Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. May 31, 2019

In This Issue

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New Study Reveals Support Gap For People With Special Needs

California names former Google scientist as the state's 'mental health czar'

Blind and Autistic 'AGT' Contestant Kodi Lee Wins Golden Buzzer With Emotional Performance: Watch

Signs of psychosis in people with autism warrant serious concern

Poway breaks ground on housing project for adults with disabilities

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!

Internet Safety Workshop

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

InHarmony Training Workshop

Cara Lucier & Associates

Friends of L'Arche Host Film Festival at New Village Arts Theater

Celebration & Fundraiser for Villa de Vida

Webinar: Roundtable: Deciphering camouflaging in autism

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

Join Club Beacons for some summer fun!

Your Special Needs Wellness and Travel Newsletter

Summer Programs and More at La Jolla Learning Works!


Colmena Academy


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!

  • New Study Reveals Support Gap For People With Special Needs
  • United Cerebral Palsy and the ANCOR Foundation released their The Case for Inclusion 2019 report that analyzed how well state programs, especially Medicaid, are meeting the needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

    The study did find some continued positive changes including the move away from institutions into community living; however, the study also continues to find challenges.

    The number of individuals with IDD that have found jobs with market-driven wages continues to drop, while at the same time the number of individuals on waiting lists to receive home and community-based services has risen by 21.5 percent. This phenomenon means that fewer people are able to support themselves financially, and more individuals are not receiving the support they need from state and federal government programs. As the population of those with IDD, especially diagnosed with autism, continues to grow, our loved ones are in a precarious position. Read on...

  • California names former Google scientist as the state's 'mental health czar'
  • Noted psychiatrist and former Verily leader Dr. Tom Insel is going to be the "mental health czar" for the state of California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.

    Insel, the former National Institute of Mental Health director, will also continue his work with Mindstrong, a startup that is working on a mental health app, a company spokesperson confirmed. Insel joined the company in 2017 after leaving Verily, Google's life sciences arm.

    Insel's new job will be to "inform the state's work as California builds the mental health system of tomorrow, serving people whether they are living in the community, on the streets or if they are in jails, schools or shelters," according to a press release from the governor's office. Read on...

  • Blind and Autistic 'AGT' Contestant Kodi Lee Wins Golden Buzzer With Emotional Performance: Watch
  • Kodi Lee is living proof that music can heal.

    The 22-year-old is autistic, blind and a gifted singer and pianist. And fans of America's Got Talent have a new hero.

    On the opening night of AGT's season 14, Lee shone with a performance of Donny Hathaway's "A Song for You."

    Without the healing properties of music, Lee's struggles would be considerably greater.

    "We found out that he loved music really early on," explained Kodi's mom Tina, who accompanied him to the stage. "Through music and performing, he was able to withstand living in this world. Because when you're autistic, it's really hard to do what everyone else does. It actually has saved his life, playing music." Read on...

  • Signs of psychosis in people with autism warrant serious concern

  • When people think about schizophrenia, they may think about the movie "A Beautiful Mind" or a woman they passed on the sidewalk who seemed to be arguing with angry voices in her head. They are unlikely to picture a person with autism.

    Psychosis is defined as a period of abnormal perceptions (hallucinations) and distortions of reality (delusions). A person with schizophrenia experiences recurrent psychotic episodes and poor functioning in their daily life - in school or at work - in between.

    Most young autistic people do not and will not have psychosis or schizophrenia. As a class, psychotic disorders are relatively rare in the general population; they occur in about 1 in 100 people. But - and this is an important but - research increasingly suggests that psychosis occurs in more than 3 in every 100 autistic people, more than three times the frequency in the general population. Read on...

  • Poway breaks ground on housing project for adults with disabilities
  • The City of Poway broke ground Tuesday on a new housing complex for adults with developmental disabilities, city officials said.

    The affordable housing development known as Villa de Vida Poway is a collaboration of nonprofit Mercy Housing California and Pasadena-based Villa de Vida. The space is located on Poway Housing Authority property along Oak Knoll Road and is expected to be completed in late 2020.

    The project received a financial boost last October when San Diego County approved a $4.5 million loan to break ground on the property. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the county's Innovative Housing Trust Fund provided the money. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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!

    Do you type to communicate? Do you use AAC, RPM, FC, supportive typing? Are you looking to meet up with like minded individuals who use a keyboard to tell jokes and give speeches?

    We are forming a social group in the San Diego area of typers and their communication partners, just for fun, imagine that. No copays and our only goal is having a good time.

    If you are interested please email me
    See you soon,
    Otto Lana

    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

  • Internet Safety Workshop
  • Join us for a presentation featuring speaker Jon Moffat. Mr Moffat is an expert and owner Cyber Education Consulting, designed to bridge the digital knowledge gap of parents, caregivers, and professionals and provide up to date solutions for digital reputation protection. Risks associated with internet usage can be more profound for those with autism who may be more vulnerable and socially naive.

    Learn about real world tools to protect from:
    --Exposure to Inappropriate Material
    --Fixation on Games and Social Networking Sites

    Tickets only $10 and includes lunch
    For information and tickets, click here

  • 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

  • InHarmony Training Workshop
  • Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    171 Saxony Rd, Encinitas, CA 92024
    Cost: $10

    Learn how to use music therapy skills with your children at home or in the classroom! This workshop will take place at the Music Therapy Center of California's Encinitas Office. RSVP today:

    Questions? Contact or call 619-222-4465.

  • 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

  • Friends of L'Arche Host Film Festival at New Village Arts Theater
  • Friend Ship San Diego Film Festival
    Sunday, June 9 at 6:30-8:30 p.m.
    New Village Arts Theater
    2787 State Street
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    Cost: $10 per person, $30 per family

    What: A line up of short films curated by will showcase neurodiversity and the mission of to make known the gifts of those of all abilities. Each thought-provoking film features individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Prepare to be impacted by stories of hope, joy, and shared humanity.

    The Rise and Shine Choir of Clairemont Lutheran church will perform and we will enjoy Q/A after viewing the films. Feel free to come and go throughout the evening and enjoy classic movie snacks.

    Friend Ship of San Diego is working toward providing homes and gathering places here people with and without disabilities share strengths and spirituality. As Friends of L'Arche USA, we believe it is good to be human together!

    Tickets are available on Eventbrite HERE and more information can be found at at Friend Ship San Diego's Facebook page HERE.

  • Celebration & Fundraiser for Villa de Vida
  • Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 3 PM - 6 PM
    Mainstream Bar & Grill
    13385 Poway Rd, Poway, California 92064
    Cost: $100

    We are raising money for programs! We have started providing social activities around town (Poway) and we plan to expand! Please join us to celebrate our huge accomplishments to date.

    Click here to purchase your tickets!!!

    For more info about this event click here!!!

  • Webinar: Roundtable: Deciphering camouflaging in autism
  • In this Spectrum Roundtable, experts discuss research investigating why some autistic women mask, or 'camouflage,' their autism features.

    There will be an audience Q&A session at the end of the discussion.

    Francesca Happé, professor at Kings College London
    Meng-Chuan Lai, assistant professor at University of Toronto
    William Mandy, senior lecturer at University College London
    Robyn Steward, author and autism trainer

    Jun 6, 2019 12:00 PM in Eastern Time Click here to register for this free webinar!

  • 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 this next 2019-2 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.

    For more information: or call us at (858) 360-0282 or email:

  • Join Club Beacons for some summer fun!
  • For all the info and to RSVP:

  • Your Special Needs Wellness and Travel Newsletter
  • A Travel and Wellness Newsletter for Individuals with Special Needs. Click here to read their latest newsletter!!!

  • Summer Programs and More at La Jolla Learning Works!
  • Summer Programs: Help your child gain the academic skills and learning confidence they need for next school year! Call LJLW today to find out how they tailor 1:1 sessions to meet your child's needs. 858-456-4569 or email

    La Jolla LearningWorks
    7730 Herschel Ave., Ste. N
    La Jolla, CA 92037

  • For all the info, click here!!!

  • Colmena Academy
  • All of us at BEE, a Nonpublic agency, are very excited to share that Colmena Academy, our private school, is now a Nonpublic School able to collaborate directly with School Districts. We are excited to be part of the possible solutions for students and districts.

  • 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 Summer 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!


    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.