Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. January 15, 2019

In This Issue

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Special Education Is Broken

The audit exodus - State-mandated advisory committee lost all its members mid-year over administration's delayed response to an independent audit

This Is What Happens When Your Child Has Comorbid Diagnoses

Core set of autism traits shows up in diverse cultures

The firm whose staff are all autistic

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Be a HERO for 2019 at the San Diego Race for Autism!

Family Gym Night in Carlsbad - Hosted by Autism Society San Diego

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

NFAR Mom's Group - Wed. Jan 16

Yvette M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax

Bubbly Brunch with TV Stars Christina Sanz and Steven Clark

FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety

Miracle League Baseball Registration

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

NFAR Coding Classes Tailored to Individuals with Autism

Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) presents Children's Theatre Workshops!

Collaborative Occupational Therapy Solutions, Inc.

D'Vine Path


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.

  • Special Education Is Broken
  • The year was 1975, and President Gerald Ford was ambivalent about the law he was about to sign, guaranteeing that students with disabilities are entitled to education in the public schools. He said so in what was then an infrequently used presidential option-a signing statement.

    No one could argue against the law's goals, Ford wrote. But the "Education for All Handicapped Children Act" was underfunded, promised too much to families, and was burdened by complex technical requirements, he said.

    Fortunately, he said, the law wasn't scheduled to be fully implemented until 1978. "There is time to revise the legislation and come up with a program that is effective and realistic," Ford wrote.

    That was optimistic. Read on...

  • The audit exodus - State-mandated advisory committee lost all its members mid-year over administration's delayed response to an independent audit
  • In a year that saw the Sacramento City Unified School District descend into a budgetary nightmare, a quieter crisis unfolded behind the scenes: All 11 members of the district's Community Advisory Committee for Special Education resigned in protest after a damning report suggested the administration was failing students with disabilities at every level.

    That independent audit, performed by Council of the Great City Schools, revealed that disabled students at Sacramento City Unified suffered unusually poor graduation rates, lacked proper access to mental health services and were suspended at disproportionally high levels. The findings were released in 2017. After 12 months of what it perceived as inaction from the district, the committee charged with speaking up for disabled youth made its voice heard through a mass exodus.

    Now, as school administrators prepare for a financially uncertain 2019, the ex-committee members are continuing to press for reform. Read on...

  • This Is What Happens When Your Child Has Comorbid Diagnoses
  • When I first started sharing our family's journey six years ago, I wrote about one diagnosis - autism.

    It was overwhelming and I needed support. I needed other moms. I needed a real life example of what to do and how to help.

    Since then, I have found all of that and more, mostly right here, with all of you.

    But as the years have progressed, more diagnoses have come, for both of my children.

    It's one of the ugliest words I know in the English language - comorbidity. Read on...

  • Core set of autism traits shows up in diverse cultures

  • Some autism traits look the same across cultures, and they could form the basis of a global screening tool, a new study suggests1. Other traits, however, are specific to particular cultures, and this must be accounted for when designing autism screens and diagnostic tools.

    Autism often goes undiagnosed in some countries, giving an artificially low estimate of prevalence. Most screening and diagnostic tests for the condition were developed in Europe and North America, and are based on Western cultural norms. But caregivers in non-Western settings may have different expectations of how children should behave, and children may be unfamiliar with cultural references in the tests. Read on...

  • The firm whose staff are all autistic
  • Peter, Evan and Brian work at a small technology firm based by the beach in Santa Monica, testing software and fixing bugs.

    On first inspection it seems like any other Los Angeles-based company, with tasteful art on the white walls and calm-inducing diffusers dotted about.

    Peter describes the working atmosphere as "quiet, but fun", and especially likes the fact that there is no pressure to socialise, while Evan says of his employers that they are "very accommodating and understanding". Brian describes his office as "unique".

    Auticon is one of only a handful of companies that cater exclusively for employees who are on the autistic spectrum. 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.

    I'm trying to find out if anyone knows a music or art professional who has experience with individuals with autism and can provide one-on-one sessions?

    Thanks for your help! Horacio

    Good evening I have a 5 year old girl with autism is functional, I am looking for a private school for her I know that public schools have programs for children with autism but I can not put my girl in public school because I live in Tijuana so I have to pay for your education, I will appreciate if you know of any private school in the area of Chula Vista that accepts children with autism I appreciate your kind attention.

    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 at the San Diego Race for Autism!
  • 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.

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

  • Family Gym Night in Carlsbad - Hosted by Autism Society San Diego
  • Saturday, January 19th at 4 PM - 6 PM
    Magdalena Ecke YMCA Gymnastics Center, 6100-B
    Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, CA 92011

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

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

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

    $5 minimum donation per family. Thank you!

  • 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:

  • NFAR Mom's Group - Wed. Jan 16
  • January 16, 2019
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    **NEW LOCATION**Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad.
    Dinner is provided

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

    January Topic: Radical Inclusion: What I Learned About Risk, Humility and Kindness from My Son with Autism

    Individuals with disabilities deserve to live productive, engaged lives. Are we willing to help them accomplish this goal?

    As a mother of an adult with autism, our guest speaker Andrea Moriarty leveraged her son's passion, talent, and personality to help him create an out-of-the-box vocation: a podcast. After more than eighty interviews, she recognized three vital attitudes that people with disabilities teach us-risk taking, humility, and kindness. And when we integrate these people into society, we all thrive.

    Come learn more about Radical Inclusion, which is a call to step out of our comfort zones, care about others, extend grace, and enhance our own lives and communities.

    Guest Speaker: Andrea Moriarty, Mom, Author, and Cofounder of Banding Together

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

  • 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

  • Bubbly Brunch with TV Stars Christina Sanz and Steven Clark
  • Join us for a Bubbly Brunch with Born This Way!

    Spend an inspirational morning with cast members from Born This Way. Mingle, munch, and enjoy as we thank our volunteers and supporters and celebrate another year of friendship together. Proceeds will benefit Friendship Circle San Diego's many programs!!!

    Sunday, January 27th, 2019
    11:00am - 1:00pm
    16934 Chabad Way, Poway, CA 92064
    Dress code is dressy casual.
    Click here for all the info and to purchase tickets!!!

  • 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

  • Miracle League Baseball Registration
  • Spring 2019 Registration for The Miracle League of San Diego is open and end January 27! Please call 858-964-2222 for all the info and help with registration.

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • Please join us for Dinner at Little Italy Bar and Grill (Approx. $15 per person) In Scripps Ranch
    Monday, January 21, 2019 @ 7:00 PM
    Located at 10006 Scripps Ranch Blvd

    Please R.S.V.P. with your host Bene' Raphael no later than Jan. 18th at or for any questions please call (760) 845-4551

  • NFAR Coding Classes Tailored to Individuals with Autism
  • In February, NFAR is introducing classes for teens and young adults (ages 16+), interested in computer coding. Curriculum pace and hands on exercises will be tailored to individuals with autism.

    Thanks to funding by an Autism Speaks grant as part of their NXT GEN Coders Program, powered by GameStop, we are able to offer this class at affordable prices to participants!

    This course will provide instruction on introductory programming in C#, in a game development engine called Unity, one of the tools used by the game development industry.

    Classes will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, for 2.5 - 3 hours per session for a total of 70+ hours. To learn more/register. Have questions: contact NFAR at 858-679-8800.

  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) presents Children's Theatre Workshops!
  • Register now for PACT's children's theatre workshop series, offered for elementary aged children of all abilities on Saturday afternoons from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. This 8-week series begins January 26 and concludes March 23. Located at Dance North County in Encinitas, workshops will include improvisational theatre activities designed to improve confidence, cooperation, and creativity. It will be led by PACT Artistic Director Sandy Redmon, and by Jacob Redmon and Jovyn Anderson.

    Tuition is $100 for the 8-week series, with scholarships available. Contact Kathryn Campion at PACT for more information or to register: 760-815-8512,, PACT is a non-profit organization established in 2008. Its mission is to empower individuals with unique needs and create community through the performing arts. Join us!

  • Collaborative Occupational Therapy Solutions, Inc.
  • Collaborative Occupational Therapy Solutions, Inc. provides pediatric occupational therapy and collaboration services to parents, families, and agencies in the San Diego area. Collaborative OT Solutions offers specialized pediatric OT services including:

    • Pediatric Clinic Therapy
    • Early Intervention Evaluation & Treatment
    • Sensory Integration Evaluation & Treatment utilizing the Sensory IntegrationPraxis Test (SIPT)
    • Self-Feeding & Sensory-Motor Skills related to Feeding
    • Self-Care/ADLs & Self-Help Skills
    • Assistive Technology Evaluation & Recommendations/Interventions
    • Parent Training & Workshops
    We accept Blue Shield of California, Kaiser, and Tricare/UHC military insurance plans. Collaborative OT Solutions can work with other out-of-network providers on a case-by-case basis. Private pay is also available. Collaborative OT Solutions is also a San Diego Regional Center OT Vendor.

    Collaborative Occupational Therapy Solutions, Inc.
    2521 Windward Way
    Chula Vista, CA 91914
    (619) 621-5266


  • D'Vine Path
  • A dynamic program for adults with autism, developmental delays and/or learning disabilities providing vocational and life skills development in viticulture, agriculture & arts.

    Ready Set Plant - What's growing...
    Application for our Viticulture and Hospitality program beginning Feb. 5 is HERE. Application deadline is Jan. 25, 2019.

    D'Vine Path
    1374 S. Mission Road, Suite #415
    Fallbrook, CA 92028

  • 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
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    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.