Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. March 29, 2019

In This Issue

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For The Mom Who Feels Like She's Lost Control Of Her Child

Wired that way: genes do shape behaviours but it's complicated

Motor traits that mark autism remain elusive, large study finds

Latest test of promising autism therapy shows only mild benefits

Enjoy an Accessible San Diego: 10 local spots offer helpful perks to kids and caregivers

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Cara Lucier & Associates

Autism Awareness Bar Crawl

No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance

North County Autism Support Group: IHSS Benefits

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

Keep the Promise Rally, April 5th

I Can Bike Coming this May!

NFAR and Kid Ventures Presents Engage & Connect

17th Annual Splash for Cash

Pesach Model Seder at Friendship Circle San Diego

Save the Date: Involved Exceptional Parents' Day Conference

SAVE THE DATE! 9th Annual Resource Night for Adults with Autism

Having Academic Challenges? In-Home Tutoring + Coaching Special! $100 OFF


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ValeriesList is a FREE resource newsletter and Facebook Page for San Diego County and has been for over 18 years. No fees or membership are required to receive this info. An informed public makes better decisions for its' persons with Special Needs. Please share with friends, family, fellow professionals and clients!!! Click here to check out my FB page! Thank YOU!

  • For The Mom Who Feels Like She's Lost Control Of Her Child
  • When my child started to meltdown, in the middle of Target, I was acutely aware of all the people staring at us.

    It was ugly - like really, really ugly.

    He was hitting me, clawing his own arms, and actually knocked over our cart. I know now that it was the sensory input of the lights, the smell of the Target Cafe and the baby crying in the background that likely triggered it. But at the time, all I knew was that my seven-year old was out of control. We did not have a diagnosis. We did not have any support and I had no idea what to do to help him.

    As I tried, desperately, to turn the cart back over and just get the heck out of there, I heard a man turn to the lady next to him and say loudly,

    "She needs to get control of that boy or he's going to end up killing someone, someday."

    I pulled my son out to the car, both of us sobbing. Read on...

  • Wired that way: genes do shape behaviours but it's complicated
  • Many of our psychological traits are innate in origin. There is overwhelming evidence from twin, family and general population studies that all manner of personality traits, as well as things such as intelligence, sexuality and risk of psychiatric disorders, are highly heritable. Put concretely, this means that a sizeable fraction of the population spread of values such as IQ scores or personality measures is attributable to genetic differences between people. The story of our lives most definitively does not start with a blank page.

    But exactly how does our genetic heritage influence our psychological traits? Are there direct links from molecules to minds? Are there dedicated genetic and neural modules underlying various cognitive functions? What does it mean to say we have found 'genes for intelligence', or extraversion, or schizophrenia? This commonly used 'gene for X' construction is unfortunate in suggesting that such genes have a dedicated function: that it is their purpose to cause X. This is not the case at all. Interestingly, the confusion arises from a conflation of two very different meanings of the word 'gene'. Read on...

  • Motor traits that mark autism remain elusive, large study finds

  • Motor problems in autistic infants parallel those in infants with other developmental conditions, according to research based on hundreds of children1.

    The findings dash the hopes of scientists hoping to find signature delays associated with autism that would help them diagnose the condition early.

    Motor problems are not a core trait of autism, but children with the condition often have delays in acquiring skills such as manipulating toys or hopping on one foot. However, a commonly used assessment of cognitive and motor abilities, the Mullen Scales of Early Learning, could not identify problems specific to autism. Read on...

  • Latest test of promising autism therapy shows only mild benefits

  • A much-touted behavioral therapy for autism, the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), may not be as effective as its creators had hoped1.

    In the latest study of the therapy, it did not improve children's intelligence quotients (IQ) or adaptive behavior any more than other treatments. Children treated with ESDM showed some improvement in their language, but only at two of the three study sites.

    Independent experts say the results are disappointing, and they question some of the methods used to generate them. Read on...

  • Enjoy an Accessible San Diego: 10 local spots offer helpful perks to kids and caregivers
  • Many of San Diego's favorite parks and museums offer accommodations for kids with special needs-but they're thinking of parents and caregivers, too. Here are local spots that have amenities designed to make life easier for families with special needs, including companion passes, early entry, discounts and more. Read on for all the info!!!

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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

    Direct Support Professionals 1:1 (Little Italy)
    Hello! A young man and his family are looking for dependable, flexible, energetic, positive, and supportive individuals to work with him in the Little Italy area. This young man is a successful intuitive artist who sees emotion as color, and writes descriptions of what he sees. The young man has autism and communicates using assistive technology. He has a team of people that support him 24 hours per day. He has a rich full life with a thriving career, exercise, friends and participates in art gallery shows and art festivals. This is a rare opportunity to work with a gifted young man who struggles with sensory-motor challenges, and needs help with most aspects of daily living - but the gifts of working with this young man outweigh the challenges for the right individual. Training of support person will be provided on how best to support him in his daily life and in his method of communication (using letter board and iPad).

    We are hiring for two different positions:

    1. Community Support Facilitator - This person would fill in the hours of support mostly during the afternoon/evening hours, and support the young man during daily activities: painting at his art studio (in the East Village), food shopping, chores, social activites.

    2. Live-in Aide - As the live-in aide, this person would be assisting this individual during the overnight hours, 5 nights per week. Overnight support includes: implementing all safety features (i.e. locks, alarms, etc.), assisting with restroom (if needed), communicating with team members, and any other overnight support that may be needed. Position is Sunday through Thursday 11:00p.m.-8:00a.m. Live-in Aide would have own bedroom and bathroom, and pay a share of utilities and a small stipend for rent.

    Candidates for these positions would be individuals that are interested in a job that is diverse, intimate and always changing. The person we support relies heavily on his team for opportunities, safety, and a communication partner. Prior practical experience with autism, ABA ,OT, is helpful. The support staff hired will be paid $15.90 an hour, and will be working for the agency Lifeworks, who believe in Person-Centered Supports for people. To learn more about the agency, visit

    Serious inquiries only. If interested, please send a copy of your resume to

    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

  • Autism Awareness Bar Crawl
  • The Hunt
    In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, our community partner Gaslamp District Media is hosting its annual Autism Awareness Bar Crawl.
    The Hunt is a bar crawl scavenger hunt!

    Sign up your team of 5 or 10, or just yourself, and on Sunday, April 7th you'll make your way through the Gaslamp, enjoying brews & bites from some of Downtown San Diego's favorite venues.

    Here's where it'll be:

    • Hunt 1 - Meze Greek Fusion 12pm; get there at 11:30am for Brunch!
    • Hunt 2 - Float at Hard Rock Hotel 1pm
    • Hunt 3 - Monkey King 2pm
    • Hunt 4 - Henry's Pub 3pm
    • Hunt 5 & After Party - El Chingon
    20% off promo code: connext19
    *Registration fee includes a free drink at each location Click here to get your tickets!!! Proceeds from this event goes to Community ConNext.

  • 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

  • North County Autism Support Group: IHSS Benefits
  • Monday, April 1, 2019 at 5:30 PM - 7 PM
    Senior Center Carlsbad
    799 Pine Ave, Carlsbad, California 92008

    Three amazing local Advocates will be presenting on IHSS benefits... including eligibility, functional rankings, hourly task guidelines & protective supervision.

    Back by popular demand. Do not miss this!!!

  • 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

  • Keep the Promise Rally, April 5th
  • San Diego Rally to Save Lanterman Act Services & Fund the Direct Support Workforce for Californians with I/DD. Just show up!!

  • I Can Bike Coming this May!
  • Call 760 315 1311 (new phone number) or email

    View our video:

    Sponsorships, item donations, and discounted items for our families are welcome, and all donors will be listed on this year's T-shirts!

  • NFAR and Kid Ventures Presents Engage & Connect
  • 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 May 2019 session, please call us at 858-679-8800 or contact us at, and give us your name, and the name and age for each child. The program takes place at Kid Ventures.

    It's a way to engage and connect for the whole family!

  • 17th Annual Splash for Cash
  • Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 8 AM - 2 PM
    Aqua Pros Swim School
    4635 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, California 92117

    Join us for the 17th Annual Splash for Cash on Sunday, April 14th from 8 AM - 2 PM. Swimming begins at 9 AM. This annual FUNdraiser is our biggest pool party of the year! Have a good time in the pool, or just hang out and enjoy the fun - swimming is completely optional! Either way, we guarantee a good time!

    Help us as we raise money for our Pool PALS program . All proceeds fund swimming lesson scholarships, Surf Camp, and our monthly family events like our Family Pizza and Pool Party, and our Family Gymnastics Night.

    Sign up to fundraise as a team OR as an individual fundraiser. All participants receive an event giveaway. Sign up here:

  • Pesach Model Seder at Friendship Circle San Diego
  • Sunday, March 31st at 1 PM - 3 PM
    Friendship Circle of San Diego
    16934 Chabad Way, Poway, California 92064

    Join us for our annual Pesach Model Seder. We will have both youth and adult Seders as well as various activities, Matzah making and more! Click here to register!!!

  • Save the Date: Involved Exceptional Parents' Day Conference
  • "Creating Pathways to a Self-Determined Life"
    Saturday, May 4, 2019
    Crowne Plaza Hotel, Mission Valley (New Location)
    2270 Hotel Circle North San Diego, CA 92108

    "Creating Pathways to a Self-Determined Life of Purpose"

    Self-determination is a combination of skills, knowledge and values that support an individual to engage in setting person-centered goals, making choices and controlling their future. It is about taking charge of your life and believing you can control your own destiny. Self-determination is about self-discovery, enlightenment and human dignity.

    Keynote presenter, Judy Mark, will share her insight, perspective and personal journey as an advocate for the self-determination movement and a mother of a young man with autism. She will discuss California's new Self-Determination Program, supported decision-making, and self-advocacy. Judy is President of Disability Voices United and helped lead the successful effort to enact California's Self-Determination Law. Stay tuned.

    Registration information forthcoming. Visit

  • SAVE THE DATE! 9th Annual Resource Night for Adults with Autism
  • April is Autism Awareness Month and that calls for our biggest night of the year for resources. Join us at our Open House/Community Resource Night for Adults with ASD:

    Tuesday, April 9, 2019
    6pm until 8pm
    United Way Building
    4699 Murphy Canyon Road
    San Diego, CA 92123

    You will meet representatives from the following agencies that serve adults with ASD in San Diego:

    --San Diego Continuing Education
    --Department of Rehabilitation
    --Intricate Mind Institute
    --The Arc of San Diego
    --San Diego Regional Center
    --Jorgensen Law
    --SDSU Center for Autism
    --Community Interface Services
    --Goodwill Industries of San Diego County
    --TLC Supported Living Services
    --Conscious Business Law
    --Options for All
    --Club Xcite

    Hosted by

  • Having Academic Challenges? In-Home Tutoring + Coaching Special! $100 OFF
  • Is your child starting to feel overwhelmed with schoolwork or getting bad grades? Students often start to fall behind in school in early Spring but parents don't find out until it's too late.

    Club Xcite supports students with academic challenges to ensure their mild challenges don't turn into major problems. Through our in-home tutoring and executive functioning coaching program, we can help you make sure your student has the strategies they need to finish the school year strong!

    APRIL $100 OFF first package! 858 779 9674

  • 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.

  • Learn About RDI in San Diego!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    9466 Black Mountain Road
    Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    Phone: (858) 689-2027

  • Learn About RDI in Carlsbad!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    5411 Avenida Encinas
    Suite 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    Phone: (760) 448-5837

  • 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.