Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. May 08, 2018

In This Issue

This School Is Tailored Specifically to People on the Spectrum-And It's Tuition-Free!

Schools Still Winning Most Special Ed Disputes, Even After Endrew F.

Co-occurring conditions alter timing of autism diagnosis

Unseen agony: Dismantling autism's house of pain

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

The Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Planning

Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!

North County Mom's Group - May 16 - Carmel Valley

Safer Than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and ADHD/ADD and the Effects are Permanent!!!

Soccer for All Abilities in La Jolla

It's a bird...It's a plane...It's a Gala!

Sensory Play time at La Mesa Library

Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Community Resource & Legislative Forum: "A HOME OF MY OWN"

Adult Information and Support: San Diego Park and Recreation Programs - TONIGHT

Sensory Friendly Family Night at PlayWerx in Carlsbad, May 10th

North County Coffee Talk and EATS - Carlsbad

NFAR Tech is accepting applications for the summer and fall sessions!

Autism One Conference! Special Discount for ValeriesList!

Therapeutic Recreation Services Summer 2018 Calendar



  • This School Is Tailored Specifically to People on the Spectrum-And It's Tuition-Free!
  • The Arizona Autism Charter School is a tuition-free school, designed specifically for people on the spectrum - the first of its kind in Arizona. It began with a group of parents, grandparents, and ABA professionals who were frustrated with the way the public school system served students on the spectrum. Together they banded to create the nonprofit, Arizona Autism Charter Schools, Inc.

    The school officially opened on August 6th, 2014 for the 2014-2015 school year, enrolling students in grades K-5, with a plan to add an additional grade level each year until they reach grade 12 (as of 2016, they started enrolling grades K-8).
    Each class caps at only 9 students, with a 3-1 staff to student ratio overall. The small class sizes, personalized attention, and spectrum-specific teaching methods are meant to help students with autism learn in an environment that's tailored to their needs. Read on...

  • Schools Still Winning Most Special Ed Disputes, Even After Endrew F.
  • School districts continued to win most disputes over individualized education programs in the year since a U.S. Supreme Court decision affirmed a more ambitious standard for setting goals for students with disabilities, according to a new analysis.

    Perry Zirkel, professor emeritus of education and law at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, analyzed 49 appeals of hearing officer decisions, which were predominantly in favor of school districts, to see if Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District had changed legal outcomes. Read on...

  • Co-occurring conditions alter timing of autism diagnosis
  • Children with autism typically have four or five other conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study suggests1. And which conditions a child has influences whether she is diagnosed with autism sooner or later than average.

    The findings indicate that clinicians should screen for these conditions in children with autism and consider treatment plans that take them into account.

    "Pure autism is very rare," says Norbert Soke, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The analysis is based on data from five U.S. states, collected by the CDC in 2010. Read on...

  • Unseen agony: Dismantling autism's house of pain
  • Some people with autism can tolerate extreme heat, cold or pressure and seem relatively insensitive to pain. Paradoxically, they may experience intense pain from idiosyncratic sources but struggle to communicate it.

    s a child, Noah hated when his mother vacuumed the house. "She would put the vacuum on the wood floor, not the carpet," he remembers. "And that's really loud, so it would really freak me out."

    Noah, who asked that his last name be withheld, was diagnosed with a mild form of autism called Asperger syndrome as a college student (Asperger syndrome has since been subsumed into the larger category of autism spectrum disorder).

    Now in his early 30s, he counsels other men with autism and teaches psychology in Boston. But as a child, he didn't realize his sensory world was different from other people's experiences. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • I'm wondering if you know where I could refer a 16-year-old who is low income but does have insurance to be tested for ASD/Asperger's? They live in Encinitas.

    We are moving to San Diego this June. We have a 10 year old son with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is very intelligent and strong academically but struggles with stimming, restricted interests, anxiety, and finding close friends. Can you refer us to a good psychologist? We are moving to Pacific Highlands Ranch in Carmel Valley, and would prefer someone close if possible. Thanks!!

    We are looking for an effective swim instructor for my son with autism. He hasn't progressed much with the current swim school he goes to. Does anyone know of someone who teaches private swim lessons to kids with autism at their own pool? If so, please contact me at . Thank you! Anita

    I am the parent of a 12 year old 7th grader who struggles severely with autism-like behaviors and a host of disabilities. I am unable to find a way to have her diagnosed. My two special needs children are adopted. I am a single stay at home mom and I do not have the resources for a private evaluation. We have a 12 year history of services with Rady Children's Hospital including one year in residential treatment. I'm interested to find any new information about what a parent is to do when both the medical and school communities neglects such severe needs. Thank you.

    My 12 year old daughter suffers from Dyscalculia. I am searching for other parents who have dealt with obtaining academic supports from the school districts. Most specifically what is placed in an IEP in the area of: goals, accommodations and supports. My experience has been the refusal to acknowledge the condition or to provide the research based teaching needed. Thank you.

    High functioning autistic adult male looking for a roommate in the North County Inland area. The individual does not need to be on the autism spectrum and if they are should be fairly high functioning, be able to do basic care for themselves, and have no behavioral issues. Open to both male and female roommates. Please contact

    I'm looking for someone who knows about phonics and reading programs to help my autistic 11-year-old son learn how to read.
    Please contact me 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.

  • The Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Planning
  • Thursday, May 10, 2018 from 5:30-7 pm
    Gateway Learning Group
    2525 Camino Del Rio South #335
    San Diego, CA 92108
    This event and parking are FREE! Apologies, no childcare.
    Email to RSVP. Space is limited.

    Join us to learn how to protect and provide for those with special needs.

    The seminar will cover:

    • Special Needs Trusts
    • Wills
    • Guardianship and Conservatorship
    • Trustees
    • The CalABLE Program
    • Letter of Intent
    Speaker: Dennis Spiegelman from the Special Needs Planning Institute

    About Gateway Learning Group: Gateway is a leading provider of autism and behavior intervention services in Northern and Southern California. Gateway Learning Group's direct therapy programs are organized on behalf of children and their families, often in collaboration with school districts, regional centers, and health insurance providers.

  • Developmental DIR Autism Therapy in Your Home!
  • Real Connections Child Development Institute
    Supporting and partnering with families of children on the autism spectrum through understanding, engagement and relationships.

    Developmental Play Therapy - 1:1 developmental therapy in your child's natural environment. Evidenced- based, emotional, cognitive and neurobiological therapy that assists your child in developing meaningful relationships.

    Parent Coaching & Support - Real-time training and education in your child's individual profile. Learn new ways to engage and connect, while focusing on communicative and cognitive/ social emotional development. Maximize your child's developmental growth through both daily interactions and parent-child intervention sessions.

    A "Whole Child" Program

    • Flexible Thinking
    • Problem Solving
    • Scripting
    • Perserveration
    • Meltdowns
    • Executive Function Skills
    • Regulation
    • Sensory Integration
    • Spatial Processing
    • Individualized Program
    Real Connections San Diego
    415 North Highway 101, Suite C
    Solana Beach, CA 92075
    619-840-0015 or 858-768-0313

  • North County Mom's Group - May 16 - Carmel Valley
  • Wednesday, May 16, 2018
    6:30 - 8:30 pm
    Tio Leo's Mexican Restaurant
    3510 Valley Centre Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92130

    Dinner: Mexican Food (GF available)
    Dinner is provided

    Join us for the NFAR Mom's Group! It's an evening for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    May Topic: The IEP - Tips and Practical Suggestions with Allan Roth, M.S.Ed., Alliance Resources and Associates, Inc.

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • 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 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. Proudly serving all of San Diego and conveniently located in Kearny Mesa, just off the 163 freeway and Balboa Avenue.

    If you are looking for autism treatment like cranial sacral, PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field), transcranial magnetic stim, FSM (frequency specific microcurrent), hyperbaric oxygenation, MRT (magnetic resonance therapy), chelation, or other alternative treatment options -give us a call to learn about how Microcurrent 4 Kids may be the better choice for you and your family!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Road, Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123
    858 367-9108

  • Soccer for All Abilities in La Jolla
  • You can still sign up!!!

  • It's a bird...It's a plane...It's a Gala!
  • Join us on June 9th from 5:30-11pm at the US Grant Hotel for what is sure to be an evening of epic adventure. You'll enjoy a cocktail reception, three course dinner with wine service, silent and live auction, live entertainment and more.

    Click here to purchase tickets or become an event sponsor.

    For more info or to become a sponsor please call (619)938-2854 or email

    All proceeds from this event benefit Home of Guiding Hands who is one of the largest providers of supports and services in San Diego County, serving more than 2,500 infants, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities. At HGH, we believe that individuals thrive where they can direct their own lives in a setting that offers a more fulfilling lifestyle, provides individualized attention, increased opportunities for self-sufficiency, and encourages greater community integration and access.

    Home of Guiding Hands
    1908 Friendship Dr.
    El Cajon, CA 92020

  • Sensory Play time at La Mesa Library
  • First Sunday of the month at 11 AM - 12 PM -- Starting May 6th
    La Mesa Library
    8074 Allison Ave, La Mesa, California 91942

    Announcing the first ever Sensory Friendly Playtime at the La Mesa Library! Appropriate for children ages 4-10 years old. Please call the library at 619-469-2151 with any questions or for more information.

  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
  • 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

  • Community Resource & Legislative Forum: "A HOME OF MY OWN"
  • by DDPN (Developmental Disabilities Provider Network)

    Fri, June 29, 2018
    9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    Scottish Rite Valley of San Diego
    1895 Camino del Rio S
    San Diego, CA 92108

    The Community Resource and Legislative Forum is designed to educate our community about needs, challenges, opportunities and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Click here for all the info and to RSVP!!!

  • Adult Information and Support: San Diego Park and Recreation Programs - TONIGHT
  • Tuesday, May 8 at 6 PM - 8 PM
    Autism Society San Diego
    4699 Murphy Canyon Rd, San Diego, California 92123

    This month will feature Aly Larson, CTRS, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, City of San Diego Therapeutic Recreation Services.

    The City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services program provides sports, recreation, leisure and outreach services to people with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.

    Services include therapeutic recreation programs and adaptive sports opportunities. These address the special needs of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty accessing and participating in recreation opportunities offered to the general public. They offer many programs for adults throughout the year.

    We welcome all community members who are interested in issues facing autistic adults to attend our meeting.

    There will be time for questions and networking during the meeting.

    Light Refreshments will be served.

  • Sensory Friendly Family Night at PlayWerx in Carlsbad, May 10th
  • Join us for the first ever Sensory Friendly Family Night at PlayWerx with Autism Society San Diego! PlayWerx Carlsbad will be closed to the general public for this special night for autism families on May 10th. This event is open to families and participants of ALL ages. Play in the climbing structure, enjoy meeting other families, and enjoy an evening of relaxing family fun.
    $8 per participant covers entrance to the event, more info here!

  • North County Coffee Talk and EATS - Carlsbad
  • Thursday, May 10 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Beach Plum Kitchen
    6971 El Camino Real #201, Carlsbad, California 92009

    Join TACA San Diego Co-Coordinator Vanessa Surprise and Parent Mentor Malinda Cook for Coffee, Conversation, Support and Breakfast (if you are so inclined). We are here to support you through your autism journey.

  • NFAR Tech is accepting applications for the summer and fall sessions!
  • This Vocational Training Program is specifically designed for those with Asperger and High Functioning Autism interested in gaining employment in the high tech field.

    To learn more, visit: or call (858) 679-8800

  • Autism One Conference! Special Discount for ValeriesList!
  • Some days we feel so isolated and alone on AUTISM ISLAND. But you can do this and you are no longer alone! Please join us at the AutismOne conference to learn from the over 130 doctors and researcher new cutting edge treatments and how to best help your child. Say "YES" to Recovery! The AutismOne 2018 Conference is being held May 23rd - 27th at the Westin Lombard in Lombard, Illinois. For details go to ( and use the coupon code Team01 for a special discount for Valerie's list subscribers.

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services Summer 2018 Calendar
  • Click here to view the calendar!!! The first day of registration for Summer activities is Saturday, May 12, 2018.

  • ASD Mornings at theNAT
  • 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

  • San Diego Sibshop

  • October 2017 - August 2018

    WANTED: Siblings who have a brother/sister with special needs

    AGES: 7 - 12 years old
    Older siblings are welcome to attend as "Junior Leaders"

    WHAT: A fun-filled opportunity geared to the specific needs of siblings with brothers/sisters with special needs. Join us for games, crafts, hikes, cooking, and art. Meet other sibs - lunch provided

    TIME: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

    May 20: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center
    August 19: Santee Lakes, 9310 Fanita Pkwy, Santee, CA 92071**

    DONATION: $5.00 - $10.00 per meeting per family for craft materials, supplies and lunch for the kids

    REGISTRATION: Pre-registration requested by email (if possible) the Thursday before the event.

    CONTACT: Email for a Sibshop registration form and / or additional information.

    Sibshop Leaders:
    Jody BonDurant-Strong, Administrator
    Ndoto BonDurant-Strong - adult sibling & CSUSM student
    Gina Clifton, ECSE Medically-Fragile Teacher, Special Education
    Pat Moulton, Retired

    Directions for Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor's Center (MTRP):
    1 Father Juniper Serra Trail (92119). Interstate 8 to 15 North / East on Friars Road.
    Stay to left - turns into Mission Gorge Road / Turn left on 1 Father Juniper Serra.

  • Vanderbilt Kennedy Center: Residential and Respite Care Services Survey

  • The survey will take less than 30 minutes to complete. The survey is anonymous and voluntary and the responses are confidential. The responses will be helpful in determining issues and supports related to residential and respite care services. We will raffle ten $25 gift cards at the close of the survey for participants who complete the survey.

    Click here to take the survey and help with research to improve lives!!!

  • Parents Who have a Child with Autism Wanted for an Online Survey
  • Participate in Research: Attention Differences in Boys with ASD and their Family Member

  • Boys with ASD between the ages of 8 and 16 and both of their biological parents are invited to participate in a study examining attention skills and genetics.

    Boys who are typical developing and their biological parents are also invited to serve as a control group.

    This research is taking place at the Neuroscience Center of Alliant International University under the supervision of Alan Lincoln, Ph.D., MSCP, BCBA-D and Shamayne Brown, M.A. You must be able to travel to the lab to participate.

    Study Requirements
    -Both biological parents and the son must participate.
    -Each parent will complete questionnaires about him or herself.
    -This should take about 30 minutes.
    -Each parent will complete a brief standard cognitive measure. This should take about 30 minutes.
    -Each parent will complete a computer task. This should take about 30 minutes.
    -One parent will complete questionnaires about your son. This should take about 25 minutes.
    -Your will complete the brief standard intelligence measure. This should take your child about 30 minutes.
    -Your son will compete the computer task. This should take about 30 minutes.

    Upon completion of participation, your son will receive $20 and each parent will receive a $10 gift card. You may also receive, upon request, results of your performance and/or your child's performance.

    Refer another family to the study and be entered in a drawing for a $200 Visa gift card.

    Some individuals may be excluded from participation in the study on-site. If your child is excluded, he will receive a $5.00 cash gift for his participation in the preliminary assessment. If a parent is excluded, he or she will be given a $5 gift card for participation in the preliminary assessment.

    If you are interested in participating, please call 858-635-4068 or by email: or Thank you in advance for your time and assistance!

    Approved by Alliant IRB (#1604025150R001)


    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.