Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. October 01, 2019

In This Issue

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Can marijuana help treat autism symptoms? A new study aims to find out

Genetic registry reaps bounty of new autism genes

Finding My "Normal"

DNA deletion boosts odds of autism, especially in girls

Can Neurofeedback Help People With Autism With Processing Issues?

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

THIS SATURDAY!!! - Autism Speaks San Diego Walk 2019

FREE!! IEP Evaluation Day - October 5th

Microcurrent: FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety

Connections KIDS CLASS - Starts Tuesday, October 15th

Social Skills Groups at Ascent Psychological Services

Sunshine Ranch's Fall Festival & Fundraiser

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

AITP San Diego's 4th Annual Charity Golf Tournament Benefitting NFAR!

Behavior Specialist Consultant

Coffee with Crystal: Let's Talk IEP Assessments

FREE!!! Writing Right IEP Goals

FREE!!! Focus Group for Parents of Individuals with Autism

2 Full Time Job Openings at TERI, Inc!


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!

  • Can marijuana help treat autism symptoms? A new study aims to find out
  • Tucked away in the quiet English countryside on more than 47 acres, GW Pharmaceuticals is doing something no other drug company can do: produce the only cannabis-based medication ever approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

    That drug, a treatment for two rare types of epilepsy, inspired researchers to consider what other conditions cannabis might help. A new clinical trial at Montefiore Medical Center in New York will examine the effect of a cannabis compound called cannabidivarin, known as CBDV, on irritability and repetitive behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder. CBDV is a non-psychoactive chemical compound and does not cause a "high."

    CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta was given exclusive access to the Montefiore study and GW Pharmaceuticals, the British biopharmaceutical company that grows the cannabis used in the trials. Read on...

  • Genetic registry reaps bounty of new autism genes
  • An analysis of genetic sequences from nearly 500 people with autism and their relatives has linked 13 new genes to the condition1. It has also uncovered a genetic cause for autism in about 10 percent of the autistic participants.

    The results are the first to emerge from SPARK, launched in 2016 to collect genetic sequences and other information from 50,000 families that have at least one child with autism. (SPARK is funded by the Simons Foundation, Spectrum's parent organization.)

    SPARK researchers analyze DNA from mailed saliva samples and medical information participants provide. Other large-scale sequencing projects have relied on clinical evaluations and blood draws, which take more time, money and effort. Read on...

  • Finding My "Normal"
  • With kids returning to school, my early experiences come to mind and so does the longing for kids to be allowed to 'just be' who they are, with no one getting to decide what normal is.

    Growing up, I never bothered looking at people long enough to see them as anything other than blurry models out of Matisse paintings; jumbled but interesting. I especially hated pictures of relatives hanging on walls. You could never avoid their staring gazes. I'd dash past the eyes; usually looking right into your own.

    I also couldn't sit in vinyl chairs, eat mushy things, flush the toilet when I was stressed (the guttural noise at times terrifying), step on the black parts of the linoleum, wear noisy "click-clack" shoes or take showers (as opposed to baths.) Read on...

  • DNA deletion boosts odds of autism, especially in girls
  • The loss of 21 genes on chromosome 3 substantially raises the risk of autism, a new study suggests1.

    The so-called 3q29 deletion increases schizophrenia risk by as much as 40-fold, but also appears to increase the risk of autism by 16-fold in males and 34-fold in females.

    The deletion is associated with some social problems - but not reduced social motivation - as well as repetitive behaviors and restricted interests even among people who do not have autism. The research is based on data from 93 people with the variant, the largest such group studied so far.

    "The 10,000-foot view from our paper is that the 3q29 deletion comes with social disability - a spectrum of social disability that sometimes is severe enough to be called autism," says lead researcher Jennifer Mulle, associate professor of human genetics at Emory University in Atlanta. "But it's a really unique profile of autism or social disability." Read on...

  • Can Neurofeedback Help People With Autism With Processing Issues?
  • Approaches that help autism are widely varied and individualized. Autistic symptoms are also unique to the individual, although they tend to fall into clusters or patterns. So where does it all come together? We know that all of these approaches affect the autistic's brain, and most of the symptoms emerge from the brain as a result of some sort of malfunction.

    So, it makes sense to look at methods that can improve the functioning of the brain to see if they can help improve autistic issues. One group of methods that has been gaining popularity recently is brainwave biofeedback or neurofeedback.

    I will provide an overview of the various types of neurofeedback that have been used and give you an idea about the important questions and possible answers to consider. Later, I will suggest that a more direct effect on a particular system in the brain can be particularly helpful. Read on...

    (Note from Valerie: My son has severe autism, ADHD and anxiety and was not able to do neurofeedback, so I tried Microcurrent several years ago, which is pretty much the same thing but more passive, and the spine is treated. After four months of therapy, his anxiety was practically gone, also his ADHD symptoms. His auditory processing also improved. He still has autism but his quality of life has greatly improved and he is off one med and reduced antipsychotic med. It works. Microcurrent 4 Kids ad is below.)

  • 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.

  • THIS SATURDAY!!! - Autism Speaks San Diego Walk 2019
  • Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 9 AM - 1 PM
    Liberty Station NTC Park
    2455 Cushing Rd., San Diego, California 92106

    SAVE THE DATE and REGISTER Today! Walk site is open for individual and team registrations for the 2019 Autism Speaks' San Diego Walk on 10/5/2019

    Event includes local service provider resources, sponsor booths, Kids Zone, live entertainment and a beautiful 5k walk along NTC park waterfront.

    General registration at 9:00am
    Opening Ceremonies 10:00am
    Walk start time 10:30am
    Event activities are open until 1pm.

    Register as an individual walker or start a team!
    Teams will get to compete in friendly team competions and challenges leading up to the event. Teams who raise $2500 or more are eligible for Team Village. Individuals can qualify for a variety of gifts based on achieving fundraising milestones. Raise $150 earn the official 2019 Autism Speaks Walk shirt, exclusively designed by Tommy Hilfiger!

    Event is FREE to register but fundraising is encouraged! Our walks are the major fundraising vehicle for Autism Speaks. Funds raised are critical to continue providing support to thousands of individuals locally, nationally and around the world.

  • 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

  • Microcurrent: FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety
  • Safer Than Prescription Medication for Anxiety and ADHD/ADD and the Effects are Permanent!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids is San Diego's premiere pediatric microcurrent therapy program for children, teens and adults with special needs. Our program is the BEST therapy for Autism & ADHD, as you will see by the rapid improvement in your child's skills and abilities, because of how well it promotes developmental growth and couples with ALL other therapies.

    Some of the neuro-developmental issues we commonly see include:

    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • Anxiety
    • Sensory Processing Disorder
    • Depression
    • ADD/ADHD
    • And many more!
    Our program uses the most advanced microcurrent device on the market today, the Electro-Equiscope. Call 858-367-9108 for a free consultation!!!

    Microcurrent 4 Kids
    4540 Kearny Villa Road, Ste. 211
    San Diego, CA 92123

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!!!

  • AITP San Diego's 4th Annual Charity Golf Tournament Benefitting NFAR!
  • Fri, October 11, 2019
    11:00 AM - 7:30 PM
    Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
    2100 Costa Del Mar Rd.
    Carlsbad, CA 92009

    The Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) is hosting their 4th annual Celebrity Golf Tournament and NFAR is honored to have been chosen as a beneficiary!

    They have a fantastic day planned! Enjoy 18 holes of golf in the best ball scramble format on their Champions/Legends Golf Course. Bring your boss, co-workers & friends for a great day of golf at one of San Diego's premier semi-private courses!

    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!!!

  • FREE!!! Writing Right IEP Goals
  • Wed, October 9, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court, #250
    San Diego, CA 92120

    In this presentation by a special education attorney and advocate with autism, parents/caretakers of students with disabilities will be informed of differences between IEPs and 504s, receive tips about navigating IEP meetings, and learn what goes into writing measurable annual goals.

    Workshop Learning Objectives:1) Understand differences between an IEP and a 504 Plan.2) Understand what an IEP is.3) Learn about the school district's Child Find Obligation.4) Learn what goes into writing good IEP goals.5) Learn some tips about preparing for an IEP meeting. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • FREE!!! Focus Group for Parents of Individuals with Autism
  • Thu, October 10, 2019
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court, #250
    San Diego, CA 92120

    The SDSU Center for Autism is committed to being the community centric autism center in San Diego. We are asking for parents of individuals with autism to participate in a focus group that will look at how the SDSU Center for Autism can better serve the community's needs.

    Specifically, we want to understand what types of seminars, workshops, and social activities would best serve to improve your family's skills and quality of life. Once we understand what interests you have, we will be able to modify and create seminars, workshops, and social activities that are more in line with the community's needs. You have a better understanding of what is needed for the autism community to thrive than we do. That is why we are talking with you.

    Participants are asked to RSVP in order to participate. This focus group will be limited to 10 participants. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • 2 Full Time Job Openings at TERI, Inc!
  • The Equestrian Vocational Instructor works at our San Marcos Therapeutic Equestrian site with a small group of adult students who have an interest in working with horses and in obtaining the skills necessary to work in an equestrian environment. Job includes overseeing their job duties and helping them to learn professional skills that will help them gain employment. This individual works closely with the Therapeutic Equestrian team.

    Shift: Full-time, Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 3:00pm
    Salary: $12.00 - $13.00/hour+ eligible increases every 6 months + Benefits

    Skills/ Requirements:1 year related experience preferred, and experience working with horses, HS/GED, acceptable driving history & criminal background check, and ability to obtain a Class B Driver's License is required, and must receive a negative marijuana/drug screen.

    · Health, Dental, Vision
    · Complementary on-site fitness center with group fitness classes including yoga, spinning and Pilates
    · Comprehensive wellness program and participation incentives
    · Healthy lunches prepared on-site daily
    · Safety Incentive Rewards
    · Educational Assistance/Scholarships
    · Student Loan Repayment Program
    · Long-Term & Short-Term Disability Insurance
    · Life Insurance

    Please visit our website to apply online:


    For the Art Instructor position, we are looking for a teaching artist to provide adaptive art experiences for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This job involves working with a variety of skill levels to teach basic skills, support individual and collaborative art projects, collaborate with talented art staff, and provide direct support to individuals in classes.

    Shift: Full-time, Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 3:30pm
    Salary: $15.00 - $16.00/hour + eligible increases every 6 months + Benefits.

    Skills/ Requirements: Bachelor's in art/art education preferred,1 yr. related work experience demonstrating success at providing and leading art activities for children and/or adults and writing lesson plans, and criminal history background check. Minimum 2 years acceptable driving history & ability to obtain Class B Driver's License required.

    Benefits: · Health, Dental, Vision
    · Complementary on-site fitness center with group fitness classes including yoga, spinning and pilates
    · Comprehensive wellness program and participation incentives
    · Healthy lunches prepared on-site daily
    · Safety Incentive Rewards
    · Educational Assistance/Scholarships
    · Student Loan Repayment Program
    · Long-Term & Short-Term Disability Insurance
    · Life Insurance

    Please visit our website to apply:

  • 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.