Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. July 12, 2019

In This Issue

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Momentum Growing To End Subminimum Wage

Researchers devise a more 'child-friendly' test for autism

First brain organoids get set to travel into space

What's So Funny About Autism?

A Military Dad Asks: What Child Do You See?

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth


NFAR Mom's Group

PACT Summer/Fall Teen Groups

Friendship Circle San Diego

AAC Typers Meet Up with ATPF Mom Shelly Lana

FREE Webinar: All About Auditory Processing Disorders (APD

Book: The Journey Through Autism

More Than Words

Toilet Training for Toddlers with Autism

Costume & Dance Party in Poway!

Summer Camp Jam

Bike 4 Friendship Send-Off Event, Sunday, July 14th

The Beginners' Guild to Special Needs Planning in Chula Vista


Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

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  • Momentum Growing To End Subminimum Wage
  • With federal lawmakers slow to act, cities and states are increasingly moving to bar employers from paying workers with disabilities less than minimum wage.

    In the last few years, a handful of states and cities have banned or restricted the practice, and advocates say momentum is growing across the country. At least five states have pending legislation that would abolish the so-called subminimum wage, according to the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services or NASDDDS.

    "I have seen the issue raised more than once to eliminate subminimum wage, but it's never gotten to this level of action," said Rie Kennedy-Lizotte, director of employment policy for NASDDDS. Read on...

  • Researchers devise a more 'child-friendly' test for autism
  • "The current approaches to determining if someone has autism are not really child-friendly," notes Mehrshad Sadria, who is currently pursuing a master's degree at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

    Sadria and colleagues have been busy looking for an alternative means of diagnosing autism - which specialists refer to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - early on in life.

    An early diagnosis, the researchers explain, could help individuals identify methods of coping with symptoms that could affect their well-being from a young age, and this could ensure a better quality of life going forward. Read on...

  • First brain organoids get set to travel into space
  • A cache of about 100 brain organoids grown from human cells is expected to launch into orbit in late July. The organoids will be housed for about one month inside a remote-controlled microlaboratory on the International Space Station.

    These organoids are made from the stem cells of three neurotypical adults. But on future missions, scientists plan to launch ones with mutations tied to autism, says co-lead researcher Alysson Muotri, professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

    "The idea that we could take advantage of microgravity to improve the [autism] models or even contribute to space exploration didn't cross my mind," Muotri says. "To me, this was all very science fiction, so I'm really excited to be part of that." Read on....

  • What's So Funny About Autism?
  • Some people on the autism spectrum not only get the jokes, they write them.

    My son often asks, "What do you have against jokes?"

    "Nothing," I reply.

    "Well, stop killing them," he says.

    He's 18, autistic, and does standup. He has learned the importance of delivery and timing, skills mastered by the best comics. Despite this, many people believe people with autism are humorless.

    Tell that to Dan Aykroyd, who identifies himself as having autism spectrum disorder, or A.S.D. One of Mr. Aykroyd's symptoms included an obsession with ghosts and law enforcement. His deep interest in the ghost hunter Hans Holzer inspired him to co-write "Ghostbusters." Read on...

  • A Military Dad Asks: What Child Do You See?
  • There is nothing wrong with theses children, they are just trying to get by themselves, like everyone else.

    Let me ask a quick question. When you think of a child with autism which one in the photo do you see? Don't feel bad, don't feel judged, just be honest. No one will know, unless you say it out loud.

    Just think about it as you walk through the grocery store and you see a child throwing the massive tantrum down the aisle. Is it enough to make you turn around and go down another? Or you may be at the restaurant and there is a child crying at the table and throwing their plate. Or even at school. Everyone is staring and the mother or father apologizes and says those famous words, "We're sorry ... he/she has autism."

    Because you see I've seen this so many times. Now it's just a normal experience. I mean, for goodness sake, we've been on the other end. We try very hard not to walk around saying sorry because my son Carter has autism. For us, as long as he isn't hurting anyone, we're not going to apologize for his humming, or stimming, or for what others see as weird. Unless he is breaking personal space, he is content and we let him be that way. Not to mention, Carter has a pretty massive scar down the back of his head, so people usually don't say anything and do the quick sidestep when they are walking near him. 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

    Do you type to communicate? Do you use AAC, RPM, FC, supportive typing? Are you looking to meet up with like minded individuals who use a keyboard to tell jokes and give speeches?

    We are forming a social group, that meets monthly in Point Loma, of typers and their communication partners, just for fun, imagine that. No copays and our only goal is having a good time.

    If you are interested please email me
    See you soon,
    Otto Lana

    Key to Behavior is always looking for excellent candidates to join our team. If you are committed to helping children and families reach their goals and making lasting change in the lives of children with disabilities, Key to Behavior is the place for you. Send us a message to set up an interview:

    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.

  • RDI and MORE at 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

  • UCSD ACE - SPARK Event
  • The UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) is hosting a series of live-registration events at the Balboa Park Carousel to sign up families who have a child diagnosed with ASD for SPARK. SPARK is committed to transforming our understanding of autism and helping improve the lives of individuals affected by autism and their families. Nearly 18,000 families nationwide are already participating in SPARK! There is no cost to participate. Simply complete a 20-30 minute registration process, provide some saliva, and enjoy the event!

    Visit to learn more about and sign up for the event. Please feel free to contact us with any questions! Email: | Phone: (858) 534-6906.

  • NFAR Mom's Group
  • July 17, 2019
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123
    Dinner: Pizza, Salad. Dinner is provided for free.

    These meetings are for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet the 3rd Wednesday of the month for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    July Topic: Encouraging Positive Behaviors While Managing Difficult Ones

    Discussion will include:
    **Techniques to encourage positive behaviors
    **Managing challenges such as aggression or property destruction

    Guest Speaker: Carol J. McPheters, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Founder of Alta Families, Inc.

    Dr. McPheters has been working with children with autism and related disorders since 2001. She received her early training at UCLA working under Dr. Ivar Lovaas, a pioneer in the treatment of autism using behavioral strategies and earned her doctorate in applied behavior analysis (ABA) at Caldwell University. Dr. McPheters has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® since 2009.

    Over the course of her career, Dr. McPheters has been responsible for designing ABA programs that maximize skill acquisition and minimize problem behavior in home, school, and community settings. She has supervised, mentored, and provided consultation to other behavior analysts and teaches graduate courses in applied behavior analysis as an Adjunct Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

    Dr. McPheters founded Alta Families, Inc. in order to share her expertise directly with parents. Parents can implement many of the strategies used by behavior analysts, and Alta Families assists parents by choosing the proper strategies for each family and teaching parents how to use them. To learn more about Alta Families, please visit

  • PACT Summer/Fall Teen Groups
  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) is a dynamic non-profit organization that offers improvisational theatre and performing arts workshops that teach life and social skills.

    For registration and more info please contact 760-815-8512 or email

  • Friendship Circle San Diego
  • Friendship Circle of San Diego is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to providing friendship and support to individuals with special needs and their families by providing recreational, social and educational programming. In addition to helping those in need, the Friendship Circle San Diego enriches its vast network of volunteers by enabling them to reap the rewards of selfless giving.

    Friendship Circle San Diego
    16934 Chabad Way
    Poway, CA 92064

  • AAC Typers Meet Up with ATPF Mom Shelly Lana
  • Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 1 PM - 3 PM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation Office
    2845 Nimitz Blvd, Suite C
    San Diego, CA 92106

    This meet up is designed for kids of all ages who use an Augmentative and Alternative Communication Device. Stop by to meet others who use an AAC device, make new friends, and have a good time!

    RSVP with Shelly Lana at or call 858-361-0098.

  • FREE Webinar: All About Auditory Processing Disorders (APD
  • This webinar will cover the following points:
    >>What is APD?
    >>How to differentiate between APD and ADD
    >>Different types of APD Getting Help; goals of multi-disciplinary approach to management and treatment

    Featuring Lynda Detweiler-Newcomb, MCD who is a speech-language pathologist in Encinitas, CA. She holds an MA in Communication Disorders (With Honors) from California State University Northridge, with over 46 years of experience.

    Join us by registering at

    The webinar will air on July 23rd at 12:00 noon and will repeat on July 25th at 7:00 pm.

  • Book: The Journey Through Autism
  • The Journey Through Autism, a blog written by Ethan Hirschberg, has become a worldwide phenomenon. Diagnosed with High Functioning Autism at age two, Ethan started his blog to share his experiences, insights, and advice to individuals on the spectrum, parents, caregivers, educators, and providers. This book is a collection of the top twenty best blog posts on The Journey Through Autism. Some of them will make you laugh, some of them will make you smile, some of them will make you cry. All of them will give you the opportunity to perceive life in a different way, from a different set of eyes. All of them will teach you how to make a better world. Click here for all the info about the book and to order it!!!

  • More Than Words
  • Interested in participating? Please contact: Jessica Rush, 760.712.8432,

  • Toilet Training for Toddlers with Autism
  • Sat, July 20, 2019
    11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: FREE

    The SDSU Center for Autism is pleased to host the second in a three part series of talks in collaboration with Lauren Cox, BCBA. Toileting is one of the most necessary skills for a young child to have in order to be successful outside of the home environment. Many schools require that your little one be toilet trained before she or he is able to enroll in school. Becoming toilet trained is a common struggle for children on the autism spectrum due to language and motor impairments. We will go step by step to prepare you and your little learner to be successful in toilet training. We will cover some common programs to begin with your child, and how we can support the family during toilet training. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Costume & Dance Party in Poway!
  • Sunday, July 28, 2019 at 4 PM - 6 PM
    Kaminski's Sport Lounge and BBQ
    12735 Poway Rd, Poway, California 92064
    Cost: $5

    We are having our Costume Dance party this month - please dress up and bring $5 for all you can drink soda and a snack. Our social events are for adults with developmental disabilities, ages 18+ up. Those interested can RSVP to me at Can't wait to see you there!

  • Summer Camp Jam
  • Spots still available!

    In collaboration with MTCCA, our annual four day Summer Camp Jam is the highlight of the year! Camp Jam is August 6-9th at Chris Presbyterian Church in Carlsbad. This camp is designed for ages 3-12. Campers are grouped based on age and paired with a one on one camp counselor.

    More Info or Register Now

  • Bike 4 Friendship Send-Off Event, Sunday, July 14th
  • Sunday, July 14 at 9:00AM
    Chabad of Poway
    Friendship Circle San Diego
    16934 Chabad Way
    Poway, CA 92064

    Join us for a special send off for the Bike 4 Friendship Cycling Team. Cyclists from communities around the globe have joined the Bike 4 Friendship Team and will pedal from the Chabad Poway to start their 3,100-Mile cross country fundraising Trek, across 12 states, for Children with Special Needs. The cyclists aim to raise $75,000 for the Friendship Circle. They will travel from San Diego, CA to Brooklyn, NY between July 14th and August 25th. The cyclists are riding in honor of Lori Kaye, OBM.

  • The Beginners' Guild to Special Needs Planning in Chula Vista
  • RSVP to Rebekah Gomez at 619-829-6114 or

  • 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 Lynn Scott for more information 619-954-7847 or

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services Summer 2019 Calendar
  • Click here to view our new Summer 2019 calendar!!!

    The City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services program provides sports, recreation, leisure and outreach services to people with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.

    Services include therapeutic recreation programs and adaptive sports opportunities. These address the special needs of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty accessing and participating in recreation opportunities offered to the general public.

    Under the direction of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, activities and services are designed to maintain or improve the physical, cognitive and social functioning of those who have limitations. The target population is children and adults, ages 3 and up, with any type of disability.

    For additional questions about Therapeutic Recreation Services, please call 619-525-8247.

    You may sign up online at or at our office 3325 Zoo Drive, 92101.

  • Learn About RDI in San Diego!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    9466 Black Mountain Road
    Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    Phone: (858) 689-2027

  • Learn About RDI in Carlsbad!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    5411 Avenida Encinas
    Suite 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    Phone: (760) 448-5837

  • 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!

  • Participate in SPARK at UCSD

  • UC San Diego's Autism Center of Excellence is seeking individuals diagnosed with ASD and their biological family members to participate in SPARK, the largest national genetics research project in US history! The SPARK study aims to gain a better understanding of the causes and potential treatments of autism by building a cohort of 50,000 diagnosed individuals to facilitate research on an unprecedented scale. There is NO cost to participate in the study and it can even be completed without leaving the house!

    What we do
    SPARK researchers extract genetic data through a saliva sample and analyze information collected from thousands of people with autism and their biological parents. UCSD and over 20 of the nation's leading medical schools are part of this effort.

    How to join*
    1. Sign up online at -- registration typically takes about 20 minutes. Using this link connects you to our site, which enables us to better follow up with you if you encounter any issues or have specific questions.
    2. Complete a few questionnaires online.
    3. Provide a saliva sample. A saliva collection kit will be sent directly to your home after registration. When you are done, simply mail it back in the prepaid mailer.

    Benefits of joining
    1. Individuals with autism will receive gift cards valued at up to a total of $50 for participation.
    2. SPARK hosts monthly webinars, featuring psychologists, researchers, or speakers from the autism community, that provide useful information for families and individuals with autism.
    3. If a genetic finding is discovered related to the cause of autism, results will be shared back with families.
    4. The information you provide may help others with ASD for generations to come!

    *Our site also offers the option for home appointments where a member of our SPARK team can come to your home and assist you in the registration process, collect the saliva samples, and mail them in for you! This is typically the preferred method for families as everything gets completed at once. Please note that we ask that both biological parents and individual diagnosed with ASD be present for these appointments. We can accommodate a variety of dates and times outside normal business hours on the weekdays or weekends -- whichever is most convenient for you and your family! Alternatively, we can also schedule in-clinic appointments at our office if that is preferred.

    You can visit our SPARK FAQ page for additional details. Please contact us via email at or via phone at 858-534-6906 if you would like to set up an appointment or if you have any questions!

  • 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!

  • 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!


    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.