Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. January 29, 2019

In This Issue

Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

Strategies for Neurotypical People to Develop Empathy for Autistic People

Positive well-being may protect against depression in people with autism

How to Improve Important Skills Through Special Accommodations at School

Finding Your Inner MozArt Art Contest

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Social Communication Specialists

NFAR Autism Charity Ride

Gateway Learning Group

Chores are Life Skills!

Music Therapy Job Opening!!

Central San Diego Breakfast Club

Adaptive/Autistic Surf Camp

Briana Healing Space

ATPF- NCL Girls Mentor Program Valentine's Day Theme Party

7th Annual Atpf-USD Baseball Player Mentor Program Meet & Greet

Autistic Adult Social Group

Sponsors Needed for iCan Bike!!!


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.

  • Strategies for Neurotypical People to Develop Empathy for Autistic People
  • Historically, there has been much debate about the extent to which autistic individuals experience empathy. I am using the phrase "autistic individuals" rather than "individuals with autism," per the recommendation from the Autism Self-Advocacy Network. Recent studies indicate that while autistics may experience and demonstrate empathy in different ways from neurotypicals, they do indeed experience it, sometimes to intense degrees. The debate is well summarized here.

    Throughout this discussion, I have observed a curious and glaring omission: what about how and whether neurotypicals empathize with autistics? One of the basic tenets of social skills is reciprocity, an attunement to the back and forth nature of social interactions. If we are examining how well autistics display empathy towards others (the majority of whom are neurotypical), it is only fair to ask how and whether neurotypicals are extending the same courtesy back. Read on...

  • Positive well-being may protect against depression in people with autism
  • In an Autism Research study of 36 newly employed adults with autism spectrum disorder who were participating in a supported employment program, positive well-being-or a sense of happiness and life satisfaction-was associated with a lower risk of developing depression over 12 months of follow-up.

    Apart from a slight increase in daily living skills and a slight decrease in job satisfaction, other measures of mental health and well-being remained stable over time, suggesting that intervention programs that specifically target mental health and well-being in the workplace may be needed to improve outcomes. Read on...

  • How to Improve Important Skills Through Special Accommodations at School
  • Although students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) vary greatly across multiple domains such as age, intellectual ability, social and communication development, degree of behavioral challenges and family support, there are some accommodations and procedures that are helpful to very many students with ASD as they attempt to maintain behavioral self-control and make progress in their education.

    Teams who individualize both expectations and accommodations for their students generally see the most progress, and parents are vital to this process. Take a look at some school accommodations you and your child's team can use to improve skills in the classroom and in daily life: Read on...

  • Finding Your Inner MozArt Art Contest
  • As part of this year's Mainly Mozart's Mozart & The Mind, Mainly Mozart and the Art of Autism are sponsoring an art contest with cash prizes titled Finding Your Inner "MozArt." The goal of this contest is to foster inspiration about the genius we all have within and to promote the activities of Mainly Mozart during Mozart & The Mind May 30 - June 2, 2019 in beautiful San Diego, California. Mozart & The Mind is the opening event of the month-long Mainly Mozart festival. The chosen works will be displayed at the gala events and activities during Mozart & the Mind. Your "inner MozArt" can be anything that inspires you. Work submitted can be of any medium. It can be abstract or realistic. Music-themed art will receive priority in judging. Read on for all the info!!!!

  • 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.

    Seeking Someone for IHSS Provider
    Looking for someone to become an IHSS Provider for my 11 year old son with autism. Will need to be able to work between 6 and 16 hours per week. Wednesday is a must starting at 2:30 pm. You will also watch my daughter at times and during those times, I will supplement your rate.

    Schedule is not firm at this point, but Wednesday's are an absolute necessity. Ideally:

    Monday 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
    Tuesday 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
    Wednesday 2:30 pm to 9 pm
    Friday TBD can discuss
    Saturday TBD can discuss
    Sunday TBD can discuss

    Must be patient and assist my son with redirection, organization, personal hygiene, washing/changing bedding, etc. Constant supervision is required.

    Must be punctual and able to meet the school bus.

    Must be willing to help with transportation to appointments or activities.

    Would like a high school or college student that is close to the Rancho Bernardo area.

    Must like children and pets
    Must be self driven
    Must be punctual
    Must have reliable vehicle
    Must have good, clean driving record
    Must be willing to take and pass a background check
    Must be willing to take 3 hour IHSS Provider training


    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

  • NFAR Autism Charity Ride
  • Hosted by CYCLEBAR (Carmel Valley) and National Foundation for Autism Research
    Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 12 PM - 1 PM
    12720 Carmel Country Rd, 110, San Diego, California 92130

    Join us for a spin class in support of NFAR as they provide local autism and outreach programs, parent support and educational initiatives to benefit children with autism and their families. RIDE THE RHYTHM led by engaging, high-energy CycleStar instructors in a 45-minute ride fueled by incredible music playlists in our state-of-the-art CycleTheatre. Complimentary shoes and other amenities will be offered!

    Donation tiers: $25, $50 and $100.

    Sign up now:

  • 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.

  • Chores are Life Skills!
  • If one of your goals for 2019 is to increase your child's independence, teaching them life skills is a great way to do that!

    How do you teach a child to do basic life skills tasks?
    Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Every task has steps to it, and just like any ABA or Discrete Trial drill, you just need to break down the task into tiny bits and teach each bit separate and then together.

    Get more tips on how to teach life skills at the following links:

    Developing Life Skills - How to Teach a Skill:

    Developing Life Skills - Chores:

    Teens with ASD - Life Skills:

  • Music Therapy Job Opening!!
  • For more info email

  • Central San Diego Breakfast Club
  • Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    10430 Friars Road, San Diego, California 92120

    We look forward to this every month and can't wait to see you to bring in 2019 on a positive note. We know the holidays are stressful and we hope this is the mini vacation you need. Connect with friends, get support and face autism with strength and grace this year.

  • Adaptive/Autistic Surf Camp
  • Hosted by Stella Maris Surf Association
    Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 10 AM - 3 PM
    2500 S Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007-2111

    Save the Date, for Stella Maris Surf Association, Autistic Surf Camp Event. To register please visit:

  • Briana Healing Space
  • One of the strongest components of the therapeutic process, is receiving validation and genuine understanding. This results in a vulnerable and open relationship between the client and the clinician. I rely on your intuitive understanding and guide you to reaching your empowered self.

    Together, we will connect to your mind, body, and heart space through an examination of how your emotions impact your thoughts and decisions. I will help you develop awareness of your internal thoughts, foster insight into your body's responses and teach you to listen through somatic awareness.

    Services for Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Life Skill Development and Maintenance:
    -evaluation of current life skills and desired level of functioning
    -development of foundational skills in order to implement for interpersonal relationships and vocational skills
    -includes monitoring of progression of interpersonal skills required for behavioral interventions
    -includes Behavioral maintenance for individuals on the Autism Spectrum
    -includes Functional impairments and assistance with obtaining adaptive technology
    -includes intensive individual work with: behavioral modification, emotional regulation, impulse control
    -includes intensive individual work with: daily schedule planning and routine (ie: day routine, groceries, budgeting)

    Case Management services:
    -includes guidance on filing and completing applications for services and resources; including short term and disability resources.
    -includes obtaining county funding resources, such as bus passes and housing assistance services
    -includes assistance for persons living with Congenital and acquired disabilities: including functional impairments
    -Services tailored for individuals requiring home visits

    Located in Carlsbad, CA.
    Briana Lefman M.S., CRC, LPCC

  • ATPF- NCL Girls Mentor Program Valentine's Day Theme Party
  • Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 2 PM - 4 PM
    Encinitas Boys and Girls club
    1221 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, California 92024

    ATPF-NCL Girls Mentor Program's Valentine's Day Theme Party is coming up fast and it's sure to be a blast! For girls ages 9+. If you would like to RSVP, call 619-222-4465 or email For more info about this program click here!!!

  • 7th Annual Atpf-USD Baseball Player Mentor Program Meet & Greet
  • Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 3 PM - 5 PM
    Fowler Park University of San Diego
    San Diego, California 92111

    We love our USD Baseball Player Mentors and are so excited to kick off the 2019 season!! ATPF kids are paired with USD Baseball Players and our families are invited to come out to every Sunday home game during the upcoming season. To RSVP, contact or call 619-222-4465. For more info about this program, please click here!!!

  • Autistic Adult Social Group
  • Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 6 PM - 8 PM
    Autism Society San Diego
    4699 Murphy Canyon Rd, San Diego, California 92123

    Join us for our Autistic Adult Social Group! We will meet at our office at the United Way Building in San Diego. We will have a separate space for caregivers and support people to meet as well. This group is a place for autistic adults to come together for support and understanding. Make new friends, share questions and concerns, and get support from your peers, in a non judgmental and accepting atmosphere. This group is a open to all adults with autism as well as any support people that you require to participate successfully. We look forward to seeing you!

  • Sponsors Needed for iCan Bike!!!
  • If you would like to become a sponsor please contact Karyn Searcy at or call 760-315-1311!!

    View our video

    Sponsorships, item donations, and discounted items for our families are welcome, and all donors will be listed on this year's T-shirts!

  • 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 SPARK at UCSD

  • 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!

  • 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.