Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. October 06, 2018

In This Issue

Quashing sex bias in autism research calls for participant rainbow

Businesses Increasingly Hiring People With Disabilities

As stem cell and gene technologies advance, La Jolla conference mushrooms

Studies show connection between diet, cognitive function

Newly discovered aspects of fragile X spur next wave of drugs

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!

NFAR Mom's Group - Wednesday, October 17

2018 Love & Autism Conference

Mosaic Tile Art Classes for Special Needs Students

NFAR Family Activity at theNAT Sunday, Oct. 14th!

Pumpkin Patch at Konyn Dairy Farm

The Music Therapy Center of CA Exciting October Events!

Now Enrolling: Oct-Dec North County Social Clubs!

Now Enrolling: Oct-Dec Central San Diego Social Clubs!

Now Enrolling: Oct-Dec Teen San Diego Social Club!

"Autism Through the Lifespan" Monthly Parent Support and Information Meetings

MCCS Trunk or Treat Halloween Celebration!

My Special Needs Connection October Newsletter - Ask an Advocate

The Beginners' Guide to Special Needs Planning


  • Quashing sex bias in autism research calls for participant rainbow
  • In 2010, a group of psychologists pointed out that behavioral researchers overwhelmingly rely on participants from Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic societies - what they termed a 'WEIRD' sample - to draw conclusions about human characteristics1. They demonstrated that theories drawn from this subpopulation may not apply to the rest of the world. In fact, they contend that results from these samples often represent outliers.

    In autism research, much of our knowledge is similarly drawn from a WEIRD population. But there is further 'weirdness': For far too long, autism researchers have assumed that what they've learned from males applies to people of other sexes and genders.

    This is perhaps understandable given the history of the field. Initial reports of autism were primarily in boys, and researchers have long considered autism a male-dominant condition. In the past two decades, the consensus has been that the ratio is four or five boys for every girl diagnosed. Read on...

  • Businesses Increasingly Hiring People With Disabilities
  • When Glynis Harvey and Mark Cagley opened Hidden Manna Cafe four years ago, the couple did not set out to hire people with disabilities.

    But then a social service agency asked: Might the Matteson restaurant employ a woman with cerebral palsy? How about a man with mild blindness? A customer asked for an application for her sister, who has an intellectual disability.

    Harvey and Cagley were good people to ask. They have twin sons, now 28, with autism, and so they understood how difficult it is for people with disabilities to find jobs. They also knew how hard they worked once given the chance. Read on...

  • As stem cell and gene technologies advance, La Jolla conference mushrooms
  • In 2006, a few hundred mostly local researchers gathered in La Jolla to discuss the emerging but still science-fictiony field of stem cells.

    Since then, stem cells, enhanced by gene therapy, have progressed to yield breakthrough treatments, most spectacularly in cancer. Likewise, the conference known as the Cell & Gene Meeting on the Mesa has mushroomed into an international event. (The mesa is Torrey Pines Mesa, the epicenter of San Diego's life science sector).

    About 1,200 scientists and business executives are expected to attend the three-day conference, up from about 900 last year.

    Today and Thursday, investors and potential partners are to hear from 69 listed companies. They're developing therapies for a gamut of diseases, from rare genetic conditions to big killers such as heart disease and cancer.

    That's nearly double the 35 presenting companies in 2012. Read on...

  • Studies show connection between diet, cognitive function
  • We've all experienced a "gut feeling"-when we know deep down inside that something is true. That phenomenon and others, aptly describe what scientists have now demonstrated: that the gut and the brain are more closely connected than we once thought, and in fact the health of one can affect the other.

    Capitalizing on this relatively new scientific concept, Ai-Ling Lin, and her colleagues at the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, have published two studies that demonstrate the effect of diet on cognitive health in animals.

    The first, in Scientific Reports, demonstrated that neurovascular function improved in mice who followed a Ketogenic Diet regimen.

    "Neurovascular integrity, including cerebral blood flow and blood-brain barrier function, plays a major role in cognitive ability," Lin said. "Recent science has suggested that neurovascular integrity might be regulated by the bacteria in the gut, so we set out to see whether the Ketogenic Diet enhanced brain vascular function and reduced neurodegeneration risk in young healthy mice." Read on...

  • Newly discovered aspects of fragile X spur next wave of drugs
  • Many drugs for fragile X syndrome have been tested in large clinical trials, but none have proven effective. But candidates that target newly uncovered aspects of the condition are showing promise.

    Fragile X syndrome typically results from mutations in the gene FMR1. It is characterized by intellectual disability, hyperactivity, seizures and - in one in three cases - autism. The mutations lead to a loss of FMRP, the protein FMR1 encodes.

    According to the leading theory about fragile X, FMRP represses protein production at synapses, the junctions between neurons. And so loss of the protein leads to a buildup of proteins at synapses, causing them to malfunction. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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

    I have a freshman son who will be having a transition plan IEP soon to discuss high school, and post high plan vocational/education objectives.

    I am looking for parents that can give an overview of what this process entails with do's and don'ts, or whoulda, shoulda, coulda's. What do we need to know to as parents to guide our teens yet still advocate and work with the school for the best outcomes and objectives. I know a few other parents with freshman and we are all at different high schools looking for support and guidance in this education process. Any help and resources are appreciated. Thank you so much!

    I have a three-year old son with ASD. We toured a preschool today that's part of SD Unified that is not a good option for him. Does anyone have any recommendations for the best preschool programs for children with ASD? We are more than willing to relocate to a different school district, including Del Mar, Solana Beach, etc. All referrals are greatly appreciated! 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.

  • 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

  • NFAR Mom's Group - Wednesday, October 17
  • 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    **NEW LOCATION** Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad.
    Dinner is provided

    These meetings are for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet the 3rd Wednesday of the month for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    September Topic: From Surviving to Thriving - Strategies to Reduce Stress, Beat Burnout and Create an Environment Where Everyone Thrives"

    We will discuss the importance of having a stress-management strategy, particularly for parents of children on the spectrum. We'll also look at the purpose of stress, some of it's benefits (yes, there are some!), as well as discuss tools that can be used in reducing stress and restoring calm.

    Guest Speaker: Nicole Diaz

    Nicole Diaz is a former Software Executive turned Life & Eques Coach. She's also a homeschooling mom to two boys, one of whom is on the Autism spectrum. Nicole's journey to becoming a life coach began with her son's Autism diagnosis at age 5.

    In addition to receiving her Life Coach certification from Dr. Martha Beck, Nicole has received extensive training from world-renowned horse whisperer Koelle Simpson. Through her Equus work, she offers individuals the unique opportunity to work with horses in exploring non-verbal communication, relationships and leadership. She is passionate about helping her clients reduce stress & cultivate calm, while channeling their innate creativity to create life systems that work.

  • 2018 Love & Autism Conference
  • October 13-14th, 2018
    9:00AM - 4:30PM
    Liberty Station Conference Center, San Diego, CA

    When we started this conference 5 years ago, it was a small, local conference with the belief that everyone deserves the highest quality relationship possible. There was, and still is, a devastating and pervasive myth that autistic people are not interested in creating meaningful relationships, nor capable of love. We know every human being needs love and human connection.

    Today, Love & Autism is so much more than our original vision. Our mission grew along the way. We are creating a world where autistic people are valued and worthy.

    • 100% autistic representation on main stage
    • 15 main stage presenters, 4 main stage performers & 15+ breakout sessions
    • 4 unique conference tracks including conference track for young autistic self-advocates 12+
    • Accommodations designed to create safe autistic space throughout the entire conference experience
    • Music, art, special events, and more!
    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!!

  • Mosaic Tile Art Classes for Special Needs Students
  • To RSVP for these classes please email

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

    theNAT has some special activities planned for our families - including a sensory-friendly 2D film.

    theNat offers our participants FREE admission for ASD Mornings until 9:45 AM.

    Sign Up

  • Pumpkin Patch at Konyn Dairy Farm
  • Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 9 AM - 11 AM
    16111 Old Milky Way, Escondido, CA 92027-7102

    We are excited to announce our ATPF Food, Farming and Nutrition Program is partnering with Konyn Dairy Farm in Escondido for a fun Pumpkin Patch tour for our ATPF Families! Come and join us for the opportunity to visit the Konyn kid's pumpkin patch, where you can explore the farm, play in the commodities bin, and hand pick a personal, cannon ball-sized pumpkin. Larger and special varieties of pumpkins will also be available for purchase.

    First come first serve RSVP contact or call 619-222-4465

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • The Music Therapy Center of CA Exciting October Events!
  • We are welcoming in October with a variety of new exciting events and opportunities! Now that the back to school flurry is starting to settle, we're looking forward to enjoying lots of music making this month - everything from Jam Sessions to Songbirds, Rock Star Club to the annual Autism Speaks Walk.

    Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info on these programs and more!!!

  • Now Enrolling: Oct-Dec North County Social Clubs!
  • SIGN UP DEADLINE IS 10/12/18!!!

    SIGN UP: or call 858-428-0222.

  • Now Enrolling: Oct-Dec Central San Diego Social Clubs!
  • SIGN UP DEADLINE IS 10/12/18!!!

    SIGN UP: or call 858-428-0222.

  • Now Enrolling: Oct-Dec Teen San Diego Social Club!
  • SIGN UP DEADLINE IS 10/12/18!!!

    SIGN UP: or call 858-428-0222.

  • "Autism Through the Lifespan" Monthly Parent Support and Information Meetings
  • October 2018 - May 2019
    PLNU Graduate Education
    4007 Camino Del Rio South - Fourth Floor
    San Diego, CA 92108

    Please join other parents, caregivers and professionals at the following monthly informational and support group meetings in Mission Valley. These meetings will discuss the various aspects of autism through the lifespan. Each meeting will feature an expert speaker and an ASA parent mentor. This is a time for you to meet other parents, ask questions and network.
    The meetings are free and open to all. See the flyer for all the info!!!

  • MCCS Trunk or Treat Halloween Celebration!

  • My Special Needs Connection October Newsletter - Ask an Advocate
  • October Newsletter

    Ask An Advocate!

    Learn how it can help your child! Click here for all the info!!!

  • The Beginners' Guide to Special Needs Planning
  • Thursday, October 18, 2018
    6:30 to 8:00 PM
    Lawrence Family JCC
    4216 Executive Drive
    La Jolla, CA 92037

    RSVP by 10/15 to or call 760-334.3199.

    (The Special Needs Planning Institute
    a 501(c)(3) non-profit created to educate and advocate for the individual with special needs, the family and community by providing for their current and future care, security , and quality of life.)

  • 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.

  • 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.