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

In This Issue

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Apparent new rise in autism may not reflect true prevalence

NIH announces funding awards for national early psychosis learning community

10 Steps to an Allergy-Safe School Year

Perturbed genes regulating white blood cells linked to autism genetics and severity

Researchers identify metabolic cycles in baby teeth linked to ADHD and autism in children

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Workshop on Non Public Schools and Options

Jason Mraz Audition for Malashock Dance

Social Communication Specialists

Connections KIDS CLASS - Starts Tuesday, October 15th

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Grant Applications Due October 9th

FREE!! - ATPF 5th Annual Neuroscience Conference

West Coast National TACA Autism Conference

Behavior Specialist Consultant

Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk IEP Assessments

Sunshine Ranch's Fall Festival & Fundraiser

NFAR WORKS Vocational Training Program!

FREE!! IEP Evaluation Day - October 5th

Register Today for the 37th Annual HGH Charity Golf Classic!


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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!

  • Apparent new rise in autism may not reflect true prevalence
  • New statistics on autism prevalence in the United States suggest a dramatic rise in the number of children with the condition. But it is unlikely that these numbers reflect a true rise in prevalence, experts say.

    Autism prevalence in the U.S. rose from 1 in 91 children in 2009 to 1 in 40 in 2017, according to survey results published today in Pediatrics1. The condition is most often diagnosed in white children, those living in urban settings and those who have any government-funded insurance, the study also shows.

    The results are based on telephone or in-person interviews with the parents of 88,530 children aged 3 to 17 years, collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of its National Health Interview Survey. The numbers are higher than the 1-in-59 prevalence that the CDC reported last year; that study analyzed health and education records from 2014 for children in 11 states - generally considered to be more reliable than parent surveys. Read on...

  • NIH announces funding awards for national early psychosis learning community
  • NIH-funded research projects aim to improve quality of care and patient outcomes while speeding advances in early psychosis services and science.

    The National Institutes of Health awarded six research grants for studies to develop a learning health care system for the treatment of early psychosis. The awards are part of a broad research initiative called Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET), which aims to develop models for the effective delivery of coordinated specialty care (CSC) services for early psychosis. The grants are administered by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of NIH.

    The word psychosis is used to describe conditions that affect the mind, where there has been some loss of contact with reality. About 100,000 youth and young adults in the United States experience a first episode of psychosis each year. Left untreated, psychotic symptoms can lead to disruptions in school and work, strained family relations, and separation from friends. The longer the symptoms go untreated, the greater the risk of additional problems. Read on...

  • 10 Steps to an Allergy-Safe School Year
  • For parents of children with food allergies, starting a new school year can seem daunting. As the mom of a daughter with celiac disease, I know how overwhelming food allergies are at times. To ensure a safe, positive school year that meets the needs of a food allergic child, follow these tips from moms and experts who've been there.

    Communicate Early
    The best time to communicate with teachers is early in the school year, before classroom celebration policies are established for the year.

    Build a Team
    A team invested in supporting your child includes teachers, coaches and the school nurse. Tiffany Hinton, mom of three daughters with celiac disease and several food allergies, and founder of GF Mom Certified, meets with all teachers and the nurse at the beginning of each school year. She suggests supplying the nurse with necessary items such as EpiPens and allergy medication. Read on...

  • Perturbed genes regulating white blood cells linked to autism genetics and severity
  • Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine say they are getting closer to identifying the mechanisms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and biomarkers that can aid in early diagnosis and predictions of symptom severity.

    A team of scientists analyzed blood gene expression data from 302 one- to four-year-old boys with and without the diagnosis of ASD. They uncovered a critical gene network that is disrupted in ASD, noting that the perturbed gene network is related to fetal brain development and also dysregulated in ASD cellular models.

    The findings, published online September 23, 2019 in Nature Neuroscience, suggest genetic factors influencing brain development during pregnancy are a primary cause of ASD. Read on...

  • Researchers identify metabolic cycles in baby teeth linked to ADHD and autism in children
  • Mount Sinai researchers have identified elemental signatures in baby teeth that are unique to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, and cases when both neurodevelopment conditions are present, which suggests that the metabolic regulation of nutrients and toxins play a role in these diseases, according to a study published in Translational Psychiatry in September.

    The researchers used baby teeth to reconstruct prenatal and early-life exposures to nutrients and toxic elements in neurotypical children and children with autism, ADHD, or ADHD and autism. They found that each condition has a unique metabolic signature, which shows a combination of dysregulation in metabolic pathways involving essential and toxic elements. 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.

  • Workshop on Non Public Schools and Options
  • Hosted NFAR and the Law Offices of Schwartz & Storey

    Tue, October 1, 2019
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    Thurgood Marshall Middle School Auditorium
    9700 Avenue of Nations
    San Diego, CA 92131

    Please join us for an overview of non-public and educational options offered in San Diego for students with autism and other types of related disabilities.

    We will have a great line-up of some of the newest as well as established non public schools in our community. Come learn about their curriculums, student body and what makes each of these educational venues unique.

    Plan to arrive by 6 pm to visit the booths before the presentations begin at 6:30 pm. There will be time after the presentations to visit the booths again.

    Registration is free, but we ask that you register. Click here to register!!!

  • Jason Mraz Audition for Malashock Dance
  • Malashock Dance is hosting an open audition for standardly AND differently-abled students to perform in 2 original dances with Jason Mraz in February of 2020.

    Audition details:
    Sunday, October 6 from 2:30-4: 30 pm
    Location: Malashock Dance, 2650 Truxtun Rd, Room 200 (Located in Liberty Station), San Diego, CA, 92106
    Audition Requirements: Please wear athletic gear and running/athletic shoes. The audition may also be barefoot depending on the choreography.

    I have attached the FB event and our Webpage below. We are asking all students to please RSVP for the audition.



  • 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

  • Connections KIDS CLASS - Starts Tuesday, October 15th
  • We are pleased to announce our latest CONNECTIONS class, designed specifically for kids ages 9-12 on the autism spectrum.

    Taught by our newest instructor Betsy Woods, the class uses improv comedy to teach social skills in a fun and funny environment.

    The class runs on Tuesday afternoons from 4:30-6:00 pm beginning on October 15th. For more information and to register click here.

  • 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

  • Grant Applications Due October 9th
  • Our next grant application deadline is October 9th. We are looking for transportation, employment and self advocacy programs that empower people with developmental disabilities. If you feel your organization would benefit from our funding please click here to download the grant application, or contact Sitara Sethi, Director of Programs and Development at

  • FREE!! - ATPF 5th Annual Neuroscience Conference
  • Friday, November 1, 2019 at 8 AM - 7 PM
    Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine
    2880 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, San Diego, California 92037

    Our goal in creating the ATPF Annual Neuroscience Conference in 2015 was to build a heart connection between the families we serve every day and the world class Neuroscience community, right here on the Mesa, right here in San Diego. Since then, this one-day annual conference has become one of San Diego's premiere events that offers a forum for neuroscientists and forward-thinking business and community leaders to come together and learn more about synergy here in San Diego, while making significant advancements in the autism field. Our annual Conference is Chaired by Dr. Alysson Muotri and Moderated by Roger Bingham.

    Register for FREE here:

  • West Coast National TACA Autism Conference
  • October 18 - 20, 2019 at 8 AM - 9 PM
    Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa
    3050 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, California 92626

    Join hundreds of parents and professionals to learn the latest in research, treatment options and therapies for individuals with autism. The National TACA Autism West Coast Conference will feature three days, and now four tracks of presentations to cover all aspects and levels of the autism journey. Topics will include special diets, therapies, beginner and advanced biomedical treatments, IEP, inspiration, navigating adulthood, and much more. Whether your child is recently diagnosed or you have years of experience, you will walk away from the conference with a plan for the next steps of your autism journey. For all the info and to register:

  • Behavior Specialist Consultant
  • For more info please contact Sari Kuperstein at or 754-215-2219.

  • Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk IEP Assessments
  • Tue, October 8, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    Sanford Autism Consulting Office
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: $10

    Join me for coffee, tea, and snacks as we discuss your biggest concerns about Autism and IEPs. This will be a relaxed and casual environment.

    This month we will discuss IEP assessments. Learn what to look for if your child is being evaluated for the first time, or in their three year review. My overall goal is to help parents persistently pursue what is best for their children at school. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Sunshine Ranch's Fall Festival & Fundraiser
  • Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 2 PM - 6 PM
    Heartland Ranch
    12139 Moreno Ave, Lakeside, California 92040

    Our annual Fall Festival Fundraiser will feature pony rides, petting zoo, pumpkin patch, carnival, chuckwagon BBQ, silent auction, raffle prizes, & so much more! Proceeds from this event help us keep our costs low for our therapeutic riding students year-round.

    Founded on April 26, 2012, Sunshine Ranch's Mission is to provide accessible, high-quality instruction in therapeutic horsemanship to improve the physical, mental, and social abilities of children and adults with special needs. For more info please contact Stephanie Mitchell at

  • 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.

  • FREE!! IEP Evaluation Day - October 5th
  • RSVP is required by emailing or calling 858-945-6621.
    Hosted by attorney Thomas Nelson. For more info please visit

  • Register Today for the 37th Annual HGH Charity Golf Classic!
  • Friday, October 25, 2019 at 7 AM - 5 PM
    Maderas Golf Club
    17750 Old Coach Road, Poway, California 92064

    Tee up with us for what is sure to be a fantastic day out at the beautiful Maderas Golf Club.

    Enjoy 18 holes of golf, craft beers on the course, 3 advantage games including the hot shot air cannon, plus a chance to win a Mazda 3!

    Breakfast snacks, lunch and on-course food vendors will be available to all players. A prime rib dinner reception will follow.

    Your participation in this fun-filled day supports more than 3,800 men, women and children with developmental and intellectual disabilities who count on Home of Guiding Hands 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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

  • 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.