Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. August 27, 2019

In This Issue

Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

Special Needs Motherhood: Why does this have to be so hard?

'They Get Fired All the Time. And They Have No Idea Why.'

Brain-body connection may ease autistic people's social problems

Autistic Teenager Creates App To Help People On The Spectrum

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Mingle - September 18th!

Announcing Statewide Conference on the Self-Determination Program - November 15-16!!!

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Hope For Your Struggling Communicator

The TERI Players present "Celebrating Who We Are"

Lights! Camera! Autism! - September 21st!

An Autism Parent's Guide to Back to School | August Newsletter

Banyon Tree Foundation Academy

Training for Independent Facilitator

Opportunity Night at ARTC on September 4th

San Diego Park and Rec Program for the Disabled Fall Calendar

New 2020 Trip Schedule


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

  • Special Needs Motherhood: Why does this have to be so hard?
  • My son woke up at 3:30 this morning, his brain ready for the day.

    He called me in and immediately began talking about chameleons - their habitats, their care in captivity, their coloring, about all the things chameleon. My eyes were barely open. 3:30 AM came way too soon.

    And through the groggy haze, I closed my eyes and thought, "Why does this have to be so hard?" Read on...

  • 'They Get Fired All the Time. And They Have No Idea Why.'
  • Pop culture lionizes the dazzling brilliance of money managers on the autism spectrum. Reality rarely measures up.

    Three weeks after I enrolled my youngest child in a neighborhood nursery school in Brooklyn, I got the call. An administrator and my child's lead teacher urgently wanted to meet with my husband and me.

    Our daughter, it turned out, was wandering out of the classroom. She wasn't making eye contact. She didn't respond to her name. She couldn't carry on a conversation with her teachers or classmates. She had poor fine motor skills. She didn't play with toys like others did. Most alarmingly, she wasn't socializing well - or at all - with other children. In short, it was impossible to teach her in a regular classroom setting.

    We were baffled. Those observations didn't square with the ebullient, extremely verbal child whose pediatrician had never raised any red flags about her social or emotional development. But at the school's urging, we had her evaluated through New York City's Department of Education. Looking for a diagnosis - something the DOE doesn't give for preschoolers - we also sought the advice of a developmental pediatrician, who confirmed what no one else would tell us: Our daughter was on the autism spectrum. Read on...

  • Brain-body connection may ease autistic people's social problems
  • For more than five decades, I have studied how our physiology influences mental processes and behavior. During this period, I have studied people - including autistic children - who have trouble regulating their behavior and emotions. Based on my research, I have developed a theory: The neural regulation of our bodily organs influences our emotional responses and behavior toward others and our environment.

    Many people with autism have difficulty regulating their behavior and emotions. Their initial reaction to threat is often anger, irritability or aggression that may be expressed as an uncontrollable tantrum. These responses constitute a fight-or-flight reaction that can be difficult to manage.

    My research has documented parallels between the autonomic system - the system that controls the fight-or-flight system and the functioning of our organs - and difficulties with learning and socializing1. Essentially, if we cannot regulate our physiological state, we cannot socialize and connect with others. Based on this, my team and I have developed an auditory therapy that can help autistic people feel safe enough to engage with the world. Read on...

  • Autistic Teenager Creates App To Help People On The Spectrum
  • An 18-year-old software developer has created an iOS app to help those on the autistic spectrum in their day-to-day lives. Ethan Shallcross, who has a form of autism and lives in the English town of Torquay, developed Aumi to enable people to manage their anxiety, monitor their mental health and reduce burnout. "The app has been built with people on the autism spectrum in mind, and his has influenced the design and functionality of the entire app," he says. "However, it is not just for people on the autism spectrum. People who have high anxiety, are frequently burnt out, or struggle with their mental health may also find it useful." 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

    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.

    Great Opportunity for College Student Interested in Autism
    Caregiver Wanted

    Looking for a female caregiver for my 23 year old adult daughter with high functioning autism. 13 hours per $17/hour. Assist with prompting to encourage laundry, good hygiene, nutrition, assist with food shopping, meal prep and medication refills/adherence. Also needs support at times with managing schoolwork and planning. Must have reliable transportation, good DMV record, proof of insurance and be willing to complete a background check. References also required. Most important is a positive, supportive attitude with good boundaries! She resides in Carlsbad and hours would mostly occur on weekdays after 4:00 PM and weekends. Contact Debra Berl at or 619 672-8893 to apply.

    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!!!

  • Announcing Statewide Conference on the Self-Determination Program - November 15-16!!!
  • Click here for all the info and to register. Cost is $195, but is vendored by SDRC and the conference is in Culver City, CA!

  • 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

  • Hope For Your Struggling Communicator
  • Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    RBCPC 17010 Pomerado Rd, San Diego, CA 92128

    Do you have a loved one with Autism who is a struggling communicator. There is hope. You may be curious, what is Spelling to Communicate? S2C teaches individuals with motor challenges the purposeful motor skills necessary to point to letters to spell as an alternative means of communication (AAC). The goal is to achieve synchrony between the brain and body. Skilled and rigorously trained communication partners teach purposeful motor skills using a hierarchy of verbal and gestural prompts. As motor skills improve through consistent practice, students progress from pointing to letters on letterboards to spell to typing on a keyboard. Accordingly, communication moves from concrete to abstract as motor skills progress. At this TACA presentation Dawnmarie will review all the fundamentals and more of S2C. Join us!

    Dawnmarie Gaivin is a San Diego based S2C Practitioner who comes to us with a background in nursing, DIR/Floortime and parenting two spectacular teenage boys, Evan & Trey. Evan (16) is a nonspeaking autistic who spells to communicate and his younger brother Trey (14) is a minimally-speaking autistic who is currently learning S2C. Click here for all the info!!!

  • The TERI Players present "Celebrating Who We Are"
  • It's the TERI PLAYERS 10th Anniversary and we invite you to celebrate with us at a family-friendly performance on Friday, October 4th, 7:00 PM-curtain, at the Star Theatre, Oceanside.

    "Celebrating Who We Are" will be a compilation of favorite scenes and songs from the last 10 years, performed by the TERI Players actors and musicians with special needs.


    Limited VIP seats - get yours before they sell out!

  • Lights! Camera! Autism! - September 21st!
  • FOR INFORMATION AND TICKET PURCHASE, CLICK HERE -- $20 in advance--$35 at the door

    Join us for an evening of celebration as we showcase the artistic talent of local autistic individuals! Your ticket includes a hosted wine, beer and appetizer reception during our art exhibition featuring 19 artists. A classical musical performance by pianist Michael Dendel will also accompany the art reception. Then join us for screenings of films produced and starring autistic individuals, including: the short film Ascent by Canyon Crest Academy students; short clips and post-production vignettes by Exceptional Minds of Los Angeles; and our feature film for the event, Autism Goes to College!

    This special evening is designed for persons over 14 years of age.

  • An Autism Parent's Guide to Back to School | August Newsletter
  • Click here to read their August Newsletter!!!

  • Banyon Tree Foundation Academy
  • Our mission is to provide innovative school programs and therapies that promote social, emotional, and academic development for children who learn differently.

    We move students from feelings of failure and being overwhelmed to feelings of accomplishment- ready to engage in learning. We meet students where they are, not where we want them to be. We work 1:1 or 1:2 until a student is ready for small groups and classroom participation. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Training for Independent Facilitator
  • Do you speak a language other than English? Are you interested in becoming an Independent Facilitator for the Self Determination Program? If you answered yes to both, you may be eligible for free Independent Facilitator training sponsored by DVU & Autism Society of Los Angeles. Apply here by September 3! ->

  • Opportunity Night at ARTC on September 4th

    Are you a professional who is passionate about Autism? If so, and you'd like to learn about opportunities in our collaborative care environment in Rancho Bernardo or you'd like to network with others in the autism community, join us for an informative meeting at Autism Resource & Treatment Center. Pizza and drinks will be provided and you'll get to tour our center that will open in October. ARTC provides resources and treatments to all ages on the autism spectrum. Click here or all the info and to RSVP!!!

  • 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)

  • New 2020 Trip Schedule
  • Click here to view their latest newsletter for all the info about upcoming events and trips for adults with special needs!!!

  • 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.