Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. October 29, 2019

In This Issue

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CRISPR therapy may reverse autism mutation's effects well past infancy

A Well-Ordered World

Massive project doubles list of genes tied to autism

Can neurofeedback training increase self-esteem in depression?

Self-Taught Artist Carl Parker: Life In Paint

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

2nd Annual Autism Speaks North County Walk 2019

Educational Workshop on Strategies for High School and Adult Transition Students

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Postsecondary Planning - Creating Effective ITPs & IPPs

Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!

FREE!! Presentation: Improving Social Skills Through Improv

Coffee with Crystal: You Got this Special Parents!

Aging Out Premiere

IEP Noncompliance Webinar

Villa de Vida end of year update

Autumn Autism & Art Soirée

Best Buddies Gala, Champion of the Year

Autism Moms Meetup: Rancho Bernardo

Art of Autism Art Contest


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!

  • CRISPR therapy may reverse autism mutation's effects well past infancy
  • Injecting the gene-editing tool CRISPR into the brains of adolescent mice counteracts the effects of a mutation in a top autism gene. The finding suggests that mutations in this gene, SCN2A, may be treatable at any age.

    "This gives us hope that this is something that's not just a developmental deficit, and that once all the changes are there that you're stuck with them," says Perry Spratt, a graduate student in Kevin Bender's lab at the University of California, San Francisco. Spratt presented the unpublished findings today at the 2019 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

    SCN2A encodes a sodium channel that helps neurons propagate electrical signals. The mice have a harmful mutation in one copy of the gene, causing their neurons to fire sluggishly and make immature connections. The treatment reverses the problem by ramping up expression of the intact copy. Read on...

  • A Well-Ordered World
  • When I was younger I used to like to sit on the floor with a bug bucket full of Matchbox cars, rubber animals, and other small toys. I'd take out each object one after the other and use them to make a line of toys. I'd spend a long time lining up my toys and I would even get very upset if someone messed up the line. I once kicked out a window because I was so upset after my sister messed up a line of cars I had been organizing along a baseboard.

    Lining up objects in this fashion is a classic and somewhat stereotypical autism characteristic and it makes me happy whenever I see people posting about their autistic kids happily lining up their toys across the floor. Despite this, though, in the past I've been struggling to remember why exactly I lined up my toys.

    I stopped lining objects up like that in early elementary school and for a while I couldn't remember what had been motivating me to put my toys in a line. Not remembering the 'why' has really bothering me because I take great pride in being able to explain to people what it's like to be autistic and why I (and potentially their kids) do the things that we do. Read on...

  • Massive project doubles list of genes tied to autism
  • The largest analysis of genetic sequences from autistic people implicates 184 genes in the condition - nearly doubling an estimate from last year.

    Researchers presented the unpublished results today at the 2019 American Society of Human Genetics meeting in Houston, Texas.

    The researchers analyzed sequences of exomes - the protein-coding portions of the genome - pooled from multiple datasets. They built off their unpublished analysis of nearly 35,000 sequences. That analysis, which the team presented at a conference last year, tied 99 genes to autism. Read on...

  • Can neurofeedback training increase self-esteem in depression?
  • There is evidence that people with a history of major depression have lower connectivity between two particular brain areas when recalling feelings of guilt. Now, new research suggests that it is possible to strengthen this brain connectivity and increase self-esteem with a new type of neurofeedback training.

    A team of researchers from Brazil and the United Kingdom demonstrated that just one session of neurofeedback training using functional MRI (fMRI) can produce such a result.

    They report the findings of the proof-of-concept study in a recent NeuroImage: Clinical paper.

    Neurofeedback is a technique that allows people to learn how to influence their own brain activity by observing a representation of that activity in real time.

    Electroencephalography (EEG) neurofeedback has been around since the 1970s. Neurofeedback using fMRI, which uses imaging to look at brain activity, is a more recent development. Read on...

  • Self-Taught Artist Carl Parker: Life In Paint
  • I was born in New Brunswick, Canada in June, 1970, and from as far back as I can remember the question on everybody's mind was "what's wrong with Carl?" I was a pretty good kid, handsome, smart enough, but for some reason, I never really "fit," It was a great sense of frustration to the adults in my life, although I can't really say it bothered me all that much.

    As a small child, I preferred to spend my time alone, in my room, reading and drawing, learning how to control a pencil by first tracing the characters in my Spiderman comics. It was then that I discovered the joy of creating.

    As I taught myself to draw, I began entertaining my classmates by fashioning musclemen on the blackboard, much to my teachers' dismay. I didn't realize it at the time, at least not consciously, but art was my way of connecting with others, even at that early age. 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

    My 21-year-old autistic daughter has OCD-like behaviors such as slamming doors, stealing, obsessive eating/drinking, twitching, yelling, etc. We have tried different medications and supplements but nothing seems to work. Does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks.
    Maya Hu-Chan

    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.

  • 2nd Annual Autism Speaks North County Walk 2019
  • Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 9 AM - 1 PM
    Mance Buchanon Park
    425 College Blvd, Oceanside, California 92057

    The second annual Autism Speaks North County Walk is back at Mance Buchanon Park on November 16th. Every dollar raised helps fund research, advocacy and support for those living with autism and their loved ones. Join us and sign up today! Find out more:

  • Educational Workshop on Strategies for High School and Adult Transition Students
  • Join us November 6th, in Scripps Ranch, 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!!!!

  • 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

  • Postsecondary Planning - Creating Effective ITPs & IPPs
  • Friday, November 15, 2019
    10am to noon, with Q/A after
    Beacons North County
    6150 Yarrow Drive, Ste. E
    Carlsbad, CA 92011

    A Presentation for Parents by Parents: Lucille Lynch, J.D. and Janet Schenker, M.P.A.

    This fall workshop is part of the Beacons, Inc. parent training series. Cost $75 (cash or checks made payable to Beacons, Inc.)

    Please RSVP by November 8th by sending an email to

  • 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!! Presentation: Improving Social Skills Through Improv
  • Mon, November 4, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court, ste. 250
    San Diego, CA 92120

    The SDSU Center for Autism is committed to providing free workshops and seminars to the autism community, their families, and their allies. Did you know that your child can strengthen their social skills while having fun? Come learn how Improv is helping to do this for those with autism, and related disabilities. We are excited to have our partners from Unscripted Learning do a talk about their programs teaching kids, teens, and adults with autism social skills through the creativity of improv.

    Speaker: Richie Ploesch, Program Director, Connections, Unscripted Learning
    Richie Ploesch, M.A., BCBA has been working in the field of special education for over 10 years. His specialty is educating students and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He earned his teaching credential in 2006, a Master's Degree in 2008, and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2009.

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

  • Coffee with Crystal: You Got this Special Parents!
  • Tue, November 5, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    Sanford Autism Consulting Office
    4823 Alfred Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92120
    Cost: $10

    *Are you feeling overwhelmed as a special needs parent?
    *Do you have fear about your child's educational future and beyond?
    *Not sure you have what it takes to handle the ongoing challenges of managing your child's special education?

    If your answer is yes to one or more of these questions, then you must join me at our next coffee talk meeting. This month, our topic will focus on building resilency for special needs parents and how this will help as you navigate special eduction for your child. In a relaxed and casual environment, you will gain tips and resources to strengthen yourself as an individual first and as a parent of a child with unique needs. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Aging Out Premiere
  • Friday, November 22, 2019 at 6 PM - 7 PM
    Dove Library in Carlsbad
    1775 Dove Ln, Carlsbad, California 92008

    Premiere of the long-awaited film, followed by Q and A with filmmaker and special friends.

  • IEP Noncompliance Webinar
  • Featuring the expertise of Thomas Nelson Esq., special education attorney.

    Join us by registering at

    The webinar will be held on Tuesday November 5th at 12:00 noon and will repeat Thursday November 7th at 7:00 pm.

  • Villa de Vida end of year update
  • Click here to read their year end newsletter for all the info about the construction of their new center!!!

  • Autumn Autism & Art Soirée
  • Friday, November 8, 2019 at 5 PM - 7:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court, Suite 100
    San Diego, California 92120

    Indulge yourself in an evening of wine and cheese while mingling with talented artists on the spectrum and autism researchers.

    The SDSU Center for Autism and The Art of Autism invite you to the Autumn Autism & Art Soiree!

    Join us on November 8th for an evening of wine and cheese, art, and autism science. Mingle with talented artists who are on the spectrum, and converse with autism researchers and clinicians about the latest findings and projects underway at the Center for Autism. Stroll through the recently renovated Center for Autism lobby, exhibiting some of the best art curated through The Art of Autism organization. This is a "donate what you can" event. No amount is too small or too large to help us continue serving our community. Click here for all the info and to RSVP!!!

  • Best Buddies Gala, Champion of the Year
  • Join us for a special evening of celebration and Inclusion! Best Buddies Gala, Champion of the Year is taking place on Saturday November 2nd at the Hotel Karlan in Rancho Penasquitos.

    Along with gourmet food, silent & live auctions, and music, the evening will be filled with friendship and celebration as we crown our Champion of the Year for San Diego County.

    Vying for Champion of the year are six candidates you may be familiar with... Buddy Ambassador Vesna Vasich, Tyler Gaffney, Holden Brosnan, Trevor Jensen, Danial Bushong and Bill Mullett.

    For all the info and to purchase your tickets, click here!!!

  • Autism Moms Meetup: Rancho Bernardo
  • Wed, November 13, 2019
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    11770 Bernardo Plaza Ct., Suite #116
    San Diego, CA 92128

    Are you looking to connect with other moms who "get you"? Join us as we laugh, cry, and chat over coffee and snacks. Bring a friend, make a friend, all Autism moms are welcome.

    We will be meeting this month at the new Autism Resource & Treatment Center, ARTC (

    Our monthly meetings are a time for Autism moms to socialize and indulge in well-deserved self care. Our facilitator, Crystal Sanford, is an educational consultant, speech pathologist, and fellow Autism mom. Our goal is to build community and a support network for moms across San Diego County. Join us in this movement of self-care and empowerment!

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

  • Art of Autism Art Contest
  • The Art of Autism and Mainly Mozart nonprofits announce the 2nd annual "Finding Your Inner MozArt Art Contest" open to North American autistic artists ages 14 and over.

    This year's theme is Music and/or Synesthesia. See What is synesthesia?

    Submission Guidelines.

    Art competition is open to North American Artists age 14 and over.

    Deadline for submission is January 20, 2020. Click here for all the info!!!

  • 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.