Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. February 19, 2019

In This Issue

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Union-Tribune looking for Special Education Families to Interview

Rapid regression distinguishes rare condition from autism

Walking in virtual environment may reveal unique autism gait

Real life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism: Analysis of Safety and Efficacy

Is Parenting Stressful? There's Help!

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Please Participate in Local Research

Club Beacons - Star Wars Night!

Social Communication Specialists

A Full Life With Autism-The Journey Into Adulthood

MSNC Free Webinar Series: "Reading Evaluation & Intervention"

No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance

Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech's Program

ATPF Musical Playgroup

Beacons, Inc. is Hiring!!!

Finding Your Inner "MozArt" Art Contest

TACA San Diego Breakfast Club

D'Vine Path Newsletter

The Power of Play Profectum Comference in Pasadena Area


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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.

  • Union-Tribune looking for Special Education Families to Interview
  • A Union-Tribune reporter is looking for special education families to interview:
    'The San Diego Union Tribune is reporting a story on changes to special education funding over the past six years, and how that affects students in the classroom. We're seeking first-hand accounts of students' experiences with special education over the past six years, and changes to their programs or services during that time. We're interested in all San Diego county school districts, and all age groups and disability categories.

    We are conducting interviews now, with a deadline of Friday, Feb. 22. Please contact Deborah Brennan at the San Diego Union Tribune ASAP.'

  • Rapid regression distinguishes rare condition from autism

  • Some children who dramatically lose a range of abilities after age 2 may have a condition called childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD), according to a meta-analysis of 20 studies1.

    Children with CDD generally have all the features of autism, as well as some that are unique. Many children with autism also regress, but they typically do so between 1 and 2 years of age; those with CDD show a rapid loss of skills sometime between age 2 and 7.

    In their analysis, the researchers compiled all published cases of CDD and compared them with reports of autistic children who did or did not regress.

    The results suggest that CDD warrants its own diagnostic category, which would help researchers better understand the condition, says lead researcher Michael Absoud, senior clinical lecturer at King's College London in the United Kingdom. "If you can't define something, you can't study something," Absoud says. Read on...

  • Walking in virtual environment may reveal unique autism gait

  • A two-belt treadmill attached to a specialized display suggests that people with autism have a distinct walking style1.

    Many autistic people have movement problems, such as atypical posture, unusual gait and trouble with fine-motor control. But these problems are not considered to be core traits of the condition and are not well studied.

    The new setup allows researchers to record how children with autism walk and adapt to changes in treadmill speed. It could help scientists better understand how the condition affects motor skills and coordination. Read on...

  • Real life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism: Analysis of Safety and Efficacy
  • There has been a 3-fold increase during the last 3 decades in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders worldwide. No specific treatments are currently available and interventions are focusing on lessening of the disruptive behaviors, training and teaching self-help skills for a greater independence.

    Recently, CBD enriched cannabis has been shown to be beneficial for children with autism7. In this retrospective study on 60 children, behavioural outbreaks were improved in 61% of patients, communication problems in 47%, anxiety in 39%, stress in 33% and disruptive behaviour in 33% of the patients. Read on...

  • Is Parenting Stressful? There's Help!
  • Stressed out? Feeling overwhelmed by ongoing therapies, the latest Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, or just trying to get your kid to eat something (anything) besides chicken nuggets? Studies show that parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience more stress than those of typically developing children or even those with other developmental disabilities.

    High levels of parental stress are of great concern, as they are associated with damaging effects, such as depression, marital difficulties, physical health problems, less effective parenting, and increased problematic child behaviors.

    So what can you do to reduce your stress levels without feeling like you are creating more work for yourself? While the temptation may be to reach for a glass of wine or another cookie (which we all need once in a while), these are short-term fixes and may actually create more problems down the line. 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.

  • Please Participate in Local Research
  • Please click on this link to participate:

  • Club Beacons - Star Wars Night!
  • These events are filling up fast so RSVP to!!!

  • 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

  • A Full Life With Autism-The Journey Into Adulthood
  • Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    17010 Pomerado Road, San Diego, California 92128

    Raising a child with autism leads parents and caregivers to become experts in so many different subjects that we should all walk away with multiple honorary degrees. Our beautiful children inevitably become adults so what's next? Author Chantal Sicile-Kira will share practical advice on how to prepare your child on the autism spectrum for the transition to real life as an adult.

  • 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

  • No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®)

    Our primary approach for treatment of autism spectrum is a developmental program called Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®). RDI® is a unique treatment approach that empowers parents to guide their child to succeed in our dynamic world. Children who learn to actively engage with the support of their parents in safe but challenging learning opportunities develop a strong motivation to explore and expand their world, as well as develop competence and trust in themselves and their guides.

    Why RDI®?
    Foundations of the adult mind are developed in the first years of life through the "Guiding Relationship". From the middle of the first year of life, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, in every culture on earth, children interact with parents and other important adults in deceptively simple encounters, with a very serious underlying agenda; constructing the architecture of the child's mind and brain. Click here for all the info about RDI®!!!

    The Family Guidance and Therapy Center
    Locations in Point Loma and Mira Mesa

  • Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech's Program
  • Are you ready to work but not finding that opportunity? Then NFAR's vocational technical training program might be the right choice for you!

    NFAR Tech is a comprehensive hands-on training program that helps build technical and employment skills to prepare young adults with autism for entry level jobs in today's workplace as software testers and other vocations.

    NFAR Tech will be starting a new class this April.

    Learn more by visiting our website or contacting NFAR at 858-679-8800.

  • ATPF Musical Playgroup
  • Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 10 AM - 11 AM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation
    2845 Nimitz Blvd, San Diego, California 92106

    You and your family are invited to join us! We will learn valuable interaction, communication, and social skills through group music making in a fun and friendly environment. The ATPF playgroups are facilitated by board-certified music therapists from the music Therapy Center of California.

    Ready to make some music? Register today!

    Call 619-222-4465 or Email

  • Beacons, Inc. is Hiring!!!
  • Beacons, Inc. is hiring!
    1. Lead Workshop Instructor ($30-$50 per hour) and
    2. Workshop Supporting Instructor (min. $15)

    For more information, contact: (attn: Hiring)

  • Finding Your Inner "MozArt" Art Contest
  • The Art of Autism and Mainly Mozart nonprofits present an Art Contest with CASH prizes for North American individuals who identify as neurodivergent 14 and over.

    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. Click here for all the info on entering this contest. Deadline is March 5th!!!

  • TACA San Diego Breakfast Club
  • Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    10430 Friars Road, San Diego, California 92120

    Make your way over to Denny's to get all the love and support an autism parent or caregiver needs before February comes to an end. Join us for coffee, tea, breakfast or whatever your heart desires. We know you will leave with a full heart.

  • D'Vine Path Newsletter
  • A dynamic program for adults with autism, developmental delays and/or learning disabilities, providing vocational and life skills development in viticulture, agriculture & arts in the Fallbrook/Bonsall area. Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info!!!

  • The Power of Play Profectum Comference in Pasadena Area
  • The Power of PLAY

    Building Dynamic Relationships: Promoting Capacities for a Meaningful Life and Unlocking Potential for Individuals with Autism and other Social and Mental Health Challenges Across the Lifespan

  • 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

  • Everyone Deserves a Loving Home

  • Contact Lynn Scott for more information 619-954-7847 or

  • "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.