Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 08, 2019

In This Issue

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No link found between MMR vaccine and autism, even among children with other risk factors for autism

Are Charter Schools A Good Option For Kids With Special Needs?

Single gene linked to host of abnormalities during neurodevelopment

Toxic parenting myths make life harder for people with autism. That must change.

Wandering Off: Understand Elopement In Autistic Individuals

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

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

NFAR Men's Group - Thursday, March 14th

Yvette M. Soto Accounting & Income Tax

Adult Information and Support Group

FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!

Profile On Employment: Spectrum Designs Foundation

Engage & Connect at Kid Ventures

Children's Theatre Workshops at PACT

Spring Break Camp - Dates in March and April

Sip and Paint "Fun" Raiser to Benefit Beacons North County

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Webinar: "Implementing Augmentative-Alternative Communication (AAC) With Your Child"

Command and Control Cognitive Training

SUCCESS: Supported Employment with Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement & Social Skills Training


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!

  • No link found between MMR vaccine and autism, even among children with other risk factors for autism
  • A nationwide cohort study of all children born in Denmark to Danish-born mothers between 1999 through 2010 concluded that the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine does not increase the risk of autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases following vaccination. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

    The hypothesized link between measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism continues to cause concern and challenge vaccine uptake. Currently, there is a concerning increase in measles cases in Europe and the U.S., and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health.

    Researchers from Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark used a Danish population registry to evaluate whether the MMR vaccine increases the risk for autism in children, subgroups of children, or time periods after vaccination. Of the 657,461 children included in the analysis over a decade of follow-up, 6,517 were diagnosed with autism. Comparing MMR-vaccinated with MMR-unvaccinated children yielded a fully adjusted autism hazard ratio of 0.93. Similarly, no increased risk for autism after MMR vaccination was consistently observed in subgroups of children defined according to sibling history of autism, autism risk factors (based on a disease risk score) or other childhood vaccinations, or during specified time periods after vaccination. According to the researchers, this study adds to previous studies through significant additional statistical power and addresses questions about susceptible subgroups and autism clustering. Read on...

  • Are Charter Schools A Good Option For Kids With Special Needs?
  • Most parents of children with autism are actively and constantly seeking ways to help their children better. Not necessarily to "cure" them, but to help them better function in life and live it to the fullest. We spend a lot of time researching.

    We spend a lot of time at doctors' offices, therapies, and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings. Often we have to weigh the material cost of all of this and determine for our families, for our child, which will be the most cost-effective. We can't afford it all because of both time constraints and money.

    School issues often take up a HUGE part of these resources. Many times in spite of teacher's best intentions, we are fighting against a system that doesn't work for our child, and we are always trying to get a large institution to change so our child can learn. Read on...

  • Single gene linked to host of abnormalities during neurodevelopment
  • Yale researchers have shown that mutations of a gene associated with autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and epilepsy cause some of the same structural and behavioral abnormalities that characterize those neurodevelopmental disorders, they report March 5 in the journal Cell Reports.

    Whole genome sequencing has shown mutations of the TRIO gene, which plays a crucial role in shaping brain cells and orchestrating neural signals in the developing brain, are found in a significant number of people suffering from several neurodevelopmental disorders.

    A Yale team headed by co-corresponding author Anthony Koleske, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry and of neuroscience, and Ph.D. candidate Sara (Katrancha) Sarnoski modeled these genetic mutations in mice to study their impact on the developing brain. Mice lacking even a single copy of the gene tended to be more anxious, showed deficits in motor coordination, and failed to develop social bonds with other mice. Brains of the mice were also small and lacked the normal synaptic and dendritic connections that enable neuronal signaling. Read on...

  • Toxic parenting myths make life harder for people with autism. That must change.
  • Last summer, my parents celebrated their 33rd anniversary at Chef's Restaurant in Buffalo with pasta doused in marinara sauce. Over a plastic gingham tablecloth, they quietly reaffirmed their commitment. Their relationship is remarkable and inspiring by any standard. But according to many in the autism world, including professionals who should know better, its endurance marks it as some sort of mythical unicorn, made all the more inspiring by the fact that it survived me.

    I am autistic. An oft-repeated claim holds that 80 percent of marriages with an autistic child end in divorce. In a 2007 episode of one of the most-watched television shows in America at the time, Oprah Winfrey noted the supposed 80 percent divorce rate, citing a study from Autism Speaks. No such study exists, but that hasn't stopped plenty of others from using the figure - or otherwise suggesting that autistic children pull families apart. NPR unquestioningly promoted former football player Rodney Peete's claim of an 80 percent divorce rate on "Tell Me More" in 2010. Jenny McCarthy has said that her then-husband asked for a divorce the same week as her son's autism diagnosis. A 2008 article in the Denver Post claimed an 85 percent divorce rate, disturbingly followed by a list of autistic children and adults who were killed by their parents, as if somehow their disability makes filicide understandable. Read on...

  • Wandering Off: Understand Elopement In Autistic Individuals
  • Elopement, or wandering, as it is often called, is an important safety issue for individuals with autism or other disabilities, their families, and communities. This term describes the tendency for an individual to leave the safety of a known environment and caregiver. That might mean leaving the home when no one is looking or running away from school.

    Because autistic individuals often have difficulties with communication and awareness of their own safety, this can be particularly dangerous. Autistic individuals may have trouble communicating their name and address, they may not be able to provide contact information for their caregivers, and they may not recognize environmental dangers. Additionally, children are often drawn to water and drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children with ASD. 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

    Professional Office Available for Sublet

    Ideal opportunity for advocate, attorney, or professional. Large private office available with peek ocean views in Carlsbad. Includes wifi, use of conference room, lobby, and children's play area. $500 per month. Preferably someone who cares about and helps people with disabilities.

    Please contact Cara at

    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!!

  • NFAR Men's Group - Thursday, March 14th
  • Thursday, March 14th
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    **Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123
    Dinner: Pizza, Salad. Dinner is provided

    The Men's Group is for dads, step dads, and granddads helping to raise a child with autism. We offer dinner, guest speakers and a chance to network with other men in a relaxed setting.

    March Topic: "What Working with those with Autism has Taught Me"

    After working with over 100 young adults with autism, Juan shares his thoughts on the challenges, the successes and how to best prepare your child for the path forward.

    Guest Speaker: Juan Leon, Director of NFAR's Technical Training Programs

    Juan Leon is the co-founder for the National Foundation for Autism Research and the Director of NFAR's technical training programs for young adults.

    Juan holds a Mechanical Engineering Degree from the University of California San Diego and a MBA from the Stanford Business School. Juan has worked with high tech Fortune 500 Companies for over 20 years, overseeing off-shore operations and quality control of high tech products throughout Asia. He has first-hand experience in the product development cycle from idea conceptions to the retail marketplace, working with manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard and Sony and retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon.

    Juan recognizes the strengths and talents of those on the autism spectrum and is working to open up new and expanded opportunities for them.

    To RSVP

  • 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

  • Adult Information and Support Group
  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 6 PM - 8 PM
    Autism Society San Diego
    4699 Murphy Canyon Rd, San Diego, California 92123

    Topic: A Mother & Daughter's Shared Journey
    Megan and Maleia Christian are a mother and daughter who will share about their experiences, from early life on, as well as their growth and change throughout their journey. They will share what supports have been helpful, as well as some that were not. They will share insights and experiences of Megan's transition into adulthood, as well as how humor is a key ingredient to keeping joy in their ongoing growth. Click here for all the info!!!

  • 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

  • Profile On Employment: Spectrum Designs Foundation
  • Spectrum Designs Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting Autism employment. Spectrum operates three social enterprises - custom apparel and promotional items (, gourmet granola ( and a boutique laundry (

    All profits go towards advancing our mission - to help individuals with Autism lead productive and meaningful lives through the world of work. We design, produce and sell customized printed apparel (via screen print, digital print and embroidery), gourmet granola products and laundry services.

    How did Spectrum Designs start?

    Spectrum Designs Foundation began in 2011 in a 1-room barn in Co-Founder, Stella Spanakos' backyard. Stella's son, Nicholas (who inspired the organization) is a young man with Autism. When Nicholas was in Middle School, Stella began researching opportunities that would be available to her son as school-based programs finished at age 21. She was not encouraged with the day programs she saw which offered limited education, vocational training, social interaction or productivity. She knew these young men and women were deserving and, given the opportunity and support, were capable of so much more. Read on...

  • Engage & Connect at Kid Ventures
  • Spring Session

    Engage & Connect is a program for the whole family of children with autism, ages 2 - 8 years of age.

    Activities include circle time, motor activities, and fun activities meant to increase communication and social skills, in a fun filled, creative environment.

    To find out more, or to sign up on our interest list for our Spring session (May), please contact us at, and give us your name, and the name and age for each child.

    It's a way to engage and connect for the whole family! Click here for more info!

  • Children's Theatre Workshops at PACT
  • Contact PACT at 760-815-8512 or email

  • Spring Break Camp - Dates in March and April
  • Our Spring Break camps are for grades 1-6. Participants will learn the rules of various sports games through structured play. Basketball, Baseball, Lacrosse, Soccer and Recess games are the sports that we go over.

    The total cost for the week is $250, but we do offer reduced fees! Please don't hesitate to reach out to see if you qualify.

    We offer two different weeks:
    March 25-29 in Kearny Mesa
    April 15-19 in Spring Valley/La Mesa
    We meet Monday-Friday from 9-12 and will go over one sport per day!

    Contact 858-634-8300 or email

  • Sip and Paint "Fun" Raiser to Benefit Beacons North County
  • Location for Sip and Paint:
    Beacons North County
    6150 Yarrow Drive, Suite E
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Cost is $50 check or cash at the door!
    RSVP to

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • "My Time For Dinner" was created to give Parents a special time for themselves to enjoy an evening out to dinner.

    Please join us for Dinner at Little Italy Bar and Grill (Approx. $15 per person)
    In Scripps Ranch
    Monday, March 18, 2019 at 7:00 PM

    Please R.S.V.P. with your host Bene Raphael no later than March 15th at or for any questions please call (760) 845-4551

  • Webinar: "Implementing Augmentative-Alternative Communication (AAC) With Your Child"
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    This webinar will provide information on the 3 main steps to teaching your child to use augmentative-alternative communication:

    * Model - Using Aided Language Stimulation to model language using picture-based communication

    * Core Words - Using core words which are the key words in language for children and adults

    * Genuine communication- Using real messages to reflect what the child wants to say, not just what answers we want them to give

    * Keep moving - Moving beyond single words or two-word phrases.

    Featuring Susan Berkowitz, M.S.-C.C.C.,SLP, M.Ed. Best-selling author of "Make the Connection!: A Practical Guide to Parents and Practitioners for Teaching the Nonverbal Child to Communicate - with AAC"

    Join us by registering at

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

  • Command and Control Cognitive Training
  • Intricate Mind Institute
    2247 San Diego Ave #136
    San Diego, CA 92110
    (858) 205-9809

  • SUCCESS: Supported Employment with Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement & Social Skills Training
  • Intricate Mind Institute
    2247 San Diego Ave #136
    San Diego, CA 92110
    (858) 205-9809

  • 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.

  • Beacon's Inc. is Hiring!!!

  • Beacons is hiring a Lead Instructor and Support Staff for our new vocational workshops - 'Beacons Pathfinder Program'. Go to our website for employment opportunities details!

  • 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.

  • Please Participate in Local Research!!!

  • Please click on this link to participate:


    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.