Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. July 26, 2019

In This Issue

Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

For autistic adults, a hospital stay carries high risk of death

Compensatory strategies to disguise autism spectrum disorder may delay diagnosis

How I Awoke To The Vastness Of Autistic Communication

Supplements, worms and stool: How families are trying to game the gut to treat autism traits

Can we 'see' autism in the brain?

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

NFAR Community Project Applications-NOW OPEN!


FREE! Back to School Parent Training This Saturday!

PACT Fall Teen Theatre

Beyond the Backpack - Executive Function Program - August 2019

It's Time to Crawl!

NFAR's Teacher's Awards grant application period is OPEN!

Let's Learn Strategies for Improving Social Behavior!

You're Invited! FREE All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!

CONNECTIONS Monday Classes

The Vida View - Summer 2019

Yoga in the Park Day for Adults with Autism

Navigating the Legal System for Adults with Autism

Lunch and Learn with TAG in Temecula!!


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 19 years, with a weekly reach of 50,000! 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!

  • For autistic adults, a hospital stay carries high risk of death
  • Adults with autism are nearly 50 percent more likely to die in the hospital than their neurotypical peers, according to the first analysis of these patterns, based on discharge records from hospitals in the United States.

    The risk is even greater for autistic women; they are more than three times as likely as typical women to die in the hospital.

    Several studies have shown that people with autism are more than twice as likely as their typical peers to die prematurely. Autistic adults are also at increased risk of health conditions such as diabetes and depression. The new study extends these findings to hospital settings. Read on...

  • Compensatory strategies to disguise autism spectrum disorder may delay diagnosis
  • For the first time, compensatory strategies used by people with autism have been investigated and collated in a qualitative study using an online survey of 136 adults, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. The study finds that the use of compensatory strategies is associated with both positive and negative consequences. Compensation improves social relationships, increases independence and employment, but may also be associated with poor mental health and delayed diagnosis. The preliminary results highlight the need for increased awareness of these strategies among clinicians and for greater support for those who need it.

    Autism spectrum disorder is characterised by social communication impairments and by repetitive and restricted behaviours. There is limited understanding of why some autistic people appear neurotypical in their behaviours, despite having autism-related cognitive difficulties or differences.

    Compensation is an adaptive process whereby new behaviours are generated in order to avoid negative outcomes. It is different from masking, where presumed undesirable behaviours are hidden or stopped. In the case of people with autism, people may use past experience or logic to respond to social situations to increase opportunities and "fit in" with society. However, they continue to be autistic at a neurocognitive level and this can lead to challenges in diagnosing and supporting individuals. Read on...

  • How I Awoke To The Vastness Of Autistic Communication
  • After 20 years of serving autistic children, teenagers, and adults, I know one thing for sure: Autism is a mystery that requires us to change.

    My journey into the world of autism began as a speech therapist. The expectations I had when I embarked on this professional path didn't fully line up with my actual experiences with the children. I expected to play the role of a teacher helping the children communicate through spoken language, sign language, or through a communication device. My focus was on pre-linguistic skills and the words of language.

    Traditional speech therapy techniques were used, but something extraordinary was happening that I couldn't explain as a clinical SLP. Communication and connection were established with greater ease and far more quickly than anticipated. Many of the kids began talking and some didn't, but there was a kind of communication and interaction happening that went beyond words. Read on...

  • Supplements, worms and stool: How families are trying to game the gut to treat autism traits
  • Scientists are playing catch-up as microbiome-based treatments for autism proliferate.

    very two weeks, Alex Chinitz swallows the strangest of brews: fruit juice with 20 to 30 larvae of Hymenolepis diminuta mixed in. That fancy Latin word is the name of a helminth - a tapeworm, to be precise - that can grow to 30 centimeters.

    The larvae Alex drinks are not visible, nor can he taste them. They are encased in tiny cysts, and under a microscope, they look like seeds - only with eyespots and tails. By the time they reach Alex's mouth, they have already passed through several other organisms: The adult parasites lay eggs in rats' intestines; the rats excrete the eggs; beetles eat the rats' feces; and inside the beetles, the eggs hatch into larvae. After Alex swallows them, the larvae swim around in the lumen of his gut and die about 10 to 14 days later.

    Alex, 25, is autistic and nonverbal, so he cannot tell us what he thinks of this concoction. But his mother, Judy Chinitz, gives it full credit for having eased some of Alex's autism traits. Read on...

  • Can we 'see' autism in the brain?
  • An autism diagnosis is based on behavior. But identifying a brain signature for the condition could help support diagnosis and even provide an early biomarker of the condition.

    Knowing autism's imprints in the brain may also shed light on biological mechanisms and point to targets for treatments. These imprints may be structural features or patterns of brain activity. Researchers can visualize both using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

    But despite the decades of work, no one has found a characteristic brain structure or pattern of brain activity unique to autism. Brain imaging studies have turned up conflicting results, and few findings have been replicated. We asked five brain-imaging experts what they make of the lack of a solid result in this area. Is there a brain signature unique to autism, and if so, how might researchers find it? Here are their responses. 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

    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, that meets monthly in Point Loma, 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

    Key to Behavior is 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.

  • NFAR Community Project Applications-NOW OPEN!
  • Each year, funds raised by the Race for Autism help support autism programs and new initiatives in our community. These funds have worked to increase the learning, social, training, and employment opportunities for those with autism in San Diego.

    Through our technical training programs, NFAR is working to include those with autism into the mainstream fabric of San Diego's workforce community. Neurodiversity has been shown to build more creative and accepting environments for all persons, and benefits everyone. Our vision is to build a more inclusive San Diego. And working together with others, such as our Community Project partners, to make this a reality.

    NEW THIS YEAR, for our Community Project applicants, we are asking for Letters of Intent (LOI) for initiatives that align with our vision of building a more inclusive community.

    NFAR's LOI Form is online now and due by September 30.
    For more info or to apply:

  • UCSD ACE - SPARK Event
  • The UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) is hosting a series of live-registration events at the Balboa Park Carousel to sign up families who have a child diagnosed with ASD for SPARK. SPARK is committed to transforming our understanding of autism and helping improve the lives of individuals affected by autism and their families. Nearly 18,000 families nationwide are already participating in SPARK! There is no cost to participate. Simply complete a 20-30 minute registration process, provide some saliva, and enjoy the event!

    Visit to learn more about and sign up for the event. Please feel free to contact us with any questions! Email: | Phone: (858) 534-6906.

  • FREE! Back to School Parent Training This Saturday!
  • Back to School Parent Training this Saturday at Scripps Miramar Ranch Library! If you would like to join us please RSVP to or call 858-430-8166. It's free to attend and there will be refreshments. Split into a two part series, we'll discuss the law in relation to heading back to school and ways to approach the new school year for success.

  • PACT Fall Teen Theatre
  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) is a dynamic non-profit organization that offers improvisational theatre and performing arts workshops that teach life and social skills.

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

  • Beyond the Backpack - Executive Function Program - August 2019
  • At Social Communication Specialists, we don't just set up a color coded folder system that your child will never use, We use advanced techniques to directly teach executive functioning skills. The concepts and strategies we teach kids helps them become more independent so you can stop constantly reminding them of what they need to do.

    Please go to for more information.

  • It's Time to Crawl!
  • It's Time to Crawl!
    Home of Guiding Hands 2nd Annual North Park Pub Crawl
    September 14th, 2019
    $50 per person

    Includes: 1 Free Drink at each location, appetizers at select locations, Pub Crawl t-shirt, pint glass and more!!!


    • 1-2 Mike Hess Brewing
    • 2-3:30 True North Tavern
    • 3:30-5 North Park Beer Co.
    Register here:

  • NFAR's Teacher's Awards grant application period is OPEN!
  • Completed applications are due on September 30th.

    Open to Classroom Teachers, Speech & Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Resource and Autism specialists, serving students with autism and related disorders, this funding is designed to support the specialized academic needs of their students with autism. Funding averages $500 per award.

    To date, NFAR has awarded over 700 Teachers Grants, benefiting thousands of students with autism.
    To learn more/apply!!!

  • Let's Learn Strategies for Improving Social Behavior!
  • July 31, 2019, at 7pm
    FITS in Sorrento Valley
    5945 Pacific Center Blvd #510
    San Diego, CA 92121

    Learn more about Herb Hein & Growing G.R.E.E.N. InterActions Program at:

    RSVP to this event by contacting: Herb at or Letty at

  • You're Invited! FREE All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!
  • The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family Magazine are hosting the 2nd annual All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!

    On Wednesday, August 7 from 10 am to 1 pm at the Miramar Hourglass Recreation Center, 10440 Black Mountain Road, SD, 92126, families from around the county are invited to celebrate the last days of summer and gather information from resource providers for families with all abilities. Your family is invited to this FREE summer event!

    Activity Booths * Giveaways * Performances * Games * Family Resources * Networking & more!

    Children of all abilities will enjoy activity stations including Woody's Roundup Corral, Super Hero City, Wheelchair Awareness Course, Literacy Duck Pond, V.T. Raceway, Star Wars Space Station and more!

    Plus, enjoy a variety of entertaining performances at the All Abilities Stage.

    Over 40 resource services and providers for children of all abilities will conveniently be onsite to speak with parents and provide information.

    All activities and resources are FREE and open to the public.

    Sign up for your family's FREE tickets on eventbrite now!

  • CONNECTIONS Monday Classes
  • connections

    Our next set of classes for CONNECTIONS, which is designed for teens on the Autism Spectrum, begins on Monday, July 29th, from 4:30-6:00 pm.

    We currently have just two spots left in the class, which runs for six weeks and then repeats throughout the year. It's an amazing program, which teaches social skills to teens with ASD using improv theatre.

    For more information, check out:

  • The Vida View - Summer 2019
  • Click here to view their latest newsletter for all the info!!!

  • Yoga in the Park Day for Adults with Autism
  • Sat, July 27, 2019
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    Princess Del Cerro Park
    6195 Wenrich Drive
    San Diego, CA 92120

    The SDSU Center for Autism is hosting a Yoga in the Park event for Adults with Autism (18 yrs or older). This sensory friendly outdoor event will take place at the beautiful Princess Del Cerro Park from 10-11:30 am on July 27th. Our partner, Nazdira Cuevas, will teach modified poses and breathing tools to regulate and reduce anxiety. She will help attendees create a mind/body connection and focus on the present. There will be guided visualizations at the end.

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

  • Navigating the Legal System for Adults with Autism
  • Wed, July 31, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court, #250
    San Diego, CA 92120

    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 second talk will cover navigating the rules for adults with autism. This workshop will help families understand and prepare for when their teens/young adults with autism become adults. This introductory talk can help families know what legal considerations they have to start preparing for and help them ask the right questions.

    Jorgensen Law is a Social Security Disability Law Firm specializing in SSDI (social security disability insurance) and SSI (supplemental security insurance). They can assist with applications, appeals, hearings, questions on what qualifies, what the financial limitations are and advise on how to make sure you are maximizing your benefits.

    This is a FREE event! Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Lunch and Learn with TAG in Temecula!!
  • Every fourth Friday!!! RSVP required!!! Please contact Emily at or call 858-689-2027.

  • 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

  • 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.