Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. October 22, 2019

In This Issue

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Different minds: Temple Grandin on nurturing autistic workers

First evidence of immune response targeting brain cells in autism

Social Emotional Self-Regulation: Why It Doesn't Involve a Behavior Plan

Anemia in pregnant woman may alter child's brain development

Solving the Mystery of Autism

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Educational Workshop on Strategies for High School and Adult Transition Students

Announcing the 2020 Race for Autism!

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

TAG Miramar Halloween Party

Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!

FREE! - Thrive Meeting for Exceptional Families

Untangle Your Child's IEP Speech-Language Goals

Free Webinar: Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) Learn how it can help your child!

Beyond the Diagnostic Label - Facilitating Communication and Interaction

ATPF Ready, Set, Go! Workshop

Conference on Self-Determination in November

Parents Night Out! - Benefiting Beacons, Inc. Programs!

The Vida View - Fall 2019

Social Thinking Confernce in Orange County - January 2020


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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!

  • Different minds: Temple Grandin on nurturing autistic workers
  • During the past five decades, Temple Grandin's visually indexed mind, a key feature of her autism, helped make her a leading animal researcher.

    Diagnosed with "brain damage" at the age of 2, Grandin, now 72, holds a Ph.D. in animal science, teaches at Colorado State University and has written over a dozen books. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017, which recognized her innovations in humane livestock handling and breakthroughs in understanding cattle behavior.

    For many people on the spectrum, a career like Grandin's seems unlikely. Despite competence in various fields, as many as 90 percent of adults with autism are left out of the workforce. A major obstacle is the demand for soft skills.

    Reuters spoke with Grandin about nurturing the strengths of those on the spectrum and the labor market's need for different kinds of minds. Read on...

  • First evidence of immune response targeting brain cells in autism
  • utism spectrum disorders affect one in 59 American children by age eight. With no known quantitative biological features, autism diagnoses are currently based on expert assessments of behavioral symptoms, including impaired social skills and communication, repetitive behaviors and restricted interests.

    In a paper published in Annals of Neurology, Matthew P. Anderson, MD, Ph.D., a physician-scientist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and colleagues report the presence of cellular features consistent with an immune response targeting specialized brain cells in more than two thirds of autistic brains analyzed postmortem. These cellular characteristics-not previously observed in autism-lend critical new insight into autism's origins and could pave the way to improved diagnosis and treatment for people with this disorder.

    "While further research is needed, determining the neuropathology of autism is an important first step to understanding both its causes and potential treatment," said Anderson, who is Chief of Neuropathology in the Department of Pathology at BIDMC and an Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. "Investigators typically aim potential treatments at specific pathologies in brain diseases, such as the tangles and plaques that characterize Alzheimer's disease and the Lewy bodies seen in Parkinson's. Until now, we have not had a promising target like that in autism." Read on...

  • Social Emotional Self-Regulation: Why It Doesn't Involve a Behavior Plan
  • A couple of years ago I was asked to write a marketing quote for a book intended to help kids learn to self-regulate. I was eager to read it but was disappointed to discover it was mostly discussing behavior management systems teachers could use in their classrooms to encourage children to "behave"! I didn't write the quote, but I did start thinking much more deeply about the process involved in helping students learn to self-regulate and how this is very different from encouraging students to behave.

    What's the difference between learning to control behavior and self-regulation?
    Our behavior is what others observe us doing. To a limited extent, we can teach kids to behave in a specific manner, around specific people, etc. This is especially the case for adults who are controlling an individual's external reward system. However, self-regulation is more complex and internal to self. It requires us to develop social competencies that guide us to socially attend, interpret people in context, problem solve how to respond, monitor how our behavior is being perceived, and adjust as needed to meet our own personal social goal(s) and/or the collective shared goal of the people in that context. Self-regulation arises from within us; behaviorally based teaching of social skills is external to an individual's personal decision-making process. Read on...

  • Anemia in pregnant woman may alter child's brain development
  • Being anemic while pregnant may increase a woman's chance of having a child with intellectual disability, autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    Two previous smaller studies hinted at a link between maternal anemia and intellectual disability, but the new work is the first to show a link to autism or ADHD. The results, based on an analysis of more than 500,000 children in Sweden and their mothers, were published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry1.

    The increase in risk is highest for intellectual disability - about double that of children born to women who do not have anemia - and about 40 percent each for autism and ADHD. Read on...

  • Solving the Mystery of Autism
  • New research center aims to unravel the basic biology of autism, related disorders

    Autism and related disorders-a constellation of neurodevelopmental conditions affecting one in 59 children in the United States alone-have become one of modern medicine's most confounding mysteries. The condition is believed to arise from the complex interplay between genes and environment, yet its basic biology remains largely a black box.

    Now, a new research effort at Harvard University led by Harvard Medical School is poised to identify the biologic roots and molecular changes that give rise to autism and related disorders with the goal of informing the development of better diagnostic tools and new therapies.

    Harvard University has received a $20 million gift from philanthropists Lisa Yang and Hock Tan, an alumnus of Harvard Business School, to establish The Hock E. Tan and K. Lisa Yang Center for Autism Research at Harvard Medical School. The latest gift brings the total autism-related research funding provided by Yang and Tan to nearly $70 million. 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

    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.

    I am looking for a reliable and professional babysitter for my son who was just diagnosed with mild ASD.
    Any help will be appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Natalie von Herrath

    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.

  • Educational Workshop on Strategies for High School and Adult Transition Students
  • Join us November 6th for an Educational Workshop on Strategies for High School and Adult Transition Students.

    This November 6, 2019, NFAR Workshop: "Resource and Strategies to Support Youth During High School and Beyond" is presented by the Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism (CSESA).

    The Workshop is open to educators, families and professionals interested in learning more about the resources, tools, and interventions that can used for high-school and transition age youth to support peer-relations/social skills, reading comprehension, transition planning, and behavior.

    The Workshop is FREE, but please register here!!!!

  • Announcing the 2020 Race for Autism!
  • Dust off your Hero Capes...
    Announcing the 2020 Race for Autism!

    On March 28, 2020, YOU can be a Superhero for Autism at the Race for Autism Superhero 5K & 1 mile Family Fun Walk in beautiful Balboa Park!

    This family friendly event attracts thousands of local SUPERHEROES, big and small, and features ­čÄ╝music, dancing, refreshments, children's activities, capes for kids, medals, & an amazing resource fair.

    The Race directly supports children with autism and their families in our community, and together we are working to build a more inclusive San Diego that will continue to offer opportunities for loved ones now and in the future.

    Register today and save!

  • 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 Miramar Halloween Party
  • Join us at TAG Miramar for this spooktacular event! We look forward to seeing you all!!!

    Therapeutic Approach to Growth Inc.
    9466 Black Mountain Road, Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    Phone: (858) 689-2027

  • Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!
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    Wondering if your child might benefit from joining a group? Give us a call at 858-558-9552 to schedule a free consultation.

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

  • FREE! - Thrive Meeting for Exceptional Families
  • Fri, October 25, 2019
    11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    La Jolla Library
    7555 Draper Ave
    San Diego, CA 92037

    Susan Stroebel, Social Worker Extraordinaire is joining us to share what she has learned raising her son Brock. Susan has over 25 years of experience working with people with special needs across the life span. She is currently the social worker/patient navigator and Coordinator for the Autism/ Neurology clinic at Casa Colina Hospital. She also develops and teaches programs for adults with disabilities at Mount San Antonio College.

    This event is free, but please RSVP here!!!

  • Untangle Your Child's IEP Speech-Language Goals
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    Karyn Searcy, M.A.,CCC
    Clinical Director/TERI SLP
    Crimson Center for Speech & Language
    P: 858.695.9415
    9606 Tierra Grande St. #107
    San Diego, CA 92126

  • Free Webinar: Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) Learn how it can help your child!
  • Featuring Thomas Nelson Esq., special education attorney

    Join us by registering at

    The webinar will be held on Tuesday October 22nd at 12:00 noon and will repeat Thursday October 24th at 7:00 pm.

  • Beyond the Diagnostic Label - Facilitating Communication and Interaction
  • FREE Speaker Event for parents of children ages 0-7! Join the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego on Oct. 30, 6:30-9pm at the San Diego Regional Center, Room 101, as they host their first speaker series topic: Beyond the Diagnostic Label - Facilitating Communication and Interaction.

    This topic will be presented by Karyn Lewis Searcy, M.A. CCC-SLP. She will discuss all elements of communication and how a delay or disorder impacts parent-child interactions. Strategies that target the development of communication and interaction will be addressed and video examples will be presented. Limited seating. Sign up here!!!

  • ATPF Ready, Set, Go! Workshop
  • Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation
    2845 Nimitz Blvd, Suite C
    San Diego, CA 92106

    This workshop, led by Mary Ann Newell, M.S., is designed for teens and young adults who would like to learn more about the system of support provided at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Learn more about the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support ASPIRE program, and how to use their successful model in your young adult with autism's life.

    RSVP TODAY! Contact or call 619-222-4465.

  • Conference on Self-Determination in November
  • Click here for all the info about the conference. Speakers, schedule, location and registration.

  • Parents Night Out! - Benefiting Beacons, Inc. Programs!
  • Please RSVP to!!!

    Beacons North County
    6150 Yarrow Drive, Suite E
    Carlsbad, CA 92011

  • The Vida View - Fall 2019
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info!!!

  • Social Thinking Confernce in Orange County - January 2020
  • Orange County, CA | January 29 - 31, 2020
    DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Santa Ana-OC Airport
    201 East MacArthur Blvd
    Santa Ana, CA 92707

    Strategies to Build Social Competencies Join us in Orange County to gain evidence-based strategies to help people in every stage of life improve their social competencies, including: self-regulation, social-emotional learning, executive functioning, perspective taking, and social problem solving.

    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.