Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 07, 2019

In This Issue

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Classification system based on co-occurring conditions may provide insight into autism

Ten Tips in 200 Words: Creating Positive Partnerships at IEP Time

Noah's Voice: Non-Speaking Man Advocates for Big Changes

The Stigma Of Mental Illness

A Day In The Life Of A Special Needs Marriage

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

AWARE: Adults with Autism Recreation Experience

NFAR Men's Group - June 13

NFAR Mom's Group - June 19

Beacons, Inc. Community Event

TERI Crimson 2019 Speech & Language Summer Camps


Parent Training

SDSU Center for Autism Brain Study Needs Volunteers!

IHSS Advocacy Training

AAC Typers Meet Up!

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs


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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!

  • Classification system based on co-occurring conditions may provide insight into autism
  • Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often affected by co-occurring conditions, such as epilepsy, immune disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and developmental delays. According to research published today in Autism Research, creating a classification system for ASD based on co-occurring conditions could provide useful insights into the underlying mechanics of ASD and these conditions.

    The study was produced by a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute team, led by Juergen Hahn, a professor of biomedical engineering, which analyzed de-identified administrative claims data from the OptumLabs Data Warehouse for thousands of children with and without ASD over five years. What the team found, Hahn said, were three subgroups within the cohort of 3,278 children with autism. Read on...

  • Ten Tips in 200 Words: Creating Positive Partnerships at IEP Time
  • Autism, and all learning differences, are very, very complex.

    That seems so obvious, but I still get questions asking for a "single most important thing" about educating autistic kids. My answer, "as if there could ever be such a thing," doesn't satisfy, of course. What I offer instead of "single best" is a more global truth: that it is critical for parents and teachers create and sustain a productive working relationship based on honesty, respect, empathy, and shared goals and ideals, and to know immutably that the child's success depends upon theirs-how successfully they collaborate as team members with the common goal of helping the child meet his/her full potential.

    This can get tricky because parent-school partnerships do have an emotional layer that can sometimes waylay even the best-intentioned participants. Here are ten succinct tips for creating and maintaining positive partnerships between parents/caregivers and educators/service providers that serve the best interests of the child. Read on...

  • Noah's Voice: Non-Speaking Man Advocates for Big Changes
  • Nadine and David Seback are the parents of an amazing 20-year-old young man on the autism spectrum named Noah. He is nonverbal but has learned along with his parents to point to letters on a letter board to communicate, so he now is a strong advocate for nonverbal individuals on the spectrum.

    I met the Seback family two years ago when Noah was first learning how to use the letter board to communicate. Watching Noah now share his thoughts and opinions and advocating is inspirational. In my office, I interviewed Noah while his mother, as his communication partner, held the letter board and wrote down the letters Noah was spelling out. His movements are not always precise because he struggles with motor planning deficits; thus he requires some motor coaching and has not yet progressed to independent typing. Noah is passionate about advocacy for inclusion and equal communication rights for nonverbal persons on the spectrum.

    Today, Noah and his parents want to share the disappointments, frustrations, challenges, and triumphs he has experienced through his educational history and as he inspires other families to seek out communication techniques (such as pointing to spell on a letter board) to help connect nonverbal-speaking persons through communication to the greater community. Read on...

  • The Stigma Of Mental Illness
  • It's no secret: mental illness is still stigmatized. The discrimination is emotionally overwhelming. In my case, it piles on top of me like a ton of bricks I can't carry.

    Being an Autistic person, I already struggle with understanding social cues. It's hard for me to make friends and I tend to say the wrong things.

    I have recurring flashbacks that force me to relive a number of traumatic events. Childhood bullying was something that felt like a very personal curse. I would go home to a parent who would grill me about my day at school - which was something i didn't want to recount. My consequences for not wanting to talk about it? Verbal abuse and lots of it.

    It made me feel like it was something i deserved. It was constant. The tightness in my chest always lingered. The entire house shook from the intense volume of all the yelling.

    The tightness in my chest? It still present. Read on...

  • A Day In The Life Of A Special Needs Marriage
  • husband and I had big plans for this post. It was going to be amazing, and you were going to love it. We were going to do a running conversation that both of us have in our heads throughout the day, and give you a glimpse of how we approach this life so differently and yet so the same.

    I am certain it would've been witty and truthful, and much better than what I usually write because you would've read his words too!

    But then reality set in. 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

    We are an Encinitas family in search of Regional Center independent contractor LVN's. Up to 24 hours/week. Please contact

    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

  • AWARE: Adults with Autism Recreation Experience
  • To learn more about this recreation program for adults, click here.

    Autism Society San Diego Members who wish to request registration forms can click here. To become a member, click here.

    Spots are limited, so register today!

  • NFAR Men's Group - June 13
  • Thursday, June 13, 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.

    The Men's Group is for dads, step dads, and granddads helping to raise a child with autism. We offer dinner, guest speakers and a chance to network with other men in a relaxed setting.

    June Topic: "How to Keep Your Benefits while Saving - Able Accounts and Special Needs Trusts."

    We will discuss the different planning and savings tools that are available to individuals who receive public benefits, including special needs trusts and ABLE Act Accounts. With a specific focus on the new ABLE Act, we will discuss the benefits of establishing an ABLE account and how ABLE accounts work independently as well as in conjunction with special needs trusts. You will get a comprehensive overview of the important benefits, differences, and applications of both special needs trusts and ABLE Act accounts.

    Guest Speaker: Mary L. Waltari and A.J. Battaglia, Attorneys - Battaglia & Waltari

    Click here for all the info!!!

  • NFAR Mom's Group - June 19
  • Wednesday, June 19, 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.

    June Topic: Helping Others Understand What it is Like to Have Autism

    Cheyenne is determined to share her firsthand experiences and opinions in an effort to give insight into daily challenges and common experiences people with autism may experience. She speaks about her strengths and challenges, as well as strategies that have helped her overcome obstacles in her life.

    For parents of recently diagnosed or young children with autism, Cheyenne's message is full of hope. For family members, and caregivers, Cheyenne's insights will change the way you think of your relationships with people with autism. Cheyenne strongly promotes a culture of neurodiversity and invites us to see the world from her own uniquely amazing perspective.

    Guest Speaker: Cheyenne Cyr

    For more info, click here!

  • Beacons, Inc. Community Event
  • Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 5 PM - 9 PM
    Culture Brewing Co - Solana Beach
    111 S Cedros Ave, Ste 200
    Solana Beach, California 92075

    A Community Engagement Evening empowering adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities! Join the Beacons Gang for a Special Donation Night. All ages welcome - Family, Friends and Dogs!!!
    Click here for info about Beacons, Inc. and their mission!!!

  • TERI Crimson 2019 Speech & Language Summer Camps
  • Sing, Say, Move and Play!
    Registration Deadline is June 12th!
    For more info about Curriculum, contact Karyn at 858-695-9415 or email

  • 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.

  • SDSU Center for Autism Brain Study Needs Volunteers!
  • The SDSU Center for Autism is conducting a behavioral and brain imaging study with youth (7-21 years old) on the spectrum. We are trying to understand how the brain changes as children become young adults. Participants get a free assessment, a free MRI scan, about $150, and a free picture of their brain! If you are interested, call us at 619-594-0176, or email us at Thank you!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.