Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. June 28, 2019

In This Issue

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Caregiver Roommates Offer Housing Alternative For Adults with Disabilities

Messages Of Autistic Children And Adults Ring True At Unique Autism Symposium

Study of microbiome's importance in autism triggers swift backlash

Brain changes may explain why exercise relieves autism in mice

Why Some Kids With ASD Won't Eat And How to Get Help

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Neurodiverse Cast Takes the Stage in Project Fairytale!

The Old Globe- Tale of Despereaux SENSORY-FRIENDLY

Children's Summer Theatre Workshops

Accepting Applications for NFAR Tech's Program!

Independent Educational Evaluations: Legal Rights & Hurdles for Kids with Autism

Summer IEP Parent Bootcamp


Command and Control Cognitive Training

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

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


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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!

  • Caregiver Roommates Offer Housing Alternative For Adults with Disabilities
  • In a growing trend toward inclusion, young adults with disabilities now have more opportunities than ever to live with typically-developing peers who double as their caregivers.

    A lack of safe and affordable housing is the number one issue for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to Shawn Ullman, senior director for national initiatives at The Arc.

    "There's a real crisis," Ullman said. "People are having to get creative. The old way of doing things is not sustainable." Read on...

  • Messages Of Autistic Children And Adults Ring True At Unique Autism Symposium
  • Leaders spoke who listened to their hearts, their intuition, and to the children. These bold parents and professionals radically and gently attuned to the truth of the children and saw them differently.

    I arrived an hour early both days to the Mozart and the Mind symposium in San Diego, due to sheer excitement. Saturday morning, walking up to the check-in line, I noticed a woman wearing a turquoise western shirt...our hero. I stopped in my tracks for a second, smiled, and whispered to myself, "There's Temple." Hope and joy instantly filled my heart. It was the perfect starting point for an astounding weekend.

    After making it through the doors on that first day, Dr. Temple Grandin and I had a short conversation. She asked what I did and why I was there. She spoke in a beautifully authoritative manner. I recognized just how much she nurtures and looks out for the autistic community. I responded nervously as it felt like I was having the biggest job interview of my life, "I'm a speech therapist, but I created a company to expand how I offer communication services." She immediately asked, "Well, how do you do that?!" I shared, "I work more with the parents and help them communicate differently with their children, and I have found the children communicate more and more easily as a result." Read on...

  • Study of microbiome's importance in autism triggers swift backlash
  • Many scientists have pointed out possible errors of analysis and interpretation in a high-profile study that suggested microbes can ease autism-like behaviors in mice. The backlash was swift, appearing on Twitter and the post-publication review site PubPeer within hours of the paper's publication.

    In the paper, published 30 May in Cell, Sarkis Mazmanian and his colleagues reported that fecal transplants from autistic boys can trigger autism-like behaviors in mice - and that molecules from certain microbes can ease these behaviors.

    Minutes after the study was published, independent experts began raising concerns on Twitter about three graphs included in the paper. Read on...

  • Brain changes may explain why exercise relieves autism in mice
  • In mice bred to model autism spectrum disorder (ASD), scientists at the University of Tokyo in Japan found that exercise spurred the removal of surplus connections in brain circuits and diminished autism-like behavior.

    In a Cell Reports paper on their work, they explain how they showed that "voluntary wheel running ameliorates the abnormalities in sociability, repetitiveness, and anxiety" in ASD mice.

    The findings lend weight to the idea that it may be possible to reverse some of the behavioral characteristics of ASD. Read on...

  • Why Some Kids With ASD Won't Eat And How to Get Help
  • The phrase "picky eating" is often misused when describing the eating habits of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This over generalized term more accurately describes a toddler who has a strong opinion about what they want for dinner; not a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with significant food refusal.

    As a parent of a child with ASD, quickly ascribing this title to your child can lead to overlooking the underlying treatable deficits that are in fact causing this food limitation and affecting your child's health and nutrition.

    The first step in a journey towards diet expansion is determining if your child has a feeding problem. "Picky eating" usually indicates children who eat over 30 foods and will eat foods from various food groups. 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Independent Educational Evaluations: Legal Rights & Hurdles for Kids with Autism
  • Sat, July 13, 2019
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: FREE!

    The SDSU Center for Autism will be hosting a series of talks looking to help the autism community, their families, and allies navigate the complex legal system. We know it can be a daunting task so we are partnering with legal experts to help answer your questions. This first talk will cover independent educational evaluations (IEEs). Topics covered in this workshop are:

    --What the different types of IEE's there are
    --When is it best to request IEE's
    --What are the school district's obligations regarding IEE's
    --How to effectively use IEE's.

    The Law Office of Meagan Nunez is committed to helping parents understand their rights and obtaining special education services. Their comprehensive special education practice includes zealous representation and compassionate guidance in all aspects of special education law, including: The right to a meaningful education, Special education in charter schools and nonpublic institutions, Special education hearings and dispute resolution.

    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

  • (858) 205-9809

  • Command and Control Cognitive Training
  • (858) 205-9809

  • Community Transition Academy is now enrolling for the 2019-20 school year!
  • Community Transition Academy (CTA) is a non-public transition school (NPS) for emerging young adults, 9th grade through transition-age (22yrs.), who have academic, language, social, and/or behavioral challenges most commonly associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. CTA is now enrolling students for this next 2019-20 school year.

    CTA offers a complete transition curriculum taught both in the classroom and in the community infused with the evidence-based principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). CTA delivers supported functional learning opportunities in a variety of natural settings relevant to each student's IEP and community transition goals. By blending together a classroom-based academic and community-based teaching with an Individualized Educational Program-centric approach, students are afforded supported "real-life" opportunities for skill-growth in communication, academics, pro-social, vocational, transition, and community-appropriate behavioral development. At CTA, we believe that our emerging young adults have both the capacity and desire to continue learning and growing throughout their school and post-school lives as we support them in maximizing their independence and participating in their own life-decision making.

    For more information or to set up a site, please visit: or call us at (858) 360-0282 or email:

  • 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!

  • 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.