Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. February 12, 2019

In This Issue

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Genetic risk 'scores' may help forecast autism diagnosis

Why Autistic Adults Struggle With Employment

Study looks at manipulation of lighting and its effects on autism

New group faces backlash over its goals for severe autism

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Race for Autism Superhero 5K and 1 Mile Family Walk

Accessibility Mornings at The New Children's Museum

Yvette M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax

TONIGHT - Special Needs Planning: Estate Planning, Special Needs Trusts, and the ABLE Act: Putting it all Together.

Announcing the 2019 Community Project Awards!

MSNC Free Webinar Series: "Reading Evaluation & Intervention"

MEBE Learning: Effectively Using Visual Supports in Your Home

NFAR Mom's Group - Wed. Feb 20

Adaptive Dance Classes in Oceanside

My Special Needs Connection: Free Webinar - February Newsletter

Autism Society San Diego Spring Family Camp

LCYO Champions 7th Season in Carlsbad

"College Success" class to develop skills for college for high functioning ASD, DD or ADHD

Special Needs Resource Foundation Wins


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.

  • Genetic risk 'scores' may help forecast autism diagnosis

  • The genes we inherit from our parents influence our risk of various health conditions and disease. Although some conditions are caused by mutations in a single gene, the risk of having complex ones such as autism and schizophrenia may be determined by hundreds, if not thousands, of genes along with environmental factors.

    Typically, individual mutations, or 'genetic variants,' confer only a small increase in the chances of having a complex condition. To capture the overall genetic risk for a condition, researchers may calculate an individual's 'polygenic risk score.' The score is the sum of all genetic variants associated with the condition that exist in their DNA.

    As sample sizes with genetic data continue to grow, the scientific community is increasingly recognizing the utility of polygenic risk scores. This past year, we calculated scores for 162 different traits and conditions among 334,398 individuals enrolled in the U.K. Biobank study.

    We found that these scores can accurately predict the risk of certain conditions. For example, individuals with a high score for ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease, have more than fivefold the odds of having the condition as those with a low score. Read on...

  • Why Autistic Adults Struggle With Employment
  • Over 80% of autistic adults are unemployed. Only a small percentage of us are working. Why is this? There are several reasons why we struggle with jobs. The lack of education on autism makes it difficult in life. We see the world in black and white. It's like people are speaking a language you don't know. The way others teach is not how we learn, and it's very difficult to thrive in a world you don't understand. Most of us struggle with adulting. I know I do. My mom child shames me for it all the time. I feel as though my mom shames me.

    There are several reasons why job hunting is a challenge. There is no set reason why we struggle with job searches, landing a job and keeping it. In this blog I will point out the most common reasons. Read on...

  • Study looks at manipulation of lighting and its effects on autism
  • Could the subtle manipulation of lighting impact the behavior of a child with autism?

    Researchers in California have tested the intentional changing of light on three classrooms.

    Two of the classrooms tested had children with autism, one did not.

    Teachers recognized a positive impact in how students responded to harsh and soft light. Click here to read on and to watch the video for more info...

  • New group faces backlash over its goals for severe autism

  • A new advocacy group for people with severe autism is spotlighting the deep divide in the community over who should speak for those on the spectrum.

    The National Council on Severe Autism (NCSA), which launched in January, aims to address the needs of autistic people who require the most support.

    "This is a population with a set of issues that really needs to be heard," says Jill Escher, president of the California-based organization. Escher has two teenagers with severe autism, who she says have the functional capacity of preschoolers and depend on her for everything - every tooth brushed, every piece of clothing worn.

    Supporting people like her children might not seem like a contentious endeavor, but the backlash to the nascent organization has been swift and loud. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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


    HI My name is Jennifer and our family is thinking about relocating to the San Diego area. We currently live in Sacramento. My son is 22, adult with autism. I would love to chat with someone in the area. Thank you.

    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.

  • Race for Autism Superhero 5K and 1 Mile Family Walk
  • Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 7 AM - 11 AM
    Balboa Park
    1549 El Prado, San Diego, California 92101

    Register today at!

    On Saturday, April 6, 2019 we are celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Race for Autism in Balboa Park, and it's going to be "Super!"

    This family friendly event gathers together more than 5,000 families, educators, and autism professionals from across Southern California to help raise awareness and funding for one of our country's largest concerns- autism. Once considered rare, autism affects as many as 1 in 59 children in the US, and more than 20,000 families right here in our community.

    100% of the Race funds stay right here in San Diego and helps to provide funding for early identification and education efforts, technical training in software testing for young adults, parent programs, instructional workshops and has funded more than 900 community programs and classrooms, benefiting thousands of local children and families. To learn more about NFAR, click on about NFAR or go to

    Please join us in making a difference on April 6th. Because everyone can be a SUPERHERO!

  • Accessibility Mornings at The New Children's Museum
  • Monday, February 18, 2019 at 8 AM - 9:30 AM
    The New Children's Museum
    200 W Island Ave, San Diego, California 92101

    Join us for Accessibility Mornings on Monday, February 18, from 8am to 9:30am. With a variety of high-sensory activities and designated sensory-break zones, our Accessibility Mornings give special needs families the opportunity to explore the Museum with comfort and safety before the Museum opens to the general public.

    Admission: $8 per child; free for adults/caregivers and members Parking: $5 during program

    Please Note: Adult must be present with child.

  • 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

  • TONIGHT - Special Needs Planning: Estate Planning, Special Needs Trusts, and the ABLE Act: Putting it all Together.
  • Adult Information and Support Meeting
    Autism Society San Diego
    4699 Murphy Canyon Rd, San Diego, California 92123

    We welcome all community members who are interested in issues facing autistic adults to attend our meeting.

    This month will feature a presentation by attorney, Philip Lindsley.

    Special Needs Planning: Estate Planning, Special Needs Trusts, and the ABLE Act: Putting it all Together.
    Mr. Lindsley is a widely recognized elder and special needs law attorney. His practice is limited to Medi-Cal and public benefits planning, special needs planning, "Life Care" planning, asset protection, probate and trust administration, and conservatorships and their alternatives. Mr. Lindsley has been designated a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA), a legal specialization accredited by the State Bar of California and the American Bar Association. Mr. Lindsley is also a State Bar of California Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, and an Accredited Veterans Administration Attorney. Mr. Lindsley founded the San Diego Elder Law Center in 1997. His expertise in elder, special needs and disability law makes him a frequent and popular lecturer to professional and lay groups.

    There will be time for questions and answers after the presentation. Light refreshments will be served.

  • Announcing the 2019 Community Project Awards!
  • NFAR is pleased to announce our Community Project Awards for 2019! Each year, funds raised by the Race for Autism help to support autism programs and new initiatives in our community. Together, we have supported over 102 major initiatives, increasing the learning, social, training and employment opportunities for those with autism in San Diego. Check out these projects and the dedicated organizations behind these.

    Click here to learn more about the community projects for 2019.

  • MSNC Free Webinar Series: "Reading Evaluation & Intervention"
  • Featuring Megan Trezza, M.Ed., Educational Therapist & La Jolla LearningWorks Founder

    The webinar will air on February 26th at 12:00 noon and will repeat on February 28th at 7:00 pm.

    Join us by registering at

  • MEBE Learning: Effectively Using Visual Supports in Your Home
  • Thursday February 21st
    6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
    MeBe San Diego Office
    8885 Rio San Diego Dr. Suite 340
    San Diego, CA 92108
    (619) 548 9805

  • NFAR Mom's Group - Wed. Feb 20
  • 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.

    February Topic: Music, Rhythm and Auditory Processing - How music can calm the sensory system and stimulate communication.

    Come learn more about this important topic and how you can help your child.

    Guest Speaker: Nanci Engle, Executive Director, Banyan Tree Educational Services

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

  • Adaptive Dance Classes in Oceanside
  • Creative Movement class for youth with special needs every Saturday afternoon from 1:00pm - 2:00pm. Call with questions!

    Olivia Oleson & Jessica Smith
    Studio Directors
    220-222 Wisconsin Ave.
    Oceanside CA 92054

  • My Special Needs Connection: Free Webinar - February Newsletter

  • Click here to read their latest edition for all the info!!!

  • Autism Society San Diego Spring Family Camp
  • Mar 15 to Mar 18, 2019
    YMCA Camp Marston
    4761 Pine Hills Rd, Julian, California 92036

    Join us for our Spring Family Camp on Friday, March 15th through Sunday, March 17th! The YMCA of San Diego County Overnight Camps and Autism Society San Diego have teamed up to provide families who are part of the autism community with a fun weekend in the mountains of Julian. Family time is important and there's no better place to make friends and be yourself than YMCA Camp Marston! All meals and activities are included, and we can accommodate special diets with advanced notice. Accommodations are in newly remodeled winterized cabins with indoor plumbing! Each family gets their own indoor bedroom with sleeping accommodations for up to 6. Open to families and children of all ages - come join us for a weekend of relaxing fun!

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

  • LCYO Champions 7th Season in Carlsbad
  • Champions Division is designed for boys and girls (ages 5 to 23 years) with physical and mental special needs.

    Volunteer buddies are provided and the fun is guaranteed. Come participate in our 7th season of co-ed baseball/softball.

    No Fee for Champions players
    Registration required for participation
    Season will start March 9, 2019
    #1: Go to LCYO website,
    #2: Hit registration tab
    #3: Log-in as a new LCYO player and register in the Champions Division

    For more information contact Eli Rejto at

  • "College Success" class to develop skills for college for high functioning ASD, DD or ADHD
  • Please contact the person closest to you!!!

  • Special Needs Resource Foundation Wins
  • We have exciting news to share!

    The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego won 2 big awards at the 45th Annual San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards.

    Our annual publication, Flourishing Families, received 2nd place in the Special Interest/One-Time Publications category. A big win for the special needs communities of San Diego and Imperial Counties!

    A big shout-out and congratulations to our contributing writer, Emily Dolton, who won 1st place in the Education category with the article, Zero to 6: Critical Windows that Impact Healthy Child Development (Flourishing Families, 2018).

    Check out the winning publication now!

  • ASD Mornings at the NAT
  • The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is pleased to offer a program for the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community: a once-a-month ASD Morning in which the Museum opens early for adults and children on the autism spectrum and their families, friends, and caregivers. This innovative program encourages individuals to explore, play, and discover the treasures The Nat has to offer in an environment that is comfortable for them.

    ASD Mornings take place the second Sunday of every month. The Museum will open at 9 AM*, one hour earlier than its standard 10 AM opening time, providing a quiet and less-crowded environment for visitors to explore the Museum's galleries at their own pace. In addition, on ASD Mornings the Museum will offer a "quiet room" from 9 AM to noon if visitors need a quiet space to decompress or desensitize. General admission rates apply during ASD Mornings.

  • 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

  • "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!

  • 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.