Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 29, 2018

In This Issue

Study: Children with autism less likely to be fully vaccinated

Finding the Right Home for Your Adult Child With Autism

Why studying autism in mice may be doomed to fail

Social awareness increases prove brain changing in adults with autism

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Is Autism on Your Radar? How to Access Supports Your Child Deserves.

Join Include Autism for The Gatsby Gala!

Autism Parent Group: Understanding Autism Across the Ages

It's Tax Time!

Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) Spring and Summer Sessions

The IEP Guy

SUCCESS group beginning this Spring!

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

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

Southwest Cares for Autism

Join us at Kid Ventures at their Chula Vista/Eastlake location on Mon, April 16th from 5pm - 6:30pm!

Sophie's Kensington Gallery Presents: Diverse Perspectives

Adult Support Group

16th Annual Splash for Cash!

Ceramics Class Starts April 5 in Fallbrook


  • Study: Children with autism less likely to be fully vaccinated
  • (CNN) -- Children with autism spectrum disorder are significantly less likely to be fully vaccinated than children unaffected by autism, new research finds. And the same is true of their younger sisters and brothers.

    "This study is showing that children with autism and their younger siblings might be at greater risk of vaccine-preventable diseases," said Ousseny Zerbo, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research.

    The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Read on...

  • Finding the Right Home for Your Adult Child With Autism
  • Marianne Ehlert of Protected Tomorrows works with the families of people on the autism spectrum to plan for adult living. Available options for people on the autism spectrum vary from state to state and individual to individual. Possibilities range from complete independence to institutional living. Figuring out just what a particular individual needs, where to find it, and how to fund it, can be a complex process.

    Ehlert notes that it's important to begin thinking about adult living while your child with autism is still young. In part, that's because children with autism are usually eligible for special needs and transition programs through their schools, which means that your child's educational program can be crafted to support your plans for the future. It's also because the process of thinking through, planning for, and creating an ideal living situation for a person on the autism spectrum may take a long time. Read on...

  • Why studying autism in mice may be doomed to fail
  • After more than a decade of effort, scientists are questioning whether mouse models of autism can ever capture the social deficits seen in people with the condition.

    Fresh out of her graduate program, where she studied sex differences in the rodent brain, Jill Silverman joined a top mouse behavior lab at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She was especially excited to study autism. It was 2007, and researchers had just begun identifying strong candidate genes for the condition. They were churning out mice with mutations in these genes and turning to mouse behaviorists to show that the mice could serve as furry proxies for people with autism. Silverman tested dozens of the mice in the lab.

    The ideal 'autism mouse,' researchers thought at the time, should show all the same traits that characterize autism in people: language and social problems, and restricted and repetitive behaviors. Some mutant mice make fewer ultrasonic vocalizations than controls do, which many behaviorists took to be an analog of language problems. Other models groom, jump or bury marbles to an excessive degree - actions the researchers interpreted as repetitive behaviors reminiscent of autism. But researchers were most intent on sniffing out social deficits, a hallmark feature of autism. If they could pin down a murine model of this trait, the thinking went, perhaps they could design drugs to address it - or could at least better understand the brain pathways involved. Read on...

  • Social awareness increases prove brain changing in adults with autism
  • Research shows virtual learning platform enhances neural health and social cognition in high-functioning adults on the spectrum

    Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, in collaboration with co-leading authors at George Washington University and Yale, have demonstrated in a pilot study that a clinician-driven virtual learning platform, tailored to young adults on the autism spectrum, shows improved social competency. Findings published in Autism Research reveal that increases in socio-emotional and socio-cognitive abilities correlate with brain change. Results included increased activation in the brain's socio-cognition hub with gains linked to improvement on an empathy measure.

    The present findings are among the first to demonstrate neural changes that are associated with significant behavioral gains in young adults with high-functioning autism. Researchers were particularly intrigued by the significant relationships between behavioral and brain changes, as there is a lack of research in this area. Historically, most autism research has focused on early childhood with treatment results typically measured solely by observable and self-reported behaviors. 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.

  • Is Autism on Your Radar? How to Access Supports Your Child Deserves.
  • Do you have concerns that your child may be exhibiting symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder? Join Gateway and Advanced Neurobehavioral Health on an introduction to Pediatric Neuropsychology and ABA Therapy and how both can be powerful resources for your child who may be demonstrating characteristics of Autism.

    The seminar will cover:

    • A brief guide to pediatric Neuropsychology.
    • What is ABA therapy?
    • How do I access this therapy?
    Robert M. Gray Ph.D., ABPP, Neuropsychologist (Advanced Neurobehavioral Health)
    Luisa Gatto, M.A., BCBA

    About Gateway Learning Group: Gateway is a leading provider of autism and behavior intervention services in Northern and Southern California. Gateway Learning Group's direct therapy programs are organized on behalf of children and their families, often in collaboration with school districts, regional centers, and health insurance providers.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2018 from 6:30-8:00 P.M.
    Gateway Learning Group Office
    2525 Camino Del Rio South, #335
    San Diego, CA, 92108

    This event and parking are FREE! We are sorry, no childcare provided.

    Please RSVP to by April 13th.

  • 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.

  • Autism Parent Group: Understanding Autism Across the Ages
  • Wed, April 11, 2018
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    Sanford Autism Consulting
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: $20

    Join us for our April Parent Power Lab. This month's topic is Autism Across the Age Span. Let's learn together and develop appropriate expectations for our children at every stage. Come with questions, leave empowered!

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

  • 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

  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) Spring and Summer Sessions
  • PACT offers Improvisational Theatre and Performing Arts workshops throughout the year, including summer. Workshops are "inclusive", consisting of peers with and without disabilities. Most participants are in their mid-teens, but the program is also open to adults. We are always looking for good volunteers to serve as peer mentors as well!

    To register call 760-815-8512 or email For all the info click here!!!

  • 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

  • SUCCESS group beginning this Spring!
  • Intricate Mind Institute
    2247 San Diego Ave #136
    San Diego, CA 92110
    (858) 205-9809

  • 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!!

  • Southwest Cares for Autism
  • Saturday, April 7 at 6 PM - 8:30 PM
    Southwest Airlines at SAN
    3665 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, California 92101

    Hosted by Autism Speaks San Diego, ACES ABA, Mission Federal Credit Union and Autism Speaks Southern CA

    RSVP page is Open!

    This April 7th Autism Speaks San Diego has teamed up with Southwest Airlines to provide an autism friendly airport and flight simulation experience for our San Diego families.

    The event is FREE but space is limited. Event participants will be selected on a first come first serve basis. Priority will be given to confirmed past registered Autism Speaks walk attendees. RSVP completion does NOT guarantee event participation.

  • Join us at Kid Ventures at their Chula Vista/Eastlake location on Mon, April 16th from 5pm - 6:30pm!
  • Monday, April 16th from 5pm - 6:30pm!
    851 Showroom Pl, Chula Vista, CA 91914

    Families of children with autism including siblings (ages 2-8 years old) are invited to join us for a fun filled time of structured activities, crafts & creative play!

    Registration is FREE, but you will need to RSVP here:

    For more information, contact NFAR at 858-679-8800

  • Sophie's Kensington Gallery Presents: Diverse Perspectives
  • Public Reception Saturday, April 7th
    5 - 8 PM
    Wine and Hors d-oeuvre
    Sophie's Kensington Gallery
    4186 Adams Avenue
    San Diego, CA 92116

    Click here for info about Sophie's Kensington Gallery!!!

    Click here for info about Art of Autism!!!

  • Adult Support Group
  • San Diego Center for Children
    680 Fletcher Parkway. Suite 202 * El Cajon, CA 92020

  • 16th Annual Splash for Cash!
  • Join us for the 16th Annual Splash for Cash on Sunday, April 29th from 8 AM - 2 PM. Swimming begins at 9 AM. This annual FUNdraiser is our biggest pool party of the year! Have a good time in the pool, or just hang out and enjoy the fun - swimming is completely optional! Either way, we guarantee a good time!

    Help us as we raise money for our Pool PALS program . All proceeds fund swimming lesson scholarships, Surf Camp, and our monthly family events like our Family Pizza and Pool Party, and our Family Gymnastics Night.

    Sign up to fundraise as a team OR as an individual fundraiser. All participants receive an event giveaway.

    Any team or individual that raises at least $250 will be able to register one participant for Surf Camp the day of the Splash for Cash. Registration forms will be distributed at the event for those who qualify. Please bring the required documentation with you to the pool in order to complete your camper's registration. Details are on our website.

    Thanks so much to our wonderful San Diego Firefighters who will once again be preparing and serving a pancake breakfast and chili dog lunch at the event.

    Enjoy a fabulous silent auction as well as hourly Swimmer in the Pool prize drawings.

    Join us at Aqua Pros Swim School Pool at the Boys and Girls Club, 4635 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard in San Diego.

  • Ceramics Class Starts April 5 in Fallbrook
  • Ceramics with Neill Ketchum starts Thursday, April 5 from 2:00 - 3:30 PM thru May 24. Registration forms for Ceramic Class are on the College of Adaptive Education website. Register now to reserve your spot!

  • 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
  • Participate in Research: Attention Differences in Boys with ASD and their Family Member

  • Boys with ASD between the ages of 8 and 16 and both of their biological parents are invited to participate in a study examining attention skills and genetics.

    Boys who are typical developing and their biological parents are also invited to serve as a control group.

    This research is 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. You must be able to travel to the lab to participate.

    Study Requirements
    -Both biological parents and the son must participate.
    -Each parent will complete questionnaires about him or herself.
    -This should take about 30 minutes.
    -Each parent will complete a brief standard cognitive measure. This should take about 30 minutes.
    -Each parent will complete a computer task. This should take about 30 minutes.
    -One parent will complete questionnaires about your son. This should take about 25 minutes.
    -Your will complete the brief standard intelligence measure. This should take your child about 30 minutes.
    -Your son will compete the computer task. This should take about 30 minutes.

    Upon completion of participation, your son will receive $20 and each parent will receive a $10 gift card. You may also receive, upon request, results of your performance and/or your child's performance.

    Refer another family to the study and be entered in a drawing for a $200 Visa gift card.

    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. If a parent is excluded, he or she will be given a $5 gift card for participation in the preliminary assessment.

    If you are interested in participating, please call 858-635-4068 or by email: or Thank you in advance for your time and assistance!

    Approved by Alliant IRB (#1604025150R001)


    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.