Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. January 16, 2018

In This Issue

Supplements during pregnancy may reduce autism risk

Improving Joint Attention in Children With Autism

Better behavioral tests may save trials of autism treatments

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

2018 Race for Autism **JUSTICE LEAGUE TEAM PACKAGE**

Cara Lucier & Associates

MCRD Quarterly Play Group -- TOMORROW!!!

It's Tax Time!

NFAR Mom's Group - Jan 17, 2018 in Kearny Mesa

No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance!

TACA - Central San Diego Coffee Talk

Monthly Autism Parent Support Group

Spring Jam Session Registration Now Open!

Family Gymnastics Night

San Diego Regional Center Communicator

Xcite Steps Now Offers Individual and Family Therapy

ATPF Natural Solutions Parent Workshop


  • Supplements during pregnancy may reduce autism risk
  • Whether certain supplements, taken before or during pregnancy, can reduce the risk of autism is a hotly debated question. A new large-scale study takes a fresh look.

    Autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) are believed to affect 1 in 68 children in the United States, and their prevalence may be on the rise.

    Despite this, the exact causes and risk factors involved are still shrouded in mystery. No one knows why ASDs occur and how they can be prevented.

    Over the years, several studies have looked at the links between a mother's nutritional status and the cognitive abilities of her offspring. The findings, to date, have been inconclusive, but scientists believe that this line of questioning might eventually help to solve the ASD riddle. Read on...

  • Improving Joint Attention in Children With Autism
  • Joint Attention Is a Key Social Communication Skill

    If you have a child with autism, you may have heard therapists tell you that your child needs to work on something called "joint attention." By understanding why joint attention may be impaired in autism, and how you and your child's therapist can help optimize it, you will improve your child's social engagement and connections.

    Why Joint Attention Is Important
    Simply put, joint attention means the same thing as shared attention.

    When you and your child are reading a book together, you are paying "joint attention" to the pictures. When you are reading the book and your child is playing with his fingers, wandering around the room, or noticing a bird flying by the window, you may be reading to your child, but you and your child are not sharing joint attention. Read on...

  • Better behavioral tests may save trials of autism treatments

  • The 'holy grail' for autism research is treatments that will safely decrease symptom severity, improve everyday functioning and enhance quality of life. In the past decade, we've seen a surge in basic neuroscience research that lays the groundwork for drug discoveries. But what are the challenges we face in developing these remedies for autism?

    There is no shortage of promising leads. Some of these have even improved social behavior and other symptoms in mouse models of autism. Yet, so far, not one of these drugs has lived up to its promise in people. The number of medications that ease the core symptoms of autism in children or adults is the same as it was 20 years ago: zero.

    Part of the problem may be our current approach to drug trials. At their best, these are double-blind, meaning neither the researchers nor the parents know which children are getting the drug rather than a placebo. But they tend to rely on subjective ratings of improvements in the child's behavior. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • Our daughter is 17 (she turns 18 in June) and is in an out of state residential program. She needs to a different program soon, as she can't stay where she is beyond 18. We are planning to apply for conservatorship/guardianship. Do we apply in California since we live here? Do we apply in Florida where she is now? Should we apply in the state where she goes next (which we don't know yet)? Any help you can give or advice (if you have gone through the process of conservatorship) would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Mo Ruchhoeft (

    Our 19-year-old autistic son and daughter need to have their wisdom teeth removed along with dental fillings. Can anyone recommend a dentist/oral surgeon who have experience working with autistic adults so we can do BOTH procedures in one setting? Please contact me directly or 619-253-8826. Thank you.

    My son has autism and his first insurance is anthem blue cross and secondary insurance is medi-cal. Alexa's playc is the service we are trying to get covered. First insurance will only cover 60% and Medi-cal phone representative I talked with said they will not cover the remaining 40% because Alexa's playc is not registered with them. Neither will they reimburse me if Alexa's playc bill me directly. I am wondering whether any parents had the similar situation and had a way to work around it.
    Also, can you recommend some special needs attorney?

    My name is Sara and I'm wondering if anyone has success with Vital Links headphones? Do you have a used pair you'd like to sell? Contact me:

    My son has autism and I would like to work on his focus and auditory processing. Does anyone have any good therapies that have helped address these two areas? I'd also be interested in any positive experiences with acupuncture. Thanks.
    Best, Kathy (

    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.

  • 2018 Race for Autism **JUSTICE LEAGUE TEAM PACKAGE**
  • >>>> Flat rate of $28 per person before February 15th <<<<

    This is a great way to build your company or family team of superheroes!

    Designed for groups of 20+ persons, the Justice League includes:
    -Flat rate of $28 per person (children, youth, adults) with chip-timing for runners
    -Upon receipt of payment of $560 or more, your group will be set up with a special code for team members to register.

    To purchase a Justice League Package, please contact NFAR at or 858-679-8800.

  • Cara Lucier & Associates
  • At Cara Lucier & Associates we believe in the ability of every person to reach their potential. We believe that education is the key to opportunity. We advocate for the rights of individuals and their families:

    • IEP team meetings
    • Mediation
    • Due Process Hearings and Appeals
    • 504 Meetings and Appeals
    • Regional Center Meetings and Appeals
    • IHSS Appeals
    • Civil Rights Litigation
    For a free 60-minute initial consultation, please contact us at (760)505-2498.

    Law Offices of Cara Lucier
    Civil Rights and Education Law
    701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite #300
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Phone: (760) 717-3451

  • MCRD Quarterly Play Group -- TOMORROW!!!
  • or 619-524-0916

    Playground at the Bay View Marina Club
    Hosted by Exceptional Family Member and New Parent Support Programs

    All ages welcome! Meet, greet, and play! Staff will provide a small group structured play, then free play on the playground.

    Pre-registration encouraged, but not required. Please be aware that airplanes can be heard from this location. Participants do not need to be enrolled in EFMP to attend workshops or events. Our programs are open to all DoD eligible families (Active duty, Retired, Reserve, DoD civilians and contractors, and other federal agencies).

  • It's Tax Time!
  • Need help navigating the tax ramifications of receiving public benefits such as IHSS? Have questions about which expenses are deductible (special diets, therapies, etc...)?

    As a mother of twins diagnosed with Autism, I am able to provide a personal level of service due to first-hand experience.

    Individual & Business tax returns welcome.

    Serving the special needs community since 2008

    Yvette M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax
    3633 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 205
    San Diego, CA 92108
    (619) 977-6586

  • NFAR Mom's Group - Jan 17, 2018 in Kearny Mesa
  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Giovanni's Italian Restaurant
    9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad, Soda.
    Dinner is provided

    Please join us! These meetings are for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet the 3rd Wednesday of the month for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    January Topic: Supporting Reading Comprehension for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Guest Speaker: Judy Monday, Program Specialist/Consultant and Heather Green, Early Childhood Special Education Teacher

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

  • 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 develope competence and trust in themselves and their guides. Click here for all the info!!!

    The Family Guidance and Therapy Center of Southern California
    3575 Kenyon St, Ste 102
    San Diego, California, CA 92110
    10731 Treena St., Ste 105
    San Diego, CA 92131
    (619) 600-0683

  • TACA - Central San Diego Coffee Talk
  • Wednesday, January 17 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Dr. Steve Tullius Office
    6342 Riverdale St
    San Diego, California 92120

    It's a new year and time to fill your cup with some new inspiration. Autism can be overwhelming and Nancy wants to make it easier for you. Come get the support, information and of course coffee you need and leave feeling empowered to begin your 2018. Hosted by Nancy Kirkman-Co-Coordinator TACA San Diego. Nancy Kirkman is the proud mom of 3 children. Her younger 2 children a son and daughter are both on varying ends of the autism spectrum. This is located in a local Chiropractors office towards the back an industrial park. We have the space dedicated to ourselves for the entire coffee talk. We will provide coffee and a light snack.

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Monthly Autism Parent Support Group
  • Start your year off right! Join us for our Autism Parent Power Lab. Come with questions, leave empowered!

    Sat, January 20, 2018
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    Sanford Autism Consulting
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: $20

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

  • Spring Jam Session Registration Now Open!
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info about upcoming jam sessions and to register!!!

  • Family Gymnastics Night
  • Saturday, January 20, 2018
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
    Magdalena Ecke YMCA Gymnastics Center
    6100-B Avenida Encinas
    Carlsbad, CA

    Hosted by the Autism Society San Diego

    Join other families affected by Autism at a Family Fun Gymnastic Night in North County. The Magdalena Ecke YMCA will provide the gymnasium equipment; together, we will provide the fun! Bring the entire family for an enjoyable, relaxing night of family recreation.

    *Please remember that there is NO childcare provided at this event. For safety reasons, attendees are expected to be with their children at all times. The YMCA staff will be enforcing this rule.

    Pizza will be provided for participants - we encourage attendees to bring a side dish or dessert to share.

    *A $5 minimum donation is recommended per family.

    Autism Society San Diego County

  • San Diego Regional Center Communicator
  • sdrc

    See the winter Communicator available on the SDRC website

    This issue includes:
    --Feature Article - Emergency Placement for Shawn --Self Determination is Coming! --Special Education Rights --Informed Choices --Success stories of Annie, Dayana, Steven and Brenda

    Click here to view the latest issue!!!

  • Xcite Steps Now Offers Individual and Family Therapy
  • At Xcite Steps, we care about the emotional well being of the entire family. Our services extend beyond the child, as we provide psychotherapy to parents, couples, siblings, and families who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, or other developmental disabilities. Having a child or sibling who needs extra support can provide stress and additional challenges to life. Coping with these stressors is not always the easiest. At Xcite Steps we want to provide you with the tools needed to cope with the stress and anxiety that comes along with a complicated medical condition like Autism Spectrum Disorder. We work with couples to help rebuild and strengthen relationship bonds, while also learning how to cope with parenting challenges. We also work with siblings or other loved ones who are struggling to cope with the family changes. Click here for all the info!!!

  • ATPF Natural Solutions Parent Workshop
  • Hosted by Autism Tree Project Foundation
    Wednesday, January 31 at 7 PM - 9 PM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation Office
    2845 Nimitz Blvd, San Diego, California 92106

    Learn how to create a toxic free environment inside your home on a budget! Environmental toxins are the leading cause of respiratory illnesses, asthma and eczema. Additionally learn how to use essential oils to reduce stress and promote natural solutions.

    Welness expert Stephanie Antin and Essenital oils expert Ann Leslie will talk to us about making healthy changes for our families.

    To RSVP call 619.222.4465 or email

  • 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.

    Upcoming dates:
    • January 20, 2018
    • February 17, 2018
    • March 17, 2018
    For more information, visit

  • San Diego Sibshop

  • October 2017 - August 2018

    WANTED: Siblings who have a brother/sister with special needs

    AGES: 7 - 12 years old
    Older siblings are welcome to attend as "Junior Leaders"

    WHAT: A fun-filled opportunity geared to the specific needs of siblings with brothers/sisters with special needs. Join us for games, crafts, hikes, cooking, and art. Meet other sibs - lunch provided

    TIME: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

    Feb. 25: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center
    March 25: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center
    May 20: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center
    August 19: Santee Lakes, 9310 Fanita Pkwy, Santee, CA 92071**

    DONATION: $5.00 - $10.00 per meeting per family for craft materials, supplies and lunch for the kids

    REGISTRATION: Pre-registration requested by email (if possible) the Thursday before the event.

    CONTACT: Email for a Sibshop registration form and / or additional information.

    Sibshop Leaders:
    Jody BonDurant-Strong, Administrator
    Ndoto BonDurant-Strong - adult sibling & CSUSM student
    Gina Clifton, ECSE Medically-Fragile Teacher, Special Education
    Pat Moulton, Retired

    Directions for Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor's Center (MTRP):
    1 Father Juniper Serra Trail (92119). Interstate 8 to 15 North / East on Friars Road.
    Stay to left - turns into Mission Gorge Road / Turn left on 1 Father Juniper Serra.

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services, Winter 2017-2018 Calendar

  • 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.

    Click here to view the Winter Calendar!!

    Click here to register!!

  • Parents and Caregivers Needed for Online Survey

  • I am Arek Yetenekian, and as part of my doctoral research at Alliant International University I require the participation of parents or primary caregivers of non-communicative children with autism. Participants are requested to complete the survey packet via the provided URL, within a web browser. The study consists of several measures of mostly multiple-choice responses related to a child's quality of life, as well as related areas of interest such as familial quality of life and parenting stress. Demographic information will also be collected. Participants with at least a fifth grade reading level, residing in the US, with at least one minor child with autism who is unable to communicate through oral and written means, are required. Thank you very much for your consideration.

    Survey URL:

    If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at: 818-406-5199

    IRB #1607037250

  • Participate in Research: Attention Differences in Persons with ASD and their Family Members

  • Verbally fluent children with ASD between the ages of 8 and 16 and both of their biological parents are invited to participate in a new study examining attention skills. This study will follow recently published work that showed ¬≠both the male sibling of a child with ASD and the child with ASD demonstrated similar attention abnormalities. This provides an important clue to the development of a better understanding of the genetic basis of ASD. This new study will examine trios, the child with ASD, and the mother and father. If one or both parents shows evidence of the attention difference we observed in children with ASD, we will have one of the first clear examples of a non-ASD core deficit that is experienced in first degree family members. Following with genetic analyses could potentially lead to a better understanding about the basic etiology of ASD. Families of a child with ASD are invited to participate in this research taking place at the Neuroscience Center of Alliant International University under the supervision of Alan Lincoln, Ph.D., MSCP, BCBA-D and Shamayne Brown, M.A.

    Study Requirements
    To participate in this study, both biological parents and your son must participate. Your family must be able to come to the Neuroscience Center at Alliant International University in San Diego, California. Participation for you and your son's other parent involves:
    • Completing questionnaires about yourself. This should take about 25 minutes.
    • Completing a brief standard cognitive measure. This should take about 30 minutes.
    • Completing a computer task. This should take about 30 minutes.
    Participation for your son:
    • Will require your child to complete the brief standard intelligence measure. This should take your child about 30 minutes.
    • You will be asked some background questions about your child and will be asked to complete forms related to your child's skills, abilities, and behaviors. This should take you about 25 minutes.
    • Your child will then be shown how to play the same computer games you will be shown and asked to play them as best he can. This should take about 30 minutes.
    We will try to accommodate your schedule as much as possible. Family members may come to the lab on different days if necessary. Some individuals may be excluded from participation in the study on-site. If your child is excluded, he will receive a $5.00 cash gift for his participation in the preliminary assessment. Upon the completion of participation in this study, each child will receive a $20.00 cash gift. Parents will each receive a $10 gift card upon completion of their participation. If a parent is excluded, he or she will be given a $5 gift card for participation in the preliminary assessment. You may also receive, upon request, results of your performance and/or your child's performance.

    If you are interested in participating, please contact us at our confidential e-mail: 858-635-4068, or by email: or Thank you in advance for your time and assistance. I look forward working with you and your family soon.

  • Participate in a Research Survey!
  • business_finance_research.jpg

    I am a graduate student of Communication Disorders at Eastern New Mexico University. The reason I'm reaching out is to see if ValeriesList can assist me with my graduate research. My focus is how applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques are viewed by parents of children with autism. To collect information for my research I have an online questionnaire with a 12 minute video on survey monkey. Would it be possible for you to put the survey link in a newsletter or email to reach your followers? This research is very exciting to me, as it will illuminate perceptions of an important strategy in improving the lives of children with autism.

    Principal Investigator: Erin Bishop
    This project has been reviewed by the IRB of Eastern New Mexico University and approved as protocol # 1718006. Records pertaining to proposal review and approval are available upon request.

  • UCSD Autism Center of Excellence- SPARK

  • UCSD Autism Center of Excellence is working with the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) as part of an exciting research partnership called SPARK, and we would like to invite you and your family to take part. SPARK is an online, national genetics research partnership that seeks to improve the lives of people with autism. Through DNA analyses of saliva samples, the ultimate goal of SPARK is to gain a better understanding of causes and best treatments for autism. To get started, sign up and a saliva collection kit will be mailed to your home. A gift card totaling up to $50 will be sent to you once saliva samples from both parents and individual with ASD are received. We already have 1,991 participants registered on the website, help us reach our goal of 3,000 today!!!

    To register for SPARK: go to

    For additional information contact Hannah Kaplan at the UCSD ACE: or 858- 534- 6906

  • Children with Autism and Their Mothers are Needed for Student Reseach

  • Ariane Myers-Turnbull, MA
    Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student
    California School of Professional Psychology

    If interested please contact or call 858-414-1076!

  • BRAIN DEVELOPMENT IMAGING LABS - Recruiting Participants

  • If you are interested in participating in any of these studies, please call 619-594- 0176 or email

  • Join Our Study! Video Games to Train Attention and Eye Movement

  • Join our study at UCSD's Research on Autism and Development Lab ( We are currently recruiting participants for a study to measure the effects of training visual attention using video games. Click here to view the brochure!!!

  • Parents and Children Needed for Student Research

  • My name is Shamayne Brown and I am a doctoral student at Alliant International University. This study is examining the attention abilities of kids with ASD and their parents. I am recruiting families with a child with ASD as well as families with typically developing children.

    We are looking for boys, ages 8 to 16 years old, who have a diagnosis of ASD and their biological parents - both mother and father need to participate. We are also looking for boys, ages 8 to 16 years old, who are typically developing and both of their biological parents to serve as a control group.

    If you and your family are eligible for participation, you will be asked to come to a lab at the Neuroscience Institute at Alliant International University. You and your child's other parent will be asked to complete consent forms and questionnaires about your own behaviors; this should take you each about 25 minutes. You will also be given questionnaires about your child's behaviors. Only one parent needs to fill out these questionnaires and should take about 25 minutes complete. You, your child, and your child's other parent will complete a cognitive test, which will take about 30 minutes. Each of you will then play some games on a computer. This will take each person about 30 minutes. Your child's participation will take approximately one hour. Your participation and that of your child's other parent will take approximately one and a half to two hours.

    After your child completes his tasks, he will receive a $20 cash gift as an appreciation for his participation. Once you and your child's other parent have completed all tasks, you will each receive a $10 gift card as a token of appreciation for your participation. For further information, please contact Shamayne Brown at or 619-416-1799. Thank you for your time.

    *Approved by Alliant IRB
    IRB #1604025150


    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.