Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. May 07, 2019

In This Issue

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Ready or not, two drugs for autism edge closer to clinic

Clinicians should consider off-label treatments for autism

History of self-harm adds to suicide risk in autistic people

Brains of minimally verbal autistic children respond slowly to sound

Autistic children's decline in development may begin at 9 months

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Friendship Walk, June 2nd!!!

iFLY's All Abilities Event Invitation

SCS Summer Social Learning Programs

Fiesta Night at Beacons in Carlsbad

Free Webinar on Dyslexia, May 28th


Game Night for Adults With Autism at SDSU!

Mito 5K - UC San Diego Mitochondrial Disease Research Fund

My Special Needs Connection May Newsletter (SD)

iCan Bike San Diego - Next Week - Scholarships Still Available

Jeremiah's Ranch May Newsletter

Music and Autism Showcase: Concert Featuring Artists on the Spectrum at SDSU

Club Xcite's Education Related Mental Health Services

Golden View Learning Center


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!


Friendship Circle of San Diego is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to providing friendship and support to individuals with special needs and their families by providing recreational, social and educational programming. In addition to helping those in need, the Friendship Circle San Diego enriches its vast network of volunteers by enabling them to reap the rewards of selfless giving.

Our Mission
Friendship Circle creates friendship in the lives of individuals with special needs and those facing isolation while providing an opportunity to become a contributing member of the community. Through our programming, Friendship Circle aims to promote an inclusive community that values all individuals regardless of the challenges they face.

Our Values
Friendship Circle is founded upon the idea that within each person is a soul; and that soul is equal and worthy of boundless love. With this inspiration, the lives of the families we serve are enhanced while the volunteers reap the rewards of selfless giving.

thomas nelson

Call for a FREE IEP Evaluation 858-945-6621!!!

Your child's education comes first.
Your child is entitled to a "free and appropriate public education" or FAPE, whereby the school addresses all of your child's unique needs. A school district must provide your child with an appropriate education regardless of budget cuts, what's convenient, or what's available. Too often the school district offers a "one size fits all" program that fits within their needs, but not within the unique needs of your child. Ensuring that your child's education comes first means having the right team on your side. An effective team works cooperatively and collaboratively with the school district, using their knowledge, expertise and experience to foster quick and yet effective resolutions.

Because of the "Attorney Fee Recovery" provision of the law, we often work with clients on limited incomes. Before concluding that you are unable to afford an attorney, call us for a free evaluation. Knowing your child's rights allows you the ability to direct the next step!

  • Ready or not, two drugs for autism edge closer to clinic

  • Two drugs that alter the activity of the hormone vasopressin seem to improve social communication in people with autism. The findings come from two independent clinical trials published today in Science Translational Medicine1,2.

    The results are encouraging, but some experts urge caution, saying the methods used to assess the drugs were not designed for that purpose.

    Vasopressin is related to oxytocin, a hormone thought to govern social bonding. But vasopressin's link to autism is far from simple: There's evidence implicating both too little and too much of the hormone in people with the condition.

    The two drugs also target vasopressin in opposite ways. One of them, balovaptan, blocks a receptor for vasopressin in the brain and dampens the hormone's activity. The other is a nasal spray containing vasopressin. Despite their opposing modes of action, both drugs appear to boost social function in autistic people; neither has serious side effects. Read on...

  • Clinicians should consider off-label treatments for autism

  • There are no medications developed specifically for autism, but some drugs can modify behaviors associated with the condition. After stimulants, antipsychotics are the drugs most often prescribed to ease traits that accompany autism, including irritability, aggression, repetitive behaviors and hyperactivity.

    Few of these drugs, however, are labeled for treating autism or for use by children or adolescents, and their indications may vary from one country to the next. In some countries, these drugs are overprescribed, whereas in others, especially in Europe, they are often not available to the children who need them.

    Closing that gap - and improving care - requires data showing whether these drugs work, better education of clinicians about the drugs' usefulness and a greater exchange of information between regulatory agencies and both researchers and clinicians. Read on..

  • History of self-harm adds to suicide risk in autistic people

  • People with autism who harm themselves are more than 30 times as likely as the general population to commit suicide. The risk is especially pronounced among girls and women on the spectrum.

    The unpublished findings are based on data from more than 49,000 people with autism and 2.3 million controls in Sweden. Researchers presented the results today at the 2019 International Society for Autism Research meeting in Montreal.

    "This should really be a wake-up call," says Isidora Stark, a clinical psychiatrist and doctoral student at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, who presented the findings. "If you have a person with autism who comes with self-harm, then I think all our attention should be to lessen the reasons for self-harm." Read on...

  • Brains of minimally verbal autistic children respond slowly to sound

  • Several of the brain's responses to sound are sluggish in autistic children who speak few or no words.

    These delays could derail language development; they may also serve as a biomarker to help clinicians identify children in need of speech and language therapies, says lead investigator Tim Roberts, professor of radiology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

    Roberts presented the unpublished results in three posters today at the 2019 International Society for Autism Research meeting in Montreal.

    Roberts and his colleagues first reported that autistic people show delays in processing sound more than a decade ago. The team made the discovery using a technique called magnetoencepahlography (MEG), which detects the magnetic fields generated by the brain's electrical activity. Read on...

  • Autistic children's decline in development may begin at 9 months

  • Some autistic children's communication and motor skills begin to decelerate between 9 and 18 months - years before the average age of diagnosis, according to a study of more than 30,000 children.

    Researchers presented the unpublished results today at the 2019 International Society for Autism Research annual meeting in Montreal, Canada.

    Baby siblings of autistic children, who are at a heightened risk of autism, are known to show these developmental delays. The new work is the first to chart this pattern among children from the general population and suggests that it might be possible to flag autism before 18 months of age.

    "If we screen more frequently between 9 and 18 months, we might be able to identify this at-risk pattern even earlier," says Whitney Guthrie, a scientist at the Center for Autism Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who presented the results. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • Seeking nanny with autism experience
    Position Type: Nanny in Poway

    Work Schedule: Part-time position, Monday-Friday from 12:15 to 5:15 (Desired start ASAP)
    Click here for all the info!!!

    I am looking for information on where to find Occupational therapy for an adult with disability's. Or a therapist interested in working privately at our east county home.
    Please respond at Thank you

    Hello, my family and I are relocating to SD county from the Napa area and were looking in Valley Center, Fallbrook area, as we have horses and would like to keep them with us, however, we are hearing those districts may not be the best choice for special needs kids and that we may be better off looking in Poway, Vista, San Marcos districts. My 8 year-old son is high-functioning ASD, very asperger-y lol (bright, funny, exceedingly social), also is medically fragile with lots of sensory needs and other developmental delays. I am in the market for new everything: feeding, occupational, social skills therapy, pediatrician, hair salon (for him), but I am most concerned about schooling options. He has been in gen ed with a 1:1 since Kindergarten, very bright, funny, active kid but seriously lacking pragmatic skills, very low threshold for frustration and as the educational demands increase so do his behaviors (nothing extreme, screaming, crying, putting head down on arm and crying-HATES SCHOOL), becomes extremely overstimulated in the gen ed environment which manifests in extreme tiredness (he only has one lung so that is part of it-when he gets overwhelmed it's like every ounce of energy is sucked out of him). IEP is next week, we will be pushing for a program at his current school, the model of which is for kids with ASD who function at or close to grade level, smaller class size (max 8), embedded behavioral services, 2:1 structured learning centers. He gets hospitalized a lot, misses a lot of school, you get the picture. Anyway, any recommendations would be super helpful. I'm also a special ed teacher, I know his rights and I have no issue engaging in a frank and candid exchange with teachers, admin or service providers. Please email me with your thoughts/advice. Thanks.

    Hi, My name is Caryn Cole and I'm a Marriage, Child and Family Therapist, LMFT and an Autism Spectrum Consultant. I'm also a parent of a son with Autism. I am doing some of my own research on how to best support families with school age children on the Autism Spectrum on a deeper level. Will you please take a moment to fill out this brief survey? It will only take 3 -5 minutes. It will be very helpful to me and as a bonus to anyone of you who are open, I will be more than happy to provide a phone consultation plan like I do my clients that I work with based on how you filled out the survey.
    Link to Autism Survey:

    I am looking for occupational therapy, physical therapy or a personal trainer for my son. He is 12 and seems to have outgrown most o/t gyms. Looking for someplace with a gym big enough for big kids. I would also like to find a personal trainer with experience working with kids with special needs.
    Please send any ideas to me at

    Colmena Academy is looking for a part time Paralegal or Legal Secretary to join their team! Interested? Email

    Do you receive SSI? Don't miss out on food benefits!
    Beginning June 1, 2019, many Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will become eligible for CalFresh Food Benefits.

    There is NO CHANGE or reduction to SSI/SSP amounts. For more information Click, Call or Come in to your county office to apply and find out more.

    Click to apply online
    Call 1-877-847-3663 (FOOD)
    Come in/find an office 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.

  • Friendship Walk, June 2nd!!!
  • Friendship Walk is a fun-filled family event that brings together the entire community for an amazing cause. Come show your support for The Friendship Circle as we walk together to create awareness, solidarity, and support for children with special needs and their families.

    Together we can create an inclusive community that embraces and nurtures people of all abilities.

    June 2nd, 2019, 8:00 a.m.
    Liberty Station NTC Park
    2455 Cushing Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

    Click here for all the info and to register:

  • iFLY's All Abilities Event Invitation
    iFLY San Diego (Mission Valley)
    Date: Sunday, June 2, 2019
    Time: 10AM - 7PM

    The All Abilities Event at iFLY is a unique event that makes the dream of flight a reality for those in the adaptive needs community. This program has been custom designed for those with physical and cognitive challenges to create an environment of support and inclusion, while focusing on making what seems impossible, possible. If you have someone in your life who is unable to participate in able-bodied activities, but still wants to be challenged and push their limits then this is the perfect event to join. Feel free to pass this information along to anyone you think might benefit from attending!

    Details of the program:

    -Everyone in the all abilities community is welcome to participate.
    -Event package includes a pre-flight training session.
    -Event package also includes all the necessary flight gear (suit, helmet, goggles, earplugs, etc.).
    -Each flyer will be assisted by specially IBA certified and trained Flight Instructors.
    -During the event our instructors will pay extra attention and accommodate based on each participant's needs.
    -Each flyer receives 2 flights all for the price of $39.95.
    -We can accommodate (6)Flyers per group.
    -We have a new group arriving every 30 minutes. Example: 10:00am is GROUP1, 10:30am is GROUP2 etc.
    -When booking, provide the time you would like to arrive.

    If you are ready to book please give us a call at 619-432-4359 and press the number 4.

    Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing you at our next All Abilities Event!

  • SCS Summer Social Learning Programs
    Programs focusing on executive functioning and social communication include LEGO therapy groups, Cooking Club, "Unstuck and On Target" to improve flexible thinking and emotional regulation, teen pizza & games night and executive functioning bootcamp. Click here for registration form!!!

    Social Communication Specialists
    5703 Oberlin Dr, Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121
    (858) 558-9552

    At SCS, we follow the Social Thinking® approach pioneered by Michelle Garcia Winner.

  • Fiesta Night at Beacons in Carlsbad
    6150 Yarrow Drive, Suite E, Carlsbad, CA 92011

  • Free Webinar on Dyslexia, May 28th
  • This webinar will cover the following points:

    • What is dyslexia?
    • Appropriate interventions for dyslexic students
    • Helpful accommodations for dyslexic students
    Featuring Kelli Sandman-Hurley, Ed.D., author and co-founder of the Dyslexia Training Institute. Dr. Sandman-Hurley received her doctorate in literacy with a specialization in reading and dyslexia from San Diego State University and the University of San Diego. Additionally, she is currently completing her TESOL certification. Dr. Sandman-Hurley is a certified special education advocate assisting parents and children through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plan process.

    Join us by registering at

    The webinar will air on May 28th at 12:00 noon and will repeat on May 30th at 7:00 pm.

  • Thursday, May 9, 2019
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123
    Dinner: Pizza, Salad. Dinner is provided for free.

    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.

    May Topic: " Improving Social Skills Through Improv"

    Did you know that your child can strengthen their social skills while having fun? Come learn how Improv is helping to do this for those with autism, and related disabilities.

    Guest Speaker: Richie Ploesch, Program Director, Connections, Unscripted Learning

    Richie Ploesch, M.A., BCBA has been working in the field of special education for over 10 years. His specialty is educating students and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He earned his teaching credential in 2006, a Master's Degree in 2008, and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2009.

  • Game Night for Adults With Autism at SDSU!
  • Fri, May 17, 2019
    6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court
    San Diego, CA 92120 Cost: FREE!!

    The SDSU Center for Autism and the Self-Empowerment for Adults with Social Anxiety or ASD support group are hosting a game night and social for adults with autism. Join us for a fun-filled evening and meet new people! Bring your favorite board or card game. This event is FREE.

    What is Self-Empowerment for Adults with Social Anxiety or ASD?
    Welcome to all socially awkward adults (regardless of diagnosis) who are seeking a non-judgemental, safe environment within which to hone their social skills, to make friends, to share coping skills and resources, and to have fun while doing it.

    Register here:

  • Mito 5K - UC San Diego Mitochondrial Disease Research Fund
  • Join us on Saturday, May 18, 2019 as we host our 7th annual 5k Family Fun Day Event to raise funds for research to save children suffering from Mitochondrial disease. (Mitochondrial Disease has been tied to autism.)

    The Run starts at 9 AM and the Walk at 9:15 AM NTC Park, Liberty Station in Point Loma, San Diego

    Activities and Vendors: Carnival games, rides and prizes, food vendors, live music and dance performances, over 100 raffles and silent auction items and all types of vendor booths.

    Join Us:

  • My Special Needs Connection May Newsletter (SD)

  • Click here to read all their news and upcoming events!!!

  • iCan Bike San Diego - Next Week - Scholarships Still Available
  • One More Week to Find a Spot for Your Child

    Scholarships Still Available! More Sponsors are Welcome!

    Call 760 315 1311 or email

    View our video

  • Jeremiah's Ranch May Newsletter
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info and events.

  • Music and Autism Showcase: Concert Featuring Artists on the Spectrum at SDSU
  • Sat, June 1, 2019
    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    Smith Recital Hall, San Diego State University
    5500 Campanile Drive
    San Diego, CA 92182
    Cost: FREE!!!

    The SDSU Center for Autism and the SDSU School of Music and Dance have teamed up with Mainly Mozart to present The Music and Autism Showcase! This is a free event for members of the autism community, their allies, and for all lovers of art and music. Come for an afternoon to experience the art of these exceptional musicians with autism and hear their stories on how music has enriched their lives. Performers include:

    Alex Pruetting - piano/saxophone
    Victoria Rose - vocalist
    Chi-Ling Wu - piano/Chinese dulcimer
    Adam Mandela Walden - cello w/ Jordan Daniels - accompanist
    Clayton Freeman - saxophone

    This event is free and you can click here for all the info, schedule and to register!!!

  • Club Xcite's Education Related Mental Health Services
  • Club Xcite's education-related therapy program supports students and their families with coping skills and strategies to support social, emotional and mental health so they can reach their highest potential in school and at home. The best part is that we come to you!

    Our specialties include:
    --Stress, anxiety, overwhelm, depression
    --School Refusal
    --Lack of motivation
    --ADHD, OCD, Perfectionism
    --Emotional regulation
    --Managing impulsivity
    --Social & peer relationship issues
    --Tantrums & oppositional behavior
    --Parenting or sibling related challenges
    --Problem solving & flexible thinking
    --Managing life changes (Grief, Trauma, Divorce)

    Services now available in-home, in-school and online for students and their families. Interested in seeing if your school can fund these services? Call us to find out how we can help! 858 779 9674.

  • Golden View Learning Center
  • Brand new center-based ABA therapy location which provides unique opportunities for social interaction and a learning environment designed exclusively for children with autism. We provide early intervention in 1:1 and group therapy settings.

    Golden View Learning Center
    2404 F Street
    San Diego, CA 92102
    (619) 493-0077

  • 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

  • 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.