Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. November 05, 2019

In This Issue

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My Apology To My Wife For Not Accepting My Son's Autism Diagnosis

Songbirds speak volumes about language learning, autism

What This Autistic Teacher Wants Professionals to Know

My autism journey: how I learned to stop trying to fit in

People with autism have a more symmetrical brain

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

2nd Annual Autism Speaks North County Walk 2019

Club Beacons Art Studio!

Parent Training: Understanding Special Education Law in Relation to the IEP!

Dan's Place November Pop Up - Hearty Italian

Educational Workshop on Strategies for High School and Adult Transition Students

ATPF Musical Playgroup

Beware of Fake SDRC Robocalls

FREE! Movie Night and Discussion for Adults with Autism

Support & Information for Adults: Self Determination with SDRC

Friendship Circle San Diego November Events & Programs

TAG is Hiring Registered Behavior Tech

Autism Diagnosis & Evaluations


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!

  • My Apology To My Wife For Not Accepting My Son's Autism Diagnosis
  • Our beloved 4.5-year-old son is autistic. And it has taken a huge toll on our family. Not because of how he has been affected by autism, but because of the way I was.

    I have been particularly ignorant about the autism spectrum and characteristics of a high-functioning autistic person. My wife, who has been more informed on the subject, noticed early signs in our son and had brought them to my attention. I was adamant her observations and interpretations of his behavior was incorrect and, at points, even delusional.

    My ignorance and denial lasted for years, as did the stress and anguish it caused my wife. In fact, when we went to a specialist a few weeks ago, I opened the conversation with, "Doctor, I believe my wife is making things up in her head and worries for no reason." Read on...

  • Songbirds speak volumes about language learning, autism
  • Certain neurons in the brains of finches are tuned to the songs the birds hear early in life rather than being hardwired to respond to specific sounds, a new study shows1.

    The findings support the view that song learning in birds is a good model for language learning in children, including those with autism.

    Young songbirds learn to sing by listening to and imitating adults - in the same way that children learn to speak. In the new study, researchers transferred eggs or hatchlings of two bird species - zebra finches and long-tailed finches - to foster parents of either their own or a third species: Bengalese finches. The three species are closely related but sing different songs. Read on...

  • What This Autistic Teacher Wants Professionals to Know
  • ONE
    Some of us on the autism spectrum embrace the word "autistic" and prefer the use of autistic over phrases such as "with autism" or "with Aspergers." Autistic isn't a bad word. How one refers to oneself is a personal preference.

    Autism Spectrum Disorder is the correct terminology for an autism diagnosis. "Disorder" serves its purpose in diagnosing and receiving services. But some on the autism spectrum would prefer "condition" over "disorder." Autism is a neurological condition. "Disorder" implies that something is out-of-order. Condition is more so a state of being. Read on...

  • My autism journey: how I learned to stop trying to fit in
  • My name is Eloise and I am many things at once: I am a graduate student at the University of Oxford; I am a tutor, a rower, a feminist, a granddaughter, a daughter, a sister, a stepsister, a friend. I am also autistic.

    I was diagnosed several years ago, aged 27. But, looking back, the signs were always there. I have always harboured intense 'special interests' that form something between a passion and an obsession. For instance, as a child, I was obsessed with collecting Barbie dolls, not to play with, but to create the 'perfect' Barbie doll home, complete with furniture made from cardboard cereal boxes and copious amounts of glue and glitter. Most neurotypical people have favourite interests, but theirs are more akin to hobbies, which they can put on hold if life is busy. For autistic individuals such as me, the opposite is true. We often need these special interests to stay sane in a world that can be so bafflingly complex - such interests can provide predictability, focus and great reward. Read on...

  • People with autism have a more symmetrical brain
  • Do people with autism have differently organized brains? A large-scale MRI study, published in Nature Communications, reports fewer differences between the right and left hemispheres in people with autism spectrum disorder. An international team, led by scientists from the Max Planck and Donders institutes in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and the University of Southern California, found differences in brain asymmetry between people with and without autism, mainly affecting gray matter thickness, in several brain regions.

    The left and right halves of our brains develop differently, as each hemisphere 'specializes' in certain functions. For example, for most people the left hemisphere-controlling the right hand-is dominant for language. But brain asymmetry is sometimes affected in people with developmental or psychiatric disorders like autism, which is characterized by impaired social cognition, repetitive behavior and restricted interests. Ph.D. student Merel Postema explains: "Previous studies have suggested that people with autism spectrum disorder are less likely to have the typical asymmetries for language dominance or hand preference. However, it has not been clear whether asymmetry of the brain's anatomy is affected in autism, because different studies have reported different findings." 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

    Looking for a peer support/tutor/communication partner in the classroom three days a week for a high school freshman. Must be able to be employed in the US. English must be your first language. Experience with AAC/AT a must. Salary is based on experience. For more information email

    Has anyone had experience with Microcurrent Therapy to treat Autism-related behaviors such as OCD, anxiety, sensory processing, or hyper-activity? How effective is it? What changes have you seen? I am considering it for my 21-year-old autistic daughter. I would greatly appreciate it if you could share your experiences with me. Thank you.

    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:

  • Club Beacons Art Studio!
  • Saturday, November 23, 2019
    1 - 3 pm
    Beacons North County
    6150 Yarrow Drive, Suite E
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Cost: $30

    Please RSVP to by Thursday, Nov. 21.

  • Parent Training: Understanding Special Education Law in Relation to the IEP!
  • Saturday, November 16th
    9:45 AM to 12:30 PM
    Mission Valley Library
    Community Room
    2123 Fenton Parkway
    San Diego, CA 92108

    This Parent Training is presented by Seth Schwartz, Esq., from the Law Offices of Schwartz & Storey. Structured in two parts, we'll cover the important foundational principles of special education law and its relationship to the IEP. Then, we'll discuss how you can effectively use this information to self advocate for better outcomes!

    RSVP Required!!! Please email: or call 858-430-8166

  • Dan's Place November Pop Up - Hearty Italian
  • Dan's Place was created to give the adult and young adult community with special needs the chance to learn vocational skills in the hospitality industry. Each participant commits to learning a position within the restaurant such as chef, server, host and more! Volunteers assist alongside each participant as they practice from setup to cleanup and everything in between.

    Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 5 PM - 7 PM
    Dan's Place Kosher Restaurant
    16934 Chabad Way, Poway, California 92064 Cost: $25

    Dan's Place November Pop Up - Garlic Bread, Olives & Marinated Vegetables, Chicken Cacciatore, Cacio e Pepe Pasta, Mixed Green Salad, Polenta Cake.

    Please RSVP to Tanya at or 858.487.4879!

  • 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!!!!

  • ATPF Musical Playgroup
  • Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 10 AM - 11 AM
    Autism Tree Project Foundation
    2845 Nimitz Blvd, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92106

    You and your family are invited to join us! We will learn valuable interaction, communication, and social skills through group music making in a fun and friendly environment. The ATPF playgroups are facilitated by board-certified music therapists from the music Therapy Center of California.

    Ready to make some music? Register today!

    Call 619-222-4465 or Email

  • Beware of Fake SDRC Robocalls
  • Important notice about fake SDRC calls (shared by Mary Ellen Stives, SCDD).

  • FREE! Movie Night and Discussion for Adults with Autism
  • Fri, November 15, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court, ste. 250
    San Diego, CA 92120

    Adults with autism are invited to watch a movie and discuss it with fellow attendees.

    The SDSU Center for Autism will be hosting a movie night for adults with autism on November 15th from 6-9 pm. We will be watching Neurotypical. After the showing, if attendees are interested, we will discuss the themes of the movie and go wherever the conversation takes us. We will provide popcorn and some drinks. You are welcome to bring other foods as well. Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Support & Information for Adults: Self Determination with SDRC
  • Tuesday, November 12, 2019
    6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
    United Way Building
    4699 Murphy Canyon Rd.
    San Diego, CA 92123

    The Department of Developmental Services is developing a new program, called the Self-Determination Program, that will let participants have more control over selecting their services and supports through the regional center. One of the ways this can be done is by giving participants (or their parents or legal representatives) a specific budget to purchase the services and supports that they need to make their person-centered plan work better for them. Participants may choose their services and pick which providers deliver those services. Participants are responsible for staying within their annual budget.

    The Self-Determination Program is based on beliefs that people --

    -Plan their own lives and make their own decisions
    -Determine how funding is spent for their services and supports
    -Plan and choose their own formal and informal supports
    -Take responsibility for the decisions made
    -Validate those decisions through maintaining ongoing control

    Our speaker: Gabriella Ohmstede, Project Manager, Self Determination Program-San Diego Regional Center

    Click here for all the info. No RSVP necessary.

  • Friendship Circle San Diego November Events & Programs
  • Click here to read their latest newsletter for all the info about upcoming events!!!

  • TAG is Hiring Registered Behavior Tech
  • Send your updated resume to Emily Fattouh, Program Coordinator

  • Autism Diagnosis & Evaluations
  • Are you looking for answers for yourself, your child? The Family Guidance & Therapy Center offers psychological and educational services for children, teens and adults, as well as different therapy options for the whole family. Our brand new diagnosis & testing center offers:

    Autism Diagnosis for Adults
    Autism Diagnosis for children aged 12 months to 18 years
    Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE)
    Re-Evaluation Assessments

    Click here to learn more and schedule an appointment.

  • 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.