Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. May 14, 2019

In This Issue

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Can video games help kids with autism and ADHD? This San Diego startup makes its case

Tips For Finding And Keeping A Job

State Bans Pesticide Linked To Developmental Problems

Brother and Sister of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Accuse Him of Spreading Misinformation on Vaccines

Local mom wins court case for her autistic son

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Friendship Walk, June 2nd!!!

Participants Need for New Treatment Product

SCS Summer Social Learning Programs

NFAR Mom's Group - May 15th

Free Webinar on Dyslexia, May 28th

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

Get Safe Program in North County, May 30th

Summer Camps for Children in Grades 1 to 6

Introducing NFAR Works!

Guardianship & Conservatorship Workshop

Banyon Power Learning Summer Program

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

RDI Summer Camp at TAG!

2nd Annual Student-Led Renaissance Fair in Carlsbad


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!

  • Can video games help kids with autism and ADHD? This San Diego startup makes its case
  • BrainLeap's games are meant to improve focus and attention in children with autism and attention disorders

    Logical parents might assume video games are bad for kids with autism or attention disorders, but a new wave of tech companies are bucking convention with games they say can boost the ability to focus - even after children stop playing.

    One such game maker is here in San Diego, a startup called BrainLeap Technologies that spun out of a research lab at UC San Diego. The company just launched a whole suite of games called the Attention Arcade, which they're hoping schools will buy for students (although parents can buy them for the home, too). The company has landed a pilot program at South Bay Union School District, where educators are on standby to see how the games perform.

    These games aren't on cell phones or consoles. Instead, they're played on a computer equipped with eye-tracking sensors, a feature that separates BrainLeap's arcade from the hundreds of other games created for children with autism and attention disorders. Read on...

  • Tips For Finding And Keeping A Job
  • My name is Stephen Gaiber. Today I am going to talk about autism and employment. Let me first introduce myself. I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when I was 3 years old. Despite my autism, I have maintained independence by graduating college, working for over 12 years, learning to drive a car, becoming financially independent, traveling the world, and I'm almost on the verge of getting my own apartment! I write a travel blog called Stephen Gaiber: The Autistic Traveler.

    I currently work at Trader Joe's and have worked there since March 2012. My duties include collecting shopping carts, cleaning the store, putting products on the shelf, and assisting customers with any questions they may have. This is an excellent entry-level position ... especially for those with autism. I am the only adult there who doesn't work the cash register. The register can be a problem for those on the autism spectrum because there might be too many rules that one has to follow and you can occasionally get a difficult customer. Read on...

  • State Bans Pesticide Linked To Developmental Problems
  • California will ban the use of a widely used pesticide in the face of "mounting evidence" that it causes developmental problems in children, state officials announced Wednesday.

    Several studies have linked prenatal exposure of chlorpyrifos to lower birth weights, lower IQs, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism symptoms in children.

    The chemical is mostly used on crops - including citrus, almonds and grapes - but is also applied on golf courses and in other non-agricultural settings.

    The ban "is needed to prevent the significant harm this pesticide causes children, farm workers and vulnerable communities," Jared Blumenfeld, secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), said in a statement. Read on...

  • Brother and Sister of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Accuse Him of Spreading Misinformation on Vaccines
  • A brother, sister and niece of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Wednesday chastised him for campaigning against vaccines, saying he has been disseminating "dangerous misinformation" that discourages immunization even as measles spreads throughout the United States.

    They declared that they love him and praised his work to protect the environment. "However, on vaccines he is wrong," they wrote in a column published in Politico under the headline "RFK Jr. Is Our Brother and Uncle. He's Tragically Wrong About Vaccines."

    Mr. Kennedy's sister, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former lieutenant governor of Maryland; his brother, Joseph P. Kennedy II, a former Massachusetts congressman; and his niece, Maeve Kennedy McKean, executive director of Georgetown University's Global Health Initiatives, criticized him for participating in social media campaigns that have stoked fear and mistrust of vaccines and for attacking public health institutions seeking to stem the spread of infectious diseases. Read on...

  • Local mom wins court case for her autistic son
  • Local resident Kim Oakley, acting as an advocate for her adult son who has severe autism, has won an appeals case against the San Diego Regional Center overruling its attempt to deny Oakley's 27-year-old son Jamey a medical trailer with a ramp and air conditioner on her property.

    Despite heartbreaking setbacks over several months, Mrs. Oakley's terrier-like persistence in advocating for her son's rights won in the end.

    Mrs. Oakley acted as her own attorney (in propria person is the legal term) in the appeal of the Superior Court ruling against her and her son. Initially she had won a judgment in her son's favor before an Administrative Law Court-only to have the ruling overturned by the Superior Court when the San Diego Regional Center appealed.

    The San Diego Regional Center's website describes its mission as providing "a variety of services to persons with developmental disabilities and their families. Services are based on the client's individual needs and intended to maximize their independence and full potential." Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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

    This is a salaried full-time live-in support position providing care for an adult with autism. You will live in the client's home in Rancho Bernardo and be responsible for giving medications, grocery shopping, food preparation, laundry, light cleaning, logging daily data, assisting client with showering and toileting, exercising with client and having fun!

    Hours of responsibility are normally from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon and working one weekend per month. There is flexibility with working afternoon hours and weekends. Client is usually at a program between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm Monday through Friday, so this can be free time once chores are done. If there is a holiday or if the client is home sick, you would be responsible for staying home with the client.

    This position is the care team leader and has the overall responsibility for this client's day-to-day life. You can enjoy living in a lovely home, rent-free and earn a good salary while helping a fantastic young man become more independent and enjoy his life.
    Please contact Linda at 858-774-4687

    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:

  • Participants Need for New Treatment Product
    11665 Avena Place, Ste. 204
    San Diego, CA 92128

    New Treatment Product to be Reviewed
    Looking for children with autism ages 7-17 years old along with their parent to review a new web based intervention treatment product for autism. Participation includes signing a nondisclosure/consulting agreement, and an interview to provide feedback on the product concept. Interviews will be scheduled in our Rancho Bernardo office (Ascent Psychological Services) at the address listed below, with Dr. Lauren Elder. Compensation is provided.

    For More Details Email:

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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!!

  • Get Safe Program in North County, May 30th
  • Save your spot at:

    This 2-hour class provided by GET SAFE is FREE for all persons with I/DD and support figures, funded by California's SCDD Grant Cycle 41.

  • 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

  • Guardianship & Conservatorship Workshop
  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 10 AM - 11:30 AM
    MCCS MCRD San Diego - EFMP
    3602 Hochmuth Ave, Bldg 6 East, San Diego, California 92140

    Join us to learn about guardianship and conservatorship. This workshop will explore the definition, filing process and available alternative. This workshop will also cover examples of a Guardianship Nomination and a Caregiver's Authorization Affidavit.

    For questions or to RSVP, email or call 619-524-0916.

  • Banyon Power Learning Summer Program
  • Does your smart student struggle with school? Are you concerned about your student losing valuable skills in the summer months? Our Power Learning Summer Program can keep your student on the path to success!

    Banyan Tree Educational Services
    2820 Roosevelt Rd #104
    San Diego, CA 92106
    (858) 367-5428

  • 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!

  • RDI Summer Camp at TAG!
  • Join us for our RDI Summer Camp - Summer of Science and Creation! We will provide opportunities for your child to connect, learn, and grow while creating lasting memories. Children of all abilities and ASD welcome!

    Older Elementary/Pre-teen: June 24th - 27th - 9AM-2PM
    Pre-K/Young Elementary - July 8-11th - 9AM - 2PM

    Sign up today! Please call us at: (858)-689-2027

  • 2nd Annual Student-Led Renaissance Fair in Carlsbad
  • Hear ye! Hear ye! We invite you to join our TAG Carlsbad 2nd Annual Student-Led Renaissance Art Faire! Our students have planned lots of fun games and activities for everyone to enjoy! We will have delicious food, arts & craft, and music as well! Please spread the word and plan on joining us, Monday, May 20th from 3:30pm - 5pm. We look forward to seeing you!

    No RSVP required!

  • 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 Summer 2019 Calendar
  • Click here to view our new Spring 2019 calendar!!!

    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.

    Under the direction of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, activities and services are designed to maintain or improve the physical, cognitive and social functioning of those who have limitations. The target population is children and adults, ages 3 and up, with any type of disability.

    For additional questions about Therapeutic Recreation Services, please call 619-525-8247.

    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.