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

In This Issue

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New Baltimore-based health initiative aims to close disparities in research, treatment of brain disorders

Jenny McCarthy's Autism Charity Has Helped Its Board Members Make Money Off Dangerous, Discredited Ideas

Bill to allow medical marijuana use for autism heads to Governor's desk

New brain stimulation therapy is effective against depression

Righting the gender imbalance in autism studies

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Cara Lucier & Associates

CALLING ALL SUPERHEROES! Make a Difference with 10% Off Use Code SUPER10

No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance

Mindful Heroes Networking Event / Resource Fair

Therapeutic Approach to Growth Offering Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) & More!

Get Safe Presents Safety Training and Risk Reduction

Brian Herritt - Autism Cop - New Book on Special Needs

Functional Integrated Therapeutic Services New Office Grand Opening

Support Group in La Mesa!

Segal Speech and Language Therapy & AtPlayOT

TACA San Diego's 3rd Annual IEP Day

Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk Autism & IEP Goals

Job Opening for School Aide

Claudia J. Peralta, LMFT in Chula Vista


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  • New Baltimore-based health initiative aims to close disparities in research, treatment of brain disorders
  • A Baltimore-based research institute that focuses on brain disorders has partnered with a prominent local African American clergy group to establish the nation's first research outfit aimed at closing long-standing racial disparities in research and in treatment, the groups announced Monday.

    The Lieber Institute for Brain Development, an independent nonprofit institute in Baltimore, is working with the African-American Clergy Medical Research Initiative, which advocates for equitable funding and representation in research.

    Their African-American Neuroscience Research Initiative seeks to tackle a long-standing gap in brain research and research generally - minority groups are woefully underrepresented in basic research and trials involving humans, officials said. For brain disorders specifically, groups including African Americans make up less than 5 percent of research subjects. Read on...

  • Jenny McCarthy's Autism Charity Has Helped Its Board Members Make Money Off Dangerous, Discredited Ideas
  • Camel's milk. B12 lollipops. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers. "Ion-cleansing" foot baths. Chelation therapy. Gluten-free diets. Casein-free diets. Massive doses of nutritional supplements. All of these products and services have two things in common. First, mainstream (and widely trusted) medical bodies don't recognize them as a reputable or effective treatment for autism. Second, they're all recommended by-and in some cases sold outright through-Generation Rescue, a charity for autistic kids and their families whose board president and most famous face is actress Jenny McCarthy.

    A deep dive into the world of Generation Rescue has revealed that the organization doesn't just promote ineffective or medically unproven or downright debunked treatments for autism (all of which has been demonstrated before): The organization and the people associated with it profit from them, too. In two cases, Generation Rescue has heavily promoted products owned by past board members, at the time they served on the board: hyperbaric oxygen chambers and B12 lollipops, both of which have been presented on GR's website as near-miraculous treatments for symptoms of autism. Read on...

  • Bill to allow medical marijuana use for autism heads to Governor's desk
  • DENVER (AP) - A bill allowing the use of medical marijuana to treat autism disorders has passed the Colorado House and Senate and will now go to Gov. Jared Polis' desk.

    Polis has said he will sign the bill into law. His predecessor, former Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a similar effort passed by the legislature last year.

    Current law allows medical marijuana use for cancer, glaucoma, HIV, PTSD, seizures and severe pain.

    The legislation streamlines procedures for minors to be added to Colorado's medical marijuana registry. It also encourages state research into ovarian cancer, dementia and other medical conditions. Read on...

  • New brain stimulation therapy is effective against depression

  • A new clinical trial has tested the ability of a little-studied, noninvasive brain stimulation technique to treat the symptoms of major depression. The results, so far, have been more than promising.

    Researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine in Chapel Hill have recently conducted a double-blind pilot clinical study testing a type of electrical brain stimulation therapy called "transcranial alternating current stimulation" (tACS) in people with major depression.

    In double-blind studies, neither the participants nor the scientists who administer the treatment know who is set to receive which intervention.

    This approach ensures added objectivity, which provides more reliable results. Read on...

  • Righting the gender imbalance in autism studies

  • Autism doesn't just affect boys and men, but research on the condition still predominantly focuses on them. Some scientists are finally beginning to include women and nonbinary people in their studies.

    For the first 42 years of her life, Sharon daVanport assumed that everyone finds the lights at the grocery store overwhelming. As a child, she knew it was unusual that she rocked back and forth and banged her head on her bedroom wall after school, but she didn't worry about it. Even after her youngest son, J.D., was diagnosed with autism at age 5, she did not draw any parallels between his behavior, which also included rocking, and her own - although her mother did notice some similarities between them.

    Then, 12 years ago, when her autistic son was 12, daVanport learned she too has autism. And then she understood all sorts of things - including why she had trouble relating to the other parents in the online communities she sought out after J.D.'s diagnosis. She began searching for a new kind of support network, one for autistic adults. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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.

  • Cara Lucier & Associates
  • At Cara Lucier & Associates we believe in the ability of every person to reach their potential. We believe that education is the key to opportunity. We advocate for the rights of individuals and their families:

    • IEP team meetings
    • Mediation
    • Due Process Hearings and Appeals
    • 504 Meetings and Appeals
    • Regional Center Meetings and Appeals
    • IHSS Appeals
    • Civil Rights Litigation
    For a free 60-minute initial consultation, please contact us at (760)505-2498.

    Law Offices of Cara Lucier
    Civil Rights and Education Law
    701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite #300
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Phone: (760) 717-3451

  • CALLING ALL SUPERHEROES! Make a Difference with 10% Off Use Code SUPER10
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    Be a Superhero for those with autism! Join us at the Race for Autism on Saturday, April 6th as the community comes together to make a difference.

    The Race consists of a 5K Run, Walk and family fun walk. All registered participants will receive a Race T- shirt or kid sized cape, and a commemorative medal. And check out our Race Resource Fair with over 50 incredible autism organizations and agencies!

    Because YOU can be a HERO for those with Autism!

  • 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

  • Mindful Heroes Networking Event / Resource Fair
  • Mindful Heroes is a networking event and resource fair for families and professionals who are passionate about raising mindful and conscious youth. This event is perfect for you if you are interested in meeting mindful families or connecting with local mindful family-oriented services. There will be a speaker, raffle prizes, food and more!

    We are offering a special discount for Val's List readers, enter the code "valslist" at check out for 50% off your ticket!

  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth Offering Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) & More!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth believes that every individual is unique and has the potential for significant growth. We assume and foster competence while honoring family values and priorities. Our holistic approach is built upon trusting, supportive relationships and collaboration between disciplines and families.

    We specializing in the development and implementation of individualized comprehensive programs utilizing Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, Applied Behavior Analysis, Art Therapy, and Life Balance Yoga Therapy.

    Offering support in the San Diego, Carlsbad, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

    In addition to supporting our clients directly, we offer guidance to parents, grandparents, therapists, teachers, siblings, school staff, babysitters etc.

    Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    (858) 689-2027

  • Get Safe Presents Safety Training and Risk Reduction
  • To save your seat, contact Get Safe at or call 714-834-0050 and ask for Tee.

  • Brian Herritt - Autism Cop - New Book on Special Needs
  • I am proud to announce my first book has been published and is currently in pre-order status. The book is designed to be a field reference for public safety officers and fire fighters on handling calls for persons with special needs. This includes mental illness and developmental disabilities. I am still touring and teaching autism courses and am proud to announce a special needs course that is based upon this book. The link to pre-order the book is below. It is a safe link and not spam. You can also go to the website to order it as well. I am very excited to share this project with you. Please feel free to forward the link or this email to anyone you feel can benefit. You can also call or email me if you have any questions, feedback or training requests.

  • Functional Integrated Therapeutic Services New Office Grand Opening
  • Come join us for our Grand Opening March 21st. We provide in clinic services to children of all needs. Our services include Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis, and other enrichment programs.

  • Support Group in La Mesa!
  • Call 858-634-8300 or email

  • Segal Speech and Language Therapy & AtPlayOT
  • We are excited to host this free parenting workshop at Coast Pediatrics in Carmel Valley this coming Monday March 25th!

    We will be discussing how to promote regulation with you child to further enhance positive interactions with peers, at school and other environments.

    See flyer for more information and contact us with any questions. Email to reserve your spot!

  • TACA San Diego's 3rd Annual IEP Day
  • Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    RBCPC Lower Fireside Room
    Speakers: Cara Lucier, Esq., Thomas Nelson, Esq, Special Education Advocates Alishia Goyette and Shannon Primer

    Come be a part of TACA SD's 3rd Annual IEP Day Workshop. Learn as much as possible to prepare for your child's IEP Meeting. The IEP (Individualized Education Program) is the foundation for your child's education, and you are a very important member of the team that develops it. Increase your knowledge so that you can be an active, prepared member of your child's IEP team. RSVP to save your chair at this very-knowledgeable table. If you are new to TACA, you'll receive the Autism Journey Guide as a take-home resource. We will have short presentation by the attorneys followed by direct support from the 2 attorneys and 2 advocates for your loved ones IEP. Remember to bring the IEP to receive maximum support.

  • Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk Autism & IEP Goals
  • Thu, April 18, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 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 month we will discuss Autism and IEP goals as we celebrate Autism Awareness Month...

    This event is free and you can register here!!!

  • Job Opening for School Aide
  • Please send your resume to:
    Gilda Shadle
    Director of Operations
    Colmena Academy

  • Claudia J. Peralta, LMFT in Chula Vista
  • 217 Landis Ave
    Chula Vista, CA 91910

  • 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.

  • 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.