Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. May 10, 2018

In This Issue

Microsoft launches $25M program to use AI for disabilities

Is It Time to Give Up on a Single Diagnostic Label for Autism?

My Child Won't Wear Socks: Dressing A Child With Sensory Processing Disorder

How I navigated my son's IEP evaluations & eligibility meetings

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

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

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!!!

My Special Needs Connection May Newsletter

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

Crimson by the Sea May Newsletter

Therapeutic Approach to Growth

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

Jeremiah's Ranch May Newsletter

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

Book: Parenting Chaos: Practical Support And Encouragement For Parents Of Explosive Children

Home of Guiding Hands Spring Newsletter

Autism One Conference! Special Discount for ValeriesList!

Therapeutic Recreation Services Summer 2018 Calendar



  • Microsoft launches $25M program to use AI for disabilities
  • Microsoft is launching a $25 million initiative to use artificial intelligence to build better technology for people with disabilities.

    CEO Satya Nadella announced the new "AI for Accessibility" effort as he kicked off Microsoft's annual conference for software developers. The Build conference in Seattle is meant to foster enthusiasm for the company's latest ventures in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, internet-connected devices and virtual reality.

    Microsoft competes with Amazon and Google to offer internet-connected services to businesses and organizations. Read on...

  • Is It Time to Give Up on a Single Diagnostic Label for Autism?
  • That was the ruling by the editors of the authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 2013, but it remains controversial

    Five years ago, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) established autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as an umbrella term when it published the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), the primary guide to taxonomy in psychiatry. In creating this single diagnostic category, the APA also removed the subgroup called Asperger syndrome that had been in place since 1994.

    At the 2018 annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), there will be plenty of discussion about diagnostic terminology: Despite the many advantages of a single diagnostic category, scientists will be discussing whether, to achieve greater scientific or clinical progress, we need subtypes. Read on...

  • My Child Won't Wear Socks: Dressing A Child With Sensory Processing Disorder
  • It happened every single day.

    When my son was in the second grade, his last year in public school, he would burst into tears when it was time to leave.

    There were a lot of reasons for this struggle to get him out the door and into the classroom everyday. Bullying, boredom, smells, loud noises - they were all difficult for my little guy.

    But the one thing that panicked him most as we left each morning?

    Wearing socks. Read on...

  • How I navigated my son's IEP evaluations & eligibility meetings
  • I went into my son's IEP evaluation and eligibility meeting more unprepared than I care to admit. We were just weeks off his autism diagnosis and my mind was overloaded with everything that was going on. I am one of countless parents who were treated unfairly and talked down to during these initial meetings. I left the meetings frustrated, confused and angry. Today, I am here to help you navigate your child's first few IEP meetings so the same thing doesn't happen to you.

    Before the Evaluation
    I cannot recommend the book, From Emotions to Advocacy enough. IEP meetings can be very frustrating and confusing. Knowledge is power and this book is full of useful information. It is also in your best interest to familiarize yourself with special education law. Wrightslaw Special Education Law Second Edition is a good book to have on hand. Read both beforehand. Every state has some sort of a parent advocate organization. Find it. Let them know your child is waiting on an IEP evaluation and you would like their assistance in navigating the meetings. 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

    Anyone interested in a social group for teen boys and girls in 92129 area?
    My 17 year old daughter is probably on the spectrum and her main difficulty is social skills and making friends. Please e mail if interested in getting some of these teens together for fun,outings and lasting friendships. Thanks Kim

    If you have a question or request for this newsletter group, please send your email request to People who can help you will email you directly with their responses.

  • NFAR 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

  • 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

  • My Special Needs Connection May Newsletter

  • Click here to read their May edition for all the latest news and info!!!

  • 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

  • Crimson by the Sea May Newsletter
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the latest info!!!

  • 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!!!

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

  • 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!

  • Book: Parenting Chaos: Practical Support And Encouragement For Parents Of Explosive Children
  • Just because we don't often publicly discuss the really hard things, doesn't mean they aren't happening. Parenting Chaos Throughout this book, Shawna shares the realities associated with mothering an explosive child. It includes an in-depth look at her approach, day-to-day failures, successes and progress. Written by a mother who lives with explosive behavior every single day. Click here to check it out and order from Amazon!!!

  • Home of Guiding Hands Spring Newsletter
  • The Spring Edition Is In!

    Enjoy stories about our organization, the incredible people who support us, accomplishments of HGH staff, reports and photos of fundraising events, and most importantly, the people we are so privileged to serve.

    Take a peek and let us know your thoughts. We welcome your feedback.

    Click here to read full issue of the Q Report.

  • 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.