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Archive for May, 2012


I received an email about the Acting Academy for Autism earlier this year.  At the time I really wanted to enroll our son.  The only problem was he was already so busy with therapies four afternoons per week.

When I found out that the Academy would also be offered during the summer I knew that I wanted our son to attend.

Classes are being held June 18 – 29 (Monday to Friday) 2012 with two sessions each day.

Session One: 10 – 12:00 noon

Session Two:  12:30 – 2:30

Classes are designed specifically for students with high functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.  Students will do theatre games and exercises as well as a group scene for a final performance on Friday evening, June 29.

The cost for the summer Academy is $350 per session.

Call for an interview appointment, if your child has not attended a prior session of the Academy.  Ages 9 – 17

Classes will be held at 1414 Thousand Oaks Blvd..

To contact Gold Coast Conservatory call (805) 427-5314 or email GoldCoastTheatre@gmail.com

For more information about the Acting Academy for Autism or their other programs visit GoldCoastTheatreConservatory.com

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Autism Society Conference

2012 Autism Society National Conference and Exposition

The 2012 Autism Society National Conference is being held in San Diego from July 25th to July 28th.  It is the largest autism conference in the USA.

I attended my first Autism Conference in August last year and learned so much.   When I found out the national conference was just a few hours away from our home I decided that I had to find a way to attend.

Over 1,000 professionals, educators, parents and exhibitors from around the U.S. and other countries will participate in the 2012 Autism Society National Conference.

The targeted audience for the conference includes:

  • Individuals on the spectrum
  • Advocates
  • State special education directors
  • State-level autism directors/coordinators
  • School administrators
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Classroom educators
  • Early intervention specialists
  • Regional education directors/providers
  • State autism center staff
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Vocational rehabilitation providers
  • Mental health professionals
  • State and federal legislators
  • Assistive technology providers
  • Physicians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Behaviorists
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Autism nonprofit associations
  • First responders
  • Community supporters

You can view the Conference Program and Registration information on the Autism Society website.

If you’d like to save some money on attending the conference be sure to Register before June 1st as the early bird discount expires on May 31st.

Will you be attending the National Conference this year?

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Disney World – Gluten and Dairy Free Food Options

We arrived at Disney World on May 5th 2012.  This blog post is meant to be a guide on what has been available during our stay.  Hopefully this can help you if your are currently at Disney World or plan to visit in the near future.

Disney menus change frequently.  Posts I read from last year are no longer accurate, so be prepared to be a little flexible and have some back up snacks if you have a picky eater.

This post is a little rough right now. I’m hoping to add more details including photos throughout our stay.

Mara (Animal Kingdom Lodge – Quick Serve)

Gluten Free options for children included:
Hamburger and fries (no dairy free cheese available)
Gluten and dairy free chicken strips with fries
Dessert (grapes, applesauce, jello, carrots, frozen pineapple popsicle)

If you are staying at the resort they may be able to make the zebra cookies gluten free with advance notice.  They wouldn’t be dairy free.

Regular Childrens Menu included:
Cheese pizza
Mac n cheese

Dessert (as listed above, plus chocolate chip cookie, Disney ice-cream bars)

Leaning Palms (Typhoon Lagoon – Quick Serve)

Gluten free options for children include:
Hot dog (James Morell chicken and beef hot dog)
Udi Hot dog bun

French fries

Dessert (OMG chocolate chip cookie, grapes, carrots)

Hamburger with Udi’s bun
Chicken tenders

Regular childrens  menu included:
Cheese pizza
Turkey sandwich
Hot dog

Sci Fi (Hollywood Studios – Sit Down Restaurant)

Gluten free options for children include:

Hamburger with Udis bun (no dairy free cheese)

French fries

Toffuti ice-cream with sprinkles (rice + food coloring)

Sunshine Seasons (Epcot – Quick Serve)

Gluten free options for children include:

Chicken leg

French fries

Salmon (our son loved this.  Note he also likes crab cakes)
Kozy Shack cherry cerise smart gels
Surf snacks fruity bears
Enjoy life boom choco boom ( gf ricemilk crunch)
Enjoy life nut and gf soft baked chic chip cookies
Red grapes
Rocky mountain caramel popcorn gf + nut free

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Disney World – Gluten and Dairy Free

We arrived at Disney World on Saturday evening for an 11 night vacation.  I have been a little anxious about this vacation as our 8 year old son has been gluten and dairy free for almost 18 months now and this is our first major trip away.  Much to his dismay I was not going to be able to bring his favorite frozen foods from Trader Joes like we did one previous vacation to San Diego.  He even asked why we couldn’t bring a cooler on the plane so he could have his favorite waffle breakfast.

So far things are going OK.  We used a local service to buy some staple groceries before we arrived and we have lunch or dinner reservations at sit down restaurants each day.  So far the biggest challenge has been our Quick Serve meals.  It appears that quick serve locations don’t have a dairy free cheese option which rules out Cheese burgers if they are on the menu.    We are often struggling to find acceptable sides and/or desserts with a picky eater who is intolerant to many fruits and vegetables.

Dont get me wrong, I think Disney has a lot of great options and the chefs are wonderful at trying to accommodate to his needs.  It would be nice to see a little more variety and to have the ability to plan ahead a little more.  Disney no longer publishes their gluten free menu, as I believe it was difficult to guarantee items by location based on volume and suppliers.  For our sit down dining reservations we were able to speak to some of the chefs about 2 weeks prior to arriving as our sons Aspergers can make it difficult for him to cope if there isn’t a food selection he likes.  Our plan was to change reservations if a restaurant didn’t have something he liked to avoid a potential meltdown.

As we’ve been visiting each restaurant or Quick Serve location I’ve been trying to take note of the gluten free menu so I can share with those of you visiting at the moment or in the near future.  Disney changes menus and suppliers frequently so please understand if that neither I or Disney can guarantee items will be available.

Visit my Disney World – Gluten and Dairy Free Food Options post for more details.

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