Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. October 11, 2019

In This Issue

Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

U.S. funnels funds into research related to autistic adults

On YouTube, people with disabilities create content to show and normalize their experiences

At Risk in the Culture of 'Normal'

CTN Animation eXpo Spotlights Inclusion with Exceptional Minds

California launches 1st statewide mental health line which will be toll-free, staffed daily

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

NFAR Family Activity at theNAT! - October 13th

All Ages Halloween Dance Party

Microcurrent: FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety

FREE!! - Autism Begins in Fetal Development and is Largely Caused by Genetic Factors

Social Skills Groups at Ascent Psychological Services

Early Start Denver Model at Ascent Psychological Services

In-Touch Day Program

Hearts & Hooves Therapy Workshop for ATPF Families

Ride Above Disability Therapeutic Riding Center

FREE!!! - Special Needs Parent Training

Beers & Cheers for Autism

NFAR WORKS Vocational Training Program!


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!

  • U.S. funnels funds into research related to autistic adults
  • The U.S. government has injected $1.8 billion into autism research with a potential new focus: adults on the spectrum. The funds are slated for efforts to detect autism, develop treatments and educate physicians, but not for new services or quality-of-life improvements for autistic people.

    President Donald Trump in late September authorized a five-year extension of the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act. The 2014 act dedicated funds to "children with autism spectrum disorder," but the new version includes adults.

    "It's pretty notable that's getting called out as a priority for the first time," says Paul Shattuck, associate professor at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "I hope to see this translate to a shake-up in funding priorities." Read on...

  • On YouTube, people with disabilities create content to show and normalize their experiences
  • Ruby Ardolf, 14, has her own YouTube channel, featuring familiar aspects of a teen's daily life and merchandise with messages of kindness and inclusion.

    But Ruby is not a typical teen vlogger. She is disabled - one of 12 people worldwide with a genetic condition called Stromme syndrome, which results in microcephaly (small brain), and impaired vision and motor functioning.

    YouTube channels by and about disabled individuals provide visibility into their daily lives and have drawn viewers. Special Books for Special Kids, which often shows significantly disabled children, has over 1 million subscribers, and Squirmy and Grubs, about an inter-abled couple, has about 450,000 subscribers. Both channels get millions of individual views. Ruby's channel, Angie and Ruby , which co-stars and is produced by her mother, Angie Ardolf, has over 100,000 subscribers and millions of views. Read on...

  • At Risk in the Culture of 'Normal'
  • Research shows that people with atypical brains are at a higher risk of suicide and self-harm.

    I was a weird kid. I was obsessed with checker-patterned clothing, and for a time I rode a checkered bike, wore checkered Vans, checkered shorts, a checkered shirt and to top it all off, a checkered hat. I loved the television series "Roots" and took to calling myself Kunta Kinte. I would shower only in my socks. I decided one year to pee only in the corner of the extra room in our house. No one noticed, which gives you a sense of the general level of cleanliness in our home. I memorized all the dialogue in "Trading Places" - the 1983 movie about class warfare starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy that was definitely not for children.

    When I was in third grade, I couldn't sit still, so I spent a lot of each day chilling out with the janitor in the hallway. I struggled with reading, especially reading out loud, so I often hid in the bathroom. Then there was writing. I asked my teacher what seemed like perfectly reasonable questions: Do we really need there, their and they're? And can't we just agree when I write "how" instead of "who," or "who" instead of "how" that he could still get the gist of what I was trying to say? Read on...

  • CTN Animation eXpo Spotlights Inclusion with Exceptional Minds
  • The Creative Talent Network will be shining a very bright spotlight on Exceptional Minds during its annual CTN animation eXpo in support of diversity and inclusion in the animation industry. The large community of local and international animation professionals will be donating a portion of its proceeds along with select speaker fees and booth space to Exceptional Minds at its annual expo, held in Burbank next month.

    A 2019 California Nonprofit of the Year, Exceptional Minds is a professional training academy and studio for individuals on the autism spectrum who are pursuing careers in animation and visual effects.

    "It is very important to the health of our community to help support and better insure everyone has the kind of opportunities needed to thrive," commented Tina Price, Executive Director and Producer of the event. Read on...

  • California launches 1st statewide mental health line which will be toll-free, staffed daily
  • California has launched its first statewide mental health line, which is toll-free and will be staffed daily.

    The California Peer-Run Warm Line offers non-emergency emotional support and referrals to anyone in the state needing mental health help.

    It's made possible due to a state budget allocation of $10.8 million over three years.

    The line is toll-free, and it will be staffed daily for most of the day. The number is 1-855-845-7415. You can use it via telephone or instant messaging. 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.

    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

    I'm looking for someone or someplace that has a physical fitness program for special needs. I have an autistic 22 year old son.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated
    Thank you Georgie

    I'm looking for a life coach/mentor for my 29 yr. old daughter recently diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. This is a private pay position, insurance is not involved, salary is negotiable.

    The coach/mentor MUST be female with extensive experience working with young adults with AS. In addition, she would Ideally be somewhat close in age, have a reliable car and be available to work in the afternoons and or evenings, days & hours are flexible as my daughter does not work.

    The following are some of the areas she needs help with:
    1) Setting Goals, building confidence
    2) Shopping & Preparing healthy meals
    3) Fitness/Exercise
    4) Organization, prioritizing
    5) Keeping house clean, organized, scheduling misc. maintenance, personal appointments....
    6) Socialization, making connections/friends, getting out & living life...

    Please reply to Corey at 949-422-1198 or

    We're looking for a good psychiatrist who's ASD-friendly, not too far from the San Diego/Mission Valley/LaMesa general area. If someone knows a wonderful psychiatrist in another part of the county, we'd like to hear about that person. The patients in need are young men in their early and middle 20's. One is a first-timer; the other has moved and needs to find a doctor closer to his new home.
    Thank you very much!

    I am looking for a baby sitter for our 10 year old non verbal son who has autism. He is a very outdoorsy person who loves to swim. Bike ride, hike and go to the park.
    Please let me know if you have any resources.

    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 Family Activity at theNAT! - October 13th
  • You're invited! Join us at the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT) on Sunday, Oct. 13th for a morning of discovery and fun! theNAT has some special activities planned for our families - including a sensory-friendly 2D film.

    Enjoy the museum exhibits, & activities with other autism families in a welcoming and comfortable environment.

    theNAT is generously offering NFAR families FREE admission before 9:45AM but please register so that we can plan accordingly. (Regular admission is $12 per child, $19 per adult.)

  • All Ages Halloween Dance Party
  • Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 5:30 PM - 8 PM
    Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego
    4635 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, California 92117

    Join us for our annual ALL AGES Special Needs Halloween Dance Party! Come dance and have fun as we celebrate the season. Costumes are welcome but not required - please no weapons or sharp props.

    Tickets are only $5 per person and can be purchased by clicking here!!!

  • 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

  • FREE!! - Autism Begins in Fetal Development and is Largely Caused by Genetic Factors
  • Wed, October 23, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court, #250
    San Diego, CA 92120

    The SDSU Center for Autism is committed to providing the latest info on autism and combatting misinformation and stigma. We are proud to be hosting a talk looking at what we know about what "causes" autism.

    Once considered a very rare disorder of uncertain cause and studied by few, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is now recognized to be startlingly common. Combining greater general interest in autism research with new biological and computational technologies have revolutionized our understanding of autism.

    This revolution has clarified what autism is and is not. Eric Courchesne will review recent key findings that now challenge long-held views of autism. It is now clear that ASD is not due to vaccines, is not caused by parents or any of a myriad of unfounded speculations, is not due to just a small handful of genes, does not start in early childhood or involve late regression, is not due to a single stage of deviate development in the majority. Instead, new findings show it is largely a genetic disorder with heritability at 80% or more and with significant percentage due to non-inherited genetic mutations. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • 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!

  • Early Start Denver Model at Ascent Psychological Services
  • Ascent Psychological Services
    11665 Avena Place, Ste. 204
    San Diego, CA 92128
    In-Home Services Available
    Insurance and Regional Center Funding Accepted

  • In-Touch Day Program
  • Our mission is to extend day program services to individuals who were once beyond the boundaries of our professional reach.

    Promoting Independence
    In-Touch Day Program is designed to meet the needs of adults with developmental and physical disabilities in becoming increasingly independent individuals.

    In-home Training
    We provide one-on-one in-home training to clients with severe medical conditions who are unable to attend traditional day programs outside their homes.

    Variety of Services
    Our services include a wide variety of skill areas including: communication, functional living, post-secondary education, rec./leisure, self-care, vocational, and more.

    Intouch Day Program is vendored with the San Diego Regional Center and licensed through the Community Care Licensing Division.

    For more info please call (619)359-7609 or email

  • Hearts & Hooves Therapy Workshop for ATPF Families
  • Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
    Heart and Hooves Therapy
    1500 Ashley Rd, Ramona, California 92065

    Special thank you to our 1 FUR 1 Foundation for generously sponsoring this event, making it free of charge!

    Calling all ATPF Families! We are so excited to partner with Heart and Hooves Therapy for a fun outdoors workshop! Come on out to the ranch and enjoy 2 hours of learning outdoors about mini horse safety, knowledge and interacting with them. Each kid will be paired up with a mini horse and handler for the duration of the session. Together they will learn to correctly approach, handle and groom their mini horse, as well as lead them through the obstacle course while playing educational games. We will have a group game working on patience, listening, focus, taking turns and respect. Then we will have horseshoes game, roping cow head to learn on and a snack!

    Max 20 participants of all ages - first come, first served! RSVP today: or call 619-222-4465.

  • Ride Above Disability Therapeutic Riding Center
  • Ride Above Disability Therapeutic Riding Center is a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) member center located in Poway, CA that teaches recreational riding to children and adults of all ages with special needs. The idea behind Ride Above was to create a place where the entire family unit could come and feel welcome, relax and enjoy their time at the ranch. While special needs riders are our focus, we also teach siblings and parents who are interested, which gives our families an activity they can share together.

    Ride Above is a place for family and community, not just for our students but our volunteers and instructors as well. Everyone at Ride Above is committed to changing lives for the better, no matter who you are. We look at every person that is involved and see ability. With a dedicated staff, Ride Above Disability strives to make a difference in the lives of our riders as well as the community of San Diego.

    If you are interested in riding with us or volunteering please contact Allie for more info at 858-209-5662 or

  • FREE!!! - Special Needs Parent Training
  • Saturday, October 19th! 9am - 12:30
    Schwartz & Storey
    Old Town, San Diego
    2247 San Diego Ave. #237
    San Diego, CA 92110
    RSVP at Refreshments will be included.

  • Beers & Cheers for Autism
  • Join us at our 6th annual FUNdraiser to support our recreational programs, including Camp I CAN!

    Wednesday, October 23rd
    5pm to 9pm
    Mike Hess Brewing
    North Park
    3812 Grim Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92104

    Mark your calendars and purchase tickets here!!!

  • NFAR WORKS Vocational Training Program!
  • NFAR Works is an 11-month, comprehensive vocational training program for young adults with autism and related disabilities designed to provide participants with skill sets needed for entry level positions in office environments and light manufacturing.

    The program has four main components:

    Technical and Basic Office Skills Training: Students receive training in common skills expected in the workplace, followed by specific skills needed in the job function.

    Soft Skills Training: Students also receive training in the soft skills needed to be successful in the work place. The core of the soft skills training is through the SUCCESS (Supported Employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement, & Social Skills training) program, which is delivered in a small group setting by trained facilitators.

    Work Experience and Vocational Training: Training is conducted in a simulated work environment and participants are taught tasks typical of an entry level position in that job function.

    The program is designed to prepare students to be successful in the following common job categories found in mid-sized companies:

    • Shipping & Receiving
    • Production Assembly
    • Copy/ Mail Centers
    • Data Entry/Reporting
    • Records Management/Processing
    • Stock Management & Material Handling
    Job Readiness/Job Search: the participants would be supported in preparation for the job search process consistent with the interest and mastery of skills in the program.

    Skills will be taught by hands-on training and solidified through repetition and work experience. The program was specifically created to help students identify areas they are currently best suited for and have an affinity towards. Click here for all the info about this great program right here in San Diego!!!

  • 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.