Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 25, 2019

In This Issue

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Autism: More Than Meets the Eye

First signs of autism appear in infancy

Fake autism treatments show the lengths parents will go to "cure" their kids

Processed foods may hold key to rise in autism

Autism, attention deficit result in distinct mental health problems

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Yoga in the Park for Teens with Autism

Openings Available in Summer Social Groups!

Children's Summer Theatre Workshops

Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech's Program!

How to Manage Difficult Behaviors in Autism

Summer IEP Parent Bootcamp

Beacons Pathfinder Program - Summer

Summer Self Care with TACA

Older Adults with Autism (40-75 yrs old) Needed for Study

Take Me Home Registry

The Old Globe- Tale of Despereaux SENSORY-FRIENDLY

Neurodiverse Cast Takes the Stage in Project Fairytale!


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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!

  • Autism: More Than Meets the Eye
  • How ability can grow out of seeming disability

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a wide spectrum, ranging from those with severe disabilities to highly functioning autism. Also, there are multiple subtypes of autism. Nevertheless, there are some common threads. People who are diagnosed with ASD are typically characterized by their early language delays, atypical social behavior, obsessive narrow interests, and repetitive routines. But over and over again, once you take the time to really get to know people on the spectrum, you see there is much more than meets the eye.

    Let's first consider social behavior. It's true that the social behaviors of people with ASD are different. They typically include lack of eye contact and lack of spontaneous greetings and farewells, limited use of facial expressions and gestures, and speech that is flat in affect, unusual in rhythm, and often described as "robotic." People with ASD report less interest and intrinsic enjoyment in engaging in social activities, and they are also less likely to care about managing their social impressions. One study found that people with ASD were less likely to laugh with other people for the purposes of facilitating social bonding, although they were just as likely as controls to spontaneously laugh at their own inner thoughts-which can come across as inappropriate in social situations. Read on...

  • First signs of autism appear in infancy
  • Babies who show lower levels of brain activity in response to social stimuli are more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to research involving UCL.

    Academics from Birkbeck, University of London, University of Cambridge, King's College London and UCL used neuroimaging technology (functional near infrared spectroscopy - fNIRS) to measure the brain activity of infants aged four to six months, contrasting infants who have increased familial likelihood of developing ASD with those without a family link to ASD.

    They studied how the infants' brain activity changed in response to 'social' videos, such as people playing peek-a-boo or incy-wincy spider and the sounds of yawning or laughter, with 'non-social' images of objects such as cars. They also measured the babies' brain activity in response to human vocalisations (coughing, yawning, crying and laughing) compared to non-human sounds such as bells and running water. Read on...

  • Fake autism treatments show the lengths parents will go to "cure" their kids
  • It's not just dangerous. It's insulting to autistic people like me.

    Like many autistic people, I don't handle background noise well. My senses and brain can't separate it from any other sounds. It's often just as loud as, if not louder than, what I'm trying to listen to. And the effort it takes to try to handle that issue while focusing often leaves me frustrated and drained.

    I've been experiencing this a lot lately in regards to information, specifically around news stories that feature some terrible combination of anti-science or pseudoscience and autism panic. Whenever I see a story about a measles outbreak, or a headline like "Fake science led a mom to feed bleach to her autistic sons - and police did nothing to stop her," I get that same overwhelmed and panicked feeling - and I'm just as incapable of tuning it out.

    While there are many reasons parents choose not to vaccinate their children, the American anti-vax movement is fueled in part by privileged white people who have bought into conspiracy theories about the risks of vaccines, one of the most pervasive of which is that vaccines cause autism. Meanwhile, we are currently experiencing a measles outbreak - 971 reported cases as of May 30, to be exact - that is the worst the country has seen in almost three decades. It's a worldwide trend, too, prompting the World Health Organization to declare vaccine resistance a top 10 health threat this year. Read on...

  • Processed foods may hold key to rise in autism
  • With the number of children diagnosed with autism on the rise, the need to find what causes the disorder becomes more urgent every day. UCF researchers are now a step closer to showing the link between the food pregnant women consume and the effects on a fetus' developing brain.

    Drs. Saleh Naser, Latifa Abdelli and UCF undergraduate research assistant Aseela Samsam have identified the molecular changes that happen when neuro stem cells are exposed to high levels of an acid commonly found in processed foods. In a study published June 19 in Scientific Reports, a Nature journal, the UCF scientists discovered how high levels of Propionic Acid (PPA), used to increase the shelf life of packaged foods and inhibit mold in commercially processed cheese and bread, reduce the development of neurons in fetal brains.

    Dr. Naser, who specializes in gastroenterology research at the College of Medicine's Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, began the study after reports showed that autistic children often suffer from gastric issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. He wondered about a possible link between the gut and the brain and began examining how the microbiome-or gut bacteria-differed between people with autism and those who do not have the condition. Read on...

  • Autism, attention deficit result in distinct mental health problems
  • Adults with autism tend to have a different set of psychiatric conditions than do those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a study of more than 1 million people suggests1.

    Autism and ADHD often overlap and may share biological roots. The new findings may help clinicians spot the conditions that differ among these individuals, such as depression and anxiety, and tailor treatments accordingly.

    For instance, schizophrenia is closely associated with autism but not with ADHD, whereas substance abuse disorders are strongly associated with ADHD.

    "In order to give good treatment, it's important to know these patterns," says lead researcher Kari Klungsøyr, professor of medicine at the University of Bergen in Norway. 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.

  • Yoga in the Park for Teens with Autism
  • Sat, July 13, 2019
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    Princess Del Cerro Park
    6195 Wenrich Drive
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: Free

    The SDSU Center for Autism is hosting a Yoga in the Park event for Teens with Autism (12-18 yrs old). This sensory friendly outdoor event will take place at the beautiful Princess Del Cerro Park from 10-11:30 am on July 13th. Our partner, Nazdira Cuevas, will teach fun modified poses and breathing tools to regulate and reduce anxiety. She will help attendees create a mind/body connection and focus on the present that include social games (age appropriate) and a guided visualizations (aka yoga nap). :) This is yoga for all abilities.

    Please remember to bring a yoga mat or blanket and PLEASE BRING WATER. If a teen needs a care taker, we encourage the caretaker to participate in the yoga class! Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Openings Available in Summer Social Groups!
  • Programs focusing on executive functioning and social communication include LEGO therapy groups, Cooking Club, "Unstuck and On Target" to improve flexible thinking and emotional regulation, teen pizza & games night and executive functioning bootcamp. Click here for registration form!!

    Social Communication Specialists
    5703 Oberlin Dr, Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121
    (858) 558-9552

    At SCS, we follow the Social Thinking® approach pioneered by Michelle Garcia Winner.

  • 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

  • Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech's Program!
  • Are you ready to work but not finding that opportunity? Then NFAR's vocational technical training program might be the right choice for you!

    NFAR Tech is a comprehensive hands-on training program that helps build technical and employment skills to prepare young adults with autism for entry level jobs in today's workplace as software testers and other vocations.

    NFAR Tech will be starting another program in July.
    Learn more by visiting or contacting NFAR at 858-679-8800.

  • How to Manage Difficult Behaviors in Autism
  • Thu, June 27, 2019
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: FREE

    The SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders is hosting a talk on learning effective strategies to deescalate behaviors in kids with autism. Our guest, Daniel Lowery from the Psychiatric Centers of San Diego, will help parents identify common triggers that lead to behavioral escalation and what to do to prevent them. We will explore the energy cycle of behavioral escalation, how to identify each phase and how to respond appropriately with each phase. We will cover the most effective communication strategies for interacting with kids to prevent behavioral escalation and reduce escalation once a child has already in an excited state. There will be a Q&A at the end to help tackle tricky situations. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Summer IEP Parent Bootcamp
  • Sale! Save $29 if you RSVP for our workshop buy June 30th!

    July class:

    August class:

    Learn all you need to know to advocate STRONG for your child at your next IEP. Moms, I am ready to pour out to you from my 20+ years of experience.

    Sanford Autism Consulting Office
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120

  • Beacons Pathfinder Program - Summer
  • Here at Beacons, we believe that everyone should be able to be lifelong learners to develop their skills and interests! Our goal is to teach real life skills to help build pathways to the workplace and our community. Click here for all the info and to sign up!!!

  • Summer Self Care with TACA
  • Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 12:45 PM - 3:45 PM
    San Diego County Library - Carmel Mountain Ranch Branch

    Are you the parent of a child with autism looking for an afternoon to recharge and find some hope, friendship and encouragement? Come join Beauty Society as they pamper and recharge you while enjoying a light fare of healthy snacks and refreshments. Every attendee will be entered into a drawing for one of a kind beauty and self care products. Join us and get some time to yourself to kick off summer. Hosted By Jamie Davis and Friends from Beauty Society

    *This is the San Diego County Library Carmel Mountain Ranch Branch

    *Look for TACA signs and find us in a private room reserved especially for this event.

    *Please note this replaces our monthly chapter meeting for June

    Click here to RSVP!!!

  • Older Adults with Autism (40-75 yrs old) Needed for Study
  • We are looking for older adults with autism (40-75 yrs old) to be in our brain imaging study! Anyone with a diagnosis or suspects that she or he has autism is invited to reach out to us. Participants receive a free assessment, free MRI brain scan, and around $150! If you know anyone who might be interested in this, please have them email or call us at 619-594-0176. Thank you!

  • Take Me Home Registry
  • The "Take Me Home" Program is a regional photo-based information system hosted by the Sheriff's Department accessible by all Law Enforcement in San Diego. It is designed to assist Law Enforcement (Police and Sheriff) during contacts with members of the community who have disabilities such as, but not limited to Autism, Dementia, Alzheimer's, Down syndrome, deafness or any other Developmental Disabilities.

    The program promotes communication and gives Law Enforcement access to critical information about the individual enrolled. The Take Me Home Program can provide Law Enforcement with emergency contact information, detailed physical descriptions, and photograph of the individual, known routines, favorite attractions, or special needs of the individual. This information can assist Law Enforcement in communicating with, locating a residence for, or handling an emergency involving an individual with special needs. This program has photo recognition technology attached to it. If an individual is located and cannot communicate, a photograph of the individual can be taken in the field, sent electronically and checked against those in Take Me Home Program for similar or match.

    Click here to all the info and to register!!!

  • The Old Globe- Tale of Despereaux SENSORY-FRIENDLY
  • As a friend of ValeriesList, you are invited to a special performance of the musical event of the summer, The Tale of Despereaux!

    Come early to enjoy AXIS - a free event on the plaza before the show.

    Space is limited - get your tickets now!
    For tickets to our sensory-friendly performance, please call the Ticket Office at (619) 234-5623 and say FRIENDLY
    CLICK HERE to save $10 off adult and children's tickets!

    The acclaimed PigPen Theatre Co. charmed and astonished Old Globe audiences with The Old Man and The Old Moon. Now they return to San Diego, bringing their one-of-a-kind theatrical and musical inventiveness to Kate DiCamillo's beloved, Newbery Medal-winning modern fable. Despereaux is a courageous mouse who dreams of becoming a knight. He sets off on a noble quest that will take him down into dungeons and up to the heights of a castle tower to rescue a beautiful human princess-but the dark-hearted rat Roscuro has other ideas. The Boston Herald proclaims, "PigPen Theatre Co. is already a phenomenon," while The New Yorker says, "It's like watching child geniuses at play!" Full of gorgeous music, stunning stage effects, witty performances, and a message of optimism and community, The Tale of Despereaux is an inspiring and beguiling story for all ages.

    July 20th Schedule of Events
    10 - 11am - PigPen Theatre Co. will perform an acoustic set of family-friendly songs!
    11 - 12am - Sensory-friendly activities hosted by Actor and Teacher, Samantha Ginn.
    12pm - The Tale of Despereaux

  • Neurodiverse Cast Takes the Stage in Project Fairytale!
  • Summer Production At New Village Arts Is Fully Inclusive

    What happens when talented director Samantha Ginn and San Diego-favorite actor Paul Eddy team up with a phenomenal group of neurodiverse performers, visionary designers, and whimsical puppets PROJECT FAIRYTALE!

    New Village Arts Theater and Kids Act are excited to announce their upcoming performance of "The Great Smelly, Slobbery, Small-Tooth Dog" on July 6 and 7 with a fully-integrated, inclusive cast.

    Project Fairytale! is a summer theater workshop where young adults with special needs, like autism and Down syndrome, pursue acting with professional teaching artists and typical peers. This is the third summer they have wowed audiences with talent, heart, and poignant performances.

    This year's production is based on "Beauty and the Beast" and adapted by Aleta Barthell from the wonderful story of "The Great Smelly, Slobbery Small-Tooth Dog" by Margaret Read MacDonald.

    Combining fantastical puppetry akin to the Lion King and humor reminiscent of the Carol Burnett Show, it delivers a message about the power of words and how acts of kindness can change our fate.

    This year's performances will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 6 and 2 p.m. on July 7 at The Schulman Theater at the Dove Library in Carlsbad. Tickets can be purchased at the door, $5 for adults and $1 for children.

    Andrea Moriarty

    New Village Arts Theatre

  • 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.