Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. February 22, 2019

In This Issue

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How to Consent to Some Parts of an IEP and Not Others

Challenges and Benefits of Having a Sibling with Special Needs

Children with autism, co-occurring ADHD symptoms lag in key measures of independence

The Coming Care Crisis as Kids With Autism Grow Up

Walker Aurand: The First ACHA Division 1 Hockey Player On The Autism Spectrum

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Please Participate in Local Research!!!

Therapeutic Recreation Services Spring 2019 Calendar

Social Communication Specialists

Special FREE! Encore Presentation: MSNC Free Webinar Series: What Will My Child do After Highschool?

No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance

Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech's Program

Register Today & Support Team Home of Guiding Hands - TOMORROW!!!

Beacons Pathfinder Pilot Program

New CONNECTIONS class begins Monday, March 11

TACA San Diego Breakfast Club

D'Vine Path Newsletter

The Power of Play Profectum Comference in Pasadena Area

Bingo! An exciting new Superflex game has arrived


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.

  • How to Consent to Some Parts of an IEP and Not Others
  • After an evaluation, the school presents you with an IEP that you feel isn't completely right for your child. Can you agree with some parts of the IEP but not others? The answer is yes.

    Here's what you need to know.

    IDEA and Partial Consent
    Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), parents have many legal protections. One is that the school needs your informed written consent before it provides services to your child for the first time. Read on...

  • Challenges and Benefits of Having a Sibling with Special Needs
  • Having a sibling with special needs is a unique experience that provides both challenges and benefits. The feelings that arise in children are often complicated. The love, appreciation and compassion they feel towards their sibling can be mixed up with worry, resentment, fear, frustration and anger. Parents who are in tune to their children's feelings can help them work through negative emotions and turn them into positives.

    1. Challenge: Insensitivity and meanness of others Unfortunately, kids with special needs are often targets of teasing. Kids (and adults) who don't understand people's differences may make insensitive comments, ask inappropriate questions, or make fun of someone who is different. Typical siblings of kids with special needs may feel the need to stand up for their sibling, explain their situation to others, or may be the brunt of teasing themselves. "One of the biggest challenges in growing up with my sister was watching people laugh at her," says Justin Lyons, whose sister Kara has Cerebral Palsy. Parents can help by equipping kids with appropriate responses and teaching them to identify and report bullying. Read on...

  • Children with autism, co-occurring ADHD symptoms lag in key measures of independence
  • A pair of new studies has provided new insight into the challenges faced by children on the autism spectrum who exhibit symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the findings from researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), these children have difficulty with adaptive behavior, a key measure of independence.

    Additionally, researchers pinpointed weaker functional connections in two large brain networks in children on the autism spectrum who have co-occurring ADHD symptoms.

    The first study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, analyzed adaptive behavior, a key measure of how a person is able to function independently at home, school and in the community. Communication skills, self-care skills and social skills are examples of adaptive behavior. Many of these skill areas are often impaired in children on the autism spectrum, and the gap between autistic children and typically developing children widens during adolescence. Understanding factors that contribute to adaptive behavior impairments may reveal critical points for intervention. Read on...

  • The Coming Care Crisis as Kids With Autism Grow Up
  • The number of adults with autism diagnoses is soaring, but there aren't enough programs and services to meet the demand.

    The Medicaid provider had assured her that this was the best option, so Marie Solomonik walked into the day-habilitation center in Queens, New York, with all the optimism she could muster. Marie was with her husband, Eddie, on this rainy March morning to scout out the facility for their son, Anthony, who has autism.

    "This place makes my skin crawl," Marie whispered.

    "Just promise me you'll keep an open mind," Eddie responded.

    In the past, centers like these had been a torment for Anthony. There was the time in middle school when another boy hit him in the face with a metal lunch box. There were the girls in the park who mocked him relentlessly for being nonverbal. And there was the incident during gym class when he tripped on the treadmill and got caught in the conveyor belt. By the time anyone noticed him trying to scream, nearly all the skin had been flayed from his knees. Read on...

  • Walker Aurand: The First ACHA Division 1 Hockey Player On The Autism Spectrum
  • "When I step on the ice, I feel clarity and my worries disappear," Walker Aurand

    Walker Aurand, a natural on ice, began skating at the age of two. When his dad took him to the rink for open skate, he was astonished to see his two year old son skating without any training.

    "When my parents tried to help me on the ice, I looked back at them and said, "I'm good I can do this by myself. When I step on the ice, I feel clarity and my worries disappear," Walker shares.

    Walker's parents Steve and Anne first realized something was unique about their son when Walker was only three months old. Lying on the living room floor looking down on the baby on the floor his Dad said "Hi, buddy, hi, buddy," And suddenly Walker, clear as a bell echoed to his dad "Hi." Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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.

    My son is 27 yrs old. I am looking for a recommendation for a psychiatrist that accepts Medi-cal. Also, a regular MD as well in Chula Vista?
    Thanks in advance, Tracey

    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:

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services Spring 2019 Calendar
  • Click here to view our new Spring 2019 calendar!!!

    Important dates to remember:
    Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
    Registration begins for Spring activities

    Saturday, March 2nd, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
    Registration begins for Summer Camps

    You may sign up online at or at our office 3325 Zoo Drive, 92101.

  • 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

  • Special FREE! Encore Presentation: MSNC Free Webinar Series: What Will My Child do After Highschool?
  • Learn about tech-training programs, college options and support. Also learn about group homes and supported living.

    Speaker is Josh D. Feder, MD, Child and Family Psychiatry.

    Click here to view the webinar:

  • 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.

  • Register Today & Support Team Home of Guiding Hands - TOMORROW!!!
  • Join us Feb. 23rd in Crown Point Park for the 9th Annual Randy Jones Run/Walk for Independence

    Help Home of Guiding Hands make a difference in the lives of more than 3,200 children and adults living with a developmental disability.

    Together we can make independence possible.

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

  • Beacons Pathfinder Pilot Program
  • Beacons, Inc. will be launching pilot workshops for those 18+. Workshops will focus on workforce planning and social skills. The workforce planning workshop is being made possible by an NFAR grant and will focus on office skills.

    For more information on the programming, please visit:

    To apply to be considered for the pilot, please complete this form:

    Space is limited for this pilot launch to 6 individuals per workshop. Questions should be directed to:

  • New CONNECTIONS class begins Monday, March 11
  • We're currently registering students for our next CONNECTIONS class, which will begin on Monday, March 11th and continue until Monday, April 15th from 4:30-6:00 pm.

    We still have plenty of room in the class, and would love to find more students. If you have any friends who might be interested, please feel free to pass along the attached flyer.

    Registration is currently available online on our website at

  • 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

  • Bingo! An exciting new Superflex game has arrived
  • Superflex Bingo $29.99-now 15% off through Mar. 5, 2019. No coupon code necessary!

    Superflex Bingo offers a fun way to engage kids in the Superflex curriculum and expand their self-regulation and superflexible thinking powers! Students listen to a scenario and figure out a Social Thinking concept or Superflex character that fits the situation, placing a game piece on the square that matches their thinking. Includes multiple themed card packs to keep students learning throughout the year-it's like 12 games in one box! Perfect for use in the classroom, clinic, or home. For kids already working with You Are a Social Detective and the Superflex curriculum who are familiar with core Social Thinking Vocabulary.

    Sounds Fun!

  • 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.