Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. November 27, 2018

In This Issue

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Navigating The Holidays With Special Needs

What can we Learn from Studying Severe Autism?

Extreme Male Brain Theory of Autism Confirmed in Major New Study

Valuable Ways You Can Talk About Autism to Your Child's Classmates

A Social Learning Challenge is a Social Executive Functioning Challenge

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

In Carlsbad: Therapeutic Approach to Growth (TAG) Speech Therapy

Building Bridges: Science & Community Forum

15th Anniversary Race for Autism at Balboa Park, April 6, 2019!

Home Depot Menorah Workshop for Persons with Disabilities

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

Launch Party and Open House for Beacons

Bobcat Buddies December 2nd!!!

La Jolla Love Tennis

Farmers Insurance Open Tickets only $35! - Proceeds Benefit NFAR!

Feel Like Yourself Again: The Self-Care Program for Moms...

Good Dog Autism Companions Now Accepting Applications for Facility Dog

City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services Program

Benefit Show for Unscripted Learning

Leading The Charge - Collaborating for Effective Services 2018


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  • Navigating The Holidays With Special Needs
  • I am tired.

    Really tired.

    Not so much from a lack of sleep, although I am that kind of tired too.

    No, I am more weary, soul tired. My limbs feel heavy as I move through my days, and find I need to tell myself to pay attention when someone is talking.

    It's December. I love Christmas. LOVE it. I don't want to be this tired.

    My favorite childhood memories are of Christmas time. Not the gifts, but the traditions, the "special-ness" of it all.

    And the "special-ness" of it all is what is most difficult for my son. Read on...

  • What can we Learn from Studying Severe Autism?
  • Research into autism has risen rapidly in recent decades, along with the autism rate itself. But has one group been left behind?

    Yes, according to some researchers. In a recent editorial, Dr. Matthew Siegel, a child psychiatrist and researcher, says that research into people severely affected by the condition has declined.1 This group includes people who have few spoken words, have intellectual disability, or have challenging behaviors. These youth have a form of autism that resembles the condition originally described in 1943, in a landmark article by psychiatrist Leo Kanner.

    Dr. Siegel is not alone in his assessment. Older children who speak few words make up the "neglected end of the spectrum," according to other autism experts. Little is known about them because they have been left out of many research studies, those experts contend. Read on...

  • Extreme Male Brain Theory of Autism Confirmed in Major New Study

    Two long-standing psychological theories-the empathising-systemising theory of sex differences and the extreme male brain theory of autism-have been confirmed by our new study, the largest of its kind to date. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used data on almost 700,000 people in the U.K. to test the theories.

    The first theory, known as the empathising-systemising theory of typical sex differences, posits that, on average, females will score higher on tests of empathy than males, and that, on average, males will score higher on tests of systemising than females.

    Empathy is the drive to recognise another person's state of mind and to respond to another person's state of mind with an appropriate emotion. Systemising is the drive to analyse or build a system where a system is defined as anything that follows rules or patterns. Read on...

  • Valuable Ways You Can Talk About Autism to Your Child's Classmates
  • My son entered first grade at a brand new school. As parents, we decided that we wanted the other kids in his class to know about his diagnosis of autism. There were several reasons that we decided to do this. We were hoping that this would create an environment where he would be accepted for his differences, rather than being labeled as the kid who is different. My son has very good verbal skills and can speak in full sentences. However, he has difficulty with social interactions, such as knowing what topics of conversations to talk about.

    For example, he might ask another child "How old are you going to be when I'm seven?" He also has some sensory challenges, such as, he doesn't like loud clapping. This resulted in him yelling at the parents of the other children during his kindergarten graduation. There are times at the park where these challenges might deter other children from continuing to interact with him. When he was playing in the sandbox one day when a bee came by, and as soon as he saw it, he jumped up and began screaming. Read on...

  • A Social Learning Challenge is a Social Executive Functioning Challenge
  • A classic example of a person with a social learning challenge is Jason. He is in 4th grade, has excellent language skills, and amazing abilities to learn information about his topics interest (i.e., history, math). He enjoys learning factual information and excels in fact-based academic tasks. However, he struggles to focus his attention in a mainstream classroom, participate as part of a group, explain his ideas to others in writing, filter unwanted opinions, and make friends. Learning facts is easy for Jason, but editing papers, organizing materials, and adapting to another's opinion is not. He prefers talking to adults rather than peers because adults tend to want to discuss his areas of interest. If no adults are available, then he goes to the library. While his teacher is impressed by his knowledge in certain areas, she is mystified by his difficulties at school given his superior performance on standardized academic testing. His mother describes him as "bright but clueless."

    Social Thinking® and Social Learning Challenges Social thinking refers to our innate ability to think through and apply information to succeed in situations that require social knowledge. It is a key component in learning concepts and integrating information across a variety of settings and it's what we do to SHARE SPACE EFFECTIVELY with others, whether we are talking to them or not. If an individual has limited abilities for learning and/or applying socially relevant information, he or she is considered to have a social learning challenge. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • I am writing this ad for the amazing family of caregivers who have worked for us for the past six years, caring for my father until his death, and then my severely autistic, non-verbal sister and our mother, both, until they both recently passed away. The caretaker is a licensed CNA, super responsible, kind and personable. He is young and strong, and has experience working with the elderly, those with autism, the physically disabled, and those in a hospice type situation. He has an outstanding work ethic, and cared for our family members regularly during the night as well as the day. He is completely reliable in ordering and dispensing meds. He did extensive "diaper duty" and showering / bathing for incontinent family members with never any complaints. He has a wife who is as sweet as he is, and two young children, and they all lived in with first my father and then my mother (divorced). This would be optional, though it was a great thing, as his wife was the relief caretaker. I would be happy to talk on the phone or in person further about our experiences with this family, their compensation, or anything else. The caretaker has a car and valid driver's license, speaks good English, and is a recently naturalized US citizen. They are willing to relocate. Daria or 619-788-2042

    Does your child or young adult have IHSS hours? I have an amazing person who is working with my 22 year old daughter and is looking to take on new clients. She's been great at teaching life skills, cooking, hygiene and can also help with things like organizing schoolwork, mentoring etc. She is also available for work private pay as well. Please spread the word if you know anyone who needs this type of service for teens/young adults ­čśŐContact me for details Debra Berl 619 672-8893

    We hired an advocate this summer for our middle schooler, but feel that it is a lot of money for what we are getting. We just would like someone who would answer questions we can have once in a while, but in an immediate way because sometimes it's urgent...does anyone know of someone/somewhere we can get those kind of services? 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.

  • In Carlsbad: Therapeutic Approach to Growth (TAG) Speech Therapy
  • Are you looking for speech therapy services and haven't found the right fit? Therapeutic Approach to Growth (TAG) in Carlsbad has an excellent new SLPA who we'd love for you to meet!

    Currently Jordan still has some openings in her schedule but she is filling up fast! Reach out to us to schedule with Jordan if you need speech therapy services and you are available to come in on:

    Mondays between 10:00AM and 1:00PM
    Tuesdays between 10:00AM and 2:00PM
    Thursdays between 9:00AM and 2:00PM
    Fridays before 2:00PM

    Send us an email at to inquire about our speech therapy services and get to know Jordan! We hope to hear from you soon!

    Therapeutic Approach to Growth (TAG)
    5411 Avenida Encinas
    Suite 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    (760) 448-5837

  • Building Bridges: Science & Community Forum
  • Fri, November 30, 2018
    5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    San Diego State University
    Storm Hall Lecture Hall 12 and West Patio
    5550 Campanile Dr
    San Diego, CA 92182

    We are proud to announce the inaugural Building Bridges: Science & Community Forum event which will mark the official opening of the SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders! The Center was founded to provide a unique combination of cutting-edge research, accessible clinical services, hands-on training for young professionals, and community engagement and public education for San Diego's autism community. We hope you all can join us for this free community forum!

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

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

    Join over 7,000 San Diegans 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

    If you are a service provider you may be interested in having a booth at the Race for Autism's Resource Fair. One of San Diego's largest autism community events!! Please contact Juan and Sharon Leon at (858) 679-8800!!

  • Home Depot Menorah Workshop for Persons with Disabilities
  • RSVP required!!! Please call 858.487.4879 or email

  • Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment
  • Comprehensive autism treatment. Built on neuroscience. Delivered with compassion.

    The Cortica Care Model is the culmination of Dr. Suzanne Goh's research experience and clinical practice. This innovative approach combines optimal biomedical treatment with the most effective strategies for advancing cognition, communication, and behavior. Through the program, children achieve more meaningful social interaction, greater capacity for self-regulation, enhanced cognitive function, and improved overall health across all body systems. Over months and years, the treatment program evolves to match a child's new skills and abilities, making possible meaningful progress toward independent living, social relationships, occupation, and recreation.

    The Cortica Care Model:

    • Neurophysiology
    • Family and Home
    • Biochemistry
    • Cognition and Behavior
    • Sensorimotor Integration
    • Communication
    Together, we clarify the complex, celebrate extraordinary efforts, and witness moments of brilliance as our children grow new skills and abilities. Many of our services are covered by medical insurance plans. Contact us for all the info!!!

    Cortica Care
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121
    16800 Aston, Suite 175
    Irvine, CA 92606
    21515 Hawthorne Boulevard
    Torrance, CA 90503

  • Launch Party and Open House for Beacons
  • Beacons North County
    6150 Yarrow Dr., Suite E
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    7:00 to 8:30
    Friday, November 30th

    Come and meet our Leadership and Volunteers and see our new offices and convenient location. Learn more about Beacons, our mission, vision, services and programs for adults with disabilities in North County!

    Click here to RSVP!!!

  • Bobcat Buddies December 2nd!!!
  • Sun, December 2, 2018
    2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    Big Fly Athletics
    1370 West San Marcos Boulevard
    San Marcos, CA 92078

    Sage Creek High School students involved in Bobcat Buddies will be paired with a child with autism or other disabilities. For this event, they will play soccer together in a safe and fun environment. This is our first event of the year and we can't be more excited!

    Click here for all the info and to register for this FREE activity!!!

  • La Jolla Love Tennis
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    Learn to play tennis and form a team for kids with developmental disabilities 7-13. Led by an autism family!

    Saturday, December 1st, at 1:30pm La Jolla tennis courts on Draper.

    Cost : FREE
    Learn to have fun , social skills and independence with a tennis team !!!

    Please contact with any interest at or text 858-699-2300

  • Farmers Insurance Open Tickets only $35! - Proceeds Benefit NFAR!
  • Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity to purchase Farmer's Insurance Open, January 23 - 27! Last year, we sold out of tickets, so don't wait.

    Tickets for the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines can be purchased through NFAR for $35 each and mailed to you.

    ADVANTAGES: These tickets provide the same access to the Tournament as the $50 tickets! NFAR tickets are good for any one day during the tournament, January 23 - 27. And, every ticket purchased through NFAR supports autism! ($25 goes back to NFAR).

    To learn more, or to purchase tickets, please contact NFAR at (858) 679-8800.

  • Feel Like Yourself Again: The Self-Care Program for Moms...
  • Do you know you need to take better care of yourself, but it's bedtime by the time you actually even think of it or have the time? This is your chance to create and put into action a simple self-care routine for free.

    Taking care of yourself is important for everyone, and it's ESPECIALLY important for you since you take care of others, too. You are only at your best when YOUR cup is full first. You know you'll be happier, healthier, and a more patient wife and mother when you take care of you first.

    Led by Sarah Nissen. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Good Dog Autism Companions Now Accepting Applications for Facility Dog
  • Facility Dog Program

    A Good Dog! Facility Dog is an autism service dog that lives and works with its autism service provider/handler (like a Speech Therapist, an OT, or even a School Principal). The handler is a professional who utilizes the dog to help people with autism meet their goals during either therapy sessions or school days. The service provider must work primarily with children with autism and can be an Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Recreational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Special Education Teacher, or Autism Therapist.

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

  • City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services Program
  • 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.

    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.

    Click here to view their 2018-2019 newsletter and calendar of events!!!

  • Benefit Show for Unscripted Learning
  • Saturday, December 8, 2018
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
    National Comedy Theatre
    3717 India Street
    San Diego, CA 92103
    Cost: $35

    The National Comedy Theatre is pleased to invite you to a special event benefiting Unscripted Learning on Saturday, December 8th at 4:00 pm at the National Comedy Theatre in Mission Hills.

    The event will include a short performance by the teenagers in our Connections program, who are impacted by autism and other disabilities. They will be joined onstage by the cast of the National Comedy Theatre. The performance will be preceded by a wine and cheese reception and silent auction for a variety of unique items and experiences.

    All proceeds will support Unscripted Learning's programs using improvisational theatre to teach concepts of teamwork, leadership and creative problem solving to teenagers and young adults with autism, high school students and active adults in our educational non profit program.

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

  • Leading The Charge - Collaborating for Effective Services 2018
  • Hosted by Developmental Disabilities Provider Network, San Diego

    Wednesday, December 5, 2018
    8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
    Doubletree Hazard Center
    7450 Hazard Center Drive
    San Diego, California 92108

    5th Annual Leading the Charge - Collaborating for Effective Services

    One-Day Educational Event host by DDPN with lead sponsorship by San Diego Regional Center.

    Come hear from a very dynamic and passionate keynote speaker:
    Lynne Seagle - Executive Director, Hope House, VA

    Supporting People to Lead Lives They Choose: Moving from Programs to Supports

    Click here for all the info and to purchase your tickets!!! (Possible ticket funding by SDRC)

  • 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

  • "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!!!

  • Participate in Research!!! Can a Safe 'Fever' Help Autism Syptoms? Spanish Speakers Welcome!!!
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    Can a Safe 'Fever' Help AUTISM Symptoms?

    Una 'Fiebre' Para Disminuir los Sintomas de AUTISMO? 

    Pilot Study Enrollment

    This pilot study will enroll 12 families with ASD children ages 2-17 years old in a controlled study, in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas. We are testing a dry heat therapy from an FDA-cleared medical device with simulates the effect of a low-grade fever by non-invasively infusing heat into the circulatory system. The Fielding Graduate University IRB approved study is entitiled: "The Fever Effect: Do kids with autism do better when they use a device to warm their blood? Effects of six-week AVACEN Treatment Method on Autism Spectrum Disorder".

    If you are interested in participating in this pilot study please contact Frances Poteet at and provide your phone number, email address, zip code and best time to reach you so that we can contact you. If you are not selected as part of this pilot study, you may be offered an opportunity to participate in a larger study of the device at a later date.

    Participants who complete the entire study will receive a $200 Amazon gift card. Enrolling now! Limited openings available!

    We can offer services in English and Spanish (all the way from the Orientation throughout the course of the study.)

  • 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

  • Brain Imaging Studies for all Ages with or without Autism

  • The Brain Development Imaging Labs at San Diego State University are looking for individuals with diagnosed or suspected autism to participate in a brain imaging study. Participants would receive around $150 plus free cognitive testing and an MRI scan. Child participants would receive a free assessment summary and image of their brain as a bonus! We are looking to recruit from all ages, but we especially need adults, ages 40-65 years, to participate. If you know someone who might be a good fit for our study, please share this information with them. Thank you.

    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.