Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. May 10, 2019

In This Issue

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The Advice I'd Never Heard About Supporting a Child on the Autism Spectrum

Families need guidance before buying a communication app for autism

In Helen Hoang's Novels, Autism Is No Bar To Love And Happiness

A Sister's Quest to End Sexual Abuse of the Severely Disabled

6 Simple Tips For Helping Someone With Autism Get Into a Routine

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Friendship Walk, June 2nd!!!

Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk IEP Accommodations & Modifications

SCS Summer Social Learning Programs

Fiesta Night at Beacons in Carlsbad

Free Webinar on Dyslexia, May 28th

Mozart & The Mind: Autism: Orchestrating Strengths and Success on The Spectrum - Funding Available!

Game Night for Adults With Autism at SDSU!

Summer Camps for Children in Grades 1 to 6

Introducing NFAR Works!

iCan Bike San Diego - Next Week - Scholarships Still Available

NFAR Mom's Group - May 15th

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, donation 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!

  • The Advice I'd Never Heard About Supporting a Child on the Autism Spectrum
  • My son Jack gets on kicks. Remember those Magna Doodle drawing boards? We had several minis (understatement!), because we couldn't leave the house without one for what amounted to a large percentage of my son's young life. One of the many reasons? Jack would use them as signs - he loves signs. He'd pretend that a walk we were on was a train ride, and he'd write each stop on the board. We'd pause along our way whenever we "pulled into the station."

    One of the sweetest (says his unbiased mom) was his cash register kick when he was about 6. He had calculators with rolls of paper that print out the calculations that are punched in, and they were his "cash registers." Everyone who works at our corner grocer has known Jack his whole life, and they were charmed by his sincere desire to help out. "Jack's going to help me ring up customers," one would declare when they saw us enter. "Oh, no - he helped you last time. I need his help today," another would say. And Jack would beam. He'd take his station alongside one of the cashiers, who would call out the prices to him as he or she was doing the actual ringing up of a customer's items, and Jack would happily plug in the numbers and crow out the final tally. The cashier would quietly adjust that to account for tax and complete the transaction with the customer, and on they'd go to the next. Read on...

  • Families need guidance before buying a communication app for autism

  • Many children with autism have little to no functional speech, and their families are often desperate to help them communicate.

    In today's connected society, these families are likely to hear about a variety of communication apps - some specifically targeted at children with autism - available for mobile devices, including iPads. Often the advertisement includes a video of a child who starts communicating using the app's voice output, effortlessly asking for a cup of juice or saying, for the first time, "I love you."

    What family who could afford it wouldn't buy that app?

    What does not appear in these ads, however, is what happens after the purchase. Although the child may initially be drawn to the app, the novelty usually wears off before there are any improvements in communication. Families, feeling let down and frustrated, often turn to school or medical professionals for help. Read on...

  • In Helen Hoang's Novels, Autism Is No Bar To Love And Happiness

  • Esme Tran supports her family - including her five-year-old daughter - by working as a maid in a Ho Chi Minh City hotel. Until the day a wealthy Vietnamese American woman offers her an opportunity: Come to California and accompany her son Khai, who is on the autism spectrum and has never had a girlfriend, to a summer's worth of family weddings.

    That's the setup for Helen Hoang's new novel, The Bride Test. And of course, Khai resists his mother's matchmaking - but it wouldn't be much of a romance novel if he and Esme didn't begin to fall in love. "It's awkward and really uncomfortable - because he's on the spectrum, he's set in his ways, and she has some difficulties assimilating," Hoang says, "so they both have to reach a compromise together, and learn from each other." Read on...

  • A Sister's Quest to End Sexual Abuse of the Severely Disabled

  • At every level the system failed a nonverbal young woman who was raped. Her sister seeks justice and systemwide reform.

    People with intellectual disabilities are sexually assaulted at seven times the rate of people without disabilities, according to NPR. One of those victims is Natalie, the younger sister of Julie Neward, who has since transformed into a dogged advocate for the care and protection of our most vulnerable adults. Julie founded Natalie's Voice, a sexual assault prevention advocacy movement, and the California Sibling Leadership Network, which aims to network and empower siblings of those with developmental disabilities. Interview by Jill Escher, president of NCSA.

    Jill: How did you get involved with the issue of sexual abuse of people with intellectual disabilities?

    Julie: My sister is a victim. On April 2, 2012 she was diagnosed with gonorrhea, which was life changing. It was a big, huge, raw moment for me. Natalie was born normal but at 27 months of age she suddenly fell into a coma that left her brain damaged. She has the cognitive level of a 10 month old. She's nonverbal, epileptic, wears diapers, and communicates by moaning and through her beautiful brown eyes. She is exceptionally vulnerable. Read on...

  • 6 Simple Tips For Helping Someone With Autism Get Into a Routine
  • Starting or getting into routines can be difficult for teens and young adults with autism and learning differences. Here are six basic steps you can use to help someone on the spectrum establish normal routines.

    These steps can be used by anyone looking to either get back to a routine, start a new one, or help someone else create and follow a routine.

    Step 1: Finding Motivation
    It is important to find your personal motivation and answer the question of why this routine is important to you to make it successful. A quick and easy way to do this is to work backward. Think of the big goal you want to accomplish in the next week, month, or semester. Then, ask yourself why you want to accomplish this goal. For many students, their goals are related to becoming more independent or having more overall freedom. Once we have a long term goal, we determine what this might look like. 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.

    In Loving Memory of Lori Gilbert Kaye. 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:

  • Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk IEP Accommodations & Modifications
  • Tue, May 21, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    Sanford Autism Consulting Office
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: $5

    *Are you confused by your child's IEP?
    *Do you wish you knew more about resources available to help them at school?
    *Do you know the difference between an "Accommodation" and a "Modification"

    If these questions apply to you, then you must join me in May. We will enjoy coffee, tea, and snacks as we discuss your biggest concerns about Autism and IEP Accomodations versus Modifications.

    With the right accommodations and/or modifications, our children with unique needs can thrive in their educational environment. Without them, they will continue to struggle in their academics, social skills, and behaviors. Join us to learn more and to make sure that your child has what they need.

    Click here for all the info and to register!

  • 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.

  • Mozart & The Mind: Autism: Orchestrating Strengths and Success on The Spectrum - Funding Available!
  • San Diego June 1-2: Mozart & The Mind's "Autism: Strengths and Success on the Spectrum" is a unique festival featuring Dr Temple Grandin and many artists, musicians, and speakers who are either on the autism spectrum or personally/professionally related to autism, coming together to celebrate strengths and explore strategies for success. Other speakers including Darold Treffert, MD, Diego Peña & Edlyn Peña, Ph.D., Michelle Hardy, MT-BC, Keri Bowers from the Art of Autism and Chantal Sicile-Kira.

    More information is available here in this link:

    We want ALL who are interested to attend, regardless of finances. Here's a link to a scholarship, funded by an anonymous donor, for Highly REDUCED pricing or for free. Click here for the link!!!!

    Please distribute this link widely to the individuals you serve who cannot otherwise get funding. Please also distribute to your students, interns, trainees, staff, families, friends!

    HURRY!!! Scholarship for a limited quantity!!

  • 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:

  • Summer Camps for Children in Grades 1 to 6
  • In La Mesa!!!
    Reduced fees and scholarships available!

  • Introducing NFAR Works!
  • NFAR Works is a comprehensive vocational training program for young adults with autism (ages 18-29). The Program has been designed to offer participants an opportunity to develop skill sets needed for entry level positions in a typical corporation, including office environments and light manufacturing.

    The program is 45-weeks long (11 months) for 20 hours/week, 5 days per week for 4 hours each day. Participants will rotate through the different job classes, to help them identify job areas where they have aligned interests and skills sets and where they should focus their in-depth training and job search.

    NFAR Works is vendored through the San Diego Regional Center. To learn more about the program, and /or fill out an Interest Form, please visit

  • 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

  • NFAR Mom's Group - May 15th
  • May 15, 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.

    These meetings are for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet the 3rd Wednesday of the month 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: "Medicines and Autism, What We Know"

    What do we know about medicines for treating symptoms associated with autism, for attention, anxiety and depression, etc. Come find out!

    Guest Speaker: Joshua D Feder, MD, Child and Family Psychiatry

    Dr. Joshua Feder is a child and family psychiatrist in Solana Beach, California, an Associate Clinical Professor at University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, and an Adjunct Professor at Fielding Graduate University. He is a Father of a young man on the autism spectrum. Click here for all the info!!

  • 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.