Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. October 12, 2018

In This Issue

Siblings of children with autism have social, emotional problems

Scientists pinpoint pathway that impacts features of autism

Air Travelers With Disabilities To Get 'Bill Of Rights'

Award-Winning Neuroscientist Is Looking to Diagnose Autism in a New Way That's Not Symptom-Based

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!

Trick or Treat in Mira Mesa Area!!!

2018 Love & Autism Conference - THIS WEEKEND!!!

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

NFAR Family Activity at theNAT THIS SUNDAY, Oct. 14th!

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

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

Halloween Dance Party with Kidz Rock Out!

IEP Evaluation Day in Rancho Bernardo, October 27th

Free Special Education Seminar in Santee, October 27th!

Participate in Research: Caregiver/Family Member Survey


15th Anniversary Race for Autism at Balboa Park!

NFAR Race for Autism, Justice League Special


  • Siblings of children with autism have social, emotional problems

  • Even typical siblings of children with autism tend to struggle with anxiety, depression and social difficulties, according to a large new analysis1.

    The findings provide the most robust evidence to date that these siblings have problems, too, says lead author Carolyn Shivers, assistant professor of human development at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. "We've found evidence now from nearly 70 studies that says there is actually something going on there."

    The findings jibe with the 'broad autism phenotype' theory, which posits that family members of autistic children share some traits of the condition. Read on...

  • Scientists pinpoint pathway that impacts features of autism
  • A team of scientists at Florida Atlantic University has uncovered a brain-signaling pathway that can be pharmacologically manipulated in genetically engineered mice to reverse an autism-related pathway. Using an investigational drug targeting this pathway, the researchers normalized the disrupted physiology and behavior of these mice. Moreover, effects were seen in adult mice, suggesting a possible route to medication development for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications that improve the core symptoms of ASD. Findings from this study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggest a novel approach to treating this disorder in some people by targeting an enzyme normally associated with stress and inflammation.

    The study was based on decades of research by the team on serotonin, a mood-regulating molecule in the brain that regulates many brain synapses-the gaps between nerve cells where signals are sent and received. The supply of serotonin is tightly regulated by a protein called the serotonin transporter (SERT), which sweeps away serotonin from synapses to limit its action. Shifts in the transporter's activity can have significant consequences on the ability of serotonin to act in the brain. Read on...

  • Air Travelers With Disabilities To Get 'Bill Of Rights'
  • A bill of rights for airline passengers with disabilities and enhanced disability training for Transportation Security Administration officers, among other changes, are on the way under a new federal law.

    President Donald Trump signed legislation late last week to reauthorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration for five years. Contained within that package are an increase in civil penalties for bodily harm to passengers with disabilities or damage to wheelchairs and mobility aids, creation of an advisory committee to recommend consumer protection improvements and the development of an "Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights."

    "I think it's a very good message to the Department of Transportation and the airline industry that Congress is very concerned about air travel for passengers with disabilities," said Heather Ansley, associate executive director of government relations for Paralyzed Veterans of America. "We have a lot of good opportunities in here to reconsider regulations, get out education and get the department to have regular conversations about passengers with disabilities." Read on...

  • Award-Winning Neuroscientist Is Looking to Diagnose Autism in a New Way That's Not Symptom-Based
  • Aditi Shankardass, award-winning neuroscientist, questions why we use physical symptoms to diagnose neurological problems. This, she believes, gives us a limited and fragmented picture of what's really going on. "If it is a brain disorder, surely we need to look at the brain," she observes.

    Dr. Shankardass sought out a team of scientists at Harvard who were doing something new. Their technology involved a head-cap that recorded the electric activity of the brain in real time so the researchers could see exactly what functions the brain excelled at and had trouble with, allowing a more accurate neurological diagnosis rather than a behavior-based diagnosis. 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!!

    My family & I are relocating to San Diego in November for my husband's new job in Sorrento Valley. We have two boys aged 8(2nd grade) & 10(5th grade) who have high functioning autism. Academically they are on par, but have the behavioral/social issues. We are trying to figure out what the best school district would be for our boys in terms of in-school programs. We currently live in North LA county (the Santa Clarita area). They are in a SDC for high functioning autism & they have programs that go all the way through high school. Some of the places we are looking to buy in are Rancho Bernardo (Westwood), South Carlsbad, Rancho Peñasquitos, Scripps Ranch. I know that is all over the place but we'd like to stay in north county and are open to any other suggestions. Schooling for the boys is most important in our move. I would love any input. Not just for elementary schools but beyond. We are open to charter schools as well if you know of any that would suit their criteria.

    I hear so many opposing opinions as to which are the best and the worst districts. So hard to navigate and I am feeling lost:( I would really appreciate any guidance.
    Thank you in advance,

    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

  • Trick or Treat in Mira Mesa Area!!!
  • Center for Thoughtful Lasting Change and TERI Crimson Center for Speech and Language are hosting a Halloween Trick or Treat event for you and your family!

    Saturday, October 27th at 1pm to 4pm
    9606 Tierra Grande St.
    San Diego, CA 92129

    --Bring the entire family and wear your best costumes --Children can practice social skills such as greetings, knocking on doors, and conversation skills --Children can run through the trick-or-treat routine in a safe, familiar environment --We will be dressing up, but not excessively scary --We will have different treat options for those with special diets --This is a free event but there will be snacks available for purchase

  • 2018 Love & Autism Conference - THIS WEEKEND!!!
  • 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 THIS 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

  • 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.

    Proceeds from this event will benefit the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego. The mission of SNRFSD is to help parents and advocates in the special needs community to overcome challenges of the family's journey by bringing together people, information and resources in the resource guide called Flourishing Families. Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). All donations are 100% tax exempt for federal income tax purposes. Tax ID #46-4543603

    Buy your OPENING NIGHT tickets today - before everyone else!

  • 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!!!

  • IEP Evaluation Day in Rancho Bernardo, October 27th
  • Thomas S. Nelson, Esq.
    The Special Education Advocacy & Law Firm of Thomas S. Nelson
    16466 Bernardo Center Drive, Suite 106
    San Diego, California 92128
    Tel: (858) 945-6621

    RSVP Required: 858-945-6621 or

  • Free Special Education Seminar in Santee, October 27th!
  • Please join Andrea Katz, Ed.D. and Andrea Bazer, M.Ed. to:
    -Share your experiences with other East County Parents
    -Become an empowered parent advocate
    -Get feedback to your questions with one on one time with an advocate

    Saturday, October 27, 2018
    10:30 A.M. - 1:30 P.M.
    10:30-11:15 Group Informational Presentation
    11:15- Specifics of your child's IEP

    Bring your child's IEP to:
    7467 Mission Gorge Road, Santee, CA
    Inside the clubhouse, ample parking spaces

    Please register by contacting, Andrea Bazer at or online at

  • Participate in Research: Caregiver/Family Member Survey
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    My name is Richie Sapp. My twin brother, Mikey, has been attending the TERI day program for several years now. I am a third-year medical student (MS3) at Stanford School of Medicine where I am currently taking a research year to focus my efforts in medical education, specifically to improve patient care for individuals with disabilities. I am creating an elective course for medical students/PA students for Winter Quarter 2018/19 and I could use your help.

    Please consider completing this first survey and if your son/daughter would like to complete the second survey on their own, I would welcome that too.

    1) This survey is for parents/caregivers of individuals with disabilities. Caregiver/Family Member Survey, which will help me with what content to put together for the course. Please feel free to share the survey with anyone who might be interested in sharing their experiences. Here is the link:

    2) Additionally, if you know anyone with a disability who would like to speak about their own experiences, there is a separate survey for individuals with disabilities. The link is below:

    Thank you so much for all your support!

    Please email me if you have any questions.

    Thank you,
    Richie Sapp

  • Celebrate at BEERS & CHEERS FOR AUTISM
  • Thursday, November 01, 2018
    Time 5:00 PM
    Mike Hess North Park, 3812 Grim Ave, San Diego
    Cost: $35

    Lincoln, Gustafson & Cercos Law proudly present the 5th Annual Beers and Cheers for Autism benefiting Autism Society San Diego. Join us for a relaxing evening out at Mike Hess Brewery North Park and help us raise money for our recreational programs.

    Your ticket includes:

    • 4 Beer Tastings
    • Dinner from Born in Brooklyn Food Truck
    • Hess Souvenir Beer Glass
    • Dessert Courtesy of Alicias Delicias and Little Hunny Cakery
    • Silent Auction Filled with a Variety of Fun Items
    All proceeds benefit Autism Society San Diego. Click here to purchase your tickets!!!

  • 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.

  • "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!!!

  • 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.