Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. December 11, 2018

In This Issue

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School Where Student With Autism Died Violated State Regulations, Officials Say

This form of brain training may help treat severe schizophrenia

Drug duo delivers brain, behavioral benefits for fragile X syndrome

Siblings of children with autism or ADHD are at elevated risk for both disorders

1977 paper on the first autism twin study

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance

MSNC Free Webinar Series: Independent Education Evaluation (IEE)

Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) presents Children's Theatre Workshops!

Sensory Sunday Family Time at Mission Valley Library

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

Introducing "NFAR Codes" Coding Classes for Those with Autism

Therapeutic Approach to Growth Offering Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) & More!

Little Big Steps is Accepting New Clients!!!

Social Thinking Conference in Orange County, CA | Jan. 30 - Feb. 1, 2019

Holiday Central San Diego Family Pool/Pizza Party with Santa!

ATPF Parent & Caregiver Workshop

10th Annual ATPF USD Winter Wonderland


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  • School Where Student With Autism Died Violated State Regulations, Officials Say
  • A school in California where a student on the autism spectrum died last week after being physically restrained violated several state regulations, according to findings from a preliminary investigation by the state's Department of Education.

    On Nov. 28, 13-year-old Max Benson was restrained by a staff member at his small private school in El Dorado Hills, Calif. While he was being restrained, Max lost consciousness.

    The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office was called to Guiding Hands School (GHS), where a teacher was performing CPR on the boy. He was then taken to a hospital in critical condition, according to a statement from the Sheriff's Office.

    Two days later, the Sheriff's Office learned that he had died. Read on...

  • This form of brain training may help treat severe schizophrenia

  • New research has revealed that targeted cognitive training can successfully reduce cognitive impairment in treatment-resistant schizophrenia.

    Schizophrenia is one of the 15 leading causes of disability globally.

    In the United States, this condition affects more than 3 million people.

    Symptoms of schizophrenia include psychoses, hallucinations, delusions, and unusual thinking patterns.

    Emotional numbing, reduced motivation, difficulty forming and maintaining social relationships, and cognitive impairment are also among the symptoms that tend to characterize the condition. Read on...

  • Drug duo delivers brain, behavioral benefits for fragile X syndrome
  • Administering a cholesterol drug alongside an antibiotic eases atypical behavior and restores the signaling balance in the brains of people with fragile X syndrome.

    Researchers presented the preliminary results yesterday at the 2018 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, California.

    In the wake of failed clinical trials for fragile X syndrome drugs, researchers are increasingly turning to new approaches that combine treatments targeting different biological pathways.

    "It's interesting to combine treatments because we don't have just one signaling pathway that is defective in fragile X," says Amal Loudghi, a graduate student in Jean-François Lepage's lab at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, who presented some of the results. Read on...

  • Siblings of children with autism or ADHD are at elevated risk for both disorders
  • Later-born siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at elevated risk for both disorders, a new study led by Meghan Miller, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and at the UC Davis MIND Institute, has concluded. The findings appear today in JAMA Pediatrics.

    The study suggests that families who already have a child diagnosed with ASD or ADHD may wish to monitor younger siblings for symptoms of both conditions.

    Symptoms of ADHD include difficulty focusing, nonstop talking or blurting things out, increased activity, and trouble sitting still. ASD, on the other hand, involves significant challenges with social interaction and communication, as well as the presence of unusual interests or repetitive behaviors like hand flapping or lining up objects. Read on...

  • 1977 paper on the first autism twin study
  • Autism is caused by poor parenting, particularly by 'frigid' mothers who reject their children.

    Such a statement would seem bizarre today. But 30 years ago parents, especially mothers, were blamed for their children's autism. Imagine what it must have felt like to be the parent of a child with autism and then to be told it was all your fault. This environment prevailed even after Leo Kanner, who first characterized autism in 1943, assumed it was caused 'constitutionally'.

    But then in 1977, one study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, single-handedly turned the field around to recognize the importance of genetics.

    It was a study of 21 pairs of British twins by Susan Folstein and Michael Rutter. For 10 pairs of fraternal (dizygotic, or DZ) twins in which at least one twin was diagnosed with autism using strict criteria, not a single co-twin was diagnosed with autism. That is, concordance for fraternal twin pairs was zero. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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!!

    My 26 yo son is looking for a room to rent near Miramar or Mesa Junior College.
    He is high functioning ASD, quiet, no drinking or drugs. Does not drive so needs to be near public transportation. Ideal living situation would be with 1 or 2 similar young adults. Thank you! 858-837-2355

    Hi any advice on adaptive pe.....there trying to take away the rooms at my son's middle school to give to the drama club. What can I do as a parent?

    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.

  • No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®)

    Our primary approach for treatment of autism spectrum is a developmental program called Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®). RDI® is a unique treatment approach that empowers parents to guide their child to succeed in our dynamic world. Children who learn to actively engage with the support of their parents in safe but challenging learning opportunities develop a strong motivation to explore and expand their world, as well as develop competence and trust in themselves and their guides.

    Why RDI®?
    Foundations of the adult mind are developed in the first years of life through the "Guiding Relationship". From the middle of the first year of life, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, in every culture on earth, children interact with parents and other important adults in deceptively simple encounters, with a very serious underlying agenda; constructing the architecture of the child's mind and brain. Click here for all the info about RDI®!!!

    The Family Guidance and Therapy Center
    Locations in Point Loma and Mira Mesa

  • MSNC Free Webinar Series: Independent Education Evaluation (IEE)
  • The webinar will air on December 14th at 12:00 noon and will repeat on December 17th at 7:00 pm.

    Join us by registering at

  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) presents Children's Theatre Workshops!
  • Register now for PACT's children's theatre workshop series, offered for elementary aged children of all abilities on Saturday afternoons from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. This 8-week series begins January 26 and concludes March 23. Located at Dance North County in Encinitas, workshops will include improvisational theatre activities designed to improve confidence, cooperation, and creativity. It will be led by PACT Artistic Director Sandy Redmon, and by Jacob Redmon and Jovyn Anderson.

    Tuition is $100 for the 8-week series, with scholarships available. Contact Kathryn Campion at PACT for more information or to register: 760-815-8512,, PACT is a non-profit organization established in 2008. Its mission is to empower individuals with unique needs and create community through the performing arts. Join us!

  • Sensory Sunday Family Time at Mission Valley Library
  • Sunday, December 16, 2018 at 11 AM - 12:30 PM
    Mission Valley Library
    2123 Fenton Pkwy, San Diego, California 92108

    In collaboration with Autism Society San Diego, Mission Valley Library welcomes families with children on the spectrum to a sensory-friendly program featuring interactive music and movement. Recommended for children ages 3-9, this program will feature fun songs and games with simple choreography and props such as scarves and egg shakers. After the program, families can explore the library, check out items, or enjoy the sunny patio. Regular Sunday hours for the general public start at 12:30. No registration is required. You can prepare your child for this program by using the Social Story, available as a PDF download here:

  • 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

  • Introducing "NFAR Codes" Coding Classes for Those with Autism
  • In February, NFAR will be introducing classes for teens and young adults, ages 16+ and interested in computer coding. Curriculum pace and hands on exercises will be tailored to serving those with autism.

    Thanks to funding by an Autism Speaks grant as part of their NXT GEN Coders Program, powered by GameStop, we are able to offer this class at reduced cost to participants!

    This course will provide instruction on introductory programming in C#, in a game development engine called Unity, one of the tools used by the game development industry.

    Classes will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, for 2.5 - 3 hours per session for a total of 70+ hours. To learn more/register.

    Have questions: contact NFAR at 858-679-8800.

  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth Offering Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) & More!
  • 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

  • Little Big Steps is Accepting New Clients!!!
  • Include Autism is very excited to announce the opening of Little Big Steps - a new site-based, community readiness ABA program for children ages 2.5 to 6 years who are experiencing challenges in behavioral, social, and language development. Our young participants attend onsite in a structured setting where they receive 1:1 ABA instruction as well as small group interaction with peers.

    Our staff of highly trained ABA therapists utilizes the principles of ABA to develop and promote skills to generalize into school and community settings. Our site-based setting offers the structure necessary to target the pivotal and pre-requisite skills needed for success in school-based settings, while our group settings offer access to peers in order to address social and play skills.

    Little Big Steps is a program CTA program. Sessions take place at the Poway location in the mornings until 1:00 PM. Please contact Lauren Enriquez, BCBA at (858) 603-6628 or for inquiries.

  • Social Thinking Conference in Orange County, CA | Jan. 30 - Feb. 1, 2019
  • Get kids motivated with Social Thinking Vocabulary

    Learn user-friendly vocabulary and concepts that expose the social code, foster social awareness, and lay the foundation for developing social competencies. Kids love our vocabulary because it motivates them to socially problem solve in a pro-active, positive way. Educators, clinicians, and parents love using Social Thinking Vocabulary as an easy way to reinforce teaching throughout the day-including while teaching Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and other social-emotional learning programs.

    Join us for Implementing Social Thinking Concepts and Vocabulary: A Day to Develop Team Creativity on Jan. 31, in Orange County, to learn 20+ vocabulary terms and strategies to make these concepts come alive!

    Click here for all the info about this conference and to register!!!

  • Holiday Central San Diego Family Pool/Pizza Party with Santa!
  • Friday, December 14, 2018 at 6 PM - 8 PM
    Aqua Pros Swim School
    4635 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, California 92117

    Celebrate with your family and friends at the Annual Holiday Pool Party. This year will feature our usual pizza, cookies and beverages, plus a pot luck. We ask each of you to bring a dessert or finger food to share

    There will be a visit from Santa and his Elf where you can get your photo taken. Plus, there will be a small treat for each of the kids. Click here for all the info!!!

  • ATPF Parent & Caregiver Workshop
  • Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 6:30 PM - 8 PM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation
    2845 Nimitz Blvd, San Diego, California 92106

    RSVP for ATPF Parent & Caregiver Workshop today:

    Join us for an opportunity to learn about how to identify mental health symptoms in individuals diagnosed with ASD as well as evidenced based psychological interventions. This workshop will be led by Dr. Tracy Shepler, BCBA. This workshop is free and dinner will be provided.

  • 10th Annual ATPF USD Winter Wonderland
  • Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 4 PM - 7 PM
    University of San Diego
    5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, California 92110

    Join our holiday celebration! RSVP for your family today:

  • 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

  • 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!!!

  • "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
  • business_finance_research.jpg

    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.