids: Summer Learning Activities That Are Actually Fun

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

No Wait for RDI!!!

FREE!!! Sensory Friendly Performance of Mr. Popper's Penguins

Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) Awarded California Arts Council "Arts Education: Extension" Grant

NFAR Mom's Group in Carmel Valley

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

TACA - Central San Diego Breakfast Club

Now Enrolling: July-August Teen Social Clubs!

Now Enrolling: July-August South County Social Clubs!

TACA - Customized Approach to Fitness and Supplementation for Autism

Facebook Live Webinar: FREE

Now Enrolling: July-August North County Social Clubs!

Now Enrolling: July-August Central San Diego Social Clubs!

Pizza with my Pops!

Disaster Preparedness Workshop for Families with Disabilities- 06/26/2018



  • Abridged autism assessment speeds access to therapy
  • Families traveling along a path toward an autism diagnosis experience delay upon delay. Parents may question their first suspicions, primary care physicians generally don't diagnose the condition, wait times at specialty clinics are extensive, and the evaluation process itself is comprehensive and lengthy.

    Together, these factors create a lag time between a parent's initial concern and an ultimate diagnosis - several years is not unusual. Not surprisingly, families report high levels of dissatisfaction and worry during this time, and long delays are a large source of stress1. Read on...

  • Why police need training to interact with people on the spectrum
  • Encounters between law enforcement and people with autism often go wrong, but some police departments are beginning to train their officers.

    Johanna Verburg admits she wasn't on her "best behavior" the day she was arrested. It was a chilly morning in March in Sheffield, Alabama, near where Verburg lives. She was waiting for her 11-year-old daughter to finish a therapy session when she got into an argument with another woman in the waiting area of the therapist's office. As the argument escalated, the office manager called the police.

    Verburg, 41, had been diagnosed with autism a month earlier. As a nurse practitioner, she was familiar with the condition, and recognized that she has some autism traits. When she's nervous, for example, she stretches her fingers, cracks her jaw and plays with her rings - a form of 'stimming,' or self-stimulation, that keeps her calm. And when she's around authority figures, such as the police, she says, she starts "shutting down" and has trouble communicating. Read on...

  • Growth spurt in head, skeleton mark autism in boys
  • Boys with autism have smaller heads, are shorter and weigh less at birth than their typical peers do - but all that changes by age 3, a new study suggests1.

    The new work is among the first to link autism to rapid skeletal growth.

    "Mapping physical growth as well as growth in head circumference is really important because it implicates a lot of other mechanisms that might be involved, not just the brain," says Cheryl Dissanayake, professor of developmental psychology at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, who co-led the work. Read on...

  • Deep search reveals gene's link to autism, intellectual disability
  • Harmful mutations in a gene called NAA15 may lead to autism, intellectual disability and delayed speech and motor function1.

    NAA15, a gene that modifies other cellular proteins, has known ties to developmental delay. And a few sequencing studies identified harmful mutations in the gene in people with autism2.

    In the new study, researchers sought to characterize the effects of mutations in NAA15. They identified and characterized 38 people who carry an NAA15 mutation. Read on...

  • Water Play For Older Kids: Summer Learning Activities That Are Actually Fun
  • My youngest has never met a pool or hose that he didn't like.

    He's the first one in, the last one out and usually begging for more.

    Although we don't have a pool, we do have a ton of fun each summer with the hose, sprinklers, and other water works.

    Part of my plan for this year's summer learning includes this natural love of all things water. I want him to have fun this summer - not feel like he is in a never ending loop of reading practice and attempts to avoid an academic "summer slide." Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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!

    I'm looking for an ophthalmologist who has experience with young adults with autism.

    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.

  • No Wait for RDI!!!
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®)
    Our primary approach for treatment of autism spectrum is a developmental program called Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®). RDI® is a unique treatment approach that empowers parents to guide their child to succeed in our dynamic world. Children who learn to actively engage with the support of their parents in safe but challenging learning opportunities develop a strong motivation to explore and expand their world, as well as develop competence and trust in themselves and their guides. Click here for all the info!!!

    The Family Guidance and Therapy Center
    Two Offices to Serve You
    3555 Kenyon Street, Suite 101
    San Diego, CA 92110
    10731 Treena Street, #105
    San Diego, CA 92131
    619-600-0683 ext. 1

  • FREE!!! Sensory Friendly Performance of Mr. Popper's Penguins
  • FREE!!! San Diego Junior Theatre will be having a free sensory friendly performance of "Mr. Popper's Penguins" at 11am on Sat, July 7th. The performance will be held at the Casa del Prado Theatre in Balboa Park.

    RSVP isrequired. Call (619) 239-8355 to reserve your spot!

  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) Awarded California Arts Council "Arts Education: Extension" Grant
  • State funds support 'Performing Arts for Autism' arts education programming.

    Encinitas, CA - The California Arts Council announced its plans to award $8,500 to Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) as part of its Arts Education: Extension program.

    As a segment of the California Arts Council Arts Education grant opportunities, Extension grants support arts education programs for PreK-12 students that operate after school and during the summer, on school sites, in artistic venues, and in community settings. The intention of the program is to offer young people sequential, hands-on training in artistic disciplines, including dance, literary arts, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.

    'Performing Arts for Autism' empowers people with autism through theatre, dance, and group singing workshops that teach social/communication skills. PACT also provides meaningful employment and vocational training to teens and young adults with autism. As a part its teacher trainee program PACT is providing free workshops to local children of all abilities.

    "We are thrilled to be chosen for this grant. As a small non-profit, this grant make a great difference in our ability to use the performing arts to empower people with autism to reach their personal and professional goals", says Kathryn Campion, PACT co-founder.

    PACT is one of 169 grantees chosen for the Arts Education: Extension program. The award was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council.

    "The Arts Education Extension program capitalizes on the potential to create arts learning opportunities for California's young people whenever and wherever possible," said Nashormeh Lindo, California Arts Council Chair. "Projects like 'Performing Arts for Autism' allow for the positive impacts of arts engagement to continue undeterred."

    To view a complete listing of all Arts Education Extension grantees, visit

    Since 2008 Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) has been serving the autism community in San Diego County through workshops and performances, and by providing a supportive community. PACT also promotes volunteerism through its peer mentorship program, and trains people with autism as actors and teachers.

    The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

    Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Larry Baza, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Juan Devis, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Donn K. Harris, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

    Contact Kathryn Campion at PACT for more information and to register for upcoming workshops. 760-815-8512,,

  • NFAR Mom's Group in Carmel Valley
  • Wednesday, June 20, 2018
    6:30 - 8:30 pm
    Tio Leo's Mexican Restaurant
    3510 Valley Centre Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92130

    Dinner: Mexican Food (GF available)
    Dinner is provided

    Join us for the NFAR Mom's Group! It's an evening for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet 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: Communication and Autism

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

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment
  • Experience a unique and effective approach to autism therapy.

    Our aim is to bring to families everywhere the most effective therapies for the treatment of autism. Our integrated care model is based on the scientific research and clinical practice of our founder, Dr. Suzanne Goh. We seek to set a new global standard for autism care by achieving superior developmental outcomes for the children and families we serve.

    At Cortica, we believe the world needs a higher standard of care for all those living with autism, or a potential diagnosis of autism. Families like yours deserve effective, collaborative, caring therapies that are accessible and reasonably priced, no matter who you are or where you live.

    The Cortica Care Model

    • Neurophysiology
    • Family and Home
    • Biochemistry
    • Cognition and Behavior
    • Sensorimotor
    • Communication
    Therapists with specialized expertise collaborate to understand and treat the whole child.

    Your customized program will focus on what your child's developing brain needs most to gain new abilities.

    The Cortica Care Model is based on a proven methodology that gives you confidence you're doing the right thing.

    Together, we clarify the complex, celebrate extraordinary efforts, and witness moments of brilliance as our children grow new skills and abilities. Many of our services are covered by medical insurance plans. Contact us for all the info!!!

    Cortica Care
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121

  • TACA - Central San Diego Breakfast Club
  • Thursday, June 21 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Denny's (10430 Friars Road, San Diego)
    10430 Friars Road, San Diego, California 92120

    Summers here! Join Co-Coordinator Nancy for tips and tricks on how make summer 2018 one of your best yet! She is here to support you and your loved one. Nancy Kirkman is a Co-Coordinator of TACA San Diego and has a passion for helping autism families. She is a mom of three. Two of whom are on the spectrum.

    Click here for the all the info!!!

  • Now Enrolling: July-August Teen Social Clubs!
  • Sign up: or call 858-428-0222
    SIGN UP DEADLINE IS JUNE 22, 2018!!!!

  • Now Enrolling: July-August South County Social Clubs!
  • Sign up: or call 858-428-0222
    SIGN UP DEADLINE IS JUNE 22, 2018!!!!

  • TACA - Customized Approach to Fitness and Supplementation for Autism
  • Tuesday, June 26 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    17010 Pomerado Road, San Diego, California 92128

    Part 1: Fitness is tough for anyone. When you add in autism along with things like motor planning challenges, impulse control and underlying medical issues it can seem almost impossible. John White founder of TrueFit and Waves4All will discuss the strategies he uses to make FITNESS POSSIBLE for those with autism and other special needs.

    Part 2: As autism and biomed parents we all have done our best to help our loved ones live their best life possible. This often involves using supplements. Some are amazing, some not so much and with others we just don't know if they are helping or not. This is where Sabre Sciences comes in. This is their motto "We know that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to your health....." Ashley and John will discuss the process they use to help create customized supplements as well as how to use formulated blends to help achieve optimal health based on someone's own unique needs.
    Learn more about Sabre Sciences here:

    Click here for all the info about this talk!!!

  • Facebook Live Webinar: FREE
  • Wednesday, June 20th, 4:30-5:00PM
    Adventures in Autism
    Special Guests: Crystal Sanford and Ethan Hirschberg

    Are you a parent of a child with Autism? New to an Autism diagnosis? Do you have unanswered questions? Join us live as we discuss some of your biggest Autism questions.

    This will be an interactive and lively discussion of Autism signs, strengths, challenges and strategies that work. Feel free to view and comment live or via the replay.

    Our guests are experts who live the Autism experience every day. Crystal Sanford is a Speech Pathologist, Autism consultant and Autism parent. Ethan Hirschberg is a popular blogger, entrepreneur and successful teen with Autism.

    Let's chat and learn together through this amazing show!

  • Now Enrolling: July-August North County Social Clubs!
  • Sign up: or call 858-428-0222
    SIGN UP DEADLINE IS JUNE 22, 2018!!!!

  • Now Enrolling: July-August Central San Diego Social Clubs!
  • Now Enrolling: July-August Central San Diego Social Clubs!
    Sign up: or call 858-428-0222
    SIGN UP DEADLINE IS JUNE 22, 2018!!!!

  • Pizza with my Pops!
  • Pizza with my Pops! - Saturday June 23rd!
    To RSVP or for more information call: 619.524.0916 or email

  • Disaster Preparedness Workshop for Families with Disabilities- 06/26/2018
  • Pizza with my Pops! - Saturday June 23rd!
    To RSVP or for more information call: 619.524.0916 or email

  • 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!!!


    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.