Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. November 30, 2018

In This Issue

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Children with ASD are not just picky eaters

Not Your Mom's Genes: Mitochondrial DNA Can Come from Dad

Brain responses to language in toddlers with autism linked to altered gene expression

Anti-Vaxxer Movement is on the Rise in These 12 States-and That Worries Me

How to Create a Welcoming Culture for Autistic Students

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

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

Participate in Research: Spark for Autism Day at UCSD!

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

Home Depot Menorah Workshop for Persons with Disabilities

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

Join Us for a FREE Training on Transportation for Self Advocates

Bobcat Buddies December 2nd!!!

La Jolla Love Tennis - This Saturday!!!

Sensory-Friendly Santa in Escondido

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

4th Annual DPR Photo Shoot with Santa

City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services Program

Benefit Show for Unscripted Learning

Club Beacons This Saturday Night in North County


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  • Children with ASD are not just picky eaters
  • Convincing young children to try new foods can be a dinner time stressor for any family, but for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) meal time challenges are often not just a phase.

    New research by Greg Wallace, an assistant professor in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, found that children who present ASD traits were rated as more food neophobic than their same-age non-ASD peers. Neophobia is the fear of anything new that can manifest as the unwillingness to try new things or break from routine.

    Dr. Wallace's research finds that elevated ASD traits like social and communication difficulties and repetitive behavior, in conjunction with food neophobia, predicted a higher body mass index than what is typical for children who show signs of food neophobia alone. These clinical connections between ASD traits and feeding behaviors could affect health outcomes and need further study, Dr. Wallace said. Read on...

  • Not Your Mom's Genes: Mitochondrial DNA Can Come from Dad
  • A new study provides compelling evidence that children can inherit mitochondrial DNA from both their parents.

    The first time Taosheng Huang saw the test results, he was sure there'd been a mistake. Even after a technician repeated the diagnostic, Huang didn't believe it. "That's impossible," he said.

    Huang, a pediatrician and geneticist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, asked the patient to come back and provide fresh samples of blood, which Huang then split among several research labs to reduce any chance of error. It was a finding that Huang knew would break a central tenet of human genetics-but time and time again, the outcome was the same.

    Huang's patient, a four-year-old boy, was carrying two different sets of mitochondrial DNA: one from his mother, as expected-and another, from his father. Read on...

  • Brain responses to language in toddlers with autism linked to altered gene expression
  • An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of Cyprus and University of California San Diego School of Medicine, have identified a previously unknown, large-scale association between molecular gene expression activity in blood leukocyte cells and altered neural responses to speech in toddlers with autism as measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

    The findings were published online November 26 in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

    The large-scale gene-brain association occurs differently in toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and who have poor language development compared to toddlers with ASD and good language development or typically developing toddlers. This large-scale association involved a very large number of genes, many of which are commonly expressed in many tissues, including the brain and leukocytes, a type of blood cell. Read on...

  • Anti-Vaxxer Movement is on the Rise in These 12 States-and That Worries Me
  • As a pediatrician-scientist who develops new vaccines for neglected diseases, I spent most of my career in the Boston-Washington, D.C. corridor.

    While working in the Northeast, I had heard a few things about the anti-vaccine movement. As both a vaccine scientist and a father of four, including a daughter diagnosed with autism and intellectual disabilities, I followed the emergence of doubt over vaccine safety in the general public. Ultimately, in scientific circles, any debate ended when an overwhelming body of scientific evidence demonstrated there was no association between vaccines and autism.

    But then, in 2011, I relocated to Houston's Texas Medical Center. I soon learned that, unlike in the Northeast, where the anti-vaccine movement so far seems restricted to small groups, the Texas anti-vaccine movement is aggressive, well-organized and politically engaged.

    There are now at least 57,000 Texas schoolchildren being exempted from their vaccines for nonmedical reasons, about a 20-fold rise since 2003. I say "at least" because there is no data on the more than 300,000 homeschooled kids. Read on...

  • How to Create a Welcoming Culture for Autistic Students
  • When I was diagnosed with autism, at 13, at first I didn't think anything had changed. I was still the same as I'd always been, except now I had a name for what made me different. My passions were still the same - reading, writing, art, and video games. My ambitions were still the same - going to grad school and becoming a writer, editor, or professor.

    The fact that my disability, and the accommodations that I require because of it, did not crush my higher-education dreams is a testament to the democratization of higher education. While college is still not accessible to everyone, more and more people are able to attend. Low-income, first-generation, mentally ill, and disabled students now frequently share classrooms with the middle- and upper-class neurotypical students who have traditionally made up the college population.

    My college experience to date has taught me two things: one, there is a lot that non-autistic people don't know about being autistic; and two, many of those same people want to learn more. Several professors have approached me, eager to learn how to tailor their teaching methods to accommodate the changing demographics in their classes, an attitude that I find profoundly encouraging. 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 😊Contact 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

  • Participate in Research: Spark for Autism Day at UCSD!
  • Visit UC San Diego's Autism Center of Excellence on Saturday, December 1st for fun and games, and join the thousands of families who have already participated in SPARK!

    WHEN: Saturday, December 1st from 9AM - 5PM
    WHERE: UCSD Autism Center of Excellence - 8110 La Jolla Shores Drive, Suite #201/202, La Jolla, CA 92037

    WHAT: UC San Diego's Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) is hosting a live-registration event to sign up families who have a child diagnosed with ASD for the largest national autism genetics research study! SPARKforAutism seeks to recruit 50,000 individuals diagnosed with ASD and their biological family members to uncover the genetic causes of ASD in order to transform our understanding of autism and help improve the lives of individuals affected by autism and their families. Over 14,000 families nationwide are already participating! Our site offers free parking, food and drinks, child care, games, and plenty more all while providing assistance in registering for and participating in the SPARK study! There is no cost to participating and families that complete the study will also be eligible for Amazon gift codes valued up to $50! Additionally, if a genetic mutation is found, families will be notified about the results and will receive the option to speak with genetic counselor at no cost. Provide a saliva sample, and we are set to go!

    RSVP is REQUIRED by November 26th! To reserve a spot or to learn more about the study, please contact us by calling (858) 534-6906 or emailing our SPARK coordinator, Mo Shir, at

    ***As this is a genetic study, we ask that BOTH biological parents, individual diagnosed with ASD and any siblings willing to participate attend the event! Families must be able to complete the registration and consent forms in English. Unable to make the event? You can still participate online at, or by making an appointment with the UCSD ACE clinic by calling the number above.

  • 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

  • Join Us for a FREE Training on Transportation for Self Advocates

  • 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 - This Saturday!!!
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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

  • Sensory-Friendly Santa in Escondido
  • Hosted by the Autism Society San Diego, San Diego Children's Discovery Museum and Westfield North County

    Sunday, December 2, 2018
    8 AM - 10 AM
    272 East Via Rancho Parkway, Escondido, CA 92025

    Santa can't wait to share magical moments with his friends with special needs!

    This compassionate, sensory-friendly event welcomes children with all spectrums of special needs to experience the time-honored tradition of a Santa visit, in a comforting environment prior to public hours. In partnership with Autism Society San Diego and San Diego Children's Discovery Museum, we're making plans to accommodate and support the sensory, physical, and developmental needs of special needs families.

    Visits with Santa are free. Space is limited and families are encouraged to reserve a time in advance. We'll operate by a number system instead of a queue line, with activity stations and light breakfast treats to enjoy while your family awaits your visit. Keepsake Santa photo packages will be available for purchase during the event.

    Please reserve your complimentary ticket on Eventbrite-ONE TICKET per group/family, please.

  • 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!!!

  • 4th Annual DPR Photo Shoot with Santa
  • Hosted by Autism Tree Project Foundation
    Thursday, December 6, 2018
    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM
    Event at DPR Construction
    5010 Shoreham Pl, San Diego, California 92122

    We are so thankful to DPR Construction for hosting this very special Santa Photo Shoot for our kids and families last year! It was such a success we are hosting again this year. There is limited space so RSVP NOW to confirm your photo time with Santa! Once signed up, please send an email to with your contact information for reminder emails/phone calls with details. RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY BY CLICKING HERE:

  • 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!!!

  • Club Beacons This Saturday Night in North County
  • For ages 18 to 26! All persons attending must have a signed waiver and registration form on file to participate. Forms are available online at

  • 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.