Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. August 09, 2018

In This Issue

How to help young adults with autism transition to adulthood

Food truck operated by adults with autism is ready to roll in Tampa

Molecule deficiency may help diagnose severe depression

Reward-system differences may underlie multiple autism features

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Conference: Love & Autism - Early Bird Pricing Ends August 15th!

SMYBB-Shooting Stars

Improv Classes for Teens on the Autism Spectrum

NEW: Engage & Connect Program 4 Week Series

Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Legally Blonde Sensory-Friendly, Relaxed Performance!

Behavior in the Educational Setting

8th Annual ATPF Girls Summer Art Camp: Session 2

Best Buddies San Diego Social-Movie in the Park!

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

E&CO's Film & Media Program

Brain Imagining Studies for all Ages with or without Autism

ATPF 10th Annual USD Football Player Mentor Program

Southern California Law Office



  • How to help young adults with autism transition to adulthood
  • For the past 20 years, my colleagues and I have run a social-skills group for children with autism, ages 5 to 18 years. Our program teaches the children how to recognize their own emotions, have conversations, solve problems and build genuine friendships.

    About five years ago, some of those who had finished the program reached out to us for help navigating the adult world. They were concerned about the challenges involved in attending college, picking a career path, succeeding in the workplace, living independently and forming social and romantic relationships. There were few resources available to them.

    Adults with autism report poorer social and vocational outcomes than any other disability group1,2. They often don't earn a living wage, have a partner or family, or participate in the community. They also frequently contend with physical and mental health problems. Read on...

  • Food truck operated by adults with autism is ready to roll in Tampa
  • Artistas Cafe has gone mobile.

    After spending seven years inside the Mercedes Benz dealership on North Dale Mabry Highway, the coffeehouse that employs only autistic adults has hit the road and moved out of its static locale and into a food truck named the "Bean Mobile."

    Doing so will enable the cafe to better fulfill the mission of educating society that autistic adults are employable, said Vicky Westra, cafe founder, head of the advocacy nonprofit Autism Shifts.

    "The Mercedes dealership was an amazing place to start, but we were subject to those who came into it looking for a car," said Westra, mother to a 21-year-old autistic daughter. "Now, we can really get out into the community." Read on...

  • Molecule deficiency may help diagnose severe depression
  • A new study, published in the journal PNAS, suggests that a diagnostic blood test for depression may soon be on the horizon. The new research shows that treatment-resistant depression is characterized by reduced blood levels of a specific molecule.

    According to the most recent estimates from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over 16 million American adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2016.

    The disorder severely interfered with the daily lives of 10 million of these people.

    Most individuals with depression respond to antidepressant treatment. However, up to 30 percent of them do not show any signs of improvement, or they benefit from antidepressants only partially. Read on...

  • Reward-system differences may underlie multiple autism features
  • The brain's system for sensing pleasure and reward shows unusual activation patterns in people with autism, according to an analysis of 13 imaging studies1. A second new study points to an altered structure of reward circuits in autism2.

    The results support the social motivation hypothesis, which holds that people with autism find social interaction less rewarding than other people do. A poorly functioning reward system may leave infants and young children unmotivated to engage with others. As a result, they may get few chances to practice and develop their social skills.

    The problem is not limited to social motivation, however. The results of the meta-analysis show that the autism brain also responds uniquely to nonsocial rewards, such as such as winning money or a game. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • I wanted to put the word out about Sari Kuperstein, a really fantastic ABA therapist / behavior specialist. She is extremely energetic, loving but firm, patient, has tons of great ideas. She used to work for a school district and has many years of experience.

    She is not presently a vendor for the regional center. We have been employing her several days per week for my severely autistic adult sister, who is now in a day program, so Sari has most days available. Her fees are quite reasonable.

    She can be reached at (754) 215-2219 (texting is best) or

    We have several families (North County Inland) in our parent support group who are looking for day programs, or other providers, for young adults on the spectrum with challenging behaviors. The adults are around age 22 and have been classified as ASD with IDD as a secondary condition. We hope to find providers who are willing to take them out into the community fairly regularly and have ABA or similar background experience--or at least have the needed attitude and people skills! All suggestions considered! --- Thank you!

    Looking for a female caregiver for my adult daughter with high functioning autism. 14.5 hours per week. $10.72/hr (county min. Wage). Payment is through the county IHSS program. Light housekeeping, laundry, assist with food shopping, meal prep and medication refills/adherence. Must have reliable transportation, good DMV record, proof of insurance and background check. No drinking or other substance abuse. SDSU area.
    Thank you so much!
    Debra Berl

    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.

  • Conference: Love & Autism - Early Bird Pricing Ends August 15th!
  • October 13-14th, 2018
    9:00AM - 4:30PM
    Liberty Station Conference Center, San Diego, CA

    We value neurodivergent leaders and reject the pathology paradigm because the development of healthy autistic identities matters. Allowing love to lead us, we create powerful change in the world. Don't settle for the status quo, trust your heart. This is Love & Autism

    Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • SMYBB-Shooting Stars
  • Shooting Stars Season 13 online registration is now open! ( Great news this registration is available for players, buddies, coaches and other volunteers! (For players wanting to register by paying by check or cash, paper registration will be us and we can coordinate).

    Corky Smith Gym
    274 Pico Avenue
    San Marcos, CA 92069

  • Improv Classes for Teens on the Autism Spectrum
  • Starts August 15th in Point Loma!!!

  • NEW: Engage & Connect Program 4 Week Series
  • Families of young children with autism, ages 2 - 8 (and their siblings) are invited to join us for a 4-week program series called "Engage & Connect".

    Participants will sign up for a once-a-week program for four consecutive weeks. New, fun play activities will be facilitated by special education professionals and therapists designed to encourage engagement, communication and enjoyment.

    The first series will be held at the Kid Ventures indoor recreational play center in 4S Ranch on Thursday evenings in October from 5 - 6:30 pm.

    Register or learn more

  • 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

  • Legally Blonde Sensory-Friendly, Relaxed Performance!
  • Hosted by New Village Arts
    Wednesday, August 22 at 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
    New Village Arts
    2787 State St, Carlsbad, California 92008

    New Village Arts is proud to present our first-ever Relaxed Performance with Legally Blonde The Musical on Wednesday, August 22 at 7:30pm!

    Relaxed Performances at New Village Arts will have muted design elements and adjusted sound, giving individuals who identify as neurodivergent a high quality artistic experience with their friends, family and aides in a welcome, supportive, and judgement-free zone. Anyone who requires a flexible audience experience is welcome!

    "Meet Your Seat" in advance: stop by NVA Tuesdays through Fridays from 12 - 5 pm and a staff member can show you the theatre to help develop a comfort level before the Relaxed Performance.

    This show is recommended for ages 16 and up.

    For questions about Relaxed Performances, please contact Nadia Guevara: Get your tickets here!!!

  • Behavior in the Educational Setting
  • Together Gateway Learning Group and attorney Jazmine Gelfand will be hosting a free workshop for parents, focusing on addressing behavior within the classroom. We hope to see you there on August 22, 2018! Jazmine will be hosting a free workshop for parents, focusing on addressing behavior within the classroom. We hope to see you there on August 22, 2018 at the Carlsbad's Dove Library, 1775 Dove Lane, Carlsbad, CA 92011.

  • 8th Annual ATPF Girls Summer Art Camp: Session 2
  • Hosted by Autism Tree Project Foundation
    Saturday, August 11 at 2 PM - 4 PM
    Encinitas Boys and Girls Club
    1221 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, California 92024


    ATPF & NCL Girls will joyfully be participating in different themed art workshops each Saturday during the month of August! All lessons are designed to be fun, with simple instructions.

    Outdoor activities and games will be enjoyed in the beautiful surrounding organic gardens. Nutritious gluten-free snacks will be provided. All ATPF Girls ages 6 and up are welcome to sign up for these fun FREE classes

    For more information, contact us at 619-222-4465, or email

  • Best Buddies San Diego Social-Movie in the Park!
  • Hosted by Best Buddies California
    Friday, August 10 at 7 PM - 9 PM
    Sage Canyon Park: 5252 Harvest Run Drive, San Diego , CA

    We love Summer so what better way to celebrate the summer weather than with an outdoor movie?! Come join Best Buddies on August 10th from 7-9pm to watch JUMANJI in Sage Canyon Park!

    The movie is free, but be sure to bring your own chair, blankets, etc.

    Please RSVP so we can get a proper headcount by using the link:

    We hope to see you there!

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • "My Time For Dinner" And Little Italy Bar and Grill Invite you to A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

    In Scripps Ranch
    Monday, August 20, 2018
    7:00 PM

    Please R.S.V.P. with your host Bene' Raphael no later than Aug. 17th at or for any questions please call (760) 845-4551

  • E&CO's Film & Media Program
  • E&CO's Film & Media Program, a vocational program in partnership with Inclusion Films that assists individuals with developmental disabilities with learning the art of film production, multimedia development and supporting creative skills necessary in film and media industries. This program provides hands-on opportunities for program participants to develop the skills necessary to one day find employment in these industries! Click here for all the info on this program.

    All Services Provided by E&CO:

    • Film & Media
    • Employment Services
    • Independent Living
    • Tailored Day Services (TDS)
    • Aging Needs
    • Autism Services
    • C.P.I.C
    • Education
    • Microenterprise
    5050 Murphy Canyon Road
    Suite 220
    San Diego, CA 92123
    T (858) 565-9870

  • Brain Imagining Studies for all Ages with or without Autism
  • At SDSU!!! To find out more, please call 619-594-0176 or email BDIL@SDSU.EDU.

  • ATPF 10th Annual USD Football Player Mentor Program
  • Hosted by Autism Tree Project Foundation
    Saturday, August 11 at 4 PM - 6 PM
    Torero Stadium
    5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, California 92111

    Join us for a fun afternoon to meet and greet the USD Football Team! RSVP today to pair your kid with a football player mentor for the 2018 season!

    We need volunteers for this FUN event: setting up, checking in families, taking pictures, serving food, and breaking down!

    Want to VOLUNTEER? Sign up here:

    For more information or to RSVP your kid to be paired with a player mentor, contact us at 619-222-4465, or email

  • Southern California Law Office
  • At Southern California Law Office our legal services are focused on meeting the individual needs of every child. Our legal representation is designed to assist families in acquiring the educational services and classroom accommodations that will allow students to reach their academic potential.

    Southern California Law Office was founded on both the personal experiences and professional expertise of our attorneys. Our foremost concern is to secure the educational benefits, afforded by law, to each child with academic, social, and behavioral challenges related to their specific disability and their educational environment. It is our goal to achieve this success in a manner that preserves the child and the parent's relationships with their teachers, service providers and school district.

    Southern California Law Office
    6540 Lusk Blvd., Suite C159
    San Diego, CA 92121
    T - (858) 215-4231

  • 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

  • Accepting Applications for NFAR's Teachers Grants Program

  • Autism affects one in every 59 children in the United States and a growing number of students each year in classrooms across San Diego County.

    To help, NFAR established a program in 2005 that awards funding to educators to support the specialized academic needs of their students with autism.

    The 2018/2019 NFAR Teachers' Applications are due September 30th.

    Sample grant applications, Guidelines and Restrictions are on the website.

    Apply or learn more!

  • Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech's October Program

  • Are you ready to work but not finding that opportunity? Are you sitting at home despite a college degree? Then NFAR's vocational technical training program might be the right choice for you!

    NFAR Tech will be starting a new class in October.

    NFAR Tech is a comprehensive hands-on training program that teaches technical and employment skills. It prepares young adults with autism for entry level jobs in today's workplace as software testers and other vocations.

    If you are interested in learning more, visit our website, and/or contact us at 858-679-8800 if you have any questions.


    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.