Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. September 14, 2018

In This Issue

Defining a disability: Office of Civil Rights makes finding in SDUHSD case

A Day In The Life Of A Special Needs Mom

Sensory Integration and Special Needs in the Dental Office

The link between antidepressants and autism, explained

How Employing Autistic People Can Help Stop Cyber-Attacks

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Autism Speaks San Diego Walk 2018

Best Buddies San Diego

Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!

NEW: Engage & Connect 4-Week Program Series

Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech's October Program

FREE Music Therapy - Jam Session Program

Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Prepare for Your Child's Future

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs In Scripps Ranch

CONNECTIONS: An Improv Program Designed for Teens and Adults on the Spectrum

ATPF LEGO Therapy Workshop

Opening Night Tickets! JK Rowling's The Crimes of Grindelwald

North County Coffee Talk with Autism Society San Diego

TACA San Diego Back To School Coffee Talk


  • Defining a disability: Office of Civil Rights makes finding in SDUHSD case
  • Encinitas parent Sabrina Erwin saw the end of a two-year process this spring when the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights made a finding in favor of her complaint that the San Dieguito Union High School District improperly exited her daughter from a Section 504 plan to accommodate her challenges with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    "This is a big win," Erwin said, one she hopes leads to positive changes in the way San Dieguito and all school districts handle identifying and serving Section 504 students.

    "I witnessed it happen to my child and I didn't want it to be repeated. It would be difficult for any child or parent to experience. I felt it was incumbent on me to do something about it," Erwin said. "I want other districts to be on notice that children with disabilities cannot be ignored. I want Yasi's life-altering experience to mean something. I want my daughter's suffering to make an impact on other students so that her sacrifices in seventh, eighth and ninth grade meant something and affected change." Read on...

  • A Day In The Life Of A Special Needs Mom
  • I have shared many snapshots of my life as a mom of two boys with various diagnoses and special needs.

    You've seen the pictures of me with messy hair and cups of coffee. I have discussed the difficulties of not getting enough sleep and managing meltdowns. I have even written several other day in the life posts related to how we homeschool.

    What many of you have been asking for, over and over again for more than a year now, is a look at one complete day - not necessarily focused on our schooling, but more about the day in, day out realities of mothering children with differences.

    I have been hesitant to write this post. The reason? I want to share something that helps to encourage and support any parent who cares to take the time to read my messy writing.

    I have been worried that sharing all the details might be too much and frankly, too depressing. Read on...

  • Sensory Integration and Special Needs in the Dental Office
  • Most people have some degree of aversion to the sensory-rich dental experience. The sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and metallic instruments are literally in our faces. We can't move or escape, while the dentist contorts our lips, sprays water while our mouths are open, and we try to breathe and communicate. It's a challenge whether special needs are present or not.

    What can be done to make the experience easier, and less traumatic? Always, we need to look at each dental experience as a learning moment for future medical and dental encounters. In my 35 years of clinical experience with people on the autistic spectrum, physical restraint of young patients can create intractable memories of fear that may never be overcome. Even overly authoritarian demeanor on the part of healthcare personnel can create long-term fear and avoidance, which will complicate future treatment. Read on...

  • The link between antidepressants and autism, explained

  • Among the many things a woman is supposed to avoid when pregnant are antidepressants, particularly a subtype of the drugs that some studies have linked to an increased risk of autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

    Yet the evidence linking antidepressants to autism is thin. And untreated depression is dangerous for a mother and her child.

    Here we explain what scientists know about the link between antidepressants and autism. Read on...

  • How Employing Autistic People Can Help Stop Cyber-Attacks
  • Lauri Love, Gary McKinnon and many other young people falling foul of the Computer Misuse Act have at least two things in common: They are talented coders - and they're on the autistic spectrum. But what if Love and McKinnon and others like them were caught early and tasked with preventing cyber-attacks instead of orchestrating them?

    This is something high profile organizations such as the UK's National Cyber Security Centre are already exploring. At the same time, more widely, some in the industry are looking into the benefits of employing autistic individuals to fill the cybersecurity skills gap - which itself is expected to reach 1.5 million globally by 2019, according to (ISC)2.

    Around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum: approximately one in 100, according to the National Autistic Society. They are in good company: Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla and Alan Turing are all known to have been on the autism spectrum. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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.

    I'm looking for music classes for my 10 year old Autistic Son. I would like to go to the studio if it's close to where I live which is in Rancho Bernardo Area or Carmel Mountain Area.
    Thank you

    I am a mother of a 12 year old boy, diagnosed with moderate autism, almost nonverbal. I am having to work more hours, as result he will be under care of different care takers. I am searching for a GPS/Tracker where I could hear his surroundings and if needed talking to him to calming him down. He is not able to use a cell phone so this will not be an option. I will appreciate ideas. Thank you

    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.

  • Autism Speaks San Diego Walk 2018

  • Sunday, October 21 at 8 AM - 1 PM
    Liberty Station NTC Park
    2455 Cushing Rd., San Diego, California 92106

    Register FREE for the San Diego Walk:

    Event includes local service provider resources, sponsor booths, Kids Zone, live entertainment and a beautiful 5k walk along NTC park waterfront. More details will be announced as the date approaches.

    Gates opens at 8:00am (early registration)
    General registration at 9:00am
    Opening Ceremonies 10:00am
    Walk start time 10:30am
    Event activities are open until 1pm
    Autism Speaks Walk Powered By Love

    Register as an individual walker or start a team!
    Teams will get to compete in friendly team competions and challenges leading up to the event. Teams who raise $2500 or more are eligible for Team Village. Individuals can qualify for a varity of gifts based on achieving fundraising milestones. Raise $150 earn the official 2018 Autism Speaks Walk shirt, exclusively designed by Tommy Hilfiger

    Event is FREE to register but fundraising is encouraged! Our walks are the major fundraising vehicle for Autism Speaks. Funds raised are critical to continue providing support to thousands of individuals locally, nationally and around the world.

  • Best Buddies San Diego
  • Hi, San Diego Home Schooling Community
    Best Buddies International is expanding into the San Diego area and we'd love to have the home schooling community join us.

    Best Buddies programs offer one-to-one friendship, integrated employment and leadership training. We have so many fun events planned for 2018 and even more for 2019. We're having our Friendship Inclusion Walk on November 3, 2018 at Crown Point Park on Mission Bay. It's not just a walk - it's a fun time for everyone.

    By getting involved in our organization, you offer your priceless friendship to our community.

    Our kick-off Walk Party is on September 23, 2018. You're invited to join us by contacting Debbie Adelman, Program Manager at 619-436-8291 for more information.


  • Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!
  • Real Connections Child Development Institute
    Supporting and partnering with families of children on the autism spectrum through understanding, engagement and relationships.

    Developmental Play Therapy - 1:1 developmental therapy in your child's natural environment. Evidenced- based, emotional, cognitive and neurobiological therapy that assists your child in developing meaningful relationships.

    Parent Coaching & Support - Real-time training and education in your child's individual profile. Learn new ways to engage and connect, while focusing on communicative and cognitive/ social emotional development. Maximize your child's developmental growth through both daily interactions and parent-child intervention sessions.

    A "Whole Child" Program

    • Flexible Thinking
    • Problem Solving
    • Scripting
    • Perserveration
    • Meltdowns
    • Executive Function Skills
    • Regulation
    • Sensory Integration
    • Spatial Processing
    • Individualized Program
    Real Connections San Diego
    415 North Highway 101, Suite C
    Solana Beach, CA 92075
    619-840-0015 or 858-768-0313

  • NEW: Engage & Connect 4-Week Program Series
  • Just a few spots left!

    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 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.

    Sign up today! Just a few spots left!
    Register 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.

  • FREE Music Therapy - Jam Session Program
  • camp jam photo

    For Teens and Young Adults with Special Needs
    Has your teen or young adult with special needs ever wanted to be in a rock band? Here is their chance. Unlocking their potential and spotlighting their abilities, this youth group learns the dynamics of building friendships, social skills and self-expression through fresh and creative avenues. Drawing on peers and professionals from the music community, this group experiences music recording, instrument exploration, improvisational songwriting, drumming and other projects based on the interests and needs of the group.

    Check out this video that gives an overview of the program!!

    Central San Diego (Point Loma)
    Dates: October 3, 17, 24, November 7, 28, December 5
    Time: 7:00-8:00pm

    North County (Carlsbad)
    Dates: September 19, 26, October 31, November 14, December 12, 19
    Time: 7:00-8:00pm

    East County (El Cajon)
    Dates: Starting September 20, additional dates TBA
    Time: 7:00-8:00pm

    South County (Chula Vista)
    Dates: dates TBA
    Time: 7:00-8:00pm

    Click here for registration

  • 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

  • Prepare for Your Child's Future
  • RSVP and questions contact or call 619-524-0916

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs In Scripps Ranch
  • Please R.S.V.P. with your host Bene Raphael no later than Sept. 14th at or for any questions please call (760) 845-4551

  • CONNECTIONS: An Improv Program Designed for Teens and Adults on the Spectrum
  • Brain Development Imaging Lab at San Diego State University, is collaborating with the Improv program, Connections, and in addition to doing research I am working with the Connections program to help add more classes to the program. We have planned to start two classes starting Oct 02 and 03 one of which will be for Young Adults(19-25yr) and the second will continue being for teens (13-18yr) the age ranges are flexible and we try to accommodate anyone that is interested in getting involved!

  • ATPF LEGO Therapy Workshop
  • Hosted by Autism Tree Project Foundation
    Saturday, September 15th at 10 AM - 11 AM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation
    2845 Nimitz Blvd, San Diego, California 92106

    All ATPF families and kiddos are welcome to come out to our LEGO Workshop on Saturday, September 15th from 10 AM to 11AM. We will build LEGOs and practice social communication skills with Dr. Oke!

    To RSVP contact or call 619-222-4465.

  • Opening Night Tickets! JK Rowling's The Crimes of Grindelwald
  • As a thanks for your continuous fan support, we're giving you the first opportunity to purchase tickets to this year's special needs movie fundraiser!

    Join us November 16, 7 pm at UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley for the wizardly celebration of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

    Our events offer much more than just seeing the movie on OPENING NIGHT. As our guest, you can dress in your house colors and show off your themed souvenir event badges. You can create a magic potion bottle and wizard wand with other J.K. Rowling fans! You'll also enjoy movie snacks and fantastic prizes. All before viewing the much anticipated sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

    Buy your OPENING NIGHT tickets today - before everyone else!

  • North County Coffee Talk with Autism Society San Diego
  • Hosted by Autism Society San Diego
    Wednesday, September 26 at 9 AM - 11 AM
    Boudin SF (San Marcos)
    113 S. Las Posas, Ste. 112, San Marcos, California

    Sit....Chat....Relax. This is an opportunity to meet up with others facing similar life challenges in a comfortable, relaxing environment.

    Look for the Autism Society San Diego Coffee Talk sign on the table...hope to see you there!

    This meeting is hosted by:
    Lynn Kirsch, M.A., CCC-SLP - Owner/Clinical Director of Kirsch Therapy, a pediatric speech, occupational and physical therapy clinic that provides services to children with autism and other speech and developmental disorders. She is the parent of two children and has previously served on the board of directors for the Autism Society San Diego. Click here for all the info!!!

  • TACA San Diego Back To School Coffee Talk
  • It's Back To School time and we just know you have IEP questions for us. Our Back To School Breakfast Club is here to help. Bring your questions and get the support you need for all things Autism. We have missed you over the summer and look forward to connecting with you. *Same location as our last Breakfast Club.
    *All new attendees will receive a Free Journey Guide
    Click here for all the info!!!

  • ASD Mornings at theNAT
  • Social stories (in English and Spanish) for 7 museums in Balboa Park (The Nat, The Fleet, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego Museum of Art, Museum of Man, San Diego History Center, and Japanese Friendship Garden) are available online. These were created by young adults with autsim as part of the SPECTRUM Social Stories Project here at The Nat.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.