Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. December 26, 2017

In This Issue

What I've Learned From Special Ed Teachers

Ketamine 'rapid and effective' for reducing suicidal thoughts

Estimate of autism's sex ratio reaches new low

Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

Program Helps 'Take Home' People with Special Needs

Annual Friends of Friendship Circle Dinner

Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) Saturday Workshops

Sensory Friendly Performance of The Magic Treehouse: Pirates Past Noon Kids

Command & Control

Family Yoga at MCRD

The Options Program at Cathedral Catholic High School

Autism Parent Support Group

Conference: Teaching Social Competencies-More Than Social Skills

Sensory Browsing Hour at Poway Library



Exciting Opportunity! Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) is looking for teens and young adults with autism who have never participated in our programs and would like to receive a scholarship for our upcoming theatre and/or performing arts workshops in exchange for participating in a new study. We will be videoing the first, fourth, and seventh workshops of an 8-week series to measure our effectiveness in improving the participation, communication, and social skills of teens and young adults with autism. This will be a confidential study and no names will be used in the reports.

The workshop series will begin on Saturday, January 27, 2018 and conclude on March 24th, with no workshops on February 17th. Improvisational theatre workshops are from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m., and our performing arts (dance and group singing) workshops are from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Workshops are located at Dance North County, 535 Encinitas Blvd., Ste. 101, Encinitas, CA 92024.

  • What I've Learned From Special Ed Teachers
  • Special education teachers have valuable insights to share with their peers about patience, empathy, working with parents, and more.

    Special education teachers are expected to do quite a lot: Assess students' skills to determine their needs and then develop teaching plans; organize and assign activities that are specific to each student's abilities; teach and mentor students as a class, in small groups, and one-on-one; and write individualized education plans in parent-friendly language.

    In addition, they must know and apply the dozens of acronyms used in their field: ADA (American with Disabilities Act), DOR (Department of Rehabilitation), LEA (local education agency), PDD (pervasive developmental disorder), and LRE (least restrictive environment), to name just a few. Read on...

  • Ketamine 'rapid and effective' for reducing suicidal thoughts

  • Ketamine - a medication primarily used as an anesthetic - may offer a fast and effective way to reduce suicidal thoughts among individuals with depression. This is the finding of a new study by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, NY.

    Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States; each year, around 44,193 people in the U.S. take their own lives, and a further 494,169 are hospitalized for self-harm injuries.

    Depression is by far the most common disorder underlying a suicide attempt; around 30-70 percent of those who attempt suicide have major depression or bipolar disorder.

    But how can you tell if a friend or loved one with depression is having suicidal thoughts? Verbal threats of suicide or being a burden to others, an increase in the use of drugs or alcohol, and changes in mood can all be warning signs. Read on...

  • Estimate of autism's sex ratio reaches new low

  • The ratio of boys to girls who qualify for an autism diagnosis drops to about 3-to-1 in a massive new analysis of published research1.

    The findings highlight the need to look out for girls with autism who may be misdiagnosed, identified late or overlooked entirely.

    "It gives us the firmest empirical basis to date to support the idea that autism is probably underdiagnosed in girls," says Francesca Happé, professor of cognitive neuroscience at King's College London, who was not involved in the work. "That's big news, really." Read on...

  • Parents and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • We are the family of an adult with intellectual disabilities and medical complexities. We are seeking others' experiences with Home Health Care agencies hoping to find one that is honorable, trustworthy and reputable. Is there any such thing? Positive and negative experiences are welcome. Thank you.

    I would appreciate any insights into the Winston School, not just for academic support but also behavioral support. My child would be starting mid-year seventh grade. If you have any feedback, please email me at Thank you!

    Has your child attended TERI's Country School? If so, please email me - I'd like to get your feedback. Thank you! Michelle Ohnstad:

    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 (

    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.

  • Program Helps 'Take Home' People with Special Needs
  • If your loved one has special needs, you may want to consider registering them in the Sheriff's "Take Me Home" program. The information you provide to the registry will help law enforcement officers in reuniting lost individuals with their families in a timely manner.

    Brian Herritt's son, affectionately named "Little Brian," has severe, low-functioning autism as well as epilepsy and went missing when he was younger. Luckily, neighbors were able to reunite Little Brian with his family, but his dad knew something more needed to be done in case it ever happened again.

    Herritt modified a special reunification program, which started in Florida, and has created what he says some call the "best version" of Take Me Home. Read on...

  • Annual Friends of Friendship Circle Dinner
  • You are invited to celebrate with us at our annual Friends of Friendship Circle Dinner on Sunday, January 7th!

    Join us for a festive evening of camp themed entertainment including dinner, singing songs, guest speakers and more! Come enjoy as we thank our volunteers and supporters and celebrate another year of friendship together.

    Sunday, January 7th
    6:00pm - 8:00pm
    16934 Chabad Way, Poway, CA 92064

    Dress code is camping attire and smiles!


    Bring cash or checks to purchase raffle tickets for the following wonderful prizes, or purchase online below and show your email receipt at the event to redeem for tickets. $5 for 1 ticket, $20 for 5 tickets, $80 for 20 tickets.

    Click here for all the info!!!!

  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) Saturday Workshops
  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) invites parents to bring their teens and young adults with autism to visit one of our Saturday Workshops, starting Jan 17. We offer theatre, dance, and group singing workshops in Encinitas. There are special scholarship opportunities for new families.

    Many people with autism are talented and interested in the arts. Their parents are often surprised at how easily they jump into our activities. While engaging in the camaraderie of the performing arts they will also master social and communication skills, and enjoy a long term community.

    PACT is a non-profit organization that has been providing performing arts workshops for people with autism since 2008. For more info contact Kathryn Campion at,, 760-815-8512. See flyer above for details.

  • Sensory Friendly Performance of The Magic Treehouse: Pirates Past Noon Kids
  • On January 13th at 11am San Diego Junior Theatre is having a sensory friendly performance of The Magic Treehouse: Pirates Past Noon Kids at the Casa del Prado Theatre in Balboa Park. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Command & Control
  • Command & Control, an executing function intervention for teens and young adults with ASD, ADHD, LD, etc. The program is based on neuroscience research and is developed to enhance executive functioning skills used to perform activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, being flexible, paying attention, remembering, and managing time and space.

    Command & Control meets once a week for 12 weeks and will be held on Tuesday nights from 4:30-6pm starting January 9th, 2018. The program also includes a parent education component that happens during the last 30 minutes of the session.

    Intricate Mind Institute
    2247 San Diego Ave #136
    San Diego, CA 92110
    (858) 205-9809

  • Family Yoga at MCRD
  • For more info and to register, please contact:
    Christy Howland
    EFMP Training, Education and Outreach Specialist
    Office: 619-524-0916

  • The Options Program at Cathedral Catholic High School
  • The Options Program at Cathedral Catholic High School provides students with intellectual disabilities and/or delays an opportunity to become a part of the CCHS community. Students enrolled in the Options Program will become fully integrated as possible into the total life of the school community through participation in general education classes and campus activities with the support of peer mentors. Students will earn a Certificate of Completion upon their four years at CCHS. There is also support from a special education case manager who designs individualized curriculum for each student. Incoming Freshmen may apply.

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Autism Parent Support Group
  • Wed, January 10, 2018
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    Sanford Autism Consulting
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: $20
    Click here for all the info!!!

  • Conference: Teaching Social Competencies-More Than Social Skills
  • Our mission is to help people develop social competencies to better connect with others and live happier, more meaningful lives. We do this by creating concepts, curricula, and materials that help professionals and parents teach social competencies and help individuals as young as four and across the lifespan meet their personal, academic, and professional goals.

    Join us in San Diego! March 12-15, 2018
    EARLY BIRD - 20% OFF!!!
    Learn practical strategies for self-regulation, executive functioning, perspective taking, and more at the four-day conference. Learn More & Register!

  • Sensory Browsing Hour at Poway Library
  • My name is Loretta, and I am the Youth Service Librarian at the Poway Branch of the San Diego County Library. I want to invite all of your readers to join us every Second Sunday at 11:00 am for our Sensory Browsing Hour. During this hour, the Poway Library opens early for families with children on the Autism spectrum. We strive to create a comfortable and welcoming environment so that families can enjoy the library.

    Our next Sensory Browsing Hour will be on Sunday, January 14th at 11:00 am.

    Loretta Gibson
    Youth Service Librarian
    Poway Branch
    San Diego County Library
    (858) 513-2900

  • ASD Mornings at theNAT

  • Please visit for more information.

  • 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:
    • November 18, 2017
    • December 16, 2018
    • 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.

    Dec. 10: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center
    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.