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

In This Issue

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Correct Link This Time: How the mother of an autistic man helped change state law on driver's licenses

Cartoon Network To Mentor Individuals With Autism

Autism findings: Some better at interpreting facial expressions than previously thought

Whole-genome study lifts veil on inheritance patterns in autism

How Bullying May Shape Adolescent Brains

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

NFAR's Engage & Connect Program at Kid Ventures!

Teen Leadership Board at Friendship Circle San Diego

Social Communication Specialists

Empowered Parenting: Identifying the Missing Links

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

TAG in Temecula

Social Skills Groups at Ascent Psychological Services

Psychotherapy at Ascent Psychological Services

Yoga in the Park Day for Adults with Autism

Segal Speech and Language September Newsletter

Fall Family Camp - Weekend

NFAR WORKS Vocational Training Program!

NFAR Teacher Awards - Due September 30th

NFAR Community Projects for 2020 - Due September 30th


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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!

  • Correct Link This Time: How the mother of an autistic man helped change state law on driver's licenses
  • In the spring of 2018, Kelly Richardson's 18-year-old autistic son, Hunter, was pulled over by police in Salem while driving home from work.

    "This is like an autism parent's worst nightmare," Kelly Richardson said.

    Hunter Richardson had rolled through a red light to turn right as he left the parking lot of the Walmart on North Broadway, where he worked.

    When the officer approached him and began asking him questions, he became overwhelmed and the officer thought his behavior was "odd," Kelly Richardson said.

    Her son "wasn't sure how to react," she said.

    Adding to a situation fraught with anxiety and communication barriers, the officer was a plainclothes detective in an unmarked vehicle, Kelly Richardson said. Correct Link...

  • Cartoon Network To Mentor Individuals With Autism
  • A new effort launching this week is pairing people on the spectrum with mentors from Cartoon Network Studios.

    The studio, which produces content for Cartoon Network, said it will team up with Exceptional Minds, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that trains individuals with autism to work in animation, postproduction and visual effects.

    More than 20 second- and third-year students at Exceptional Minds will be assigned mentors to learn about storyboarding, prop design and more over the course of three months, Cartoon Network Studios said. Read on...

  • Autism findings: Some better at interpreting facial expressions than previously thought
  • The ability of people with autism to read what someone is feeling or thinking by looking at their eyes and face may have been underestimated, according to research conducted by a developmental psychology expert from London's Kingston University.

    Autism is a condition that affects social communication and it is widely believed people on the autism spectrum find reading expressions particularly challenging. Yet a new study by senior lecturer in developmental psychology Dr. Elisa Back, from the University's Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, suggests this is not always the case.

    The findings have important implications for healthcare and education professionals working with children and young people with autism. "This is a controversial area of research, as there are conflicting findings from previous studies," Dr. Back said. "It is important to go beyond the question of whether young people with autism have the ability to recognise complex emotions or mental states from faces to also investigate exactly how they infer these mental states. Does initial attraction to particular areas of the face and the use of subsequent processing strategies differ in young people on the autism spectrum compared to those who are neurotypical?" Read on...

  • Whole-genome study lifts veil on inheritance patterns in autism
  • An analysis of whole-genome sequences from nearly 500 families has implicated 16 new genes in autism1. In all of these genes, some mutations are passed from neurotypical parents to their autistic children.

    Most studies of autism genetics focus on families in which only one child has autism. Autism in these so-called 'simplex' families is often associated with de novo variants, which arise spontaneously in the egg or sperm or shortly after conception. But these mutations are rare, explaining less than 10 percent of autism cases. And they do not account for autism that runs in families.

    The families in the new study are 'multiplex,' meaning they include two or more children on the spectrum. The genes implicated in the study are distinct from those identified in studies of simplex families, but they seem to work in some of the same molecular pathways. Read on...

  • How Bullying May Shape Adolescent Brains
  • While studies have long focused on bullying's impact on the body and nervous system, research suggests it may affect victims' brain structure, too.

    IN RECENT years, a steadily increasing volume of data has demonstrated that peer victimization - the clinical term for bullying - impacts hundreds of millions of children and adolescents, with the effects sometimes lasting years and, possibly, decades. The problem is even recognized as a global health challenge by the World Health Organization and the United Nations. And yet, researchers maintain there is still a limited understanding of how the behavior may physically shape the developing brain.

    Bullying is usually defined as repeated and intentional verbal, physical, and anti-social behavior that seeks to intimidate, harm, or marginalize someone perceived as smaller, weaker, or less powerful. Among younger children, common forms of bullying include abusive language and physical harm. This behavior may grow subtler with age as adolescent bullies routinely exclude, insult, and mock their targets. Sometimes this behavior escalates into "mobbing" among groups of bullies in school, work, or cyberspace. 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.

    I have a very experienced and amazing therapist that wants to start a social group with at least 3 autistic children. We would want the kids between the ages of 10-12 years old, have language, minimal behaviors but struggle with social interactions at school. This will be a fun group that will go to places and do age-appropriate activities. The cost will be $40 for 2-hours per person and the plan so far is to do it once a week, but I need to have at least two other kiddos to make it happen.

    Please contact me via email at if you are interested

    One of my son's caregivers (who I highly recommend) is looking for additional part-time hours, ideally 3-4 days per week, and is available now. She has a bachelor's degree in Therapeutic Recreation and a minor in Child Development and loves working with kids of all abilities. Her career path includes working in Special Education classrooms as an assistant teacher. She is experienced in working with individuals with Autism, developmental delays, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and speech impairments.

    She owns a vehicle, has a clean driving record, and is both CPR and First Aid certified. Additional positive attributes include:

    Fluency in Spanish
    A patient, kind demeanor
    Ability to adapt easily and highly organized

    The days and times she is available are:
    Monday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Tuesday 6:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Wednesday 6:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Thursday 6:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Her rate is $20/hr. Please call or text her at (507) 217-0583 for more information.
    Tracey Franks

    Hi - My daughter just had her SSI benefits cut and I would like to discuss this with someone versed in the subject as soon as possible. Thanks!

    I am looking for a psycho-therapist for a young woman on the spectrum, diagnosed with aspergers. The woman is 21 years old and has behavioral problems including tantrums, meltdowns and yelling which make it challenging for her family to live with her, so we are seeking help. If anyone has any info about excellent therapists who work with such individuals I would be grateful for any leads or referrals. Amy Gerstler

    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's Engage & Connect Program at Kid Ventures!
  • Engage & Connect is a program for the whole family of children with autism, ages 2-8. Activities include circle time, motor skills, and fun activities meant to increase engagement in a fun filled, creative environment.

    Our next 4 week session begins on Thursday, October 3 and runs for 4 consecutive sessions. (10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24) Session are 5:15pm-6:30pm.

    Location: Kid Ventures - 4S Ranch, 10760 Thornmint Rd, San Diego 92127

    To sign up for our next session, please contact us at (858) 679-8800 or email

  • Teen Leadership Board at Friendship Circle San Diego
  • 5 Dates - Oct 6, 2019 - May 17, 2020
    The Bean - @ The JCC

    Looking to go above & beyond with in a leadership role? FRIENDSHIP Circle is accepting OUTSTANDING teen leaders. Previous volunteerism experience with FC required.

    Plan events - create new programs - help others - scholarship opportunities - earn community service hours.

    For more info please contact Tanya at

  • Social Communication Specialists

  • 2019 - 2020 Communication & Executive Functioning Groups Enrolling Now! Groups for all ages including young adults!

    At Social Communication Specialists, we help socially quirky kids, teens and young adults communicate, relate and connect.

    We understand the social challenges kids face today. In order to have healthy friendships, kids need to understand not just the "how", but the "why" of social interactions.

    For all the info about our groups please email Janet Dudley at or click here.

    Social Communication Specialists
    5703 Oberlin Dr, Ste 207
    San Diego, CA 92121
    (858) 558-9552

  • Empowered Parenting: Identifying the Missing Links
  • Starting Saturday, September 28, 2019
    2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    The Center for Health and Human Potential
    6342 Riverdale Street
    San Diego, CA 92120

    Supporting the growth of special needs families
    Self care is paramount for the well-being of the family unit. Guilt, stress, confusion and an overall lack of energy can affect each family member. Identify your missing links and reconnect with a purpose beyond parenting to improve the quality of your family's life.

    Shift your perspective. Gain clarity. Create a roadmap. 12 hours of learning! The cost of the entire program is the same for one or two parents!! Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • 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

  • TAG in Temecula
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    3537 Ridgepark Drive
    Temecula, CA 92590
    Phone: (858) 689-2027

  • Social Skills Groups at Ascent Psychological Services
  • An 8 week program that takes an innovative approach to create natural, exciting social opportunities through discovery and exploration in interaction with peers.

    Ascent Psychological Services
    11665 Avena Place, Suite 204
    San Diego, CA 92128
    (858) 200-8480

    Please call to join our waitlist for group availability at our south location and upcoming group for Ages 3-7!

  • Psychotherapy at Ascent Psychological Services
  • Our flexible, developmental approach to psychotherapy is customized based on age, preferences and needs. We offer therapy in our office or while walking about the lake at Webb Park, behind our building, which may be beneficial for adults.

    Ascent Psychological Services
    11665 Avena Place, Suite 204
    San Diego, CA 92128
    (858) 200-8480

  • Yoga in the Park Day for Adults with Autism
  • Sat, September 28, 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 September 28th. 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. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Segal Speech and Language September Newsletter
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info about their programs!!!

  • Fall Family Camp - Weekend
  • Oct 4 at 4 PM - Oct 6 at 11 AM
    YMCA Camp Marston
    4761 Pine Hills Rd, Julian, California 92036

    Join us for our Fall Family Camp on Friday, October 4th through Sunday, October 6th! The YMCA of San Diego County Overnight Camps and Autism Society San Diego have teamed up to provide families who are part of the autism community with a fun weekend in the mountains of Julian. Family time is important and there's no better place to make friends and be yourself than YMCA Camp Marston! All meals and activities are included, and we can accommodate special diets with advanced notice. Accommodations are in newly remodeled winterized cabins with indoor plumbing! Each family gets their own indoor bedroom with sleeping accommodations for up to 6. Open to families and children of all ages - come join us for a weekend of relaxing fun!

    Registration and more information at:

    You must have submitted a registration and received confirmation in order to attend. For scholarship information, please contact YMCA Camp Marston directly at 760-765-0642 and ask to speak with Otilia Cervantes.

  • NFAR WORKS Vocational Training Program!
  • 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.

    NFAR Works is vendored through the San Diego Regional Center.

    To learn more about the program, and/or fill out an Interest Form here or call NFAR at 858-679-8800.

  • NFAR Teacher Awards - Due September 30th
  • Attention Teachers, Speech & Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Resource & Autism specialists, serving students with autism and related disorders...

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

    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.

    Completed applications are due on September 30th. To learn more/apply, please visit

  • NFAR Community Projects for 2020 - Due September 30th
  • Each year, funds raised by the Race for Autism help to support autism programs and new initiatives in our community. Together, we have supported over 90 major initiatives, increasing the learning, social, training and employment opportunities for those with autism in San Diego.

    "NEW" - NFAR is working to build a more inclusive San Diego. Proposals are sought for initiatives that are helping to include those with autism into the mainstream fabric of San Diego's community. These can have an educational, employment or leisure based focus. Neurodiversity has been shown to create more dynamic, creative and accepting environments for all persons. THIS YEAR, we are asking for Letters of Intent from applicants for initiatives that align with this vision of building a more inclusive community. Click here for all the info and to apply!!! Due September 30th!!!

  • 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

  • San Diego Park and Rec Program for the Disabled Fall Calendar

  • Click here for the Fall 2019 program calendar. Registration is open now!

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

  • TAG Temecula Info Session Online Webinar Every Month

  • For all the info and to RSVP please contact Emily Fattouh Program Coordinator at or call 858-689-2027.

  • 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.