Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. August 20, 2019

In This Issue

Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

Carlsbad teen with autism lands award for community project

Carlsbad firm tests hiring program for workers with autism

"Everyone Is Employable," Except the Severely Disabled?

New study shows how autism can be measured through a non-verbal marker

AAC Typers Meet Up with ATPF Mom Shelly Lana

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Mingle - September 18th!

UCSD ACE - SPARK Event - Saturday August 24th!!!

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

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

Registration for Shooting Stars Now Open!!

Advantage Autism Tennis Clinic

"Internet for All Now Act"

Fall VIP Soccer Season

Villa de Vida, Inc. Update - Join our Healthy Lifestyles Classes and Social Events!!!

Pathfinder Fall 2019 Programs

San Diego Park and Rec Program for the Disabled Fall Calendar

Game Night for Adults With Autism!

ATPF End of Summer Family Activity Day

Jam Session Registration Now Open!


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!


thomas nelson

  • Carlsbad teen with autism lands award for community project
  • One local teenager is not letting autism slow him down.

    Ethan Hirschberg, 18, was diagnosed with high-functioning autism early in life, but now he has become a bridge and advocate for those diagnosed across the spectrum. He created a blog and is a motivational speaker, author, budding businessman and soon-to-be high school graduate and college student.

    On June 11, Ethan Hirschberg was one of 15 students across the country to be awarded the Diller Teen Tikkum Olam Award, which recognizes teen leaders committing to change in the communities, according to the press release from the Helen Diller Family Foundation.

    With the award, each recipient also receives $36,000 to continue their work and education. Read on...

  • Carlsbad firm tests hiring program for workers with autism
  • Pilot program, with eight applicants in a two-week training program, could go nationwide

    David Chidester has loved computers ever since he was a little boy tapping away on his dad's old Dell PC running Windows '98. As a result, the 22-year-old programmer is eager to show employers what he can do.

    But since earning a computer science degree from Willamette University in Oregon last spring, Chidester has had trouble landing a job. Chidester is on the autism spectrum, and while he's confident in his coding abilities, he's less secure in the social skills needed to ace a job interview.

    Fortunately for him, companies in the technology industry are beginning to rethink the hiring process to level the playing field for workers who are "neurodiverse." Neurodiversity is the concept that people with neurological differences, such as autism, dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are simply different, not diseased. Read on...

  • "Everyone Is Employable," Except the Severely Disabled?
  • An enterprising autism mom creates a nonprofit to provide employment for those considered unemployable. But the future looks bleak for programs like hers.

    I'm mom to a 20 year-old daughter with severe autism. She has worked hard all of her life to acquire the limited skills that she now possesses. She is quickly approaching "the cliff," the federal age limit of 22 when her school based support services will terminate. I see it rushing towards us like a speeding train and I question myself daily if I'm doing enough to prepare us both for it.

    She is low-verbal, has a vision impairment, uncoordinated gait and her fine motor skills are pretty much non-existent. She also has behaviors and severe inflexibilities in her daily routines, but she possesses an infectious smile, and can hug her way into the good graces of perfect strangers.

    Like all parents, I want her life to be meaningful, purpose-driven and for her to be a contributing member to society, in whatever way suits her. When I started researching adult services a few years ago, however, I saw few resources available, particularly for someone who is low-functioning with intense behaviors. But one day I had an "aha" moment when reading about a laundry service that employs adults with developmental disabilities. It seemed like the perfect match for her, and, given her obsession with washing machines, I knew it could be a dream job for her. Read on...

  • New study shows how autism can be measured through a non-verbal marker
  • A Dartmouth-led research team has identified a non-verbal, neural marker of autism. This marker shows that individuals with autism are slower to dampen neural activity in response to visual signals in the brain. This first-of-its kind marker was found to be independent of intelligence and offers an objective way to potentially diagnose autism in the future. The results are published in Current Biology.

    "Autism is hard to screen for in children, when the first signs are present. A trained clinician may be able to detect autism at 18-months or even younger; yet, the average age of a diagnosis of autism in the U.S. is about four years old," explains lead author Caroline Robertson, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth, and director of the Dartmouth Autism Research Initiative. "We need objective, non-invasive screening tools that don't depend on assessing a child's behavior. One of the big goals of the field is to develop objective neural markers of autism that can work with non-verbal individuals. This neural marker is just that," she added. Read on...

  • AAC Typers Meet Up with ATPF Mom Shelly Lana
  • Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation
    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

  • 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

    San Diego Futures - I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of this organization because it can be a helpful resource to families in need of computers and other technology who may not have the resources they need to secure technology for their homes. If anyone needs a laptop or desktop and cannot afford one, please consider reaching out to this group. Desktops and laptops are available at VERY low prices for eligible families.

    The R.O.A.D program at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside are seeking experienced leaders to work as a positive adult role model, coach and mentor with small groups of 4 R.O.A.D.S members. Candidates should have a genuine interest in the growth, development and provision of safe nurturing environments for each member.

    This position is a San Diego Regional Center (SDRC) funded position, which follows the established SDRC calendar year; additionally, this position is based on job performance. Must have reliable transportation to and from site. For more info about these job openings click here:

    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.

  • Mingle - September 18th!
  • Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    6 PM - 9 PM
    Rockin' Baja Lobster - Old Town
    3890 Twiggs St, San Diego, California 92110

    Join us for Mingle, where we bring parents, families, and professionals in the special needs community together for an evening to mingle, socialize, and make new connections while sharing our collective experiences and resources. At Mingle we have facilitated introductions, highlight community organizations, and feature a non-profit (Excelsior Academy) and other resources (FITS OT, Therapy Changes, RiteCare, and Rogers Behavioral Health). Click here for all the info!!!

  • UCSD ACE - SPARK Event - Saturday August 24th!!!
  • The UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) is hosting 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. Over 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 FREE carousel rides along with other fun activities at the event!

    Only one Saturdays left - August 24th! Please visit our website here for additional details. To RSVP or learn more about the event, contact us via phone (858-534-6906) or via email (!

  • RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth believes that every individual is unique and has the potential for significant growth. We assume and foster competence while honoring family values and priorities. Our holistic approach is built upon trusting, supportive relationships and collaboration between disciplines and families.

    We specializing in the development and implementation of individualized comprehensive programs utilizing Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, Applied Behavior Analysis, Art Therapy, and Life Balance Yoga Therapy.

    Offering support in the San Diego, Carlsbad, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

    In addition to supporting our clients directly, we offer guidance to parents, grandparents, therapists, teachers, siblings, school staff, babysitters etc.

    Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    (858) 689-2027

  • 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 over 700 Teachers Grants, benefiting thousands of students with autism.

    To learn more/apply, please visit

  • Registration for Shooting Stars Now Open!!
  • Shooting Stars Season 14 Registration Reminder:

    We wanted to send a quick reminder that registration is now open at We ask that if you are planning to play this season that you register by Friday, 8/23 so that we can make sure your player has a uniform on the first day!
    We look forward to seeing everyone soon!
    Coach Rick

  • Advantage Autism Tennis Clinic
  • tennis_icon.jpg

    Advantage Autism
    Tennis clinic for kids 6-12 on autism spectrum
    La Jolla Tennis Club on Draper
    Saturday's 1:30-2:30
    Cost FREE!!!

    One to one program to teach tennis, socialization, independence and have fun!!!!

    For all the info please contact Susan at 858-699-2300 or

  • "Internet for All Now Act"
  • Do you have a disability and want affordable, high-quality Internet?

    Recently, the State of California passed a law helping many people with disabilities by subsidizing the cost of their personal or home internet services. This law brings the internet connection cost down to a monthly fee of either $10 or $20.

    This State law is the "Internet for All Now Act" (AB1665). The World Institute on Disability (a disability led nonprofit in Berkeley, CA -- see: ) is spreading the word about this opportunity so it can be better utilized. Our role is to ask you to share the enclosed flyer with your clients with disabilities, so that they may take advantage of this program.

    Individuals with disabilities are eligible for this reduced cost if they are either on SSI, or SSDI, or Cal Fresh (food stamps) or with an income under $40,000 per year. To confirm a person's eligibility please call 844-841-INFO or 844-841-4635.

  • Fall VIP Soccer Season
  • Registration is currently open for our Fall season of VIP soccer. Please visit to register your player. The cost for fall season is $50.00.

    Our first game will be on September 8th at the Upper Softball Fields in San Elijo Hills. Games are from 1pm - 2pm. Coach Dan, the buddies and I are all looking forward to seeing you out there on the field! If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at

  • Villa de Vida, Inc. Update - Join our Healthy Lifestyles Classes and Social Events!!!
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info!!!

  • Pathfinder Fall 2019 Programs
  • Excited to announce our new vocational workshops this fall. Check us out! This is brand new!

    Even though the flyer states SDRC clients, it is open to anyone. For example, if a person's ITP in high school or ATP requires vocational training to access a paid internship or competitive integrated employment, this could be a support/service for the district to consider to help the student build an employment pathway!

    Learn more by visiting our webpage! Thank you! (We're all parents trying to create different solution to address the 86% unemployment of those with developmental disabilities!)

  • San Diego Park and Rec Program for the Disabled Fall Calendar
  • Click here for the Fall 2019 program calendar. The first day of registration is this Saturday, August 17 at 10 a.m.

    Registration can be done online at or at our office at the War Memorial Building (3325 Zoo Drive, San Diego, Ca 92101)

  • Game Night for Adults With Autism!
  • Fri, August 30, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: FREE

    The SDSU Center for Autism and the Self-Empowerment for Adults with Social Anxiety or ASD support group are hosting a game night and social for adults with autism. Join us for a fun-filled evening and meet new people! Bring your favorite board or card game. This event is FREE. We will have pizza and soft drinks too :)

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

  • ATPF End of Summer Family Activity Day
  • Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 8 AM - 11 AM
    Mariners Way, San Diego, CA 92109

    ATPF is excited to host our first ever End of Summer Family Activity Day! Join us for a fun and family-friendly day where kids can enjoy nature & more! Kids of ALL ages and swim abilities are welcome! Each kiddo will be paired with an ATPF Volunteer as their buddy for the day.

    To RSVP for your family, click here:

    For more information, contact or call 619-222-4465.

  • Jam Session Registration Now Open!
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info and registration!!!

  • 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.