Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. November 08, 2018

In This Issue

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Brain waves of autistic children show delay in language learning

How history forgot the woman who defined autism

Motor, sensory traits refine autism definition in research framework

Low brain hormone levels may be reliable marker of autism

In autism brains, neurons may take up more space than usual

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Opening Night Tickets! JK Rowling's The Crimes of Grindelwald

A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs

No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance

Engage & Connect Program -- Next session starts November 29th!

Cara Lucier & Associates

Announcing Building Bridges: Science & Community Forum on Nov. 30th!

November Free Webinar: Measurable IEP Goals and Data Collection

My Special Needs Connection November Newsletter

Hops for Heroes

The Old Globe Sensory Friendly Grinch!

Autistic Adult Social Group

Jeremiah's Ranch November Newsletter

Little Big Steps, New Program at Include Autism!


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!

  • Brain waves of autistic children show delay in language learning

  • Babies eventually diagnosed with autism learn to detect speech sounds later than their typical peers, a new study suggests.

    The critical period for this stage of language learning typically begins by about 6 months of age, but it doesn't start until about 9 months in autistic children, the study shows. The longer the delay, the more difficulties the child has comprehending language at 12 months of age.

    "That's a large shift in terms of the percent of time they've had to learn language," says Laurel Gabard-Durnam, a postdoctoral fellow in Charles Nelson's lab at Boston Children's Hospital. She presented the unpublished findings yesterday at the 2018 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, California. Read on...

  • How history forgot the woman who defined autism

  • Grunya Sukhareva characterized autism nearly two decades before Austrian doctors Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger. So why did the latter get all the credit?

    It was 1924 when the 12-year-old boy was brought to the Moscow clinic for an evaluation. By all accounts, he was different from his peers. Other people did not interest him much, and he preferred the company of adults to that of children his own age. He never played with toys: He had taught himself to read by age 5 and spent his days reading everything he could instead. Thin and slouching, the boy moved slowly and awkwardly. He also suffered from anxiety and frequent stomachaches.

    At the clinic, a gifted young doctor, Grunya Efimovna Sukhareva, saw the boy. Caring and attentive, she observed him with a keen eye, noting that he was "highly intelligent" and liked to engage in philosophical discussions. By way of a diagnosis, she described him as "an introverted type, with an autistic proclivity into himself."

    'Autistic' was a relatively new adjective in psychiatry at the time. About a decade earlier, Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler had coined the term to describe the social withdrawal and detachment from reality often seen in children with schizophrenia. Sukhareva's characterization came nearly two decades before Austrian doctors Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger published what have long been considered to be the first clinical accounts of autism. At first, Sukhareva used 'autistic' in the same way Bleuler did - but as she started to see other children with this trait, she decided to try to characterize it more fully. Read on...

  • Motor, sensory traits refine autism definition in research framework

  • Adding motor and sensory data boosts the accuracy of Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) - a broad research approach adopted by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) - for predicting autism.

    Researchers presented the unpublished findings Monday at the 2018 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, California.

    RDoC defines mental-health conditions using broad classes of functioning, such as cognitive and social processing, rather than traditional behavioral diagnoses. The goal is to give mental-health research biological grounding.

    But the approach needs revising, says Laura Harrison, a postdoctoral fellow in Lisa Aziz-Zadeh's lab at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles who presented the results. "What's really notable right now is that the RDoC doesn't include motor and sensory data," she says. Read on...

  • Low brain hormone levels may be reliable marker of autism

  • Children with autism tend to have low levels of the hormone vasopressin in their brain, according to the largest study yet to look at the levels. The readings distinguish autistic children from controls, and track with the severity of social difficulties in boys.

    Researchers presented the findings today at the 2018 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, California.

    The results support the idea that boosting the hormone's levels may ease social difficulties in some autistic children.

    "We are thinking that it is a promising biomarker and potential therapeutic target for autism's social deficits," says Özge Öztan, a research scientist in Karen Parker's lab at Stanford University, who presented the findings.

    Vasopressin and the related hormone oxytocin both regulate social behavior in mammals. Disrupting the action of either hormone induces social problems in several species; both hormones have been proposed as possible treatments for autism. Read on...

  • In autism brains, neurons may take up more space than usual

  • People with autism have more gray matter - or neuronal matter - in their brains overall than their typical peers do. The unpublished findings are based on brain scans from 211 people with autism, a large sample size for a study of this kind.

    Researchers presented the work today at the 2018 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, California.

    Researchers typically use a technique called voxel-based morphometry to assess brain structures. The method combines two properties of brain tissue - density and volume - into a single metric. Density refers to the amount of neuronal matter and glia in a given area of the brain, whereas volume refers to the space taken up by this brain matter. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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

    Does your child or young adult have IHSS hours? I have an amazing person who is working with my 22 year old daughter and is looking to take on new clients. She's been great at teaching life skills, cooking, hygiene and can also help with things like organizing schoolwork, mentoring etc. She is also available for work private pay as well. Please spread the word if you know anyone who needs this type of service for teens/young adults 😊Contact me for details Debra Berl 619 672-8893

    My 16 year old son( with autism/intellectual disability/pica/anxiety/chronic constipation) has been having intermittent aggression since we relocated to Carlsbad 2 months ago came home from CAPS yesterday...can you recommend a person who we can hire to stay in our home for an extra layer of support in the early evening (5-8pm) during the "sundowner" time? This is the time that aggression may come from out of nowhere. I would need help getting him to his room without being assaulted, where he can be safe, getting him PRN medication, and allowing him to calm down there (without calling the PERT team or the police). Once we are certain that he is stabilized with the right dosage of medication, we will not need the same level of extra support. We can pay up to $20/hr. We are also in the process of getting IHSS for him, so in time we will have more resources available...

    Please reply directly to my email address:

    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.

  • Opening Night Tickets! JK Rowling's The Crimes of Grindelwald
  • Attend the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego's movie fundraiser Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on Nov. 16 and have a chance to win fabulous prizes! Tickets at

    Prize list includes:

    • A Fantastic Beasts Holiday Tree - Ornaments for the tree have been donated by local artists of all abilities
    • Harry Potter 20 Years of Magic Artwork Signed byJim Kay, Brian Selznick, Mary Grand Pre and Kazu Kibuishi
    • Tickets to Disneyland California
    • A Dream Dinner Gift Basket
    • 90-Day Car Wash Memberships from Soapy Joe's Car Wash
    • The Marauder's Map Guide to Hogwarts & World of Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit
    • Hogwarts Wall Banners & Mirror of Erised
    • and more!
    November 16, 7pm
    UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas
    7510 Hazard Center Drive #100
    San Diego, CA 92108

    Proceeds from this event will benefit the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego. The mission of SNRFSD is to help parents and advocates in the special needs community to overcome challenges of the family's journey by bringing together people, information and resources in the resource guide called Flourishing Families. Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). All donations are 100% tax exempt for federal income tax purposes. Tax ID #46-4543603

  • A Social Event for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • "My Time For Dinner" was created to give Parents a special time for themselves to enjoy an evening out to dinner.

    Little Italy Bar and Grill (Approx. $15 per person)
    In Scripps Ranch
    Monday, November 12, 2018
    7:00 PM

    Please R.S.V.P. with your host Bene' Raphael no later than Nov.9th at or for any questions please call (760) 845-4551

  • No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®)

    Our primary approach for treatment of autism spectrum is a developmental program called Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®). RDI® is a unique treatment approach that empowers parents to guide their child to succeed in our dynamic world. Children who learn to actively engage with the support of their parents in safe but challenging learning opportunities develop a strong motivation to explore and expand their world, as well as develop competence and trust in themselves and their guides.

    Why RDI®?
    Foundations of the adult mind are developed in the first years of life through the "Guiding Relationship". From the middle of the first year of life, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, in every culture on earth, children interact with parents and other important adults in deceptively simple encounters, with a very serious underlying agenda; constructing the architecture of the child's mind and brain. Click here for all the info!!!

    The Family Guidance and Therapy Center
    Locations in Point Loma and Mira Mesa

  • Engage & Connect Program -- Next session starts November 29th!
  • Families of young children with autism, ages 2 - 8, and their siblings are invited to join us for our next session of the "Engage & Connect".

    The program is designed to bring parents, siblings, and children with ASD together, learn strategies from our professional team, and most of all - have fun!

    Play activities have been designed to encourage communication and social skills development.

    The Engage & Connect Program is held once a week for 4-weeks at Kid Ventures indoor recreational play center in 4S Ranch on Thursdays from 5:15 - 6:30 pm starting November 29th.

    To learn more or to register, please contact NFAR at 858-679-8800. Spots fill quickly-sign up for the next session today!

  • Cara Lucier & Associates
  • At Cara Lucier & Associates we believe in the ability of every person to reach their potential. We believe that education is the key to opportunity. We advocate for the rights of individuals and their families:

    • IEP team meetings
    • Mediation
    • Due Process Hearings and Appeals
    • 504 Meetings and Appeals
    • Regional Center Meetings and Appeals
    • IHSS Appeals
    • Civil Rights Litigation
    For a free 60-minute initial consultation, please contact us at (760)505-2498.

    Law Offices of Cara Lucier
    Civil Rights and Education Law
    701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite #300
    Carlsbad, CA 92011
    Phone: (760) 717-3451

  • Announcing Building Bridges: Science & Community Forum on Nov. 30th!
  • Friday, November 30, 2018
    5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    Storm Hall Lecture Hall 12 and West Patio
    Storm Hall
    5550 Campanile Dr
    San Diego, CA 92182

    We are proud to announce the inaugural Building Bridges: Science & Community Forum event on November 30th at 5:00 pm, which will mark the official opening of the SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders!

    This event is an opportunity to hear SDSU autism scientists talk about their cutting edge research, and share their findings with the community they serve. It is also an opportunity for the members of this diverse community to mix, mingle, and network.

    Anyone who is part of the autism community (families, service providers, scientists, clinicians, educators, policy makers, allies) is welcome to attend. We hope you all can join us for this FREE and educational event! RSVP Here.

  • November Free Webinar: Measurable IEP Goals and Data Collection
  • The webinar will air on November 27th at 12:00 noon and will repeat on November 29th at 7:00 pm.

    Join us by registering at

  • My Special Needs Connection November Newsletter

  • Click here to view their November newsletter for all the upcoming events and info!!!

  • Hops for Heroes
  • Hosted by Autism Society San Diego
    Tuesday Evenings: 11/13 & 11/20 & 11/27
    Stumblefoot Brewing Company
    1784 La Costa Meadows Drive, Suite 103
    San Marcos, California

    Join us at Stumblefoot Brewery for Hops for Heroes, every Tuesday night from 6-8 PM! This special night for autism parents features $5 pints, and a fun and relaxing atmosphere to talk to other families to share information and support. Stumblefoot Brewing is kid friendly, so you are welcome to bring the whole family! We hope to see you there!

  • The Old Globe Sensory Friendly Grinch!
  • As a friend of ValeriesList you are invited to a special performance of America's favorite holiday fable, returning for its 21st joyous year!

    Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a wonderful, whimsical musical based upon the classic Dr. Seuss book. Back for its 21st incredible year, the family favorite features the songs "This Time of Year," "Santa for a Day," and "Fah Who Doraze," the delightful carol from the popular animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Celebrate the holidays as The Old Globe is once again transformed into a snow-covered Whoville, right down to the last can of Who-hash.

    Space is limited-get your tickets now!

    For tickets to our sensory-friendly performance, please call the Ticket Office at (619) 234-5623 and say FRIENDLY

    Or CLICK HERE to save $10 off adult and children's tickets!

  • Autistic Adult Social Group
  • Saturday at 6 PM - 8 PM
    Autism Society San Diego
    4699 Murphy Canyon Rd, San Diego, California 92123

    Join us for our Autistic Adult Social Group! We will meet at our office at the United Way Building in San Diego. We will have a separate space for caregivers and support people to meet as well. This group is a place for autistic adults to come together for support and understanding. Make new friends, share questions and concerns, and get support from your peers, in a non judgmental and accepting atmosphere. This group is a open to all adults with autism as well as any support people that you require to participate successfully. We look forward to seeing you!

  • Jeremiah's Ranch November Newsletter
  • Click here to read their November edition!!!

  • Little Big Steps, New Program at Include Autism!

  • We are so very excited to announce the opening of a new center-based, community readiness ABA program for young children ages 2.5 to 6 years who are experiencing challenges in social skill development and language and behavioral challenges. This new program, Little Big Steps, is a program of Community Transition Academy and located in Poway in the mornings. LB Steps participants attend onsite in a structured setting where they receive 1:1 ABA instruction as well as group interaction with peers.

    Our staff of highly trained ABA therapists led utilize the principles of ABA to develop and promote skills to generalize in both school and community settings. Our site-based setting offers the structure needed to target pre-requisite skills needed for success in school-based settings as well offer access peers to work on social and play skills.

    Our goal at Little Big Steps is to create individualized programs in both structured and natural environments that will produce lasting changes prepare children for the next steps in their lives.

    For more information, please call Community Transition Academy/Little Big Steps at: (858) 603-6628. (website still under construction)

  • 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

  • "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? Spanish Speakers Welcome!!!
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    Can a Safe 'Fever' Help AUTISM Symptoms?

    Una 'Fiebre' Para Disminuir los Sintomas de AUTISMO? 

    Pilot Study Enrollment

    This pilot study will enroll 12 families with ASD children ages 2-17 years old in a controlled study, in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas. We are testing a dry heat therapy from an FDA-cleared medical device with simulates the effect of a low-grade fever by non-invasively infusing heat into the circulatory system. The Fielding Graduate University IRB approved study is entitiled: "The Fever Effect: Do kids with autism do better when they use a device to warm their blood? Effects of six-week AVACEN Treatment Method on Autism Spectrum Disorder".

    If you are interested in participating in this pilot study please contact Frances Poteet at and provide your phone number, email address, zip code and best time to reach you so that we can contact you. If you are not selected as part of this pilot study, you may be offered an opportunity to participate in a larger study of the device at a later date.

    Participants who complete the entire study will receive a $200 Amazon gift card. Enrolling now! Limited openings available!

    We can offer services in English and Spanish (all the way from the Orientation throughout the course of the study.)

  • Participate in Research: Caregiver/Family Member Survey
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    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

  • The Brain Development Imaging Labs at San Diego State University are looking for individuals with diagnosed or suspected autism to participate in a brain imaging study. Participants would receive around $150 plus free cognitive testing and an MRI scan. Child participants would receive a free assessment summary and image of their brain as a bonus! We are looking to recruit from all ages, but we especially need adults, ages 40-65 years, to participate. If you know someone who might be a good fit for our study, please share this information with them. Thank you.

    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.