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

In This Issue

Overlap in traits of autism, attention deficit persists into adulthood

At the intersection of autism and trauma

New Treatment May Help ASD Kids Struggling With Weight Gain

Dad With Autism Creates Autcraft, a Safe Minecraft Server for Those on the Spectrum

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!

NFAR Mom's Group - Wednesday, October 17

2018 Love & Autism Conference

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

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

Pumpkin Patch at Konyn Dairy Farm

Participate in Research!!! Can a Safe 'Fever' Help Autism Syptoms?

Halloween Dance Party with Kidz Rock Out!

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

MCCS Trunk or Treat Halloween Celebration!

15th Anniversary Race for Autism at Balboa Park!

NFAR Race for Autism, Justice League Special


  • Overlap in traits of autism, attention deficit persists into adulthood

  • Traits linked to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to co-occur even in adulthood, according to one of the first studies of the traits in that age group1.

    The results extend support for the idea that autism and ADHD are intrinsically linked - a notion that is largely based on studies of children.

    "Not much is known about the transition from later adolescence into adulthood with regard to autism and ADHD," says lead investigator Ralf Kuja-Halkola, a statistician at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Read on...

  • At the intersection of autism and trauma

  • Autism and post-traumatic stress disorder share many traits, but the connection between them was largely overlooked until now.

    Having autism can sometimes mean enduring a litany of traumatic events, starting from a young age. And for many, those events may add up to severe and persistent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    Before Gabriel could even talk, his father's girlfriend at the time told him his mother had abandoned him. At age 3, he was sexually abused by a cousin. He was mercilessly bullied once he started school, showed signs of depression by age 7 and by 11 began telling his mother he did not want to live. About three years ago, while at summer camp, he almost drowned. Shortly after that, he experienced life-threatening heatstroke when he went to get his Legos from the car trunk and accidentally locked himself in. Six months ago, just after his grandmother died, he attempted suicide.

    "He's been hurt and had so much disruption in his life that he's having problems realizing that he has stability now," says his mother, Kristina. (Kristina and Gabriel's last names have been withheld to protect the family's privacy.) "The world is chaotic and crazy for typically developed people. For him, it's overwhelming and confusing." Gabriel, now 13, started seeing a therapist about five years ago and last year was diagnosed with PTSD. Read on...

  • New Treatment May Help ASD Kids Struggling With Weight Gain
  • As many parents already know, medications for managing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can cause challenging side effects. For the common symptoms of irritability and agitation, only two drugs are FDA approved-risperidone and aripiprazole-and unfortunately both can cause intense food cravings that lead to weight gain.

    The drugs are effective at reducing tantrums and aggression, so they are critical for treatment. However, children as young as five years old are now starting on the regimen, meaning some will face a decades-long struggle against obesity. Fortunately, it now appears a medication long used to treat Type 2 diabetes may provide a solution. Read on...

  • Dad With Autism Creates Autcraft, a Safe Minecraft Server for Those on the Spectrum
  • When Stuart Duncan started Autcraft, a private Minecraft server for people on the autism spectrum, he had no idea it would become the community it is today. With more than 8,200 members, Autcraft lets children and adults on the autism spectrum play Minecraft in a judgment- and troll-free space.

    Autcraft started in 2013 after Duncan noticed parents of children on the spectrum were looking for safe spaces where their children could play the game. "It turned out that their children were being bullied on public servers because they behaved a little differently and were easily angered," Duncan, who goes by the username AutismFather, told The Mighty. "So, having a background in web development and a love for Minecraft, not to mention the fact that I have Asperger's myself and my oldest son has autism too, I decided to get my own server and give those people a safe place to play." 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!!

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • In Scripps Ranch!
    "My Time For Dinner" was created to give Parents a special time for themselves to enjoy an evening out to dinner.

    Please R.S.V.P. with your host Bene Raphael no later than Oct. 12th at or for any questions please call (760) 845-4551

  • 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!!!

  • Participate in Research!!! Can a Safe 'Fever' Help Autism Syptoms?
  • This pilot study will enroll 12 families with ASD children ages 6-16 years old in a controlled study, within the San Diego.

    If you are interested in participating in this pilot study please contact Frances Poteet at

    Participants who complete the entire study will receive a $20 Amazon gift card!

  • Halloween Dance Party with Kidz Rock Out!
  • Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 6 PM - 8 PM
    Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego
    4635 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, California 92117

    Join us for an ALL AGES Halloween Dance Party at the Boys & Girls Club! Tickets are $3 per participant, and parents are FREE! VIP tickets are also available. Come in costume if you wish, and help us celebrate Halloween while we dance the night away! When you go to the link to purchase tickets, if you don't want to buy the VIP option, simply scroll down to quantity. Once you have enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase, which will pull up the $3 ticket option. Get your tickets here!!!

  • "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!

  • 15th Anniversary Race for Autism at Balboa Park!
  • Saturday, April 6, 2019
    Balboa Park, San Diego

    Join us at the Race for Autism as we come together to celebrate 15 years of making a difference for those with autism in San Diego. It's going to be SUPER!

    Please note: This year's Race is the first weekend in April during Autism Awareness Month!

    PLUS: Don't miss out on our Family Friendly Pricing available through December 31st.

    Learn more or contact NFAR at 858-679-8800

  • NFAR Race for Autism, Justice League Special
  • Special Pricing Good Thru 12/31/18

    Attention Team Captains - here's a great way to form a team for the Race for Autism! Take advantage of our Justice League pricing package for the 15th anniversary!

    Justice League Special - $25 flat rate for 15 persons! This includes timing fees and larger T-shirt sizes.

    To apply or learn more, please contact us at 858-679-8800.

  • 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.