Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. August 28, 2018

In This Issue

The Special-Education Charade

Before You Judge A Special Needs Parent

Texas Saved Billions Cutting Special Education. Now the Bill Comes Due

Complications during pregnancy may contribute to autism risk

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Cara Lucier & Associates

Be Proactive NOT Reactive

FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!

Special Education Law and Advocacy Series (SELAS)

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

Your Special Needs Wellness and Travel Newsletter

*NEW* Engage & Connect Program - 4 Week Series

Family Fun at theNAT!

Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Driving

Want to Learn More About AAC??

Autistic Adult Social Support Group



  • The Special-Education Charade
  • Individualized Education Programs, or IEPs, are one of the greatest pitfalls of the country's school system.

    I am in hell-or its equivalent. Specifically, I am in an IEP (Individual Educational Plan) meeting for my 14-year-old daughter, a special-education student in Prince George's County, Maryland. Sitting across from me is an educator who is describing one option that she says would be a great place for my daughter to attend ninth grade: a program at one of the county's lower-performing public high schools for adolescents who have emotional disabilities or autism. (My daughter has ADHD, an auditory processing disorder, and some major anxiety issues, but she does not have autism and does not qualify as "emotionally disabled.") Another option is a school for kids with language-based learning disorders. My daughter's reading comprehension and vocabulary skills are ranked as "very superior," according to the county's own psychological testing; her learning issues center on math. Read on...

  • Before You Judge A Special Needs Parent
  • I stood in line, worried about my youngest's increasing irritability, hoping we could just buy the frame and get out of the store.

    Normally, I would never (and I repeat, never) bring both of my boys, together, to a large store. My oldest struggles with the lighting and noise. My youngest, with the crowds, the smells and impulse control.

    But my oldest had been obsessing all morning long about getting a frame for his signed poster. It is probably one of his most precious possessions and he could not rest until he knew it was safe.

    The line was long. I tried to distract my youngest, and seeing some decorations nearby, I asked him what he wanted to do to decorate for Halloween. My oldest sighed heavily in disgust, and began schooling us on why it was not appropriate to have Halloween decor out on display in mid-August. My youngest disagreed, and the argument I had been anticipating since we stepped foot in the store began. Read on...

  • Texas Saved Billions Cutting Special Education. Now the Bill Comes Due
  • The U.S. ordered the state to remove a cap that wrongly deprived hundreds of thousands of kids. Now the question is who will pay.

    Texas's 5.4 million students are returning to school amid the usual scramble for textbooks, lockers and desks. The state is also facing a huge problem of its own creation: how to find, evaluate and properly teach as many as 200,000 students wrongly denied special education or overlooked as it sought to limit spending for the nation's fastest-growing school population.

    And then there's the question of how Texas, under orders from the U.S. government, will pay for it all.

    The federal mandate, intended to make up for a de facto cap put in place by the Texas Education Agency in 2004, may amount to the biggest single expansion of special education services ever. For more than a decade, local school districts were pressured to turn away students in need. Now that must be undone. Read on...

  • Complications during pregnancy may contribute to autism risk

  • High blood pressure or abnormal bleeding during pregnancy, as well as complications such as cesarean delivery or preterm birth, may all increase the risk of autism, two new studies suggest1,2. And the more difficulties during pregnancy and delivery, the more severe the autism features in the child, according to one of the studies.

    The first study, published in Autism, suggests that siblings of autistic children experience many of the same complications.

    "We always investigate prenatal factors in autism and controls, but we do not really look at siblings," says lead investigator Susan Shur-Fen Gau, professor of psychiatry at National Taiwan University. The finding warrants a closer look at how an individual's genetic profile interacts with environmental triggers to shape autism risk, she says. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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

    My son has Marge Blanc as a speech therapist guiding his gestalt language development. We are looking for an undergrad SLP or OT major preferably. But experience is not needed. Anyone with desire to learn from the best and play with my son would be great. Again, No experience needed, flexible hours with loads of fun. Marge would train you directly. Must be okay to act like a kid. Must be okay with going to swim, Go hiking. Playing out movie roles. My son is sweet, kind and super smart, no behaviors. We are working on social skills and reciprocal language! Please contact me for an interview. Thank you!

    Seeking Educational Aid for First Grader at Private Catholic School
    Hours: 8:30-11:30, Monday thru Friday
    Location: Sacred Heart Parish School in Coronado
    Pay: $14 an hour

    We are seeking an educational aid for a spirited, loving first grader with ADHD to assist in maintaining attention and focus while completing school assignments. The ideal person would be very firm but kind. The child is currently medicated but still struggles with attention and focus to stay on task. Child also struggles with handwriting so assistance and help with that also required.The person would need to have good people skills and respect the classroom environment, working well with first grade teacher and her assistant with minimal guidance. Aid may be asked to assist with test-taking. The ideal candidate would be available August 22 start date (there is flexibility on this) Experience with spirited kids with ADHD or children with attention/focus and sensory integration issues would be very helpful! (There is some flexibility with hours.)

    Please text Christine at 858-405-7264 to set up a time to speak or email
    Thanks for your consideration!

    Hi we are a new family who is in the military and are moving to San Diego I wanted help with guidance on school system and ABA, speech and OT services. We will be living near Murphy Canyon.

    Congregation Beth Am, in Carmel Valley, is looking for an inclusion specialist to oversee it's program on Sunday mornings, Wednesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon's. They are also looking for candidates to hire to shadow students with special needs. If interested please contact Rabbi Earne at Congregation Beth Am Or phone the JLC (Jewish Learning Center), 858-481-2869.

    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.

  • Cara Lucier & Associates
  • At Cara Lucier & Associates we believe in the ability of every person to reach their potential. We believe that education is the key to opportunity. We advocate for the rights of individuals and their families:

    • IEP team meetings
    • Mediation
    • Due Process Hearings and Appeals
    • 504 Meetings and Appeals
    • Regional Center Meetings and Appeals
    • IHSS Appeals
    • Civil Rights Litigation
    For a free 60-minute initial consultation, please contact us at (760)505-2498.

    Law Offices of Cara Lucier
    Civil Rights and Education Law
    701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite #300
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Phone: (760) 717-3451

  • Be Proactive NOT Reactive
  • Does this sound familiar?

    The school year starts off pretty well. But a few weeks in and your child starts experiencing the same social difficulties as last year.

    Your child says he has friends but isn't invited to any get-togethers. Maybe he's entering middle school and old friends seem to have disappeared. He's spending more and more time playing video games and beginning to refuse to participate in activities. You aren't getting calls for playdates. Maybe your daughter is experiencing bullying.

    It's painful to see your kid struggle and know that something isn't working but not know what to do differently. You aren't sure what to tell your kid and truth is they probably wouldn't listen to you even if you knew what to say.

    We can help.

    At SCS we create customized groups that teach kids and teens how to be socially competent. We help them learn to develop new perspectives and increase their ability to consider the perspectives of others. We don't teach rote social skills, but rather the concepts, skills and mindset that allows kids to apply what they've learned at school, home and beyond. Kids learn to be more socially competent in a fun, supportive and energetic learning environment.

    The start of a new school year is the perfect time to schedule a free consultation. Customized groups are being formed now that will allow your child to start developing the skills needed for success today. Don't wait for things to get more difficult mid-semester.

    Groups start the week of September 10th. For more information and to schedule a free consultation, please contact Janet Dudley at or call 858-558-9552.

    Social Communication Specialists
    5703 Oberlin Dr, Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121

  • FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!
  • Safer Than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and ADHD/ADD and the Effects are Permanent!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids is San Diego's premiere pediatric microcurrent therapy program for children, teens and adults with special needs. Our program is the BEST therapy for Autism & ADHD, as you will see by the rapid improvement in your child's skills and abilities, because of how well it promotes developmental growth and couples with ALL other therapies.

    Microcurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Road, Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123
    858 367-9108

  • Special Education Law and Advocacy Series (SELAS)
  • Saturday, September 8, 2018 - Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    University of San Diego
    School of Law, Warren Room
    $125 per session / $600 series

    September 8, 2018, is the first date of an ongoing series being held on September 8, September 22, October 6, October 20, November 3 and November 17. Information about specific topics that will be covered can be found in the program schedule. All series will be held in WH-2A of Warren Hall.

    Building on past and current efforts to educate the community on special education law, the University of San Diego School of Law has developed a new Special Education Law and Advocacy Series (SELAS). This new program builds on the previous Special Education Advocacy Certificate program, with new curriculum meant not only to educate but also offer practical, hands-on experience in special education law and advocacy. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment
  • Experience a unique and effective approach to autism therapy.

    Our aim is to bring to families everywhere the most effective therapies for the treatment of autism. Our integrated care model is based on the scientific research and clinical practice of our founder, Dr. Suzanne Goh. We seek to set a new global standard for autism care by achieving superior developmental outcomes for the children and families we serve.

    At Cortica, we believe the world needs a higher standard of care for all those living with autism, or a potential diagnosis of autism. Families like yours deserve effective, collaborative, caring therapies that are accessible and reasonably priced, no matter who you are or where you live.

    The Cortica Care Model

    • Neurophysiology
    • Family and Home
    • Biochemistry
    • Cognition and Behavior
    • Sensorimotor
    • Communication
    Together, we clarify the complex, celebrate extraordinary efforts, and witness moments of brilliance as our children grow new skills and abilities. Many of our services are covered by medical insurance plans. Contact us for all the info!!!

    Cortica Care
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121
    16800 Aston, Suite 175
    Irvine, CA 92606

  • Your Special Needs Wellness and Travel Newsletter
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info!!!

  • *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 sign up for a once-a-week program for 4 consecutive weeks. Limited spots available.

    Program has been modified, with structured activities and social play to be facilitated by special education professionals and therapists.

    The first 4 week series will be held at the Kid Ventures indoor recreational play center in 4S Ranch on Thursdays in October from 5:00 - 6:30 pm. The dates are Oct 4, 11, 18 and 25.

    To register, or learn more - please contact NFAR at 858-679-8800. The program is free of charge but a credit card must be given to reserve your spot.

    Kid Ventures, 4S Ranch location
    10760 Thornmint Rd, San Diego, CA 92127

  • Family Fun at theNAT!
  • Join us at the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT) on Sunday, Oct.14th for a morning of discovery & fun!

    TheNAT is planning some special activities for our families, including a sensory-friendly 2D film that morning!

    SPECIAL: TheNat is offering our participants FREE admission for ASD Morning until 9:45am. Doors open at 9am. (After 9:45am are regular admission prices at $19/adult and $12/child).

    We hope that you can make it! Please RSVP here:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Driving
  • Total Program Costs is $650.00
    For more info and to reserve your spot, please call (858) 205-9809 or email

  • Want to Learn More About AAC??
  • Click here to apply for this program!

  • Autistic Adult Social Support Group
  • Hosted by Autism Society San Diego
    Saturday, September 8 at 6 PM - 8 PM
    Autism Society San Diego
    4699 Murphy Canyon Rd, San Diego, California 92123

    Join us for our Autistic Adult Social Support Group! We will meet at our office at the United Way Building in San Diego. We will have a separate space for caregivers and support people to meet as well.

    This group is a place for autistic adults to come together for support and understanding. Make new friends, share questions and concerns, and get support from your peers, in a non judgmental and accepting atmosphere. This group is a open to all adults with autism as well as any support people that you require to participate successfully. We look forward to seeing you!

  • 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 Therapeutic Recreation Services Newsletter for Fall 2018
  • 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.

    Fall Calendar

    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.

  • 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.

  • NFAR Community Projects 2019

  • Autism affects one in every 59 children in the United States, and a growing number of families and their loved ones across San Diego County.

    To help, NFAR hosts the Race for Autism each year to raise funds to help support initiatives that are making a difference and creating unique opportunities for those with autism. Funding will be distributed based on the following criteria; Impact; Reach; Immediacy; and Relevance.

    • Applications are due by September 30, 2018
    • Awards will be announced on February 1, 2019
    • Awards range between $2,500 and $10,000
    • Proposed project should be a 3 - 12 month effort and start in 2019. (Certain types of projects may extend up to 18 months.)
    Guidelines and Restrictions are on the website. To apply or learn more.

  • The National TACA Autism Conference

  • October 19-21, 2018
    Hilton Orange County Hotel
    Costa Mesa, CA

    Join hundreds of parents and professionals to learn the latest in research, treatment, and therapy options for individuals with autism. The National TACA Autism Conference will feature 3 days with 3 tracks of presentations to cover all aspects and levels of the autism journey. Topics will include special diets, therapies, beginner and advanced biomedical treatments, IEP, inspiration, and much more. Whether your child is recently diagnosed or you have years of experience, you will walk away from the conference with a plan for the next steps for your autism journey.

    For more information, to check out the schedule, and to register, click here:

  • 4th Annual Captain Conference on Supporting Inclusion
  • Saturday, October 27 at 8:30 AM - 3 PM
    Liberty Station Conference Center
    2600 Laning Rd, San Diego, California 92106
    $15 registration in advance - $30 at the door

    Learn about the research and practical guidelines for using evidence-based practices to promote inclusion throughout the lifespan.

    Breakout sessions will include:
    • Visual Supports for community settings
    • Social Skills Overview
    • Reinforcement and ABI: Easy Modifications
    • SUCCESS program
    • Peer Mediated Supports and Interventions
    • And more...
    Register at

  • Please keep SB 399 alive and sign this bill! Californians with autism deserve insurance funding for whichever evidence-based treatment method their doctors prescribe for THEM.

    Families seeking help for autism are regularly denied insurance coverage for physician-prescribed, treatment. The myth that ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) is the only scientific approach is simply not true. Families deserve to receive ANY of the evidence-based treatments their doctors believe would be helpful. A "one size fits all" method doesn't work for every patient... SB 399 ensures that families will have choices!

    Click here to view the petition and sign!!!

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) "Fever Effect" Pilot Study Enrollment Announced

  • Click here to view the flyer. For more info and to enroll please contact

    'This study is really interesting. So many times I have heard of kids who have great days just as they are coming down with a cold. Other times kids get cranky. This device can safely raise body temperature and maybe help some people. But it has to be looked at carefully, which is why we are doing this controlled pilot study. Please let us know if you want to try it!'

    Joshua D Feder, MD
    Child and Family Psychiatry

  • Brain Imaging Studies for all Ages with or without Autism

  • At SDSU!!! To find out more, please call 619-594-0176 or email BDIL@SDSU.EDU.


    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.