Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 02, 2019

In This Issue

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Bumper scan of genomes pinpoints inherited risk factors for autism

Brain response to mom's voice differs in kids with autism

'Good Doctor' star Freddie Highmore on playing an autistic character, breaking down stereotypes

Special Needs Motherhood: Sometimes The Basics Are The Most Difficult

Brain's prefrontal cortex conducts symphony of social players

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

NFAR's Race for Autism! Saturday April 6th in Balboa Park - Prices go up on March 4th!!!

A Grand Irish Night at "Club O'Beacons", Saturday, March 9th

Yvette M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax

Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk Autism and IEPs

FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!

Sensory Friendly Purim Party at Dan's Place

Les Miserables at LJCDS: Sensory-Friendly Theater Performance!

Transition to Adulthood Information Event

Children's Dance Program

RDI Parenting Course Starts March 5th

Options For All Presents: Project College

Fundraiser: 'Come Away with Me'

Launching Beacons Pathfinder Pilot Program

Little Big Steps


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!

  • Bumper scan of genomes pinpoints inherited risk factors for autism
  • A new analysis of DNA from more than 20,000 people with autism identifies 12 regions in the genome that harbor inherited risk factors for the condition. The findings appear today in Nature Genetics1.

    The study is the largest-yet exploration of inherited variants that influence autism risk. It focuses on common variants - those present in at least 1 percent of the general population.

    Rare, spontaneous mutations account for only about 10 percent of autism cases, and they cannot explain why autism runs in families; common variants are, by contrast, thought to account for up to half of the risk for autism. Read on...

  • Brain response to mom's voice differs in kids with autism
  • Mom's voice causes a strong response in the brains of typically developing children, but the response is weaker in children with autism, a Stanford study has demonstrated.

    For most children, the sound of their mother's voice triggers brain activity patterns distinct from those triggered by an unfamiliar voice. But the unique brain response to mom's voice is greatly diminished in children with autism, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

    The diminished response was seen on fMRI brain scans in face-processing regions and learning and memory centers, as well as in brain networks that process rewards and prioritize different stimuli as important.

    The findings were published Feb. 26 in eLife.

    "Kids with autism often tune out from the voices around them, and we haven't known why," said the study's lead author, Dan Abrams, PhD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford. "It's still an open question how this contributes to their overall difficulties with social communication." Read on...

  • 'Good Doctor' star Freddie Highmore on playing an autistic character, breaking down stereotypes
  • Freddie Highmore is well-aware of how the character he portrays on television -- the young autistic surgeon Shaun Murphy in the hit ABC series "The Good Doctor" -- may influence common thinking. And for those unfamiliar with autism, television roles like Highmore's can offer a glimpse into life with the disorder.

    "I love how Shaun is changing over time, that's something that David (Shore)(show writer) and I spoke about from the very beginning as being essential with this character," Highmore said in a recent interview on "Popcorn with Peter Travers."

    "In the pilot, there was a naivete to him," he added. "And he was in this big city environment having moved from the countryside for the very first time and adjusting to this whole new world. Read on...

  • Special Needs Motherhood: Sometimes The Basics Are The Most Difficult
  • My son showed me exactly how he planned to install a CPU into his computer yesterday.

    (If you don't know what that is, don't worry. You are in good company. I listen to my son tell me all about computer parts for most of the day, every day, and I am still not 100% sure I know what it really is.)

    He walked me through step by step, in painstaking detail, not only how to install it, but how the actual device functions. The way it communicates, what one set of cords does vs. the other, why the motherboard goes in this spot, and so many more things that I completely did not understand a single word of.

    I sat there in awe, so proud of the man he is becoming. He is realizing his strengths, and using them to compensate for the aspects of his life that are difficult. It is exactly what he has been working towards for almost four years now.

    And, I couldn't help but feel a pang of confusion and disbelief. He can do all of this.

    But he may not be able to navigate dinner tonight. Read on...

  • Brain's prefrontal cortex conducts symphony of social players

  • Many of the everyday activities that people with autism find challenging are extraordinarily complex. Social interactions, for instance, involve perceiving the behavior of others, interpreting its nuances and then carrying out an appropriate response. This sequence requires mental flexibility (the ability to switch tasks or strategies), short-term (or 'working') memory and impulse control.

    These so-called 'executive functions' are important not only for social interactions but also for adapting to change, preventing emotional outbursts and for learning. Some evidence suggests that autistic girls have more problems with executive function than autistic boys do.

    The root of these problems may lie in a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. This region orchestrates executive functions, like a maestro conducting a symphony. 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 regular MD that accepts Medi-cal in the Chula Vista area.
    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.

  • NFAR's Race for Autism! Saturday April 6th in Balboa Park - Prices go up on March 4th!!!
  • On Saturday, April 6, 2019, we are celebrating the 15th annual San Diego Race for Autism Superhero 5K in Balboa Park.

    This family friendly event attracts thousands of local SUPERHEROES, big and small, to Balboa Park each year and directly supports programs that help individuals with autism and their families in San Diego. To date, the Race has funded over 900 community programs and classrooms.

    NFAR's Technical Training Programs
    NFAR's newest programs are helping to address the growing concern of what individuals with autism will do once they graduate/transition out of the educational system, (unemployment rate for those with autism is 85%) and offers a crucial pathway from the educational system to meaningful employment.

    NFAR Tech is a comprehensive vocational training program teaching quality assurance processes in software testing. Since 2016, 52 young adults have completed this 7 month program, with 75% being placed into paid work internships at companies in San Diego.

    In addition, NFAR is also now offering NFAR Codes classes in software coding.
    And coming soon NFAR Works, a new vocational program to include a broader range of individuals and interests.

    Sign Up Today and be a HERO for those with autism, Race for Autism 2019!

    Can't make the race, but want to donate to NFAR to help them continue their great work, click here!!

  • A Grand Irish Night at "Club O'Beacons", Saturday, March 9th
  • RSVP's must be in by March 7th!!!

    Newcomers: Complete registration and waiver online:

    Returning?: If your signed registration and waiver are on file just send your RSVP to

  • 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

  • Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk Autism and IEPs
  • Tue, March 19, 2019
    5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
    Sanford Autism Consulting Office
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120

    Join me for coffee, tea, and snacks as we discuss your biggest concerns about Autism and IEPs. This will be a relaxed and casual environment.

    This is a FREE event, but registration is necessary. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!
  • Safer Than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and ADHD/ADD and the Effects are Permanent!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids is San Diego's premiere pediatric microcurrent therapy program for children, teens and adults with special needs. Our program is the BEST therapy for Autism & ADHD, as you will see by the rapid improvement in your child's skills and abilities, because of how well it promotes developmental growth and couples with ALL other therapies.

    Some of the neuro-developmental issues we commonly see include:

    • Autism/Asperger's
    • Anxiety
    • Sensory Processing Disorder
    • Depression
    • ADD/ADHD
    • Tourette's Syndrome
    • Developmental Delay
    • Epilepsy
    • And many more!
    Call 858-367-9108 for your free consultation!!!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Road, Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123

  • Sensory Friendly Purim Party at Dan's Place
  • Sunday, March 17, 2019 at 2 PM - 4 PM
    Friendship Circle of San Diego
    16934 Chabad Way, Poway, California 92064

    Join FC for a sensory friendly Purim Party on Sunday, March 17th! Enjoy a special Dan's Place Kosher Restaurant luncheon with a magical performance by Abbie & TJ Productions! Fun for the whole family, come make hamantaschen, shalach manos and enjoy music class with your friends!

    $5 per person or $18 per family (4+ people)
    Reminder to wear your costumes! Get tickets:


  • Les Miserables at LJCDS: Sensory-Friendly Theater Performance!
  • On Friday March 8th, 2019 La Jolla Country Day School is hosting a FREE sensory-friendly theater performance of Les Miserables in our Theater at 10:00am.

    We would love to personally invite any members of our San Diego Community who would benefit from this sensory-friendly performance to attend. If any of you would like to bring an entire class, grade, or subsection of students, it would be our pleasure to welcome your group. We have specifically decided to have this performance in the morning in hopes of many of our friends in Special Education school programs attending with ample time to travel to and from their schools during the normal school day.

    You can find a link to request tickets here and we have a list of FAQ here. Additionally - please feel free to share this email far and wide, we'd love to have a packed house for this very special event!

  • Transition to Adulthood Information Event
  • Free for North County School Districts parents, students and staff.

  • Children's Dance Program
  • I am a junior at Sage Creek High School who is looking to make a difference. My close friend Ally Zepeda and I are forming a dance program here at Sage for children with special needs. If you could post our flyer it would help us out tremendously, as we need more kids to sign up before we can start dancing. Thank you so much!
    Lela Buda

  • RDI Parenting Course Starts March 5th
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    (858) 689 - 2027
    9466 Black Mountain Road, Suite 100
    San Diego CA 92126

  • Options For All Presents: Project College
  • Project College, now in its 8th year, offers a weeklong orientation to college life for youth with disabilities. Held on the campus of the University of San Diego, Project College is specially designed by Options For All, The University of San Diego, The Invisible Disability Project, and The State Council on Developmental Disabilities - San Diego/Imperial Office.

    June 23rd-28th, experience all that college life has to offer!

    For more information please review the links below or contact our COO, David Drazenovich!

    Project College Brochure

    Project College FAQ

    2019 Application

  • Fundraiser: 'Come Away with Me'
  • Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 6:00 PM
    Brick, 2863 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

    Join us at our 10th Annual Taste of Our Community: 'Come Away With Me' and celebrate a decade of raising awareness and necessary funds for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click here for all the info and to purchase tickets!!!

  • Launching 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:

  • Little Big Steps
  • We are very excited to announce the opening of Little Big Steps - a new site-based, community readiness ABA program for children ages 2.5 to 6 years who are experiencing challenges in behavioral, social, and language development. Our young participants attend onsite in a structured setting where they receive 1:1 ABA instruction as well as small group interaction with peers.

    Our staff of highly trained ABA therapists utilizes the principles of ABA to develop and promote skills to generalize into school and community settings. Our site-based setting offers the structure necessary to target the pivotal and pre-requisite skills needed for success in school-based settings, while our group settings offer access to peers in order to address social and play skills.

    Little Big Steps is a program CTA program. Sessions take place at the Poway location in the mornings until 1:00 PM. Please contact Lauren Enriquez, BCBA at (858) 603-6628 or for inquiries.

  • 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:

  • 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.

  • Please Participate in Local Research!!!

  • Please click on this link to participate:

  • 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.