Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 22, 2018

In This Issue

Falling off the Cliff, Part 4 - Life after Death

College students with autism have high rate of suicidal thoughts

How much of our empathy is down to genes?

Autism: Anti-cancer drug may improve social behavior

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

All Abilities Day!!!

Join Include Autism for The Gatsby Gala!

Camp Paivika

It's Tax Time!

Friendship Circle San Diego Bowling Party

The IEP Guy

San Diego Center for Children Spring Break Sports Camp

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

Friendship Walk San Diego, April 29th!!! -- Discount for ValsList!

Author of the Month: Saturday, April 7, 1:00 - 2:30 pm at the San Diego Central Library

We are looking for passionate professionals to join the Fred Finch Youth Center CARES Family

New Adaptive Dance in Oceanside!

Lil' Athletes Soccer at San Diego Center for Children

Dude Where's My Bro? Movie Premier / Best Bros: Friday Sessions CD Release

ABC's The Good Doctor and NETFLIX's Atypical to be Honored at the 2nd Annual Autfest Film Festival Dedicated to Autism Awareness on April 28-29



  • Falling off the Cliff, Part 4 - Life after Death
  • For disabled adults who require constant care, the death of a parent can throw their lives into chaos.

    Joann Clark and her daughter, Jessica, have been gingerly navigating the limbo between life and death as they discuss what will happen to Jessica after Joann is gone.

    Joann, 69, is not dying. But chronic obstructive pulmonary disease keeps her tethered to an oxygen tank 24 hours a day, and she has had three emergency hospitalizations in the past few years. She and Jessica, 35, who has Down syndrome and is also legally blind, know what's coming, sooner than later. Read on...

  • College students with autism have high rate of suicidal thoughts
  • Over the next decade, about 247,000 young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are expected to enroll in universities, colleges, or technical/vocational schools. Because post-secondary education is expected to present new challenges to individuals with ASD, new scholarship is being conducted to assess how ready post-secondary education is to serve a larger population with ASD.

    Under the leadership of Yale's Dr. Fred Volkmar, the March 2018 special issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders focused on the college experiences of students with ASD. Volkmar, the Irving B. Harris Professor in the Child Study Center and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, also has a study coming out in the March 2018 special issue about the self-reported academic, social, and mental health experiences of post-secondary students with ASD. This study is a cornerstone of the journal's post-secondary student-focused January issue. Read on...

  • How much of our empathy is down to genes?
  • When you're going through a tough time, some people seem to know almost instinctively what you need, while others, although well-intended, may not be able to offer the emotional support you're hoping for. Is this because the ability to empathize is innate, or down to our genetic inheritance? A new study investigates.

    Roughly defined as the ability to put yourself in somebody else's shoes, or to "feel their pain," empathy may seem - at least at first glance - similar to kindness or selflessness, which are things very much within our control and willpower.

    However, there are many neurological and genetic underpinnings behind this deeply humane feeling. Read on...

  • Autism: Anti-cancer drug may improve social behavior
  • New research led by the State University of New York at Buffalo suggests that an anti-cancer drug may be able to reverse social impairments associated with autism.

    In a paper now published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the investigators report how low doses of romidepsin - a drug approved in the United States for the treatment of lymphoma - "restored gene expression and reversed social deficits" in a mouse model of autism.

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is a developmental condition, affects behavior, social interaction, and communication. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • Hello! I am a mom of an 12 yr old in an out of state residential placement. I am trying to find moms in a similar situation for support and questions. Please contact me at

    Our pediatrician/family doctor is an ok doctor and is pretty good with my son with ASD. However, he did not understand the impact of ASD on our family well enough to adequately complete the health form for IHSS. Can anyone recommend a Sharp pediatrician for my son with autism (or another one who takes Health Net HMO insurance)? Please email me at with your recommendation. I would greatly appreciate it.

    Hello! I am a graduate student studying speech-language pathology and am planning to one day work with adults who are on the autism spectrum. I am currently seeking a summer practicum placement with the adult population that would last for 6 weeks and consist of 10 hours per week. If you are or know of someone who is a certified speech-language pathologist and would be open to supervising me, please contact me at Many thanks!
    Kathleen Winger

    Looking for someone to mentor and support my high functioning adult on the spectrum. Need someone at least over 25 and available weekends and possibly open to overnight stays. We are in east county, La Mesa area.

    Looking for a primary care physician for my 18 year-old severely autistic son -- non verbal with intense self-injuries behaviors and aggression. Prefer internal medicine specialty. Must have patience and compassion; must understand that autistic individuals manifest illnesses and pain with "behaviors"; must respect the parental point of view and expertise in developing treatment plan. Anthem Blue Cross PPO. Please send suggestions to: Thank you.

    Seeking Roommate for Autistic Older Adult
    I am seeking a roommate for my sister, who is almost 60, severely autistic and non-verbal. My sister is not aggressive toward others - she is affectionate and enjoys the company of other people, and is intelligent - but she is not verbally communicative and is very low-functioning.

    Roommate would need to also be a Regional Center client, non-aggressive and be in or entering the Supported Living program.
    Please contact Daria at Thank you!

    Hello! I am looking to get any information, experiences and guidance regarding SSI applications. My daughter is 17 1/2 and we never applied before. George

    We are wondering what parents experiences has been with some organizations for young adults.
    Our son is a client of the Department of Rehabilitation. We need to select a program for job training. We hope to get some feedback about The Arc, Goodwill and Toward Maximum Independence.
    Thanks Laura S.

    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.

  • All Abilities Day!!!
  • What: All Abilities Day!
    Who: Ages 6 and up
    Where: North University Community Branch Library
    When: Sunday, April 8th 2018 from 1-2 pm

    Enroll online at or call 619.577.4009

  • Join Include Autism for The Gatsby Gala!
  • An exclusive night out benefiting Include Autism, being held at the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa on Saturday, May 19th, 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm.

    To get involved please call 858.603.7344 or email
    We are currently seeking sponsorships, partners, and in-kind donations!

    We warmly invite you to join us at Include Autism's annual fundraising gala. This year's event is the Gatsby Gala, and this lively and meaningful benefit honors and brings together community members from San Diego and beyond in support of autism inclusion.

    This amazing event will feature the following:

    Delectable hors d'ouerves and fare
    Hosted bar, tray passed champagne, and hosted table wine
    Live entertainment, DJs, and dancing
    Extensive live and silent auctions
    Presentation featuring our very own kiddos
    Exclusive gifts and giveaways
    Photo booth and event photography
    Special guests
    & much more!

    Please note: This is a 21 and up cocktail style event.

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

    Include Autism is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization (Tax ID: 20-0948809) dedicated to providing services that instill community-wide autism inclusion. Our focal program, Community Coaching (CC) program provides natural, hands-on opportunities for our program participants to develop adaptive, functional skills needed to become included in their community. Include Autism also has Autism Inclusion Training for businesses and community organizations, Volunteer, Peer Pal and Inclusion Baseball League programs.

    Include Autism now has two sites, our Central location in Hillcrest and our North site in RB/Poway.

  • Camp Paivika
  • Located in the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest, AbilityFirst Camp Paivika offers overnight summer programs for children and adults with disabilities. These programs provide a traditional camp experience with nurturing support and an emphasis on fun. It is one of the first fully accessible camps in the United States. Camp Paivika has helped thousands of children and adults with disabilities make friends, try new activities, and become more confident and independent. As campers enjoy their Camp Paivika experience, families and caregivers can take a break from the rigors and challenges of providing 24/7 care, knowing that their loved ones are safe - cared for and having fun. Click here for all the info!!!

  • 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

  • Friendship Circle San Diego Bowling Party
  • RSVP to Maxime Keyson at 858.487.4879 or

  • The IEP Guy
  • Developing an appropriate IEP should not feel like trying to unravel a Rubik's cube.

    The IEP Guy is an experienced non-attorney special education advocate working side by side with families to obtain appropriate placement, services, and outcomes for students.

    The IEP is the heart and soul of special education. Think of it as the heliocentric model of our solar system. Just as the planets orbit around the sun, so do placement, services, and outcomes revolve around the IEP.

    Therefore, it is imperative that parents develop an appropriate IEP for their child given the major impact it has on the student's academic and functional performance.

    Say goodbye to hourly rates! All services are provided on a flat fee basis. No surprises!

    • IEP Services
    • Discipline
    • Academic Disputes
    • Parent Coaching
    Leo Marchena
    The IEP Guy
    4275 Executive Square, Suite 200
    La Jolla, CA 92037

  • San Diego Center for Children Spring Break Sports Camp
  • Contact 858-634-8300 or

  • Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment
  • Experience a unique and effective approach to autism therapy.

    Our aim is to bring to families everywhere the most effective therapies for the treatment of autism. Our integrated care model is based on the scientific research and clinical practice of our founder, Dr. Suzanne Goh. We seek to set a new global standard for autism care by achieving superior developmental outcomes for the children and families we serve.

    At Cortica, we believe the world needs a higher standard of care for all those living with autism, or a potential diagnosis of autism. Families like yours deserve effective, collaborative, caring therapies that are accessible and reasonably priced, no matter who you are or where you live.

    The Cortica Care Model

    • Neurophysiology
    • Family and Home
    • Biochemistry
    • Cognition and Behavior
    • Sensorimotor
    • Communication
    Therapists with specialized expertise collaborate to understand and treat the whole child.

    Your customized program will focus on what your child's developing brain needs most to gain new abilities.

    The Cortica Care Model is based on a proven methodology that gives you confidence you're doing the right thing.

    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

  • Friendship Walk San Diego, April 29th!!! -- Discount for ValsList!
  • Walk With Your Heart!!!

    Sunday, April 29th
    Liberty Station, NTC Park, Preble Field
    2455 Cushing Rd., San Diego, CA 92106

    Join us for the 5k Friendship Walk San Diego to raise funds and community involvement for children and adults with special needs. The Friendship Circle provides inclusion programming, fun community outings and friendship for children, teens and adults with disabilities throughout San Diego County. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

    For our upcoming Friendship Walk on April, 29th we want to offer ValsList members a promo code to sign up and get 25% off entry fees ($20 pp becomes $15 per person) with code VALSLIST valid now through March 30th!!

  • Author of the Month: Saturday, April 7, 1:00 - 2:30 pm at the San Diego Central Library
  • Join a wide-ranging, inspiring conversation about stories, families, and compassion with award-winning children's author, Sally J. Pla, and therapist/founder of the Love & Autism Conference, Dr. JennyPalmiotto, Saturday, April 7, at 1:00. - 2:30 at the Central Library. Their talk is entitled "Kids & Books & Love & Autism."

    Humans make sense of the world through story-telling. We all love good stories, but they may be especially meaningful for those whose brains operate just a bit differently - and for those of us who know and love them.

    Award-winning San Diego author Sally J. Pla has written two highly acclaimed books that touch upon what life is like with a slightly different neurology: The Someday Birds, and Stanley Will Probably Be Fine. She is eager to share why she felt compelled to write them, and what her ongoing literary mission may be.

    Dr. Jenny Palmiotto's nationally renowned Love & Autism Conference is held annually in San Diego. Its theme this year is "Stories." We'll hear from Jenny about why this theme is important to her conference, her practice, and her clients.

    Perhaps someone you love, someone you teach, someone you work with, or live with is somewhere on the spectrum. Or perhaps you care about compassion, acceptance, and the celebration of differences in our world. Or perhaps you just love good books and good stories from a unique perspective. In any case, we hope you join us for what's sure to be an enlightening talk.

    Refreshments will be served during a meet-and-greet after the talk. Sally's books will be available for sale.
    Resource information on autism also will be available.

    THE SOMEDAY BIRDS -- Winner of the 2018 Dolly Gray Children's Literature Award. Junior Library Guild Selection. "Nerdies" Book Award Winner. A New York Public Library Best Kids Book of 2017.

    "Offering a mixture of suspense, mystery, tragedy and humor, Pla's story captures both the literal and figurative meanings of journey." -Publishers Weekly Starred Review

    "Pla gives us a memorable hero in this lyrical and funny book." -Shelf Awareness Starred Review

    The Someday Birds is a debut middle grade novel perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree, filled with humor, heart, and chicken nuggets. Charlie's perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan.

    When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels crosscountry with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn out okay.

    Author Sally J. Pla has written a tale that is equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an autistic boy who feels he doesn't understand the world, and an uplifting portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.

    This is a free event and all the info is here.

  • We are looking for passionate professionals to join the Fred Finch Youth Center CARES Family
  • Apply today!!
    858-444-8823 ext. 1026 or

  • New Adaptive Dance in Oceanside!
  • Adaptive Dance introduces the basics of dance through creative movement to children with special needs in a fun and inviting atmosphere where all dancers will feel accepted and comfortable learning the art of dance. The goal of this program is to build body awareness, muscle memory, strength, balance, focus, and above all to have fun!

    All classes are taught by Stephanie Morgan, a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist and dance professional. Her training includes working with those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injuries and Spinal Cord Injuries. Stephanie is the founder of the Adaptive Dance program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Dance located in Pittsburgh, PA and is excited to have the opportunity to create an Adaptive Dance program at Cadence Dance Projet. Besides teaching dance classes, Stephanie also works at TERI Campus of Life as a Lead Instructor at the Center for Arts and Adult Education.

    Cadence Dance Project
    222 Wisconsin Ave
    Oceanside, CA 92054

    Cadence Dance Project can be contacted by phone at 760-277-3883 or email at or you may email me directly at

  • Lil' Athletes Soccer at San Diego Center for Children
  • Contact 858-634-8300 or

  • Dude Where's My Bro? Movie Premier / Best Bros: Friday Sessions CD Release
  • SUNDAY, March 25, 2018
    7:30 PM
    New Village Arts Theater
    2787 State Street

    Reid Moriarty's latest CD "Best Bros: Friday Session" is a duet project with singer songwriter Paul Eddy. These two "Best Bros" will perform a few of the new originals like "Carlsbad," "Mexican Coke," and the soundtrack they wrote for the film, "Dude, Where's My Bro?"

    A capstone project of their acting class, "Dude, Where's My Bro?" was written and acted by members of the BRAM acting troupe, then directed and produced by Inclusion Films students all under the tutelage of Samantha Ginn. Actors and film crew are all talented young men with autism who will take questions on a panel discussion after the screening.

    BRAM Members:
    Brendan Kerr
    Ethan Marr
    Reid Moriarty
    Myles Mulvey
    Alex Nichols

    Cameo performances by Dylan Parker, May Marr, and Samantha Ginn

  • ABC's The Good Doctor and NETFLIX's Atypical to be Honored at the 2nd Annual Autfest Film Festival Dedicated to Autism Awareness on April 28-29
  • Presented by the Autism Society, AutFest Celebrates "From Spectrum to Screen" April 28-29

    ABC'S THE GOOD DOCTOR and NETFLIX'S ATYPICAL will be receiving special honors at the 2nd Annual AUTFEST International Film Festival presented by The Autism Society on April 28-29, 2018 at the Writers Guild Theater, 135 South Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills. The announcement was made by Matthew Asner, VP of Development for The Autism Society. AUTFEST is sponsored by Hyundai Motor America and SAG/AFTRA.

    Said Scott Badesch, President of Autism Society of America: "The 2nd Annual AutFest International Film Festival is a wonderful platform to celebrate the roles that television and films are now playing in autism awareness. We are proud to honor this year's outstanding film and television programs for their visionary portrayals of the complexity of autistic emotions, as we can see with our two spotlighted shows THE GOOD DOCTOR and ATYPICAL."

    Past AUTFEST honorees include BEN AFFLECK (The Accountant) and Pixar's PETE DOCTER and JONAS RIVERA (Inside Out). Celebrating autism awareness "from spectrum to screen," AutFest, now in its second year, is the only film festival solely dedicated to an autistic audience and filmmakers. Its mission is to further advance the well-being of all with an autism diagnosis, as well as to educate the nation about autism and the important need to fully respect and value each person with autism. AutFest wishes to celebrate films that promote autism awareness and support autistic filmmakers and artists that have chosen film as their profession.

    A number of special awards will be handed out at a special ceremony at the conclusion of AutFest on Sunday, April 29, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Documentary, Best Actor, Best Actress as well as an Audience Award. A Best Autistic Filmmaker Award will be presented to an autistic filmmaker.

    AutFest is also inviting student graphic designers to create a festival poster that depicts the festival's theme "from spectrum to screen." Winning posters will be used as the festival's official poster as well as for official materials such as t-shirts and postcards. The contest is hosted by "We Are Lions, a marketplace for products created and designed by individuals with disabilities. More details about the poster contest can be found at

    AutFest Honorary Committee Members include seven-time Emmy® winner and autism advocate Ed Asner, actress Kristen Bell (House of Lies), actor Dax Shepard (CHIPS), Emmy-winning actress comedian Sarah Silverman, Golden Globe®-nominated actor Matthew Modine (Stranger Things), Emmy-nominated actor Gary Cole (Veep), Autism Speaks co-founder Bob Wright, The Suzanne Wright Foundation president Liz Feld, Warner Bros. president and CCO Peter Roth and Autism Society's VP of Development Matt Asner.

  • ASD Mornings at theNAT
  • 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

  • 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.

    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.

  • Join UCSD Autism Center of Excellence on either SATURDAY OR SUNDAY, APRIL 7-8 for our first SPARKforAutism live-registration event!

  • Join UCSD Autism Center of Excellence on either SATURDAY OR SUNDAY, APRIL 7-8 for our first SPARKforAutism live-registration event! There will be free parking, drinks, child care, games, and giveaways. Come out, join the fun, and enroll in the largest, genetics study of autism with over 9,000 families already participating nationwide! Staff will help guide families through the online registration process and assist with saliva collection. Child care will be provided while parents complete registration. Families who complete the study will receive up to a $50 Amazon e-gift card. Help us understand the genetic causes of ASD and develop better, more effective treatments so that each child can reach their full potential!

    Time: 9 AM- 5 PM
    Where: UCSD Autism Center of Excellence- 8110 La Jolla Shores Drive, Suite 201/202, La Jolla, CA 92037

    To reserve a registration spot, please RSVP by March 29th by calling 858-534-6906 or emailing Hannah Kaplan at
    RSVP is required for attendance and gift card giveaways. BOTH biological parents and the individual/child with ASD are encouraged to attend this event as this is a genetics study. Families must be able to consent and complete registration in English. We can't wait to see you there!

  • Spring 2018 Therapeutic Recreation Services Calendar

  • Click here for our new Spring 2018 calendar. Please note the following important dates:

    >>First day of registration for Spring activities
    Saturday, February 17 at 10:00 a.m.

    >>First day of registration for Summer Camps
    Saturday, March 3rd at 10:00 a.m.

    You may sign up online at or at our office 3325 Zoo Drive, 92101.

  • Vanderbilt Kennedy Center: Residential and Respite Care Services Survey

  • The survey will take less than 30 minutes to complete. The survey is anonymous and voluntary and the responses are confidential. The responses will be helpful in determining issues and supports related to residential and respite care services. We will raffle ten $25 gift cards at the close of the survey for participants who complete the survey.

    Click here to take the survey and help with research to improve lives!!!

  • Parents Who have a Child with Autism Wanted for an Online Survey

    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.