Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. July 09, 2019

In This Issue

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The Art Of Relationships On The Autism Spectrum

What to Do When Your Child With a Disability Is Not Invited to a Birthday Party

How to apply for autism grants

Straightening out chiropractic's claim as a treatment for autism

'I understand exactly who he is': Moms discover they share autism with their children

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Children's Summer Theatre Workshops

NFAR Men's Group

NFAR Mom's Group

Introducing NFAR Works!

Friendship Circle San Diego

AAC Typers Meet Up with ATPF Mom Shelly Lana


Command and Control Cognitive Training

More Than Words

Club Beacons July Events


Growing Vines and Students at D'Vine Path!

Autism Friendly Family Events at Oceanside Public Library

Free Webinar - July Newsletter


Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

ValeriesList is a FREE resource newsletter and Facebook Page for San Diego County and has been for over 18 years. No fees, donation or membership are required to receive this info. An informed public makes better decisions for its' persons with Special Needs. Please share with friends, family, fellow professionals and clients!!! Click here to check out my FB page! Thank YOU!

  • The Art Of Relationships On The Autism Spectrum
  • I want to talk about something very personal to me: relationships. I have had fairly minimal experience with being in relationships. I have had 4 online dating relationships (which didn't work out), and I would say 2 "serious" real life relationships. One of them is the current woman I consider my significant other.

    I would like to start by sharing my first experience of being what people call "in love." I met this girl online. I was 15 and was crazy about her. Long story short, my parents didn't approve and it ended up not working out. It was a part of my life I would rather not remember, but what that relationship taught me was one really important thing about being in a relationship: trust.

    Trust is a weird thing. Because everyone should trust each other, but not everybody does. Because people feel insecure. I'm such a nice person that I try to trust everyone. But because of that, people take advantage of me. This happened to me in my first relationship. I trusted this girl online, believing everything she told me about herself, and that all ended up being a lie. So big lesson from this was: Be careful who you trust. Learn to read people which for me being on the spectrum is hard to do. Read on...

  • What to Do When Your Child With a Disability Is Not Invited to a Birthday Party
  • Last year, there were no party invitations for my daughter who has Down syndrome. She will be going into fifth grade, and I can only think of one party from her school friends she has been invited to throughout her elementary school years.

    Many parents of kids with disabilities understand the pain of not having your child invited to a birthday party. The exclusion feels like powerful canons shooting at an already weak wall we put up as we try to protect our kids. The hits are hard and our walls crumble as we witness our children feeling hurt and excluded - not to mention the way our hearts break, too.

    One thing is certain: we cannot force people to love our kids or invite them to their birthday parties. Read on...

  • How to apply for autism grants
  • Applying for grants can seem like a daunting process. Don't let paperwork, reference letters, and the waiting game discourage you from filling out an application. As an increasing volume of research on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is published, public awareness is rising, and services-including grants-are more readily available than ever.

    The first step in applying to autism grants is to identify your family's needs. Perhaps your family needs the grant to cover costs of supplemental therapies like art, music, or hippotherapy. Maybe you are seeking a grant to fund private school tuition. There are even grants that help bring sensory-friendly play equipment to your local playground. Matching your family's needs to an appropriate grant is made easier by comprehensive lists provided by the Autism Support Network, the American Autism Association, and the Outreach Autism Services Network. If you are unsure whether or not you meet qualifications for a grant or are unable to find one to meet your needs, your child's treatment team might be able to recommend some to you. Read on...

  • Straightening out chiropractic's claim as a treatment for autism
  • Some chiropractors advertise that they can treat autism, but there's no evidence to back that claim.

    Bradley was just 2 when his persistent communication problems landed him with an autism diagnosis.

    His mother, Jayme Frear, made adjustments to Bradley's diet and lifestyle. His uncle, a chiropractor, suggested the toddler try chiropractic treatments. That made a remarkable difference to the boy's well-being, says Frear. Bradley is now 10 and doing well in a mainstream elementary school class, she says. "Our son went from a child that didn't communicate to what he is today."

    Bradley wasn't the only one apparently transformed by the visits. His mother, who was a nurse at the time, became so convinced of their value that she altered her career path. She trained as a chiropractor herself and now occasionally sees autistic children who have musculoskeletal complaints in her Florida practice. But many chiropractors advertise that they can treat autism traits by manipulating the spine; some have even invented their own unproven techniques, which they claim can "correct autism." Read on...

  • 'I understand exactly who he is': Moms discover they share autism with their children
  • Maria Mercado always knew she was different. Growing up in a boisterous Puerto Rican family in the Bronx, Mercado rarely spoke unless challenged or angry. To the outside world, she came across as a smart but shy girl, who learned to read at age 4 and couldn't keep eye contact. For most of her school years, she had little trouble with academics - despite a severe stutter and constant daydreaming - but struggled in social settings.

    Even into adulthood, Mercado sometimes had a hard time verbalizing her thoughts. "Can I say this?" she asked herself. Yet only she appeared to be aware of the problem. She just didn't understand why.

    The answer came in 2009 when Mercado was 28. Her son, Jackson, who was then 13 months old, began to regress in his development. 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.

  • 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

  • NFAR Men's Group
  • Thursday, July 11, 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.

    July Topic: "Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Potential Applications in Autism"

    Join us to learn the latest about transcranial magnetic stimulation and how it is being used for those with an autism.

    Guest Speaker: Dr. Brian Miller, Medical Director of TMS Therapeutics in San Diego

    A Diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Dr. Brian Miller is the Medical Director of TMS Therapeutics in San Diego. He earned a B.S. in Psychology from UC Davis, graduating with honors, and completed psychiatric training at UC San Diego. During his last year of residency he served as Chief Resident on the Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Medicine unit.

    Dr. Miller holds expertise in diagnosing and treating Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, as well as Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Substance abuse. He is very enthusiastic about the contributions TMS has made thus far and is pleased to offer TMS as a treatment option.

    To learn more about TMS THerapeutics in San Diego

  • NFAR Mom's Group
  • July 17, 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.

    July Topic: Encouraging Positive Behaviors While Managing Difficult Ones

    Discussion will include:
    **Techniques to encourage positive behaviors
    **Managing challenges such as aggression or property destruction

    Guest Speaker: Carol J. McPheters, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Founder of Alta Families, Inc.

    Dr. McPheters has been working with children with autism and related disorders since 2001. She received her early training at UCLA working under Dr. Ivar Lovaas, a pioneer in the treatment of autism using behavioral strategies and earned her doctorate in applied behavior analysis (ABA) at Caldwell University. Dr. McPheters has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® since 2009.

    Over the course of her career, Dr. McPheters has been responsible for designing ABA programs that maximize skill acquisition and minimize problem behavior in home, school, and community settings. She has supervised, mentored, and provided consultation to other behavior analysts and teaches graduate courses in applied behavior analysis as an Adjunct Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

    Dr. McPheters founded Alta Families, Inc. in order to share her expertise directly with parents. Parents can implement many of the strategies used by behavior analysts, and Alta Families assists parents by choosing the proper strategies for each family and teaching parents how to use them. To learn more about Alta Families, please visit

  • Introducing NFAR Works!
  • NFAR Works is a comprehensive vocational training program for young adults with autism (ages 18-29). The Program has been designed to offer participants an opportunity to develop skill sets needed for entry level positions in a typical corporation, including office environments and light manufacturing.

    The program is 45-weeks long (11 months) for 20 hours/week, 5 days per week for 4 hours each day. Participants will rotate through the different job classes, to help them identify job areas where they have aligned interests and skills sets and where they should focus their in-depth training and job search.

    NFAR Works is vendored through the San Diego Regional Center. To learn more about the program, please visit or call us at (858) 679-8800.

  • Friendship Circle San Diego
  • Friendship Circle of San Diego is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to providing friendship and support to individuals with special needs and their families by providing recreational, social and educational programming. In addition to helping those in need, the Friendship Circle San Diego enriches its vast network of volunteers by enabling them to reap the rewards of selfless giving.

    Friendship Circle San Diego
    16934 Chabad Way
    Poway, CA 92064

  • AAC Typers Meet Up with ATPF Mom Shelly Lana
  • Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 1 PM - 3 PM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation Office
    2845 Nimitz Blvd, Suite C
    San Diego, CA 92106

    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.

  • (858) 205-9809

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

  • More Than Words
  • Interested in participating? Please contact: Jessica Rush, 760.712.8432,

  • Club Beacons July Events

  • "Pablo"
  • "Pablo," a children's television show voiced and co-written by autistic people, is available on Netflix.

  • Growing Vines and Students at D'Vine Path!
  • Click here for info about D'Vine Path and the programs that they offer!!!

  • Autism Friendly Family Events at Oceanside Public Library
  • Oceanside Public Library is excited to have recently received the Autism Welcome Here grant, which will help the Library offer family programming and a lending library collection to support families with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Attached is the flyer with more information about our summer events. We would greatly appreciate it if you could help us in spreading the word and letting the families you serve know about these free services.

    Thank you,
    Marie Town
    Principal Librarian, Youth Services
    Oceanside Public Library
    (760) 435-5597

    Click here to view their flyer for all the info about their upcoming events!!!!

  • Free Webinar - July Newsletter
  • Click here to view their latest newsletter for all the info about upcoming events!!!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.