Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. November 15, 2019

In This Issue

Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

Molecular signature may lead to blood test for autism

Too often, neurodiverse hiring efforts overlook female job seekers

Autistic children disproportionately affected by chronic pain

Online Matching Service Pairs Adult Roommates With Developmental Disabilities

14 Tips to Help All Kids Learn to Manage Anxiety

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker - Special Needs Resource Foundation Annual Fundraiser!!

11th Annual ATPF USD Winter Wonderland

Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!

Therapeutic Recreation Services - Winter Calendar 2019

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

CONNECTIONS Benefit Performance December 14th

Sensory Santa at Westfield North County

First Inclusive Day for the Frosty Farm!

5th Annual DPR Santa Photo Shoot

Leading The Charge - Collaborating for Effective Services 2019

Autism Speaks: Sensory-Friendly Santa 2019

Autism Through the Lifespan

On Our Way to Phase III


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  • Molecular signature may lead to blood test for autism
  • Researchers have identified a distinctive pattern of gene expression in the white blood cells of young autistic boys.

    The discovery has not yet been validated in children whose autism status is unknown, but if confirmed, it could pave the way for a blood test for the condition.

    The genes in this molecular signature are involved in the maturation and growth of cells in the brain. And the degree of the differences in an autistic child's blood compared with controls seems to track with the severity of the child's autism. Read on...

  • Too often, neurodiverse hiring efforts overlook female job seekers
  • As an openly autistic lawyer, I'm one of the lucky ones. Too many disabled women like me are skipped over for job opportunities.

    The first time I heard the Shirley Chisholm quote "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair" was through the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, a voluntary bar association specifically for women lawyers and our allies within the profession. It rang true to me, especially later, as our chapter president talked about disability inclusion as something we would work on during the upcoming year. When I heard those words in terms of disability inclusion, I was one of a very small number of female lawyers or law students at the event who had visible disabilities or was open about their diagnosis.

    Disability is nothing new to me. I was diagnosed with autism early in childhood. One in four Americans has a disability-either from birth (like me) or acquired later in life. I'm proudly and openly autistic. Despite the fact that autism is a fairly common developmental disability (it affects one in every 59 children in the United States), autistic people have the highest rate of unemployment across all disabilities, according to research from Drexel University. Read on...

  • Autistic children disproportionately affected by chronic pain
  • Children with autism are about twice as likely as their typical peers to experience chronic or repeated pain, according to a large study. Those with co-occurring developmental conditions, such as epilepsy or intellectual disability, are even more likely to have chronic pain1.

    Several studies have suggested that people with autism may experience pain differently than neurotypical people do. Their pain may also be compounded by the sensory sensitivities and gastrointestinal problems frequently associated with autism. But the topic remains understudied, experts say.

    The new study reveals that pain is "a really common experience for kids with autism," says study investigator Danielle Shapiro, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "They're experiencing physical pain, even though it's not typically thought of as a core feature of [autism]." Read on...

  • Online Matching Service Pairs Adult Roommates With Developmental Disabilities
  • One of the biggest fears for parents of adults with disabilities is what will happen to their loved ones when caregivers die.

    "Living at home isn't going to work forever," said Pam Blanton, founder of Partners4Housing, a Seattle company that helps people with disabilities live more independently.

    More than 70 percent of young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or 3.6 million people, live with a caretaker who is a family member. In one in four of those living arrangements, the caregiver is older than 60, according to a 2017 University of Colorado study. Read on...

  • 14 Tips to Help All Kids Learn to Manage Anxiety
  • We help our kids learn math, science, history, and how to prepare for things like tests and fire drills, etc. But for some reason we don't proactively teach them strategies to understand and manage the anxieties that are an inevitable part of life. In fact, many of us simply avoid talking about our anxieties until they can't be ignored, when they settle deep inside our thoughts, make our heart race, or make our gut ache. Let's face it, anxiety has a bad reputation.

    But anxiety exists within all of us for a reason-it can serve as a warning signal that something is pulling us out of our comfort zone. Anxiety is felt inside our body and brain and is often invisible to everyone else. We each experience a unique range of anxieties (workload anxiety, social anxiety, fear of tests, fear of new learning, etc.), and the way our body and mind experience anxieties can be unique for each of us as well. Whether we are children, adolescents, or working our way through adulthood, we may not recognize that some of the behaviors we exhibit to others (e.g., impulsivity, refusal to participate, etc.) or behaviors we sense within ourselves are the result of anxieties. It can be hard to manage our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors when we feel anxious. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • Do you receive SSI? Don't miss out on food benefits!
    Beginning June 2019, many Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will become eligible for CalFresh Food Benefits.

    There is NO CHANGE or reduction to SSI/SSP amounts. For more information Click, Call or Come in to your county office to apply and find out more.

    Click to apply online
    Call 1-877-847-3663 (FOOD)
    Come in/find an office at

    San Diego Futures - I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of this organization because it can be a helpful resource to families in need of computers and other technology who may not have the resources they need to secure technology for their homes. If anyone needs a laptop or desktop and cannot afford one, please consider reaching out to this group. Desktops and laptops are available at VERY low prices for eligible families.

    I am looking for a baby sitter for our 10 year old non verbal son who has autism. He is a very outdoorsy person who loves to swim. Bike ride, hike and go to the park.
    Please let me know if you have any resources.

    I am looking for a reliable and professional babysitter for my son who was just diagnosed with mild ASD.
    Any help will be appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Natalie von Herrath

    My 21-year-old autistic daughter has OCD-like behaviors such as slamming doors, stealing, obsessive eating/drinking, twitching, yelling, etc. We have tried different medications and supplements but nothing seems to work. Does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks.
    Maya Hu-Chan

    Looking for a peer support/tutor/communication partner in the classroom three days a week for a high school freshman. Must be able to be employed in the US. English must be your first language. Experience with AAC/AT a must. Salary is based on experience. For more information email

    Has anyone had experience with Microcurrent Therapy to treat Autism-related behaviors such as OCD, anxiety, sensory processing, or hyper-activity? How effective is it? What changes have you seen? I am considering it for my 21-year-old autistic daughter. I would greatly appreciate it if you could share your experiences with me. Thank you.

    Our son recently got diagnosed with Autism and we are currently trying to setup RESPITE services for him.

    We were approved for 8hrs of RESPITE per month. We selected "24HourHomeCare" as our RESPITE agency. The agency mentioned that they don't have care givers available at this point and we were asked if we knew anyone that can join 24HourHomeCare.

    Can you please help us find caregivers specialized in Autism and someone that can provide us RESPITE services.
    Thanks, Kalyani.

    I'm looking for recommendations of a psychologist or psychiatrist experienced in working with adults with autism. My 32 yr. old son has recently developed anxiety and signs of hypochondriasis. Has anyone had experience with someone they would recommend or not recommend? Any help is greatly appreciated. Sharon

    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.

  • Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker - Special Needs Resource Foundation Annual Fundraiser!!
  • Friday, December 20, 2019, 7pm
    UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas
    7510 Hazard Center Drive #100
    San Diego, CA 92108
    Tickets start at $40

    A very special event will be taking place December 20, 7pm at the UltraStar Cinemas Hazard Center in Mission Valley OPENING NIGHT weekend for the much anticipated Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker!

    The festivities begin at 5:30 pm; theater seating begins at 6:30 pm. Your ticket includes the pre-show fun! Create a TIE fighter galaxy canvas at our craft tables, take your family photo with a FULL FORCE of Star Wars characters, win Star Wars character sketch by DC Artist Alex Sinclair and so much more!

    Then sit back and enjoy the opening weekend viewing of the much-anticipated sequel, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

    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. The 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.

    Click here for all the info and to purchase your tickets!!!

    Click here to view the final trailer for the movie!!!

  • 11th Annual ATPF USD Winter Wonderland
  • Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 4 PM - 7 PM
    University of San Diego
    5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, California 92110

    Want to RSVP for your family? Sign up here:

    We will be hosting our Annual Cookie Exchange Contest during the event! To enter into the contest, please bring 2 dozen of your favorite holiday treats (cookies, brownies, etc) to share. Top 3 winners get a special prize from ATPF!

  • Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!
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    Wondering if your child might benefit from joining a group? Give us a call at 858-558-9552 to schedule a free consultation.

    Social Communication Specialists
    5703 Oberlin Dr., Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121
    (858) 558-9552

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services - Winter Calendar 2019
  • Here is the TRS Newsletter for Winter of 2019.

    First day of registration is Saturday, November 16th at 10:00 a.m.

    You may register online or at our office at the War Memorial Building (3325 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92101). If you plan on paying at the office, please remember we no longer take cash as a payment.

    If you have any questions, please contact the office at (619) 525-8247.

  • RDI and MORE at 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

  • CONNECTIONS Benefit Performance December 14th
  • We're very excited to announce our upcoming annual fundraiser and benefit performance, which will be held on Saturday, December 14th at 2:00 p.m. at the National Comedy Theatre.

    The event will feature a pre-show reception, followed by a performance featuring the students from CONNECTIONS. Last year's event was absolutely amazing, and we are so proud to be able to present our students on stage again this year.

    Tickets are $45 and are available at Your tax-deductible ticket purchase will go to support our CONNECTIONS program, which is designed for kids and teens on the Autism Spectrum.

    We are also seeking in-kind or financial sponsorship for the event. If you are interested in donating an item for our silent auction or sponsoring any part of the event, please let us know at:

    We hope to see you on December 14th!

  • Sensory Santa at Westfield North County
  • Saturday Dec 7 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
    Sunday Dec 8 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

    Families of individuals with special needs are invited to share in the time-honored tradition of visiting with Santa in a compassionate, sensory-friendly event created just for them in partnership with San Diego Children's Discovery Museum, Totally Thomas and Autism Society of San Diego. Families are encouraged to bring a camera and take lots of pictures!

    During this private event families will enjoy a quiet visit with Santa prior to regular business hours, supported by no overhead mall radio or audible music from nearby stores, no long lines, and low shopper traffic. In order to create a special experience for each family, event tickets are limited and each family must register in advance for a specific 15 min time slot. Each time slot is available to register for on a first come, first served basis. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • First Inclusive Day for the Frosty Farm!
  • The Autism Society San Diego is proud to have assisted the Helen Woodward Animal Center on their development of the first inclusive day for the Frosty Farm!

    There's no holiday stress here, Frosty Farm will have your whole family in good cheer! This festive event in San Diego combines hands-on animal interactions with family-friendly activities, which makes it the perfect place to create new memories.

    In addition to the activities that you can do at our own pace, you will also embark on an excursion that is led by a member of our cheerful crew; this includes encounters with a variety of animals, a holiday craft that is yours to keep (or gift!), and a personal meet and greet with Santa (during which you can snap your own photo & kids will receive a gift).

    December 1st is an inclusive day. This is open to the public, but please note that there may be accommodations present to support participants with special needs and our staff are committed to providing a judgment-free environment for guests and their families. Please contact us at (858) 756-4117 x 318 or with any questions.


  • 5th Annual DPR Santa Photo Shoot
  • Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 4 PM - 7:30 PM
    DPR Construction
    5010 Shoreham Pl, San Diego, California 92122

    DPR Construction is partnering with Autism Tree Project Foundation to provide the only Santa Portrait Night in San Diego designed for children with autism, and provided at no cost to families. This event is limited to 14 families. Each photo session shoot is 15 minutes. SIGN UP TODAY to get your family portrait with Santa!

    To reserve your 15 minute session, contact or call the office at (619) 222-4465!

  • Leading The Charge - Collaborating for Effective Services 2019
  • 6th Annual Leading the Charge - Collaborating for Effective Services One-Day Educational Event host by DDPN with lead sponsorship by San Diego Regional Center.

    Doubletree Hazard Center
    7450 Hazard Center Drive
    San Diego, CA 92108
    Wednesday, December 4, 2019 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

    This Year's Focus:
    Individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health challenges

    Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Autism Speaks: Sensory-Friendly Santa 2019
  • Can you believe that the holidays are right around the corner? Over 740 compassionate shopping destinations across the country (including 6 in San Diego County!) are hosting our autism-friendly Santa Experiences with the team at MyHolidayMoments. Find one near you and reserve your spot today! Hurry! Space is Limited!!!

    • Otay Ranch Town Center
    • Fashion Valley - Two Days
    • Chula Vista Center
    • Carlsbad Premium Outlets
    • The Shoppes at Carlsbad
    • Parkway Plaza
    Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Autism Through the Lifespan
  • Please RSVP for Spanish Translation support

    For further information, please contact:
    Carolyn Carterette, M.A. (619) 725-8080 email:
    Grace Fantaroni, Ed.D. (619) 563-2839 email

  • On Our Way to Phase III
  • We are eager and ready to see Phase II B of the Campus of Life (COL) begin construction and are on track to submit architectural drawings for Phase III by mid-December. Completion of Phase II B construction will provide the foundation on which TERI begins building a sustainable future for those we serve, their families, community, and many more around the world. This phase will allow our students, families, and the community to truly begin their Campus of Life experience.

    One of the major impacts will be the Vocational Center. This building, to be constructed beginning January 2020, will offer 57 additional one-hour classes per week for TERI's adult day students, and 465 more hours per week of rich learning opportunities for transforming our student's lives and capabilities. There will be 8,460 more square footage for programs. The Vocational Center and our organic farm will also result in greater sustainability from the below revenue-generating programs:

    • Expanded organic food production; a farm stand for selling organic food to the community
    • A retail shop with student handmade goods, gourmet products, and art
    • Food services via an outdoor patio and "grab-n-go" cafĂ©
    • A floral shop with classes and products for sale
    Phase II B is critically important in helping us achieve our goal of community integration and social connection for our students and community. Your continued support is vital to make it to the finish line; we are so close.

    Currently, we are $1.6M shy of the $8.4M needed to complete Phase II B. There isn't a better time for your dollars to make a more significant impact for all students at TERI.

    We can already envision corporations using the campus space for meetings, team builders, training sessions, and more. To see our students helping serve them food, setting up the area and recreating with their community is a positive step in changing the way the world views and helps children and adults touched by special needs. Cheryl Kilmer's ambitious project is a vision in motion, and families are counting on us to complete her vision.

    Will you help make this Phase and their dreams come true? Donate Today.

    TERI, Inc.
    251 Airport Rd
    Oceanside, CA 92058

  • ASD Mornings at the NAT
  • The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is pleased to offer a program for the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community: a once-a-month ASD Morning in which the Museum opens early for adults and children on the autism spectrum and their families, friends, and caregivers. This innovative program encourages individuals to explore, play, and discover the treasures The Nat has to offer in an environment that is comfortable for them.

    ASD Mornings take place the second Sunday of every month. The Museum will open at 9 AM*, one hour earlier than its standard 10 AM opening time, providing a quiet and less-crowded environment for visitors to explore the Museum's galleries at their own pace. In addition, on ASD Mornings the Museum will offer a "quiet room" from 9 AM to noon if visitors need a quiet space to decompress or desensitize. General admission rates apply during ASD Mornings.

  • 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

  • Everyone Deserves a Loving Home

  • Contact Lynn Scott for more information 619-954-7847 or

  • San Diego Park and Rec Program for the Disabled Fall Calendar

  • Click here for the Fall 2019 program calendar. Registration is open now!

    Registration can be done online at or at our office at the War Memorial Building (3325 Zoo Drive, San Diego, Ca 92101)

  • Learn About RDI in San Diego!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    9466 Black Mountain Road
    Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    Phone: (858) 689-2027

  • Learn About RDI in Carlsbad!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    5411 Avenida Encinas
    Suite 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    Phone: (760) 448-5837

  • TAG Temecula Info Session Online Webinar Every Month

  • For all the info and to RSVP please contact Emily Fattouh Program Coordinator at or call 858-689-2027.

  • Toddler MRI Study at SDSU

  • Our Center's research arm, the Brain Development Imaging Labs, is conducting a fascinating study looking at how young children's brains change as they get older. We are looking for kids (15 months to 5 years old) who are on the spectrum or who are suspected to have autism. Participants get a free assessment (plus assessment summary), free MRI scan, $150, AND a free picture of their brain! For more info or to sign up, please call us at 619-594-2500 or email us at Thank you!

  • Participate in SPARK at UCSD

  • UC San Diego's Autism Center of Excellence is seeking individuals diagnosed with ASD and their biological family members to participate in SPARK, the largest national genetics research project in US history! The SPARK study aims to gain a better understanding of the causes and potential treatments of autism by building a cohort of 50,000 diagnosed individuals to facilitate research on an unprecedented scale. There is NO cost to participate in the study and it can even be completed without leaving the house!

    What we do
    SPARK researchers extract genetic data through a saliva sample and analyze information collected from thousands of people with autism and their biological parents. UCSD and over 20 of the nation's leading medical schools are part of this effort.

    How to join*
    1. Sign up online at -- registration typically takes about 20 minutes. Using this link connects you to our site, which enables us to better follow up with you if you encounter any issues or have specific questions.
    2. Complete a few questionnaires online.
    3. Provide a saliva sample. A saliva collection kit will be sent directly to your home after registration. When you are done, simply mail it back in the prepaid mailer.

    Benefits of joining
    1. Individuals with autism will receive gift cards valued at up to a total of $50 for participation.
    2. SPARK hosts monthly webinars, featuring psychologists, researchers, or speakers from the autism community, that provide useful information for families and individuals with autism.
    3. If a genetic finding is discovered related to the cause of autism, results will be shared back with families.
    4. The information you provide may help others with ASD for generations to come!

    *Our site also offers the option for home appointments where a member of our SPARK team can come to your home and assist you in the registration process, collect the saliva samples, and mail them in for you! This is typically the preferred method for families as everything gets completed at once. Please note that we ask that both biological parents and individual diagnosed with ASD be present for these appointments. We can accommodate a variety of dates and times outside normal business hours on the weekdays or weekends -- whichever is most convenient for you and your family! Alternatively, we can also schedule in-clinic appointments at our office if that is preferred.

    You can visit our SPARK FAQ page for additional details. Please contact us via email at or via phone at 858-534-6906 if you would like to set up an appointment or if you have any questions!

  • Older Adults with Autism (40-75 yrs old) Needed for Study

  • We are looking for older adults with autism (40-75 yrs old) to be in our brain imaging study! Anyone with a diagnosis or suspects that she or he has autism is invited to reach out to us. Participants receive a free assessment, free MRI brain scan, and around $150! If you know anyone who might be interested in this, please have them email or call us at 619-594-0176. Thank you!

  • SDSU Center for Autism Brain Study Needs Volunteers!

  • The SDSU Center for Autism is conducting a behavioral and brain imaging study with youth (7-21 years old) on the spectrum. We are trying to understand how the brain changes as children become young adults. Participants get a free assessment, a free MRI scan, about $150, and a free picture of their brain! If you are interested, call us at 619-594-0176, or email us at Thank you!


    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.