Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. January 18, 2019

In This Issue

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Autism Parent, Times Two: When More Than One Child in the Family has ASD

CRISPR studies hint at cell pathways involved in autism

A deep dive into newborns' DNA can reveal potential disease risks - but is the testing worth it?

Autistic children's language skills stay stable relative to peers

Communication in brain may be remarkably constant in autism

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Social Communication Specialists

Autism Parents Night Out in the New Year

Gateway Learning Group

NFAR Codes Informational Session

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

Bubbly Brunch with TV Stars Christina Sanz and Steven Clark

Participate in SPARK

A Night to Remember Prom in Chula Vista

Beyond the Surface - Occupational Therapy

Randy Jones Run/Walk for Independence 5K benefiting Home of Guiding Hands

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

Collaborative Occupational Therapy Solutions, Inc.

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

Free Tickets San Diego Seals Lacrosse Team - TONIGHT!!!


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.

  • Autism Parent, Times Two: When More Than One Child in the Family has ASD
  • Amanda Olsen says parenting a child with autism is like being a tour guide - someone who must translate the customs and language of the nonautistic world. But when you have two children with autism, like she does, the job is considerably more complicated. That's because many siblings with autism fall along different parts of the spectrum, and her daughters are no exception.

    "I'm my children's tour guide to the world, only I'm touring two different children in two different countries - one's in France and one's in Spain - at the same time. I'm having to break down the language and cultural differences and customs of two countries for them," she explained.

    If that sounds challenging, that's because it is. The Olsens are among a subset of families that researchers call "multiplex." That means they have multiple members with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Among all families affected by autism, up to 19 percent have more than one child with the disorder, according to one large study. Read on...

  • CRISPR studies hint at cell pathways involved in autism

  • A variety of genetic risk factors for autism disrupt some of the same processes in cells, two new studies suggest1,2. Both studies used the DNA-editing tool CRISPR to mutate genes with ties to autism.

    In one of the studies, researchers grew neurons from human stem cells lacking any of 10 genes implicated in autism. Half of these neurons show diminished electrical activity at their connections with other cells, or synapses.

    "The neurons can serve as a rather efficient functional model for what may be happening in the brain of autistic individuals," says co-lead investigator Stephen Scherer, director of the Centre for Applied Genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Read on...

  • A deep dive into newborns' DNA can reveal potential disease risks - but is the testing worth it?
  • When babies are born, clinicians draw a drop of blood from their heels and analyze it for signs of dozens of diseases. But with the rise of sequencing technology, researchers have been investigating whether a deep dive into newborns' DNA could uncover more diseases - and whether making such an endeavor routine would be worth it.

    On Thursday, researchers reported some of their first results from the project, finding that newborn sequencing revealed genetic variants that raised the risk of certain childhood conditions in 9.4 percent of the babies tested. The mutations most often pointed to an elevated likelihood of heart conditions or hearing loss - traits that were not picked up by standard newborn screening.

    Debate about newborn genomic sequencing continues, but to the project's leaders, their early results suggest that there is value in testing babies' DNA. At least some of the children with the flagged variants will likely go on to develop those conditions, and now their families - and the specialists they have been referred to - can prepare or even try to head them off. Read on...

  • Autistic children's language skills stay stable relative to peers

  • Toddlers with strong language skills continue to outperform their peers as they grow up, whereas those with poor skills tend to lag behind, according to a large study that tracked language development over 15 years. The study includes children with autism.

    The study also indicates that language is most pliable in infancy, and language interventions before 1 year of age may be more effective than at the typical age of 2 or 3.

    The findings underscore the importance of identifying and treating language difficulties as early as possible, says Diane Putnick, a developmental psychologist at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and an investigator on the study. Read on...

  • Communication in brain may be remarkably constant in autism

  • Patterns of brain activity in people with autism are unusually consistent over seconds - and even years, two new studies suggest.

    One study shows that patterns of connectivity remain stable in autistic adolescents, whereas they tend to change and specialize in controls. The other study found that connections remain fixed longer in people with autism than in controls. Both focused on so-called 'functional connectivity,' the extent to which the activity of pairs of brain areas is synchronized.

    Together, the studies may help untangle seemingly contradictory findings on connectivity in autism: reports of both underconnectivity and overconnectivity in the brain. 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.

  • Social Communication Specialists
  • At Social Communication Specialists, we help socially quirky kids, teens and young adults connect.

    We understand the social challenges kids face today. In order to have healthy friendships, kids need to understand not just the "how", but the "why" of social interactions.

    Service We Offer:

    • Executive Functioning
    • Social Thinking
    • Group openings available for all ages We have groups for grades K-12. We also teach executive functioning! Contact Janet at
    At SCS, we follow the Social Thinking® approach pioneered by Michelle Garcia Winner.

    At the heart of this approach is the understanding that we think about people when we are around them. Then we modify our behaviors based on what we think they may be thinking about us!

    Through fun and innovative lessons and activities, we teach our kiddos social thinking concepts that increase their awareness and improve their abilities to interact with others at school, at home, and in the community.

    Social Communication Specialists
    5703 Oberlin Dr, Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121
    (858) 558-9552

  • Autism Parents Night Out in the New Year
  • Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    On The Border
    10789 Westview Pkwy, San Diego, California 92126

    Parents with autism need support, information, resources and more. But sometimes, they need a night out! It's time for an evening getaway to recharge, have a laugh, feel support and find HOPE. Join TACA San Diego and find other parents just like you. Look for friendly faces wearing TACA shirts. Grab you own dinner and a drink and join us for The Night Out in the New Year!
    *This will replace our regular monthly chapter meeting

  • Gateway Learning Group
  • Gateway Learning Group is a leader in providing behavior therapy for children with autism. Every day, Gateway advances the lives through compassionate, evidence-based treatment. Since being founded in 2005, Gateway has expanded from its San Francisco base to serve families across California.

    For more information please visit our website at For more information email us at or call us at 877-264-6747.

  • NFAR Codes Informational Session
  • Informational Session for the upcoming NFAR Coding Class
    Saturday, Jan. 26th, 10 - 11:30 am
    National Foundation For Autism Research Office
    9815 Carroll Canyon Road, #203
    San Diego, CA 92131

    Interested in learning to Code? Come learn more about our new Coding class by attending our informational session!

    NFAR is introducing a new class that will provide instruction on how to code in a game development engine called Unity, one of the tools used by the game development industry.

    This class will be held 2x per week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, in 2 - 3 hours sessions for a total of 70+ hours. Classes will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 6th and run through May.

    Topics include basic coding in C#, and 2D and 3D modeling and design.

    To learn more about the program.

    Please join us for an information session on Saturday, Jan 26 between 10 - 11:30 am.


  • Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment
  • Comprehensive autism treatment. Built on neuroscience. Delivered with compassion.

    The Cortica Care Model is the culmination of Dr. Suzanne Goh's research experience and clinical practice. This innovative approach combines optimal biomedical treatment with the most effective strategies for advancing cognition, communication, and behavior. Through the program, children achieve more meaningful social interaction, greater capacity for self-regulation, enhanced cognitive function, and improved overall health across all body systems. Over months and years, the treatment program evolves to match a child's new skills and abilities, making possible meaningful progress toward independent living, social relationships, occupation, and recreation.

    The Cortica Care Model:

    • Neurophysiology
    • Family and Home
    • Biochemistry
    • Cognition and Behavior
    • Sensorimotor Integration
    • Communication
    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

  • 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!!!

  • Participate in SPARK
  • UC San Diego's Autism Center of Excellence is seeking individuals diagnosed with ASD and their biological family members to participate in SPARK, the largest national genetics research project in US history! The SPARK study aims to gain a better understanding of the causes and potential treatments of autism by building a cohort of 50,000 diagnosed individuals to facilitate research on an unprecedented scale. There is NO cost to participate in the study and it can even be completed without leaving the house!

    What we do
    SPARK researchers extract genetic data through a saliva sample and analyze information collected from thousands of people with autism and their biological parents. UCSD and over 20 of the nation's leading medical schools are part of this effort.

    How to join*
    1. Sign up online at -- registration typically takes about 20 minutes. Using this link connects you to our site, which enables us to better follow up with you if you encounter any issues or have specific questions.
    2. Complete a few questionnaires online.
    3. Provide a saliva sample. A saliva collection kit will be sent directly to your home after registration. When you are done, simply mail it back in the prepaid mailer.

    Benefits of joining
    1. Individuals with autism will receive gift cards valued at up to a total of $50 for participation.
    2. SPARK hosts monthly webinars, featuring psychologists, researchers, or speakers from the autism community, that provide useful information for families and individuals with autism.
    3. If a genetic finding is discovered related to the cause of autism, results will be shared back with families.
    4. The information you provide may help others with ASD for generations to come!

    *Our site also offers the option for home appointments where a member of our SPARK team can come to your home and assist you in the registration process, collect the saliva samples, and mail them in for you! This is typically the preferred method for families as everything gets completed at once. Please note that we ask that both biological parents and individual diagnosed with ASD be present for these appointments. We can accommodate a variety of dates and times outside normal business hours on the weekdays or weekends -- whichever is most convenient for you and your family! Alternatively, we can also schedule in-clinic appointments at our office if that is preferred.

    You can visit our SPARK FAQ page for additional details. Please contact us via email at or via phone at 858-534-6906 if you would like to set up an appointment or if you have any questions!

  • A Night to Remember Prom in Chula Vista
  • A Night to Remember Prom REGISTRATION OPENS for HONORED GUESTS (students with special needs ages 15-22) on January 15th. In order to attended you MUST register on our website at and click "Honored Guest". Registration fills up fast!

    Volunteer positions for both Student Hosts (mainstream ages 15-22) and Adult Volunteers (must be 18+) will open on March 1st.

    We look forward to another unforgettable night on April 26, 2019!

    Cheryl Shields
    Founder/Director of A Night to Remember Prom for students with special needs
    Tax ID #95-1863913
    619-777-6602 cell

  • Beyond the Surface - Occupational Therapy
  • Beyond the Surface
    Kaitlin Dollard, MS, OTR/L

  • Randy Jones Run/Walk for Independence 5K benefiting Home of Guiding Hands
  • Join Us February 23, 2019
    Randy Jones Run/Walk for Independence 5K
    Crown Point Park - San Diego, CA 92109

    Home of Guiding Hands (HGH) ( and Randy Jones, former San Diego Padre and National League CY Young Award Winner, will once again join forces to support over 3,200 infants, adolescents and adults living with a developmental disability in San Diego County.

    Together we can make independence possible. Click here for all the info and to register:

  • 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

    New Location at:
    9606 Tierra Grande Street, Suite 104
    San Diego, CA 92126
    (858) 547-7533
    Next door to TERI Crimson Center Speech Therapy

  • 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!

  • Free Tickets San Diego Seals Lacrosse Team - TONIGHT!!!
  • Mikie Scholosser is a player from the San Diego Seals professional lacrosse team who was very generous and purchased 100 tickets for Therapeutic Recreation Services.

    The game is TONIGHT, Friday January 18th at 7pm at the Pechanga Arena. 2 tickets are available per household.

    How to redeem:
    These tickets are redeemable in pairs of 2 via an online link (below) and additional tickets can be added on by your beneficiaries at a discounted rate, as well. Players were so blown away at the amazing response from this market at their home opener last Saturday that they really wanted to show gratitude and give back to the San Diego community.

    By clicking the link below, your beneficiaries will be led to a page where they can pick out two complementary tickets to our game. They will all be sitting in a big block section together!

    Link for tickets:

    When: Friday, January 18th at 7pm
    Where: Pechanga Arena in Point Loma

    If you need more information, please contact Courtney Hellyard

    Courtney Hellyar
    Account Executive, Season & Group Tickets
    619.375.3755, ext. 110

  • 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.