Coast to Coast


Hello Families!

My name is Tina Kobayashi, and I am so excited to be supervising the CFD 590 Special Needs lab this semester! It is an honor to work with Dr. Meyers, the SDSU faculty, and the many families that help the department!

This particular class at SDSU teaches students about children with special needs (e.g., Autism, ADHD, etc). Here is a short description of what the lab portion of the class consists of:

Objective of Class:
For this lab, students are assigned to work with a child with special needs in his/her home; or to work with special-needs children/young adults in a school, agency, childcare, or group home setting. Students will meet with their assigned child/children/young adult once a week for at least 2 hours (12 weeks in total and at least 24 hours). The child’s parents, teacher, or supervisor, along with the student, will decide what will be accomplished at each meeting. For students working with children in their homes, activities such as playing indoors, playing outdoors, assisting with in-home therapy, and helping with homework are all acceptable activities. It is also possible to participate in parent support group meetings, doctor appointments, school activities, IEP meetings, therapy, etc. If the student and parents are comfortable, children may be taken on outings away from the home. For students working in a group setting, activities involve play, therapy, caregiving, instruction, etc.

This is an amazing opportunity for not only the SDSU students who are learning more about children with special needs, but also for your child. These students love working with children and find it exciting and important to work with children.

Please feel free to contact me via email OR by telephone (Email will be faster)

Tina Kobayashi
Phone: (619) 246-7172

Researchers claim that nearly 60% of autism risk is genetic, with the implicated variant genes being common among the general population. They publish the results of their research in the journal Nature Genetics.

Autism is widely believed to be caused by an interplay of genetics and other factors. However, scientists have not reached a consensus on how much of an influence genes have on autism risk.

“We show very clearly that inherited common variants comprise the bulk of the risk that sets up susceptibility to autism,” say the researchers.

Recent evidence has suggested that the genomes of people who have autism are more likely to include de novo mutations – rare and spontaneous mutations with significant effects that are thought to account for particular cases of autism.

“Many people have been focusing on de novo mutations, such as the ones that can occur in the sperm of an older father,” explains Joseph D. Buxbaum, PhD, the study’s lead investigator and director of the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment and professor of psychiatry, neuroscience and genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“While we find these mutations are also key contributors, it is important to know that there is underlying risk in the family genetic architecture itself.”

By conducting a “rigorous analysis” of DNA sequence variations as part of the Population-Based Autism Genetics and Environment Study (PAGES) Consortium, Dr. Buxbaum’s team found that about 52.4% of autism cases can be traced back to both common and rare inherited variations. By contrast, spontaneous mutations were found to account for just 2.6% of total autism risk.

“We show very clearly that inherited common variants comprise the bulk of the risk that sets up susceptibility to autism,” Dr. Buxbaum says. “But while families can be genetically loaded for autism risk, it may take additional rare genetic factors to actually produce the disorder in a particular family member.”

The study used data from Sweden’s universal health registry to compare about 3,000 participants, including autistic subjects and a control group. The researchers say that PAGES is the largest study of its kind to date.

New statistical methods promise ‘more reliable results’

Limitations in sample size have previously made it difficult to ascertain the relative influence of common, rare inherited and rare spontaneous variations. Differences in the statistical models and methods used across studies have also presented challenges in obtaining a consensus view, with estimates of autism heritability varying from 17-50%.

In PAGES, new statistical methods – such as “machine learning techniques and dimension reduction tools” – were deployed, which the researchers claim allowed a more reliable method for assessing heritability.

The researchers were also able to access data from a parallel study of Swedish families that looked at twins, cousins, age of the father at birth and the psychiatric history of the parents.

Thomas Lehner, chief of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Genomics Research Branch, says:

“This is a different kind of analysis than employed in previous studies. Data from genome-wide association studies was used to identify a genetic model instead of focusing just on pinpointing genetic risk factors. The researchers were able to pick from all of the cases of illness within a population-based registry.”

Last month, Medical News Today reported on a study that suggested exposure to pesticides during pregnancy increases risk of the child developing autism.

Written by

Copyright: Medical News Today


Plans are in the works at the U.S. Department of Justice to roll out law enforcement training focused on people with disabilities.

The Justice Department’s Community Relations Service — a division that steps in to help communities address tension stemming from civil rights issues — is currently working on the effort, Attorney General Eric Holder said.

The move follows the introduction of a similar training program in March designed to address law enforcement relations with the transgender community.

“Earlier this year, you launched a groundbreaking transgender law enforcement cultural professionalism training. And I know a similar training initiative, focused on the needs of individuals with cognitive disabilities, is being developed as we speak,” Holder said at a gathering of the Community Relations Service last week.

Justice Department officials did not provide details about the plans. Holder’s comments, however, come over a year after disability advocates called on the federal agency to address the need for better police training.

Advocates from the National Down Syndrome Society, the National Down Syndrome Congress and a handful of other groups made the request during a meeting with officials from the Community Relations Service in March 2013 following the death of Robert Ethan Saylor. The 26-year-old with Down syndrome died earlier that year after being restrained by three off-duty sheriff’s deputies when he refused to leave a Frederick, Md. movie theater.

At the time, officials with the Justice Department did not make any promises, but said they were monitoring the situation surrounding Saylor’s death and indicated that they might provide training or other assistance.

Copyright © 2014 Disability Scoop, LLC. All Rights Reserved



The transition from school to work for students with disabilities will undergo sweeping changes under a bill President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday.

The measure known as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act significantly limits placements at sheltered workshops and other work environments where people with disabilities earn less than minimum wage.

Under the new law, individuals with disabilities age 24 and younger will no longer be allowed to work for less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour unless they first receive pre-employment transition services at school and try vocational rehabilitation services.

The measure also mandates that state vocational rehabilitation agencies work with schools to provide transition services to all students with disabilities and requires that the agencies allocate at least 15 percent of their federal funding toward such transition efforts.

“As we approach the 24th anniversary of the ADA, this bill takes new steps to support Americans with disabilities who want to live and work independently,” Obama said in signing the legislation, which provides a broad update to the nation’s workforce system that took years to come to fruition.

The updated rules specific to what’s known as subminimum wage will take effect two years after the law’s enactment.

Though requiring that most young people try competitive employment before working for less than minimum wage, there are exceptions for those who are deemed ineligible for vocational rehabilitation and to allow individuals already earning less than the federal minimum to continue in their jobs.

In cases where individuals with disabilities do earn less than minimum wage, the measure requires that they periodically be provided career counseling by their state and are informed about other work opportunities.

Aside from changes to employment opportunities for people with disabilities, the new law also shifts responsibility for some disability and independent living program functions from the U.S. Department of Education to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The State Council website is hosting California’s Employment Data Dashboard.  People with developmental disabilities seek to work, earn, and be part of the economic life of their communities. On October 9, 2013, Governor Brown signed AB 1041 (Chesbro) into law, establishing an Employment First Policy in the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act. The Data Dashboard presents up-to-date and easy to understand information  on how well California is doing in implementing the new policy and supporting people to have jobs at regular worksites making wages comparable to others without disabilities doing the same work.  As you can see from the dashboard, we have a lot of work to do so people with developmental disabilities have that chance.

The Council worked closely with the California Employment Consortium for Youth (CECY) and the Department of Developmental Services (DDS)  to develop the Data Dashboard.  The dashboard can be found at

Latino parents are invited to join us for the upcoming Parent Leadership Training scheduled for August. .  This training is co-sponsored by the Family Exceptional Family Resource Center. This is a unique opportunity for our parents to acquire additional parent leadership skills.  The deadline date for the application submission has been extended to July 30th. Dates: August 15, 22 and 29th (9:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.) Fees: No Cost to Parents.

SEE FLYER for details & registration

If you need assistance with filling out the application or further information please call Dr. Rebecca Sapien-Melchor at 619-890-6624.

Estimados Padres: Invitación al Taller “Liderazgo de Padres” Este entrenamiento esta co patronicado con el Centro de recursos para Familias Excepcionales.Esta es una oportunidad única para que nuestros padres puedan adquirir habilidades adicionales de Liderazgo.  La fecha final  para entregar y enviar la solicitudo se ha extendido hasta el 30 de julio. Fechas: 15, 22 y 29 de agosto (9:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.) Honarario:  No hay costo para los padres. Vea el folleto para más información detallada Se necesita asistencia en completar la solicitud o más información por favor llame a la Dr. Rebecca Sapien-Melchor a 619-890-6624.