Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. August 23, 2019

In This Issue

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Studies of autism treatments lack standard yardsticks

Top U.S. medical centers roll out DNA sequencing clinics for healthy (and often wealthy) clients

Visual task may offer brain marker for autism

Increased risk of psychiatric disorders in children with inflammatory bowel disease

Why It's Important to Create a Sensory-Friendly Classroom

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Mingle - September 18th!

Training for Independent Facilitator

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

NFAR's Teacher's Awards grant application period is OPEN!

The TERI Players present "Celebrating Who We Are"

Advantage Autism Tennis Clinic

"Internet for All Now Act"

Banyon Tree Foundation Academy

AAC Typers Meet Up with ATPF Mom Shelly Lana, This Saturday!!!

Pathfinder Fall 2019 Programs

San Diego Park and Rec Program for the Disabled Fall Calendar

Game Night for Adults With Autism!

ATPF End of Summer Family Activity Day

Jam Session Registration Now Open!


Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

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thomas nelson

  • Studies of autism treatments lack standard yardsticks
  • Clinical trials of autism treatments rarely use a consistent set of tools to measure efficacy, a new study suggests1. Instead, researchers generally design questionnaires specific to their study goals, and 69 percent of these tools are used only once.

    The lack of consistency could obscure positive results. "Losing even one treatment that could possibly be helpful, just because we don't use the right instruments, is a big loss," says study investigator Natascia Brondino, assistant professor at the University of Pavia in Italy.

    This variability also makes it difficult to compare treatments, or even the same treatment across studies. Read on...

  • Top U.S. medical centers roll out DNA sequencing clinics for healthy (and often wealthy) clients
  • Seizing on the surging popularity of at-home DNA testing kits, top academic medical institutions are opening clinics that promise to probe much deeper into your DNA - if you're willing to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of pocket to learn about disease risks that may be lurking in your genes.

    Genomic sequencing programs that cater to apparently healthy adults have been started in the past few years at the Mayo Clinic; the University of California, San Francisco; and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a nonprofit research institution in Alabama. Now, two top Boston hospitals are getting into the potentially lucrative business.

    Brigham and Women's Hospital on Friday unveiled a new Preventive Genomics Clinic that will offer a menu of options for a genetic workup, with price tags ranging from $250 to $2,950, depending on how many genes are analyzed; it's the first program of its kind that will offer the sequencing to children in addition to adults. And next month, Massachusetts General Hospital plans to launch its own clinic for adults that will offer elective sequencing at a similar price range as the Brigham. Read on...

  • Visual task may offer brain marker for autism
  • Brain signals measured during a simple visual task could serve as a biomarker for autism, according to a new study published Thursday.

    The task tests a person's ability to perceive a phenomenon called binocular rivalry. This occurs when a person views two images simultaneously - one with the left eye and one with the right. The viewer's brain deals with the competing stimuli by inhibiting one input and then the other. As a result, she sees the images one at a time.

    Autistic people's brains switch between the images more slowly than those of neurotypical people do, the study found.

    "This is concrete evidence that there are fundamental differences in visual processing in autism," says lead investigator Caroline Robertson, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire. Read on...

  • Increased risk of psychiatric disorders in children with inflammatory bowel disease
  • Children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) run a greater risk of psychiatric disorders, according to a new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in JAMA Pediatrics. The researchers claim that more psychological support and longer follow-up is needed for the children affected and their parents.

    It is already known that adults with IBD (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) run an increased risk of psychiatric disorders. Now a new study shows that children with IBD also run a higher risk of mental health problems.

    More than 6,400 children with IBD, born between 1973 and 2013, were included in the study. Using population registers, the researchers compared the risk of psychiatric disorders later on in life with both healthy children from the general population and with the patients' own siblings. By comparing the patients with their siblings, it was possible to take a large number of so-called confounders, such as socioeconomics, lifestyle and heredity into account, factors that are known to affect the risk of psychiatric disorders in children. Read on...

  • Why It's Important to Create a Sensory-Friendly Classroom
  • Teachers often take a great deal of pride in the way they decorate their classrooms. They spend their free time developing decoration ideas and collecting items to make their rooms look and feel welcoming to children.

    But, what happens to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when they enter brightly colored classrooms with numerous posters and pictures on the walls competing for their attention? For a child with autism, who is already overly sensitive to visual and auditory stimuli, walking into a classroom covered with bright colors and multiple graphics can create sensory overload. 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

    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.

    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.

  • Mingle - September 18th!
  • Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    6 PM - 9 PM
    Rockin' Baja Lobster - Old Town
    3890 Twiggs St, San Diego, California 92110

    Join us for Mingle, where we bring parents, families, and professionals in the special needs community together for an evening to mingle, socialize, and make new connections while sharing our collective experiences and resources. At Mingle we have facilitated introductions, highlight community organizations, and feature a non-profit (Excelsior Academy) and other resources (FITS OT, Therapy Changes, RiteCare, and Rogers Behavioral Health). Click here for all the info!!!

  • Training for Independent Facilitator
  • Do you speak a language other than English? Are you interested in becoming an Independent Facilitator for the Self Determination Program? If you answered yes to both, you may be eligible for free Independent Facilitator training sponsored by DVU & Autism Society of Los Angeles. Apply here by September 3! ->

  • 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

  • NFAR's Teacher's Awards grant application period is OPEN!
  • Completed applications are due on September 30th.

    Open to Classroom Teachers, Speech & Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Resource and Autism specialists, serving students with autism and related disorders, this funding is designed to support the specialized academic needs of their students with autism. Funding averages $500 per award.

    To date, NFAR has over 700 Teachers Grants, benefiting thousands of students with autism.

    To learn more/apply, please visit

  • The TERI Players present "Celebrating Who We Are"
  • It's the TERI PLAYERS 10th Anniversary and we invite you to celebrate with us at a family-friendly performance on Friday, October 4th, 7:00 PM-curtain, at the Star Theatre, Oceanside.

    "Celebrating Who We Are" will be a compilation of favorite scenes and songs from the last 10 years, performed by the TERI Players actors and musicians with special needs.


    Limited VIP seats - get yours before they sell out!

  • Advantage Autism Tennis Clinic
  • tennis_icon.jpg

    Advantage Autism
    Tennis clinic for kids 6-12 on autism spectrum
    La Jolla Tennis Club on Draper
    Saturday's 1:30-2:30
    Cost FREE!!!

    One to one program to teach tennis, socialization, independence and have fun!!!!

    For all the info please contact Susan at 858-699-2300 or

  • "Internet for All Now Act"
  • Do you have a disability and want affordable, high-quality Internet?

    Recently, the State of California passed a law helping many people with disabilities by subsidizing the cost of their personal or home internet services. This law brings the internet connection cost down to a monthly fee of either $10 or $20.

    This State law is the "Internet for All Now Act" (AB1665). The World Institute on Disability (a disability led nonprofit in Berkeley, CA -- see: ) is spreading the word about this opportunity so it can be better utilized. Our role is to ask you to share the enclosed flyer with your clients with disabilities, so that they may take advantage of this program.

    Individuals with disabilities are eligible for this reduced cost if they are either on SSI, or SSDI, or Cal Fresh (food stamps) or with an income under $40,000 per year. To confirm a person's eligibility please call 844-841-INFO or 844-841-4635.

  • Banyon Tree Foundation Academy
  • Our mission is to provide innovative school programs and therapies that promote social, emotional, and academic development for children who learn differently.

    We move students from feelings of failure and being overwhelmed to feelings of accomplishment- ready to engage in learning. We meet students where they are, not where we want them to be. We work 1:1 or 1:2 until a student is ready for small groups and classroom participation. Click here for all the info!!!

  • AAC Typers Meet Up with ATPF Mom Shelly Lana, This Saturday!!!
  • Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation
    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

  • Pathfinder Fall 2019 Programs
  • Excited to announce our new vocational workshops this fall. Check us out! This is brand new!

    Even though the flyer states SDRC clients, it is open to anyone. For example, if a person's ITP in high school or ATP requires vocational training to access a paid internship or competitive integrated employment, this could be a support/service for the district to consider to help the student build an employment pathway!

    Learn more by visiting our webpage! Thank you! (We're all parents trying to create different solution to address the 86% unemployment of those with developmental disabilities!)

  • San Diego Park and Rec Program for the Disabled Fall Calendar
  • Click here for the Fall 2019 program calendar. The first day of registration is this Saturday, August 17 at 10 a.m.

    Registration can be done online at or at our office at the War Memorial Building (3325 Zoo Drive, San Diego, Ca 92101)

  • Game Night for Adults With Autism!
  • Fri, August 30, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: FREE

    The SDSU Center for Autism and the Self-Empowerment for Adults with Social Anxiety or ASD support group are hosting a game night and social for adults with autism. Join us for a fun-filled evening and meet new people! Bring your favorite board or card game. This event is FREE. We will have pizza and soft drinks too :)

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

  • ATPF End of Summer Family Activity Day
  • Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 8 AM - 11 AM
    Mariners Way, San Diego, CA 92109

    ATPF is excited to host our first ever End of Summer Family Activity Day! Join us for a fun and family-friendly day where kids can enjoy nature & more! Kids of ALL ages and swim abilities are welcome! Each kiddo will be paired with an ATPF Volunteer as their buddy for the day.

    To RSVP for your family, click here:

    For more information, contact or call 619-222-4465.

  • Jam Session Registration Now Open!
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info and registration!!!

  • 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.