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

In This Issue

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Success for Students With Autism

Benefits, Risks and Limitations of Genetics Testing

What is Social Emotional Development?

Push To Require Disability Training For Doctors Meets Resistance

Autism mutation may disrupt brain structure by disabling mitochondria

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Special Needs Moms Celebration

Children's Summer Theatre Workshops

Free Webinar: "Catch and Deliver: Create Lasting Positive Behavior Change Across Environments"

ESDM - Ascent Psychological Services

Game Night for Adults With Autism!

Transitioning to Adulthood in San Diego and Oceanside

Fred Finch CARES Social Skills Group

Cool Cats Social Skills Group

Nick's Club

Picnic Saturday June 29 at Live Oak Park!

Raising Hope Dogs - Hope Dog Challenges Summer Camp

Ultimate Warriors!!!


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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!

  • Success for Students With Autism
  • Rochester Institute of Technology has become a model for helping students on the spectrum with academics and their careers.

    About a decade ago, an influx of students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder surprised officials at Rochester Institute of Technology's Disability Services Office. The students had questions beyond the usual accommodations. They wanted to know how to deal with a snippy roommate or professor, or they just had problems communicating.

    The presence of so many students with autism was unremarkable for RIT. The university is home to the well-known National Technical Institute for the Deaf, so the college was already used to teaching in different styles for students with disabilities. And students with autism are often attracted to computing and other STEM-centric programs -- RIT's specialty. Read on...

  • Benefits, Risks and Limitations of Genetics Testing
  • People consider genetic testing for many reasons, such as having a child with special needs, having a family history of a disorder, planning for pregnancy or simple curiosity. Here is important information to consider if your family is considering genetic testing.

    BENEFITS of Genetic Testing
    A genetic diagnosis can help put pieces of a puzzle together for a family. Genetic diagnoses are made through diagnostic testing or genetic testing (or both) by a medical geneticist or other genetics expert. A genetic diagnosis may:

    --Help doctors take better care of a child with special needs. --Provide a name for a condition and answers for a family. --Guide a family to community resources geared to a specific genetic condition. --Connect a family to other parents of children with the same diagnosis. --Provide the opportunity to join clinical trials on a specific syndrome.

    Parents of children with genetic syndromes often become experts on that syndrome; some parent social media groups have led to the development of foundations for research. Read on...

  • What is Social Emotional Development?
  • Ever wonder what social emotional development is and why it is so important? Relationships are the key to social emotional development! In this 3 minute video, 4 professionals, including our own Dr. Gerry Costa, explain the importance of social emotional development, the foundation for all learning!

  • Push To Require Disability Training For Doctors Meets Resistance
  • Disability advocates are pushing for a requirement that all medical schools specifically train future doctors to treat people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but they're hitting roadblocks.

    Two proposals to establish a mandate as part of the standard curriculum that medical schools adhere to were rebuffed earlier this year by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, or LCME, a group jointly sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association that accredits medical schools in the U.S. and Canada.

    But the committee, which is responsible for setting minimum curriculum standards, is now set to discuss a revised version of one of the recommendations - sought by the National Council on Disability, or NCD - at a meeting later this month. Read on...

  • Autism mutation may disrupt brain structure by disabling mitochondria
  • Mice that lack a segment of chromosome 22 - a mutation associated with autism - have unusually sparse connections between brain regions, according to a new study1. The missing links result from problems with mitochondria, the minute 'energy factories' within cells.

    The mitochondria in the mutant mice don't neutralize certain chemicals that can damage cells. Treating the mice with a compound that mops up these chemicals restores their brain connections, the study shows. It also improves the performance of the mice on cognitive tests.

    "It not only fixes the number of connections, but it also fixes the behavior," says lead researcher Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, professor of neurosciences, anatomy and cell biology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • Do you receive SSI? Don't miss out on food benefits!
    Beginning June 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

    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

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a doctor as my son is turning 18 and aging out soon with having a pediatrician? It would be wonderful if the doctor had experience with adults with special needs. We do have dual insurance so have to chose a doctor who takes both TRICARE and Medi- cal. Rady's children was great as had both with an excellent doctor. We live in North County area but would be willing to travel if needed within San Diego County. Any recommendations would be most welcomed.
    You can contact me at

    I have a TBI (brain injury) and am in urgent need of:
    1) an*Imperial County* IEP advocate specializing in multidisabilty sensory needs with native/primary language being ASL. District is refusing to provide proficient ASL staff for ESY - non-compliance with child's IFSP.

    2) *Imperial County* a fluent or proficient ASL tutor to help 2 y/o child reach minimum language markers. He will be enrolled in infant/toddler class in the fall.
    Any assistance or interested individuals are asked to email or text me ASAP.
    Thank you.
    Maria or 619-517-9358

    Key to Behavior is also always looking for excellent candidates to join our team. If you are committed to helping children and families reach their goals and making lasting change in the lives of children with disabilities, Key to Behavior is the place for you. Send us a message to set up an interview:

    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

  • Special Needs Moms Celebration
  • Thu, June 20, 2019
    5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
    Sanford Autism Consulting Office
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: $8

    Let's celebrate your highs and lows, wins and challenges, and all things in between. We have completed another school year with our special kiddos. We deserve a treat! Click here to RSVP!!!

  • Children's Summer Theatre Workshops
  • For elementary school age children of all abilities!!! Located in the Encinitas area!! Starts July 13th!!!

    For registration and more please contact 760-815-8512 or email

  • Free Webinar: "Catch and Deliver: Create Lasting Positive Behavior Change Across Environments"
  • This webinar will cover the following points:

    --What is positive behavior change and how do I identify key pro-social behaviors to work on?

    --How to identify and incorporate effective reinforcers, tools, and strategies to evoke and maintain positive behavior change

    --How to generalize positive behavior change across people and settings

    Featuring Marc Rosenberg, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) located in Encinitas, California. He holds a Masters of Science degree in Counseling and has worked with individuals, couples, children, and families for over 15 years in a variety of settings, including private practice, educationally related mental and behavior health services, social/community service agencies, and with athletes and sports organizations.

    Join us by registering at

    The webinar will air on June 25th at 12:00 noon and will repeat on June 27th at 7:00 pm.

  • ESDM - Ascent Psychological Services
  • The program uses developmental and behavioral approaches, focusing on social learning and socialcognitive development to enhance communication, imitation, sharing, focus, and play.

    Ascent Psychological Services
    11665 Avena Place, Ste. 204
    San Diego, CA 92128

  • Game Night for Adults With Autism!
  • Fri, June 14, 2019
    6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court
    San Diego, CA 92120

    The SDSU Center for Autism and the Self-Empowerment for Adults with Social Anxiety or ASD support group are hosting a game night and social for adults with autism. Join us for a fun-filled evening and meet new people! Bring your favorite board or card game. This event is FREE. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Transitioning to Adulthood in San Diego and Oceanside

    Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2019
    Transition to Adulthood Town Hall
    Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
    National Comedy Theatre
    3717 India St
    San Diego CA 92103
    Street parking is available.
    Refreshments will be served.
    RSVP Today!

    The Transition Town Hall will present strategies and practical advice to assist in the transition of individuals on the autism spectrum from adolescence into adulthood. The event includes a moderated expert panel discussion and audience Q&A.


    Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019
    Time: 6:30 PM to 8 PM
    TERI Campus of Life
    251 Airport Road
    Oceanside, CA 92058
    Parking is available on site.
    Refreshments will be served.
    RSVP Today!

    North County Community Meeting: Join Autism Speak and learn how we support individuals with autism and their families across the lifespan.

    Outreach Questions? Please contact Marianne Sullivan 831 345-1409 or email:

  • Fred Finch CARES Social Skills Group
    For more info call 858-444-8823 or email

  • Cool Cats Social Skills Group
  • Help your child recognize and understand anxious feelings and develop coping strategies when faced with anxiety-producing situations. Using a cognitive behavioral approach, lessons are taught through games, art and acting to keep classes fun and engaging.

    Who: Ages 7-10
    When: Wednesdays from 10:00-10:45 a.m.
    Class length: July 10th - August 14th (6 sessions)
    Cost: $405
    Where: 1550 Hotel Circle North, Suite 190, San Diego, CA 92108
    No more than 5 students per group.

    Come stay COOL with us this summer! Sign up online at

  • Nick's Club
  • Move - Play - Grow
    427 S. Cedros Ave., Ste. 201
    Solana Beach, CA

  • Picnic Saturday June 29 at Live Oak Park!
  • RSVP to Linda White at 760-805-5214 or email

  • Raising Hope Dogs - Hope Dog Challenges Summer Camp
    For questions and to RSVP, contact Karen Rice, Athlete Coordinator, at 602-380-3377 or email

    HOPE DOG CHALLENGE is an exciting day of dog sport competition designed for kids and teens with autism and other disabilities.

    The athletes learn how to play with highly-skilled sport dogs and develop important physical, social, and emotional skills. Kids and dogs join together on Training Days to learn a range of games using Frisbees, tunnels and jumps. They take these skills to Game Day, and win points for themselves and their team. Kids have fun, earn achievements, and grow in surprising, significant ways. This is a fundraised, donation-based camp. Families can give whatever they can toward cost of $200 per athlete. Scholarships available.

    Info Day & Optional BBQ:
    Wednesday, June 26
    Noon to 3 pm *BBQ to follow
    Training Days:
    Thursday, June 27 & Friday, June 28
    9 am to 12 noon; 1 to 3 pm
    Game Day:
    Saturday, June 29
    10 am to 4 pm

    Agape Ranch Dog Sports 26417 N Lake Wohlford Rd, Valley Center, CA 92082

  • Ultimate Warriors!!!
  • Move - Play - Grow
    427 S. Cedros Ave., Ste. 201
    Solana Beach, CA

  • 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!

  • 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!


    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.