Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 04, 2019

In This Issue

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The Very Best Advice I Can Give You For Mothering A Child With Special Needs

New causes of autism found in 'junk' DNA

DIRFloortime is Evidence-Based...Even if the ABA Industry Propaganda Tries to Say Otherwise

Through my eyes: High functioning autism

When you love the child, but hate the autism

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Connections Monday Teen Class begins June 10th

AAC Typers Meet Up!

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Toddler MRI Study at SDSU

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

Celebration & Fundraiser for Villa de Vida


Parent Training

Join Club Beacons for some summer fun!

IHSS Advocacy Training

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!

  • The Very Best Advice I Can Give You For Mothering A Child With Special Needs
  • I began watching a docu-series on YouTube last week, all about different families raising children with varying special needs.

    The single mom with three kiddos on the spectrum.

    The 18 year old girl with significant learning disabilities trying to find a job.

    The elderly dad caring for his 49 and 46 year old children, wondering what will happen to them when he is gone.

    I cry every episode. I laugh every episode.

    Most of the time, I find myself nodding in agreement, in understanding and in support of the decisions these families are making to live as well as possible.

    After a week of these videos, there is one thing that stands out - no matter what the disability or difference, no matter what the gender of the primary caregiver, no matter what the level of daily care required - these families are happy.

    They are happy and they are doing the very best they can. Read on...

  • New causes of autism found in 'junk' DNA
  • Leveraging artificial intelligence techniques, researchers have demonstrated that mutations in so-called 'junk' DNA can cause autism. The study is the first to functionally link such mutations to the neurodevelopmental condition and the first clear demonstration of non-inherited, noncoding mutations causing any complex human disease or disorder.

    The research was led by Olga Troyanskaya in collaboration with Robert Darnell. Troyanskaya is deputy director for genomics at the Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Biology (CCB) in New York City and a professor of computer science at Princeton University. Darnell is the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor of Cancer Biology at Rockefeller University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

    Their team used machine learning to analyze the whole genomes of 1,790 individuals with autism and their unaffected parents and siblings. These individuals had no family history of autism, meaning the genetic cause of their condition was probably spontaneous mutations rather than inherited mutations. Read on...

  • DIRFloortime is Evidence-Based...Even if the ABA Industry Propaganda Tries to Say Otherwise
  • In recent years as research studies on DIRFloortime have continued to be published in peer-reviewed professional journals, I have seen a steady decline in the questions about the evidence-base for DIRFloortime. However, there are many in the ABA industry in particular who continue to make false statements about DIRFloortime. This happens even more so when ICDL has an event where many attend or we are advocating for parent choice and increased access to DIRFloortime for families. We have seen it most recently with attempts to block health insurance coverage for DIRFloortime and following courses and conferences around the world including the recent conference in Moscow.

    If anyone objectively reviews a program for its evidence-base, one would look for a combination of case studies, group design studies, randomized controlled trial studies, and systematic reviews. To be clear and simple, DIRFloortime has all of these. There are research studies of each type of research design noted published in peer-reviewed journal articles. I am not going to go through a laundry list of citations, but you can read a quick review by clicking here and look a longer list by going to Read on...

  • Through my eyes: High functioning autism

  • At the risk of explaining the obvious to the neurotypicals - people not on the autistic spectrum - in the audience, I know that I am not every autistic person. I can only speak of my experience as a thirtysomething white cis man who grew up in semirural Hertfordshire.

    This is still an autistic experience and, while it is not the same autistic experience as those of people you might know or people you have yet to meet, it is still a story that might help you to understand your autistic neighbors.

    "You don't seem autistic" is something that I hear a lot.

    There are a number of preconceptions about how I'm supposed to look, as well as what an autistic person is and is not capable of.

    When I ask what people mean by it, the response is usually that I "speak fluently" or "seem normal." Read on...

  • When you love the child, but hate the autism
  • This mother does not love the immense suffering autism brings to her son and family. She invites critics to help, not judge.

    Sorry if these pictures make anyone uncomfortable, honestly they make me uncomfortable too.

    I feel that over the years, in an effort to show acceptance for people with autism, society has spent a lot of time focusing on the positive characteristics and talents some people with autism portray. In a way, this is a good thing, because for too long society put people like my son Caleb away in institutions because we assumed they were too stupid to understand anything or offer any value to anyone else. We had forgotten that God gives all people value regardless of their intellectual or communicative abilities.

    Currently, I think we're getting to a point where when someone talks about a loved one having autism we immediately start to think of all these success stories, and we forget how challenging and heartbreaking the condition can be for families like mine that are more severely affected. 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.

  • 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

  • Connections Monday Teen Class begins June 10th
  • Our next set of Monday classes begins on June 10th, from 4:30-6:00 at Liberty Station. We look forward to another great session.

    The class is designed for teens, ages 13-19, and uses the concept of improvised theatre to develop better social skills, communication and interactivity for teens on the spectrum.

    Please pass along this information to anyone who you think might be interested. Word of mouth is our best resource!

    You can register for class on our website at

  • AAC Typers Meet Up!
  • This meet up is designed for kids of all ages who use an Augmentative and Alternative Communication Device. Stop by to meet others who use an AAC device, make new friends, and have a good time!

    RSVP with Shelly Lana at or call 858-361-0098

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • Please RSVP no later than Friday, June 14th with your host Sara Gil at or for any questions please call (858)722-6539

  • Toddler MRI Study at SDSU
  • Our Center's research arm, the Brain Development Imaging Labs, is conducting a fascinating study looking at how young children's brains change as they get older. We are looking for kids (15 months to 5 years old) who are on the spectrum or who are suspected to have autism. Participants get a free assessment (plus assessment summary), free MRI scan, $150, AND a free picture of their brain! For more info or to sign up, please call us at 619-594-2500 or email us at Thank you!

  • 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!!!

  • 8 Week Course starting June 19th!!!
    Online web conference available for long distance families!

    TAG for Growth
    9466 Black Mountain Road, Suite 100
    San Diego CA 92126
    (858) 689 - 2027

  • Parent Training
  • Parent Training, a little different, we're going to be discussing, panel style, the differences, pros and cons, of utilizing an advocate and or attorney, for the IEP process. We'll also explore the different styles that advocates bring to the table, experiences, and ways to work as a team and with the IEP team. This is free to attend. There will be refreshments provided. We have some great advocates speaking and will likely have other advocates attending and taking part! We hope you'll join us! Don't forget to RSVP to or call 858-430-8166.

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

  • IHSS Advocacy Training
  • IHSS Advocacy Training by The University of San Diego Law School
    Fri, June 14, 2019
    12:30 PM - 5:00 PM
    University of San Diego School of Law
    Warren Hall, Room 2B
    5998 Alcala Park
    San Diego, CA 92110
    Cost: Free

    This training will include an explanation of the IHSS process from the in-home assessment stage through the hearing stage.

    About this Event
    We will discuss the legal requirements for each step in the process and strategies for this type of advocacy. There will also be a discussion about the law and policies related to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and where to find those laws. In addition, we will discuss the newest systemic issues we are seeing in this area of law and what is being done about it.

    USD School of Law is a State Bar of California approved provider of MCLE and is currently reviewing this event for MCLE credit. Please check back for specific amounts of credits once determined.

    -Students interested in this area of law

    Click here for all the info and to RSVP for this Free event!

  • 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

  • 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.