Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. July 30, 2019

In This Issue

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A Beginners Guide to Respite Care

Brains work in sync during music therapy

It's Not Always Forward - mothering a regressive child

How autistic people use compensatory strategies to cope with daily life

'It has been totally positive': the couples brought together by an autism diagnosis

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

2019 Special Education Law and Advocacy Series (SELAS)

2019 International DIRFloortime Conference

Participate in a Research Study on Music Therapy and Social Communication

NFAR's Engage & Connect Program at Kid Ventures!

Beyond the Backpack - Executive Function Program - August 2019

It's Time to Crawl!

Speech and Language Summer Camps

Let's Learn Strategies for Improving Social Behavior!

You're Invited! FREE All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!

NFAR Community Project Applications-NOW OPEN!

The Vida View - Summer 2019

Back to School Transition for Kids With Autism

UCSD ACE - SPARK Event at Balboa Park

ABC Hopes Rowing Fundraiser in Vista


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  • A Beginners Guide to Respite Care
  • Caregiving is the ultimate act of love, but sometimes the most loving thing to do is take a break. Respite care can provide occasional time away for caregivers to focus on their mental health and strengthen relationships with other loved ones. Here's the best way to begin your search for appropriate care.

    San Diego Regional Center
    If your child has a developmental disability, the San Diego Regional Center (SDRC) can cover the cost of respite care. First, the child must be registered - register online at After intake, the family is assigned a service coordinator, who determines how many respite hours to award on either a quarterly or monthly basis. The number of hours varies and is based on the individual family's situation (income is not a factor).

    Once respite hours are awarded, the family can redeem them for in-home care or out-of-home care at a licensed facility. Most parents of minors opt for in-home care. The Regional Center works with a number of respite care agencies that are each responsible for screening their caregivers. If nursing care is needed, SDRC can provide services of a licensed vocational nurse. While it is necessary to register to receive free respite care, families need not participate in the organization's other programs or services unless they so desire. However, according to Residential Services Manager, Wanda Bardwell, families do tend to find additional helpful resources through SDRC as their children grow. Read on...

  • Brains work in sync during music therapy
  • For the first time researchers have been able to demonstrate that the brains of a patient and therapist become synchronised during a music therapy session, a breakthrough that could improve future interactions between patients and therapists.

    The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, was carried out by Professor Jorg Fachner and Dr Clemens Maidhof of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

    This is the first music therapy study to use a procedure called hyperscanning, which records activity in two brains at the same time, allowing researchers to better understand how people interact.

    During the session documented in the study, classical music was played as the patient discussed a serious illness in her family. Both patient and therapist wore EEG (electroencephalogram) caps containing sensors, which capture electrical signals in the brain, and the session was recorded in sync with the EEG using video cameras. Read on...

  • It's Not Always Forward - mothering a regressive child
  • Regression happens. Eight years post diagnosis, I have lost track of how many times it has happened. I know this is just the nature of things.


    We were getting used to things being easier, not so intense, not so destructive, not so rigid. We began to relax, to exhale, to forget.

    We also began to schedule more, take on more daily requirements, travel, eat less strictly - because we were doing so well. Maybe we got a little too ambitious. Maybe we forgot a little too easily.

    It was almost imperceptible at first - a minor irritation over the schedule not being just so, small noises suddenly being an issue again, a meltdown always simmering there, under the surface.

    Now, it's obvious.

    How could I forget? It's not always forward. Read on...

  • How autistic people use compensatory strategies to cope with daily life
  • Autism is usually identified by doctors during childhood, but a growing number of people are now being diagnosed with the condition in adulthood.

    A later diagnosis can be challenging because many intellectually able adults have developed 'compensatory' psychological strategies for coping with their autistic difficulties. These can hide their symptoms from doctors, employers, and even family members.

    A recent survey found that many GPs in the UK are not confident in their ability to identify autism. And compensatory strategies are now thought to be one of the main reasons for difficulty with diagnosis in adults. Read on...

  • 'It has been totally positive': the couples brought together by an autism diagnosis
  • When one partner in a relationship learns they are autistic, it can explain years of frustration and confusion. And, for many, the knowledge makes their bond stronger than ever

    hen their children were young, Karen and David took them to a noisy restaurant. Their two-year-old daughter was being loud and excitable, as toddlers tend to be, and David suddenly got up and walked out. There were many incidents like that during their first 12 years of marriage, which would often leave David feeling frustrated, and Karen sad, lonely and confused.

    Then, when their son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - the term now widely used for all autism diagnoses, including Asperger syndrome - it became clear that David had the condition, too. Eventually, he had a formal diagnosis. Their marriage is much happier. "I am now much better equipped to understand why I may find neurotypical relationships so confusing," says David, "and it has been the foundation of improving my relationship with Karen."

    Karen says she often used to feel exasperated by David's mood swings and what she saw as his tendency to blow small problems out of proportion. "I couldn't understand it because he was the most loving, generous person much of the time." 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:

    The R.O.A.D program at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside are seeking experienced leaders to work as a positive adult role model, coach and mentor with small groups of 4 R.O.A.D.S members. Candidates should have a genuine interest in the growth, development and provision of safe nurturing environments for each member.

    This position is a San Diego Regional Center (SDRC) funded position, which follows the established SDRC calendar year; additionally, this position is based on job performance. Must have reliable transportation to and from site. For more info about these job openings click here:

    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.

  • 2019 Special Education Law and Advocacy Series (SELAS)
  • Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 10:00 AM -
    Sat, Nov 23, 2019, 5:00 PM

    University of San Diego School of Law
    Warren Hall Room 2A
    5998 Alcala Park
    San Diego, California 92110

    With a goal of providing important and useful information on special education law and practice, the University of San Diego School of Law will offer its Special Education Law and Advocacy Series (SELAS) again this fall. This specialized program not only educates participants about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), but also offers practical, hands-on experience in special education advocacy. Past participants have included parents of children with disabilities, professionals working in related fields, school district staff, related services providers (such as speech and language pathologists), attorneys and others.

    Appropriate for attorneys, paralegals, special education and other professionals, as well as parents, the series includes six law and practical training seminars, which may be taken individually or as a complete program. Each Saturday seminar is broken up into a morning and afternoon session with a one-hour lunch break.
    Click here for all the info about the different sessions and to register!

  • 2019 International DIRFloortime Conference
  • Effectively Promoting Human Development with Compassion and Respect

    October 4 & 5, 2019
    San Francisco, California

    ICDL DIRFloortime conference is in San Francisco this year! Early bird registration ends August 31!

  • Participate in a Research Study on Music Therapy and Social Communication
  • Study Purpose
    Develop social and communication skills through music therapy experiences including songs, instrument playing, and singing.

    Inclusion criteria are as follows:
    Children ages 3.5-5
    Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Never before received music therapy

    Study Details
    Participate in a research study & complete social and communication assessments before and after the study. Selection for the music therapy treatment group will be random. Half of the families will not receive music therapy.

    Families who are randomly selected to participate in the music therapy group, a parent or caregiver will be required to attend a 1-hour parent training and ten 45-minute music therapy sessions.

    When: Wednesday mornings from 10:30-11:15 beginning September 11th.

    Where: Neighborhood House Association, Tubman Chavez Community Center, 415 Euclid Ave, 92114

    This project is generously funded by NFAR in partnership with the Autism Tree Project Foundation.

    If you are interested in this study, please fill out the interest form below. The last day to do this is August 18th!!!

  • NFAR's Engage & Connect Program at Kid Ventures!
  • Engage & Connect is a program for the whole family of children with autism, ages 2-8.

    Activities include circle time, motor skills, and fun activities meant to increase engagement in a fun filled, creative environment.

    To sign up for our next session, please contact us at (858) 679-8800 or email, and give us your name, and the name and age for each child.

    It's a way to engage and connect for the whole family!

  • Beyond the Backpack - Executive Function Program - August 2019
  • At Social Communication Specialists, we don't just set up a color coded folder system that your child will never use, We use advanced techniques to directly teach executive functioning skills. The concepts and strategies we teach kids helps them become more independent so you can stop constantly reminding them of what they need to do.

    Please go to for more information.

  • It's Time to Crawl!
  • It's Time to Crawl!
    Home of Guiding Hands 2nd Annual North Park Pub Crawl
    September 14th, 2019
    $50 per person

    Includes: 1 Free Drink at each location, appetizers at select locations, Pub Crawl t-shirt, pint glass and more!!!


    • 1-2 Mike Hess Brewing
    • 2-3:30 True North Tavern
    • 3:30-5 North Park Beer Co.
    Register here:

  • Speech and Language Summer Camps
  • Speech and Language Summer Camps at TERI Crimson! For more info contact Karyn at 858-695-9415 or email

  • Let's Learn Strategies for Improving Social Behavior!
  • July 31, 2019, at 7pm
    FITS in Sorrento Valley
    5945 Pacific Center Blvd #510
    San Diego, CA 92121

    Learn more about Herb Hein & Growing G.R.E.E.N. InterActions Program at:

    RSVP to this event by contacting: Herb at or Letty at

  • You're Invited! FREE All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!
  • The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family Magazine are hosting the 2nd annual All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!

    On Wednesday, August 7 from 10 am to 1 pm at the Miramar Hourglass Recreation Center, 10440 Black Mountain Road, SD, 92126, families from around the county are invited to celebrate the last days of summer and gather information from resource providers for families with all abilities. Your family is invited to this FREE summer event!

    Activity Booths * Giveaways * Performances * Games * Family Resources * Networking & more!

    Children of all abilities will enjoy activity stations including Woody's Roundup Corral, Super Hero City, Wheelchair Awareness Course, Literacy Duck Pond, V.T. Raceway, Star Wars Space Station and more!

    Plus, enjoy a variety of entertaining performances at the All Abilities Stage.

    Over 40 resource services and providers for children of all abilities will conveniently be onsite to speak with parents and provide information.

    All activities and resources are FREE and open to the public.

    Sign up for your family's FREE tickets on eventbrite now!

  • NFAR Community Project Applications-NOW OPEN!
  • Each year, funds raised by the Race for Autism help support autism programs and new initiatives in our community. These funds have worked to increase the learning, social, training, and employment opportunities for those with autism in San Diego.

    Through our technical training programs, NFAR is working to include those with autism into the mainstream fabric of San Diego's workforce community. Neurodiversity has been shown to build more creative and accepting environments for all persons, and benefits everyone. Our vision is to build a more inclusive San Diego. And working together with others, such as our Community Project partners, to make this a reality.

    NEW THIS YEAR, for our Community Project applicants, we are asking for Letters of Intent (LOI) for initiatives that align with our vision of building a more inclusive community.

    NFAR's LOI Form is online now and due by September 30.
    For more info or to apply:

  • The Vida View - Summer 2019
  • Click here to view their latest newsletter for all the info!!!

  • Back to School Transition for Kids With Autism
  • Mon, August 19, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court, #250
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: FREE

    The SDSU Center for Autism is hosting a talk in collaboration with Comprehensive Autism Center. Our guests, Brooke Tompkins, BCBA and Randi Margarian, BCBA, will provide support with transitioning from the summertime routine to a daily school schedule. It will discuss proactive strategies to set up your child and family for a smooth transition. Topics to include adjusting morning and night time routines, establishing a daily schedule, communicating with a new teacher, and much more! Comprehensive Autism Center will provide materials to help jump start your back to school transition.

    If you need free childcare provided by our staff during the workshop, please contact Vinton at, so we can plan ahead.
    Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • UCSD ACE - SPARK Event at Balboa Park
  • 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.

  • ABC Hopes Rowing Fundraiser in Vista
  • ABC Hopes, Inc. is a nonprofit organization established in 2013. We are dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities. ABC Hopes (dis) ABILITIES Fitness has created an atmosphere that allows our participants the opportunity to exercise their bodies, their minds and their social skills in a unique environment specifically designed with their own needs in mind.

  • 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

  • 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.