Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 30, 2020

In This Issue

How Race and Ethnicity Affect Diagnosis, Treatment and Support for Autistic Children and Adults

What Parents Can Learn From Child Care Centers That Stayed Open During Lockdowns

U.S. Pediatricians Call For In-Person School This Fall

Brain responses to social stimuli may vary by sex in autism

Can Socially Distanced Theatre Still Teach Social Skills?

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Transition Therapy

Summer Activities at Villa De Vida Inc.

Autism Experts Empowering Families and Children Together

Therapeutic Recreation Services Summer Calendar

2020 Summer Online Groups

Virtual Happy Hour on Zoom!

ATPF Lunch & Learn with Melissa Sargent

Software for Professionals Working in Special Education



  • How Race and Ethnicity Affect Diagnosis, Treatment and Support for Autistic Children and Adults
  • Recent events have magnified inequities in our society along racial and ethnic lines generally and particularly in areas such as education, as instruction has moved online and become more parent-dependent. As one example, a 2019 study found that one-third of black households lack home broadband service and fewer than half own a computer.

    This disparity inevitably affects autism diagnosis and treatment. Research in the last decade has found that black and Hispanic children are more likely than white children to experience undiagnosed autism, and to have their autism diagnosed later.

    The impact of going undiagnosed is self-evident, but even waiting for a diagnosis is significant, as earlier intervention with behavioral treatment is closely associated with better long-term outcomes. Read on...

  • What Parents Can Learn From Child Care Centers That Stayed Open During Lockdowns

  • When Arizona schools shut down in mid-March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Tatiana Laimit, a nurse in Phoenix, knew she needed a backup plan. Laimit is a single mother of a 6-year-old girl and had recently relocated to the area. She didn't have any friends or family nearby to ask for help.

    It was past 8 on a Friday night when she shot off an email to her local YMCA to ask if they were providing emergency care for the children of front-line workers. "And immediately [someone] responded and let me know, 'Yes.' "

    Throughout the pandemic, many child care centers have stayed open for the children of front-line workers - everyone from doctors to grocery store clerks. YMCA of the USA and New York City's Department of Education have been caring for, collectively, tens of thousands of children since March, and both tell NPR they have no reports of coronavirus clusters or outbreaks. As school districts sweat over reopening plans, and with just over half of parents telling pollsters they're comfortable with in-person school this fall, public health and policy experts say education leaders should be discussing and drawing on these real-world child care experiences. Read on...

  • U.S. Pediatricians Call For In-Person School This Fall
  • The nation's pediatricians have come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics' guidance "strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school."

    The guidance says "schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being."

    The AAP cites "mounting evidence" that transmission of the coronavirus by young children is uncommon, partly because they are less likely to contract it in the first place. Read on...

  • Brain responses to social stimuli may vary by sex in autism
  • Autistic girls may find social interaction more rewarding than autistic boys do, according to a new study focused on the brain's reward system1.

    "It may be a critical variable that can influence the way girls with autism present as opposed to boys," says lead investigator Mirella Dapretto, professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    Previous studies have found that the brain's reward system does not react strongly to social stimuli in people with autism in general, suggesting that they find social interaction less rewarding than typical people do. But much of that work has been done in boys: Across 13 studies, for example, 90 percent of the study participants were boys or men, according to a 2018 review. Read on...

  • Can Socially Distanced Theatre Still Teach Social Skills?
  • How 2 theatre training programs for adults and young people with intellectual disabilities have adapted their work during the pandemic lockdown.

    Jenna Pomykalski was excited about playing Wendy in the Special Gifts Theatre Group's production of Peter Pan. Theatre has been a part of her life since fifth grade, and after graduating from New Trier High School in Glenview, Ill., she joined Special Gifts in Chicago. Acting isn't just a hobby for Pomykalski: As someone with Down Syndrome, she has found that theatre has helped her gain confidence, resolve tricky social situations, and learn to cope with disappointment in a safe and supportive environment.

    According to "Drama and the Education of Young People With Special Needs," an influential 2011 academic paper by Andy Kempe, drama can be therapeutic in giving a person a "greater sense of competence in the activity being focused upon, resulting in heightened self-worth." Being actively engaged in this social and collaborative art form can give one a sense of belonging to a group, which is especially important to people who may feel excluded from mainstream society. The social aspect of theatre can help build skills that individual activities such as crafts or art therapy may not be able to provide. 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

  • Summer Activities at Villa De Vida Inc.
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the upcoming fun events that START THIS WEEK!!!

  • 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

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services Summer Calendar
  • The Summer 2020 Calendar can be viewed at the following link:

    Registration for virtual programming is now open.

    Therapeutic Recreation Services
    (619) 525-8247

  • 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

  • Virtual Happy Hour on Zoom!
  • Monday, July 6, 2020 at 6:30 PM - 8 PM
    We invite you to kick back and join us for a virtual happy hour meetup on Zoom! Join other parents and family members of children with autism for support and understanding over the beverage of your choice! We look forward to seeing you there! Click here for all the info!!!

  • ATPF Lunch & Learn with Melissa Sargent
  • Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 12 PM - 12:45 PM
    Join ATPF Volunteer Executive Director Dayna Hoff in an Interview and Q&A with Melissa Sargent, Founder & President of Heart and Hooves Therapy and ATPF Community Partner. Melissa will be sharing how animal therapy strategies can help kids and parents to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Software for Professionals Working in Special Education
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    Are you still taking data by hand? Try SPERRO : A goal / data tracking software for the special education industry.

    Are you a school, NPA, NPS, therapist or professional supporting students with special needs? Taking data and running reports can be very time-consuming, but SPERRO made it easy! With SPERRO you can manage your team to take a wide variety of data points (IEP, therapy or academic, goals), graph them, show mastery, run reports for students, upload work samples, and have access to a resource database to streamline your business.

    Learn more and set up a demo at

  • 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.