Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. October 26, 2018

In This Issue

Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

I Saw My Son With Autism Not Dressed Up for Halloween. His Teachers Saw Something Else.

Misfiring visual cells may underlie key sensory problem in fragile X

Some 'autism genes' show stronger ties to related conditions

In kids with autism, short questionnaire may detect GI disorders

Eye-tracking test may reveal autism risk, severity

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

FDA Approved Therapy for Anxiety!

You're invited to TAG's Halloween Party!

Therapeutic Approach to Growth Offering Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

Radically Inclusive Holiday Gift Fair

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

San Diego Best Buddies Friendship Walk


Supported Decision Making (SDM)

San Diego Special Needs Law Center


RSVP for a Free Open House Carnival at the San Diego Center for Autism

San Diego People First Meeting


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 18 years. No fees 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!

  • I Saw My Son With Autism Not Dressed Up for Halloween. His Teachers Saw Something Else.
  • I am one of those people who truly loves Halloween - not the spooky, scary side of the celebration, but costumes... oh yes I love costumes. Give me a reason to dress up, whether it's halloween or a theme party, and I am 100% committed. When I was a child, I bugged my parents for months leading up to the big day of October 31 by evaluating every possible costume I could potentially dress in that year. By the time the actual date rolled around most of my family was exhausted by my obsession with perfecting just the right attire for the big night.

    Like so many parents, I looked forward to sharing these experiences with my own children. When I had my first son, I was elated to be able to dress him up in costume; he was an adorable 4-week-old pirate, a 1-year-old lobster and a 2-year-old Cookie Monster (even if he wouldn't keep the head on). It wasn't always easy figuring out how to maneuver a baby into these ridiculous ensembles, but the pictures are treasured, and my love of halloween, costumes, and trick-or-treating remained. Then my son turned 3, and it all came to a screeching halt. Read on...

  • Misfiring visual cells may underlie key sensory problem in fragile X
  • The motion perception difficulties seen in people with fragile X syndrome, a leading cause of autism, stem from a faulty visual circuit in the brain, a new study suggests1.

    Activating certain neurons in this circuit improves motion perception in a mouse model of the condition. The results indicate a possible treatment for the difficulties in people with fragile X syndrome.

    "We uncovered a deficit in one particular cell type in the brain," says lead investigator Carlos Portera-Cailliau, professor of neurology and neurobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Now we have a handle on potential therapies." Read on...

  • Some 'autism genes' show stronger ties to related conditions
  • The largest autism sequencing study to date implicates 99 genes in the condition - but nearly half show tighter ties to intellectual disability or developmental delay than to autism.

    Researchers presented the unpublished results yesterday at the 2018 American Society of Human Genetics conference in San Diego, California.

    The findings may seem discouraging but in fact offer hope, because they suggest it is possible to pin down genes involved specifically in autism, says Stephan Sanders, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, a researcher on the study. Read on...

  • In kids with autism, short questionnaire may detect GI disorders
  • Anger, aggression, and other troubling behavior problems in kids with autism are often treated as psychological issues, but in many cases the problems can be traced to gastrointestinal distress.

    A new study shows that a 17-item questionnaire developed by pediatric gastroenterologists and psychiatrists could be an effective screen to identify children who may have gastrointestinal disorders and who should be referred to a specialist for a fuller evaluation.

    "Gastrointestinal problems can be painful and disabling and they can have profound effects on a child's behavior," says Kara Gross Margolis, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, who has treated GI disorders in numerous children with autism. Read on...

  • Eye-tracking test may reveal autism risk, severity
  • Two novel algorithms that analyze where a child looks as she views a video could help clinicians spot autism. They might also provide clues to the severity of the child's autism features, according to a new study1.

    Clinicians typically diagnose autism using both a caregiver questionnaire (the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised) and a rigorous clinical evaluation called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). These assessments can take up to three hours to administer.

    Some scientists have suggested that eye tracking could speed autism diagnosis and make it more objective. People on the spectrum tend to focus on different parts of an object or scene than their typical peers do2. In the new study, researchers parlay this disparity in gaze into a diagnostic tool. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • I have a freshman son who will be having a transition plan IEP soon to discuss high school, and post high plan vocational/education objectives.

    I am looking for parents that can give an overview of what this process entails with do's and don'ts, or whoulda, shoulda, coulda's. What do we need to know to as parents to guide our teens yet still advocate and work with the school for the best outcomes and objectives. I know a few other parents with freshman and we are all at different high schools looking for support and guidance in this education process. Any help and resources are appreciated. Thank you so much!

    I have a three-year old son with ASD. We toured a preschool today that's part of SD Unified that is not a good option for him. Does anyone have any recommendations for the best preschool programs for children with ASD? We are more than willing to relocate to a different school district, including Del Mar, Solana Beach, etc. All referrals are greatly appreciated! Thank you!!

    My family & I are relocating to San Diego in November for my husband's new job in Sorrento Valley. We have two boys aged 8(2nd grade) & 10(5th grade) who have high functioning autism. Academically they are on par, but have the behavioral/social issues. We are trying to figure out what the best school district would be for our boys in terms of in-school programs. We currently live in North LA county (the Santa Clarita area). They are in a SDC for high functioning autism & they have programs that go all the way through high school. Some of the places we are looking to buy in are Rancho Bernardo (Westwood), South Carlsbad, Rancho Peñasquitos, Scripps Ranch. I know that is all over the place but we'd like to stay in north county and are open to any other suggestions. Schooling for the boys is most important in our move. I would love any input. Not just for elementary schools but beyond. We are open to charter schools as well if you know of any that would suit their criteria.

    I hear so many opposing opinions as to which are the best and the worst districts. So hard to navigate and I am feeling lost:( I would really appreciate any guidance.
    Thank you in advance,

    I am writing this ad for the amazing family of caregivers who have worked for us for the past six years, caring for my father until his death, and then my severely autistic, non-verbal sister and our mother, both, until they both recently passed away. The caretaker is a licensed CNA, super responsible, kind and personable. He is young and strong, and has experience working with the elderly, those with autism, the physically disabled, and those in a hospice type situation. He has an outstanding work ethic, and cared for our family members regularly during the night as well as the day. He is completely reliable in ordering and dispensing meds. He did extensive "diaper duty" and showering / bathing for incontinent family members with never any complaints. He has a wife who is as sweet as he is, and two young children, and they all lived in with first my father and then my mother (divorced). This would be optional, though it was a great thing, as his wife was the relief caretaker. I would be happy to talk on the phone or in person further about our experiences with this family, their compensation, or anything else. The caretaker has a car and valid driver's license, speaks good English, and is a recently naturalized US citizen. They are willing to relocate. Daria or 619-788-2042

    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.

  • 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/Asperger's
    • Sensory Processing Disorder
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • ADD/ADHD
    • Tourette's Syndrome
    • Developmental Delay
    • Epilepsy
    • And many more!
    Call 858-367-9108 for your free consultation!!!

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

  • You're invited to TAG's Halloween Party!
  • You're invited to TAG Carlsbad's 2018 Halloween celebration! Parents/staff are encouraged to engage with their child/student on a project they can contribute to the party! (E.g., singing a Halloween song, making treats together, creating a fun game, choreographing a fun dance, etc!). This is a great time for connection and fun! We look forward to seeing you next week in your festive costumes!

  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth Offering Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)
  • 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

  • Radically Inclusive Holiday Gift Fair
  • Radical Inclusion is the title of a new book by Andrea Moriarty. The phrase refers to including people of all abilities in profound and essential places where it hasn't been done before. Inviting adults with autism or Down syndrome into the limelight to pursue their dreams, interact with mentors, and showcase their accomplishments is life-changing for everyone.

    This Radically Inclusive Holiday Gift Fair will showcase handmade products by local artisans with social needs who have their own businesses. Come engage with these supported entrepreneurs at The Church at Rancho Bernardo on Sunday, November 18th in the front parking lot. Be sure to get a signed copy of Radical Inclusion: What I Learned About Risk, Humility, and Kindness from My Son with Autism as well as some baked goods, glycerin soap, artwork, greeting cards, or ceramics for yourself or as a gift. This year, your Christmas gift giving can tell a story.

    LIVE MUSIC: Jungle Poppins

    Jungle Poppins is an animated troupe performing quirky originals and movie soundtracks. Anything but average, Jungle Poppins let music upstage autism every time they perform.

    REFRESHMENTS: Kevin the Baker and Smoothie Princess

    VENDORS include:
    Sydney's Soaps
    Inclusion Art by Katie
    Jeremy's Vision
    Alex Nichols Freestyle Weaving
    Jasmine's Bunting
    Kevin the Baker
    Smoothie Princess
    Bella Nova Ceramics succulents
    Emily Rose Sews
    Joel Anderson books and art
    Jack Medved artwork and dog portraits
    Ethan Marr greeting cards
    John Brower ceramics
    Brendan Kerr graphics

  • Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment
  • Experience a unique and effective approach to autism therapy.

    Our aim is to bring to families everywhere the most effective therapies for the treatment of autism. Our integrated care model is based on the scientific research and clinical practice of our founder, Dr. Suzanne Goh. We seek to set a new global standard for autism care by achieving superior developmental outcomes for the children and families we serve.

    At Cortica, we believe the world needs a higher standard of care for all those living with autism, or a potential diagnosis of autism. Families like yours deserve effective, collaborative, caring therapies that are accessible and reasonably priced, no matter who you are or where you live.

    The Cortica Care Model:

    • Neurophysiology
    • Family and Home
    • Biochemistry
    • Cognition and Behavior
    • Sensorimotor
    • Communication
    Together, we clarify the complex, celebrate extraordinary efforts, and witness moments of brilliance as our children grow new skills and abilities. Many of our services are covered by medical insurance plans. Contact us for all the info!!!

    Cortica Care
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121
    16800 Aston, Suite 175
    Irvine, CA 92606

  • San Diego Best Buddies Friendship Walk
  • Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 8 AM - 12 PM Crown Point on Mission Bay, San Diego 92019 The Best Buddies Friendship Walk is the number one walk in the country raising awareness and funds to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The walk plays a key role in funding Best Buddies programs dedicated to one-to-one friendships, leadership development, and integrated job opportunities for individuals with IDD. Each walk provides an opportunity to see the Best Buddies mission in action at a local level.
    Click here for all the info!!!

  • 4th Annual FERIA Partnership Conference 2018

    Lighting the Pathway to Success and Wellness

    Saturday, November 10, 2018
    8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
    Southwestern Community College
    900 Otay Lakes Road Chula Vista, CA 91910

    Conference Focus:
    Father to Father Panel
    Health and Wellness Behavioral Strategies
    Student Leadership Strand Quality Education for ALL Children
    Home * School * Community Connection

    Conference Offerings: Workshops/Resource Fair Designed for Families: Birth - Adult Years

    Registration has been extended until October 30th!!!! Click here for all the info and to register!

  • Supported Decision Making (SDM)
  • When a young person with disabilities approaches the age of 18, the family is often told that they must seek conservatorship (guardianship) or they will no longer be able to obtain information or provide guidance and support in the areas of healthcare, education and other services. While some people with disabilities may need assistance with understanding information, researching and weighing options and making decisions, conservatorship is the most restrictive option available to support these issues. Because the restrictions of a conservatorship are rarely altered or reversed, it locks people into a long term and often permanent status of other people making binding decisions for them. Families are often unaware of potential complications of conservatorship or the alternatives available to support their loved ones. The following materials present an overview of concerns about the current conservatorship process: Click here for all the info!!!

  • San Diego Special Needs Law Center
  • If you have a family member with a disability, you want to assure they have the best possible care and quality of life, both now and later when you are no longer able to be the advocate you are today. If you are a person with a disability, you want to be able to qualify for the benefits and programs you need to achieve as much independence as possible. At San Diego Special Needs Law Center, it is our mission to make sure you have all the support and tools in place to achieve these goals.

    Our Senior attorney, Phil Lindsley, is both a Certified Special Needs Law Attorney and a Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate (State Bar California, Board of Legal Specialization). He has been serving families and individuals with disabilities for over 30 years.

    San Diego Special Needs Law Center
    7880 Golfcrest Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92119
    (619) 235-4357

  • school_supplies_desk.jpg

    Author: Richard Spindler, MS
    Educational Parent Advocate

    Procedural Rights and Safeguards, Present Levels, Special Factors, Proposed Draft of New Goals, Offer of a "Free and Appropriate Public Education" (FAPE), the Triennial Review, Assessment results from your Case Manager, School Psychologist and his/her Interdisciplinary Report. Results from all other Service Providers and their Protocols. All of this presented to you, the Parent, inclusive of Acronyms, Raw Scores, Standard Scores and Percentiles can be overwhelming, frustrating and confusing. Especially when spoken about by the Professionals who might assume you understand all that is being discussed during your "Individualized Education Program," (IEP) Meeting or a Triangular Meeting.

    California Education Code States: "Special Education Students Must Have Access to Their Education," and they must have "Access to the General Education Core Curriculum." This is the bottom line. So, ask yourself, "Is my child accessing his/her Education as well as the General Education Core Curriculum?"

    In addition your child's Education Plan must be run by his/her IEP Goals and Short Term Objectives, not by the Teacher's Lesson Plan. This is stated in the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act," (IDEA). There are many Laws, Policies and Procedures which must be adhered to when and if your child qualifies for Special Education Services.

    As a former Education Specialist, Special Education Administrator and an Interim Graduate Professor, teaching Special Education Teachers working on earning their Masters Degree in Special Education, I know only too well the highs and lows of understanding Special Education Law as well as Policies.

    Now, working as an Educational Parent Advocate I represent families across San Diego County. The work I do as an Advocate takes stress off of Parents, is Productive and extremely helpful across the spectrum of the Special Education Process.

    I offer a FREE one hour Consultation for all of my new clients. This is a great way to get to know one another and discuss any questions, concerns or comments you may have as they pertain to your child's IEP. In addition we can review Accommodations, Modifications and any services, such as O/T and Speech/Language your child requires to be successful in school.

    If you have any questions or concerns relevant to your child's Special Education Program and/or the IEP, please don't hesitate to call, text or send me an email. I am available seven days a week.

    I look forward to hearing from you if you think my services, experience and knowledge will prove helpful to your child's progress through this most important journey.

    Richard Spindler, MS
    Educational Parent Advocate

  • RSVP for a Free Open House Carnival at the San Diego Center for Autism
  • For all the info and to RSVP, click here!!!

  • San Diego People First Meeting
  • Please RSVP to Debbie Marshall at or call 619-688-3323.

  • ASD Mornings at theNAT
  • Social stories (in English and Spanish) for 7 museums in Balboa Park (The Nat, The Fleet, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego Museum of Art, Museum of Man, San Diego History Center, and Japanese Friendship Garden) are available online. These were created by young adults with autsim as part of the SPECTRUM Social Stories Project here at The Nat.

  • 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

  • San Diego Therapeutic Recreation Services Newsletter for Fall 2018
  • The City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services program provides sports, recreation, leisure and outreach services to people with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.

    Services include therapeutic recreation programs and adaptive sports opportunities. These address the special needs of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty accessing and participating in recreation opportunities offered to the general public.

    Fall Calendar

    Under the direction of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, activities and services are designed to maintain or improve the physical, cognitive and social functioning of those who have limitations. The target population is children and adults, ages 3 and up, with any type of disability.

    For additional questions about Therapeutic Recreation Services, please call 619-525-8247.

  • "Autism Through the Lifespan" Monthly Parent Support and Information Meetings

  • October 2018 - May 2019
    PLNU Graduate Education
    4007 Camino Del Rio South - Fourth Floor
    San Diego, CA 92108

    Please join other parents, caregivers and professionals at the following monthly informational and support group meetings in Mission Valley. These meetings will discuss the various aspects of autism through the lifespan. Each meeting will feature an expert speaker and an ASA parent mentor. This is a time for you to meet other parents, ask questions and network.
    The meetings are free and open to all. See the flyer for all the info!!!

  • Participate in Research!!! Can a Safe 'Fever' Help Autism Syptoms?

  • This pilot study will enroll 12 families with ASD children ages 6-16 years old in a controlled study, within the San Diego.

    If you are interested in participating in this pilot study please contact Frances Poteet at

    Participants who complete the entire study will receive a $20 Amazon gift card!

  • Participate in Research: Caregiver/Family Member Survey
  • business_finance_research.jpg

    My name is Richie Sapp. My twin brother, Mikey, has been attending the TERI day program for several years now. I am a third-year medical student (MS3) at Stanford School of Medicine where I am currently taking a research year to focus my efforts in medical education, specifically to improve patient care for individuals with disabilities. I am creating an elective course for medical students/PA students for Winter Quarter 2018/19 and I could use your help.

    Please consider completing this first survey and if your son/daughter would like to complete the second survey on their own, I would welcome that too.

    1) This survey is for parents/caregivers of individuals with disabilities. Caregiver/Family Member Survey, which will help me with what content to put together for the course. Please feel free to share the survey with anyone who might be interested in sharing their experiences. Here is the link:

    2) Additionally, if you know anyone with a disability who would like to speak about their own experiences, there is a separate survey for individuals with disabilities. The link is below:

    Thank you so much for all your support!

    Please email me if you have any questions.

    Thank you,
    Richie Sapp

  • Brain Imaging Studies for all Ages with or without Autism

  • At SDSU!!! To find out more, please call 619-594-0176 or email BDIL@SDSU.EDU.


    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.