Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. May 17, 2019

In This Issue

Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

Putting the Unique Talents of People with Autism to Work

Nerves that control heart rate may be offbeat in autistic adults

Can medical marijuana help kids with autism?

Town of Irondequoit recognized for autism awareness, inclusion

Music - My Best Friend

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!

Participants Need for New Treatment Product

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Supported and Independent Living

Cara Lucier & Associates

Musical & Visual Artists Wanted!

Get Safe Program in North County, May 30th

RDI Summer Camp at TAG!

2nd Annual Student-Led Renaissance Fair in Carlsbad

Guardianship & Conservatorship Workshop

Banyon Power Learning Summer Program

Summer Group: Stop, Think, Go

Language Enrichment Program

Community Transition Academy is now enrolling for the 2019-20 school year!


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!

  • Putting the Unique Talents of People with Autism to Work
  • The unemployment level in the U.S. for people with Autism is at 85%[1]. NFAR, a nonprofit organization, and Qualitest are working to change that by helping people with autism fulfill independent and productive lives while filling much-needed technology positions.

    The National Foundation for Autism Research's Technical Training Program is an intensive 7-month program specially designed to teach those with High-Functioning Autism to become software quality assurance engineers. NFAR places graduates from its training programs in professional internships with local tech companies in the San Diego, California area. Read on...

  • Nerves that control heart rate may be offbeat in autistic adults

  • Adults with autism have a resting heartbeat that rarely varies in frequency, a tendency that may explain some aspects of the condition, a new study suggests1.

    The findings also hint at a problem in these adults' 'autonomic' nervous system, which controls involuntary functions such as heart rate and breathing.

    In most people, the interval between heartbeats varies, even when the people are resting. This unevenness is a sign that the system is flexible and can respond readily to changes in the environment, including new social stimuli.

    Children with autism don't show this variability, according to some studies. The new work indicates that the problem persists into adulthood. Read on...

  • Can medical marijuana help kids with autism?
  • Medical marijuana extracts appear to help children with autism, reducing their disruptive behavior while improving their social responsiveness, a new Israeli clinical trial reports.

    Kids treated with either a whole-plant cannabis extract or a pure combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and THC experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms, compared with a control group given a placebo, researchers said.

    But parents of kids with autism should still wait for more data before trying to treat them with medical marijuana, warned lead researcher Dr. Adi Aran, director of the pediatric neurology unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

    "Thousands of parents already are treating their kids with cannabis based on rumors of this study," Aran said. "I don't want it to be even more." Read on...

  • Town of Irondequoit recognized for autism awareness, inclusion
  • Irondequoit has been designated an Autism Friendly Community.

    Members of the Autism Council of Rochester presented a proclamation to town leaders at the Irondequoit Town Board meeting on Tuesday.

    The honor recognizes the town's support for individuals on the autism spectrum.

    This comes during the annual recognition of April as National Autism Awareness Month.

    "Irondequoit has led Monroe County in support of its community members with autism so it was not a hard stretch at all for them to get this designation," according to Lawana Jones, founder and executive director of the Autism Council of Rochester. Read on...

  • Music - My Best Friend
  • Music has been a bridge for me to show who I really am to others. You can't hear autism in music. Sound, melody, and rhythm are immune to disabilities.

    My name is Breyton Croom. I am 24 years old from Morristown, New Jersey, and I am autistic with a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified, or PDD-NOS.

    When I was initially diagnosed, the neurologist informed my parents that I probably would never be independent, have limited cognitive abilities, and very little social skills. However, they did not accept this was my future and encouraged me to succeed. I had to work twice as hard as my fellow peers in school and it was difficult to maintain friendships due to my social issues.

    I was bullied and teased and faced many setbacks while growing up, eventually resulting in nearly getting expelled from college during my freshman year. This led to a suicide attempt, a brief hospital stay, and a lot of reflection. With God's grace, I now have a Master's of Science degree in accounting and I am working as a tax associate at one of the largest accounting firms in the world. One of the biggest factors that helped me deal with my challenges, struggles, and the obstacles I faced throughout my life was music. 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

    Great investment opportunity for the right person/company!
    I own and run Social Fusion Center, in the Miramar area of San Diego and am in search of either a person or company who would be interested in taking over my business as I will be moving to the east coast this summer, with my husband who recently received new orders from the USMC. I have been in business for almost 4 years now, the company is profitable and there is a continued need in the community for the services I offer so I do not want to leave these families without the support they need. Although I am a BCBA, the programs could be run by someone else and supervised by a BCBA or this could also be an opportunity for an OT or SLP as well.
    If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please email me for more details and we can talk specifics!

    This is the perfect opportunity for anyone in the autism field looking for additional experience!
    I am hiring 1-2 therapists to fill in for me this summer while I am out on maternity leave, but there is potential for ongoing hours throughout the school year. The position would begin July 1st but training/shadowing opportunities would take place in June.
    You must be available afternoon hours Monday-Thursday as well as Saturdays. There are 15 hours available per week for 1 person or this can be split between 2 if needed. Compensation will be DOE. An advance degree is not required but experience in the field is. If you are in school for your BCBA or BCaBA, supervision hours can be provided.
    To apply, please email your resume and availability!

    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.

  • FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!
  • 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, teens and adults 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.

    Some of the neuro-developmental issues we commonly see include:

    • Autism/Asperger's
    • Anxiety
    • Sensory Processing Disorder
    • Depression
    • ADD/ADHD
    • Tourette's Syndrome
    • Developmental Delay
    • Epilepsy
    • And many more!
    Our program uses the most advanced microcurrent device on the market today, the Electro-Equiscope. It is equipped with 4 computers that scan the body for low-conductivity and adjust the output accordingly, making it the fastest, most effective microcurrent device available.

    Call 858-367-9108 for your free consultation!!!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Road, Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123

  • 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:

  • RDI and MORE at 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

  • Supported and Independent Living
  • Wed, May 23, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: FREE

    The SDSU Center for Autism is pleased to host the first in a series of talks for adults with autism.Through tailored intentional supports, person driven planning, and circles of support working together in collaboration, anyone can live in their chosen community. Creative Support Alternatives has provided quality community living services for people with developmental disabilities since 1992. From supporting people to navigate the complex service systems they utilize to accessing resources, building teams of support, and working towards positive and possible goals, CSA is dedicated to supporting individuals across the lifespan. Click here for al the info and to register!!!

  • Cara Lucier & Associates
  • At Cara Lucier & Associates we believe in the ability of every person to reach their potential. We believe that education is the key to opportunity. We advocate for the rights of individuals and their families:

    • IEP team meetings
    • Mediation
    • Due Process Hearings and Appeals
    • 504 Meetings and Appeals
    • Regional Center Meetings and Appeals
    • IHSS Appeals
    • Civil Rights Litigation
    For a free 60-minute initial consultation, please contact us at (760)505-2498.

    Law Offices of Cara Lucier
    Civil Rights and Education Law
    701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite #300
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Phone: (760) 717-3451

  • Musical & Visual Artists Wanted!
  • Autism Society San Diego is seeking local, autistic, visual artists, 16 years and older, to participate in our upcoming Lights! Camera! Autism! San Diego on September 14, 2019.

    Lights! Camera! Autism!
    is a film and art event hosted by the Autism Society San Diego. The event will showcase the many talents of autistic adults with a primary focus on individuals living in the San Diego area.

    The evening will include an art exhibition and reception with live music. Following the art exhibition, films written, produced, and starring autistic persons will be shown in the theater.

    We are seeking talented visual artists to participate in the exhibition. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please complete the application below.

    Participating artists will show and may sell their work at the event. Their photo and a bio will be included in event promotions and in the event program.

    Event Details:

    • Date: Saturday, September 14, 2019. Exhibitors would be expected to arrive at 4pm to start set up.
    • When: 5pm-9pm
    • Where: Qualcomm Hall, 5775 Morehouse Dr, San Diego, CA 92121
    • What is provided: Each exhibitor will have an 8 foot table to display their work and chairs. Easels or other necessary equipment should be provided by the artist. Each artist and one guest will receive free admission to the event. Artists may sell their work to any of the guests. There is no fee to the Autism Society San Diego for this.
    • Who: Attendees are community members interested in learning more about the talents of those in our community. They are individuals with ASD, their families and friends and community patrons. Anticipated attendance 200.
    • Application Deadline: June 15, 2019. Selected artists will be contacted no later than July 1 to confirm their participation.
    Artists sign up here!!!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • Summer Group: Stop, Think, Go
  • Emotional Regulation Summer Group Session
    For Ages 3.5 to 10 years

    Segal Speech and Language Therapy
    265 Santa Helena
    Solana Beach, CA

  • Language Enrichment Program
  • Segal Speech and Language Therapy
    265 Santa Helena
    Solana Beach, CA

  • Community Transition Academy is now enrolling for the 2019-20 school year!
  • Community Transition Academy (CTA) is a non-public transition school (NPS) for emerging young adults, 9th grade through transition-age (22yrs.), who have academic, language, social, and/or behavioral challenges most commonly associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. CTA is now enrolling students for the next school year. CTA offers a complete transition curriculum taught both in the classroom and in the community infused with the evidence-based principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).

    Blending together an academic and community-based program with an Individualized Educational Program-centric approach, CTA places an emphasis on communication, social and behavioral growth, and academic skills. CTA delivers functional learning in natural environments, in a variety of settings relevant to each student's IEP and community transition goals.

  • 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.