Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. January 08, 2019

In This Issue

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In our opinion: U., BYU autism research is a show of compassionate health care practices

School-based program proves "highly effective" for children with autism

Revealing autism's hidden strengths

10 Levels to Living Independently

People with autism sometimes give ambiguous looks

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Be a HERO for 2019! Family Friendly Pricing Ends 1/10/19

NFAR Men's Group - Thu. Jan 10

MSNC Free Webinar Series: What Will My Child do After Highschool?

Parent Support Group in La Mesa

Yvette M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax

Community ConNext

FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety

Science-based Social Group

North County Coffee Talk

One Piece at a Time - Autism Benefit

Teen Social Skills Group

Little Big Steps is Accepting New Clients!!!

Sports Camp Starting in March 2019

Jeremiah's Ranch January Newsletter


Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

ValeriesList is a FREE resource newsletter and Facebook Page for San Diego County and has been for over 18 years. No fees or membership are required to receive this info. An informed public makes better decisions for its' persons with Special Needs. Please share with friends, family, fellow professionals and clients!!! Click here to check out my FB page! Thank YOU!

thomas nelson

Your Child's Education Comes First!

Your child is entitled to a "free and appropriate public education" or FAPE, whereby the school addresses all of your child's unique needs. A school district must provide your child with an appropriate education regardless of budget cuts, what's convenient, or what's available. Too often the school district offers a "one size fits all" program that fits within their needs, but not within the unique needs of your child. Ensuring that your child's education comes first means having the right team on your side. An effective team works cooperatively and collaboratively with the school district, using their knowledge, expertise and experience to foster quick and yet effective resolutions.

As a practicing attorney for over 25 years, Thomas S. Nelson takes great pride in helping special needs children through affordable advocacy and legal services.

  • In our opinion: U., BYU autism research is a show of compassionate health care practices
  • University of Utah and Brigham Young University researchers have made significant progress in the effort to understand the molecular underpinnings of autism. While their work has yielded biological insights, it also underscores the transformative power of compassionate health care practices.

    Autism is, by many counts, a poorly understood and clinically ambiguous diagnosis. Doctors and researchers affirm the diagnosis falls along a spectrum of symptoms, ranging from low functioning to high functioning. The cause of autism, and the reason for its variation amidst common traits, is not known. In the vacuum left by the absence of certainty, some have sought to place blame on unproven causes. For example, a strong anti-vaccination movement took off in the United States in an effort to link vaccination to autism.

    An estimated 1 in 59 United States children will receive an autism diagnosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yet its prevalence hasn't led to copious amounts of research. "They've been neglected in research - they've been really neglected. Especially in brain imaging research," Mikle South, senior author on the study and professor of psychology and neuroscience at BYU, told the Deseret News. Read on...

  • School-based program proves "highly effective" for children with autism
  • The Institute for Autism Research at Canisius College in Buffalo is making significant progress with a program for elementary school children with high functioning autism. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley met with researchers and a parent to find out how it is providing "highly effective" treatment for children.

    "She might start rocking, she might start crying. She might just start being misbehaving," said Donna Harrington of Tonawanda.

    Harrington is explaining how Autism Spectrum Disorder affects her 13-year-old daughter, Gabrielle.

    Harrington tells WBFO News she reached out to the college's Institute for Autism Research when her daughter was in grade school searching for help. Read on...

  • Revealing autism's hidden strengths

  • Autistic people who have trouble speaking or moving often do poorly on standard tests of intelligence. Newer methods promise to uncover their abilities - and improve our understanding of autism itself.

    orking as a clinical neuropsychologist in a Montreal hospital a decade ago, Isabelle Soulières routinely administered tests of cognitive ability to autistic children. And the children routinely stumbled on questions she knew they should be able to answer.

    For instance, to test if a child understood the word 'dog,' Soulières would ask him to point at a dog in a series of four pictures. But the autistic children she worked with, many of whom were minimally verbal, just stared at her or looked away - even when the parents insisted their child knew what a dog was. To test the children's memory, Soulières would show a picture of one clown, then one of two clowns, and ask the child to identify the familiar clown in the second picture. One autistic girl she recalls didn't point to either clown as many of her peers did - but then went on to demonstrate that she had an excellent memory, reaching into a drawer for a toy she had played with two weeks earlier. Read on...

  • 10 Levels to Living Independently
  • For many of our clients, living independently doesn't just happen. It takes planning, practice, and patience. Our definition of living independently means daily functioning without adults or peer mentors providing ongoing structure or cues. It involves flexibly reacting and responding to daily demands.

    Over the years, our work has led us to interact and consult with many young adults who are academically smart, but struggle to succeed as independent adults-whether in a university or work setting. Many have diagnoses such as Asperger's syndrome, High-Functioning Autism, ADHD, Twice Exceptional (academically gifted with known learning disabilities), and a number are without a diagnosis. Almost all have challenges with Executive Functioning (EF) and have had a great deal of assistance to accomplish the work required to finish high school. Many of these young adults are also very talented in a defined area (e.g., violinist, scientist, inventor, etc.), and many may have received large scholarships to attend the university of their choice based on their talents. While most make it through the first semester of higher education, a large percentage are unable to continue after that. Why? Our years of clinical experience have shown that intellect and academic abilities are not the problem. Rather, weak EF skills-the ability to sustain organization, focus, grit, and daily living practices-is the culprit. Read on...

  • People with autism sometimes give ambiguous looks

  • Facial expressions smooth social interactions: A smile may show interest, a frow n empathy. People with autism have difficulty making appropriate facial expressions at the right times, according to an analysis of 39 studies1. Instead, they may remain expressionless or produce looks that are difficult to interpret.

    The new work is the largest yet to explore this issue. Such studies are rare relative to those focused on autistic people's difficulty interpreting others' expressions.

    Producing suitable expressions is likely to be just as important to social interaction as reading others' faces, says lead researcher Elina Birmingham, associate professor of education at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada. "Face-to-face interactions are a two-way street," she says. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • I'm looking for a part time communication partner (CP) for my teenage son who uses supportive typing to communicate. CP must have English as a first language. Must have a working knowledge of high school academic curriculum. Must be familiar with software such as Word and PowerPoint. Must be eligible to work in the United States. Must have current LiveScan. Experience with Facilitated Communication preferred.
    Please email me at if interested or want more details.

    Hi Everyone,
    I have 10 years old nonverbal Autistic son. I will be Home schooling him but I am having hard time with Curriculum. I am looking for something ABA based, to teach him daily life skills etc. He is/ was not able to learn anything Academic.we live in La Mesa CA Thanks.

    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.

  • Be a HERO for 2019! Family Friendly Pricing Ends 1/10/19
  • On Saturday, April 6, 2019, we are celebrating the 15th annual San Diego Race for Autism Superhero 5K in Balboa Park.

    This family friendly event attracts thousands of local SUPERHEROES, big and small, to Balboa Park each year and directly supports programs that help individuals with autism and their families in San Diego. To date, the Race has funded over 900 community programs and classrooms.

    Join us with the lowest prices of this year - family friendly pricing has been extended until January 10th. But after Jan 10th - it's gone for good!

    Sign Up Today and be a HERO for those with autism, Race for Autism 2019!

  • NFAR Men's Group - Thu. Jan 10
  • Thursday, January 10, 2019
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad.
    Dinner is provided

    The Men's Group is for dads, step dads, and granddads helping to raise a child with autism. We offer dinner, guest speakers and a chance to network with other men in a relaxed setting.

    January Topic: "The Beginners Guide to Special Needs Planning"

    Please be our guest at an important seminar to learn how to protect and provide for those with special needs.

    Relevant for all ages and types of Developmental Disabilities.

    Learn About: Special Needs Trusts, Wills, Guardianship and Conservatorship, Trustees, Government Benefits, Budget Planning, The CalABLE Program, and the Letter of Intent.

    Guest Speaker: Dennis W Spiegelman, Regional Director, The Special Needs Planning Institute

    Click here for all the info and to RSVP!

  • MSNC Free Webinar Series: What Will My Child do After Highschool?
  • The webinar will air on January 22nd at 12:00 noon and will repeat on January 24th at 7:00pm.

    Learn about tech-training programs, college options and support. Also learn about group homes and supported living.

    Speaker is Josh D. Feder, MD, Child and Family Psychiatry

    For all the info and to register please go to:

  • Parent Support Group in La Mesa
  • Contact Family Wellness Center at 858-634-8300 or email

  • Yvette M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax
  • I offer professional accounting services that are customized to your specific needs, including full service computerized bookkeeping, payroll and tax preparation for individuals and small to medium sized businesses.

    Services Provided:

    • Bookkeeping Services
    • Business Consulting
    • Payroll Preparation
    • Income Tax Return Preparation
    • Notary Public Services
    Customer service is my number one priority. I like to work closely with my clients to make sure they understand how their business is doing.

    As a small business owner it is important that you spend your time on running your business and not on bookkeeping. Let me give you the peace of mind you deserve by utilizing my 20+ years of diversified experience in accounting and in business.

    I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University of San Diego and have more than 20 years of experience in accounting. Before opening up my business I worked as a Staff Accountant for several local CPA firms. I was also was an Accountant/Office Manager for an owner operator of 20+ McDonald's franchises, a Controller of a manufacturing company, an Accounting Manager for a home builder and was in charge of running a local bookkeeping and income tax firm. I am also a Notary Public and speak Spanish.

    I can navigate the tax ramifications of receiving public benefits and credits for special needs because I have twins with Autism. This allows me to provide a very personal level of service because I understand the needs of these families. I enjoy volunteering for local Autism charities and mentor families of newly diagnosed children.

    Call to setup an appointment for a free initial consultation so that I can evaluate your bookkeeping needs and provide you with a quote.

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

  • Community ConNext
  • This new program, Community ConNext, is a non-profit community-based transition ABA program for teens and emerging young adults with developmental disabilities ages 12-22. This program is dedicated to providing services that instill community-wide inclusion of individuals of all abilities.

    Our mission at Community ConNext is to provide teens and emerging young adults with developmental disabilities opportunities to build and generalize transition skills needed to Connect with their communities while ushering the Next stage of their lives.

    Community ConNext will serve teens and young adults transitioning into whatever life milestone comes next for them - whether middle school to high school or high school to adulthood. Our ultimate goal is to utilize evidence-based practices to offer our participants the support necessary to transition into the next stage of their lives while opening up more opportunities of choice and maximizing their independence.

    CTA's Community ConNext has two locations to serve you!!!
    625 Pennsylvania Ave
    San Diego, Ca 92172
    12348 Casa Avenida
    Poway, CA 92064

  • FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety
  • Safer Than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and ADHD/ADD and the Effects are Permanent!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids is San Diego's premiere pediatric microcurrent therapy program for children, teens and adults with special needs. Our program is the BEST therapy for Autism & ADHD, as you will see by the rapid improvement in your child's skills and abilities, because of how well it promotes developmental growth and couples with ALL other therapies.

    Some of the neuro-developmental issues we commonly see include:

    • Autism/Asperger's
    • ADD/ADHD
    • Sensory Processing Disorder
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Developmental Delay
    • Epilepsy
    • And many more!
    Call 858-367-9108 for your free consultation!!!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Road, Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123

  • Science-based Social Group
  • Reduced Fees and Scholarships Available!!!
    Contact Family Wellness Center at 858-634-8300 or email

  • North County Coffee Talk
  • Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Swami's Cafe Vista
    20 Main St #100, Vista, California 92083

    Need a mini vacation from the holidays? Well you are in luck. Join us and begin your fresh start for 2019. We are here to support you and guide you on all things autism. Located right off the 78 Vista Village Dr exit. Plenty of parking in the Vista Village shopping center.

  • One Piece at a Time - Autism Benefit
  • Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 6 PM - 10 PM
    AleSmith Brewing Company
    9990 AleSmith Ct., San Diego, California 92126

    Blunt But Sweet & AleSmith Brewing Company present 'One Piece at a TIme' featuring live music by Virginia's favorite Reggae/ rock band, the touring The Feathered Fish. Local Art raffle donated by very talented, local artists Collin Worrel and Jessica Krantz. We are also eager and endlessly excited to have Autism Society San Diego present at the event!

    'One Piece at at Time" welcomes ALL ages- We highly encourage families to bring their kiddos along! AleSmith Brewery is a very friendly environment and we truly welcome all the kids to join the fun!

    No Cover - Family Friendly - All Proceeds go to Autism Society San Diego

  • Teen Social Skills Group
  • Reduced Fees and Scholarships Available!!!
    Contact Family Wellness Center at 858-634-8300 or email

  • Little Big Steps is Accepting New Clients!!!
  • We are very excited to announce the opening of Little Big Steps - a new site-based, community readiness ABA program for children ages 2.5 to 6 years who are experiencing challenges in behavioral, social, and language development. Our young participants attend onsite in a structured setting where they receive 1:1 ABA instruction as well as small group interaction with peers.

    Our staff of highly trained ABA therapists utilizes the principles of ABA to develop and promote skills to generalize into school and community settings. Our site-based setting offers the structure necessary to target the pivotal and pre-requisite skills needed for success in school-based settings, while our group settings offer access to peers in order to address social and play skills.

    Little Big Steps is a program CTA program. Sessions take place at the Rancho Bernardo/Poway location weekday mornings. Please contact Lauren Enriquez, BCBA at (858) 603-6628 or for more information.

  • Sports Camp Starting in March 2019
  • Reduced Fees and Scholarships Available!!!
    Contact Family Wellness Center at 858-634-8300 or email

  • Jeremiah's Ranch January Newsletter
  • Click here to read their January edition for all the news and upcoming events!

  • 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

  • City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services Program

  • 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.

    For additional questions about Therapeutic Recreation Services, please call 619-525-8247.

    Click here to view their 2018-2019 newsletter and calendar of events!!!

  • "Autism Through the Lifespan" Monthly Parent Support and Information Meetings

  • October 2018 - May 2019
    PLNU Graduate Education
    4007 Camino Del Rio South - Fourth Floor
    San Diego, CA 92108

    Please join other parents, caregivers and professionals at the following monthly informational and support group meetings in Mission Valley. These meetings will discuss the various aspects of autism through the lifespan. Each meeting will feature an expert speaker and an ASA parent mentor. This is a time for you to meet other parents, ask questions and network.
    The meetings are free and open to all.

    Please RSVP for Spanish Translation support
    For further information, please contact:
    Lisa Larsson - (619) 725-8080 ext. 7946 email:
    Maryann Collins - email:
    Grace Fantaroni, Ed.D. - (619) 563-2839 email:

  • Participate in Research!!! Can a Safe 'Fever' Help Autism Syptoms? Spanish Speakers Welcome!!!
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    Can a Safe 'Fever' Help AUTISM Symptoms?

    Una 'Fiebre' Para Disminuir los Sintomas de AUTISMO? 

    Pilot Study Enrollment

    This pilot study will enroll 12 families with ASD children ages 2-17 years old in a controlled study, in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas. We are testing a dry heat therapy from an FDA-cleared medical device with simulates the effect of a low-grade fever by non-invasively infusing heat into the circulatory system. The Fielding Graduate University IRB approved study is entitiled: "The Fever Effect: Do kids with autism do better when they use a device to warm their blood? Effects of six-week AVACEN Treatment Method on Autism Spectrum Disorder".

    If you are interested in participating in this pilot study please contact Frances Poteet at and provide your phone number, email address, zip code and best time to reach you so that we can contact you. If you are not selected as part of this pilot study, you may be offered an opportunity to participate in a larger study of the device at a later date.

    Participants who complete the entire study will receive a $200 Amazon gift card. Enrolling now! Limited openings available!

    We can offer services in English and Spanish (all the way from the Orientation throughout the course of the study.)

  • Participate in Research: Caregiver/Family Member Survey
  • business_finance_research.jpg

    My name is Richie Sapp. My twin brother, Mikey, has been attending the TERI day program for several years now. I am a third-year medical student (MS3) at Stanford School of Medicine where I am currently taking a research year to focus my efforts in medical education, specifically to improve patient care for individuals with disabilities. I am creating an elective course for medical students/PA students for Winter Quarter 2018/19 and I could use your help.

    Please consider completing this first survey and if your son/daughter would like to complete the second survey on their own, I would welcome that too.

    1) This survey is for parents/caregivers of individuals with disabilities. Caregiver/Family Member Survey, which will help me with what content to put together for the course. Please feel free to share the survey with anyone who might be interested in sharing their experiences. Here is the link:

    2) Additionally, if you know anyone with a disability who would like to speak about their own experiences, there is a separate survey for individuals with disabilities. The link is below:

    Thank you so much for all your support!

    Please email me if you have any questions.

    Thank you,
    Richie Sapp

  • Brain Imaging Studies for all Ages with or without Autism

  • The Brain Development Imaging Labs at San Diego State University are looking for individuals with diagnosed or suspected autism to participate in a brain imaging study. Participants would receive around $150 plus free cognitive testing and an MRI scan. Child participants would receive a free assessment summary and image of their brain as a bonus! We are looking to recruit from all ages, but we especially need adults, ages 40-65 years, to participate. If you know someone who might be a good fit for our study, please share this information with them. Thank you.

    At SDSU!!! To find out more, please call 619-594-0176 or email BDIL@SDSU.EDU.


    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.