Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. November 13, 2018

In This Issue

Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

Dos and Don'ts of Classroom Decorations

Voc Rehab Doubling Down On Transition-Age Youths

5 Assumptions to Avoid When Teaching Social Thinking & Related Social Skills

Spectrum is proud to debut the first-ever global map of autism prevalence.

Depression: Three new subtypes identified

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

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

Are you prepared for your IEP meeting?

No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance

NFAR Mom's Group - Wed. Nov. 14

Cara Lucier & Associates

Target is Now Selling Affordable Weighted Blankets

Options Program at Cathedral Catholic High School

Club Beacons in Carlsbad - November 16th

Support & Information for Adults: Public Benefits Information - TONIGHT!

North County Breakfast Club-Hope for the Holidays event

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

Clinical Training: Apply for Spring 2019


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!

  • Dos and Don'ts of Classroom Decorations
  • What you put on your classroom walls can affect your students' ability to learn.

    Heavily decorated classrooms can bombard students with too much visual information, interfering with their memory and ability to focus, a new study finds.

    This is just the latest study to examine the relationship between classroom environment and students' executive functions, which include skills like memory, attention, and self-regulation. While teachers have good intentions when decorating, many classrooms end up being "sensory-rich" in a way that "could hamper children's learning gains rather than help," according to psychologists Pedro Rodrigues and Josefa Pandeirada, who coauthored the study. Read on...

  • Voc Rehab Doubling Down On Transition-Age Youths
  • Vocational rehabilitation agencies across the country say they're serving more students with disabilities thanks to a new federal mandate, but they're still falling short of fully meeting their obligations.

    The vast majority of state vocational rehabilitation agencies indicate that they've seen an uptick in the number of students they have provided with workplace readiness training, work-based learning experiences, self-advocacy training and counseling related to job exploration or postsecondary education over the last four years.

    That's according to a new report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office looking at what are known as pre-employment transition services. Read on...

  • 5 Assumptions to Avoid When Teaching Social Thinking & Related Social Skills
  • The social mind is an information-processing machine and "data interpretation" is a huge part of that processing. Unlike facts and figures that may "compute" in neat and logical ways, deciphering and making sense of the clues and cues in any social environment is a many-layered, complex, and highly flexible thinking process. Often that thinking requires us to make assumptions and guesses. Unfortunately, when it comes to teaching social information to people with solid to strong language and academic learning skills, some of the assumptions we make may lead us astray.

    The good news is that awareness is the first step in keeping our assumptions realistic and relevant to those we serve. Whether we are working with an individual as a parent, an educator, or a professional, to be effective we need to start by avoiding assumptions about what our students actually know when it comes to social information!

    So many other assumptions we make can throw off our ability to provide timely and relevant information to help people learn to successfully interact and share space together. We've put together the top five assumptions we repeatedly notice among parents and professionals about individuals who have strong language skills and yet struggle with social issues. See if any of them hold a space in your social brain! Read on...

  • Spectrum is proud to debut the first-ever global map of autism prevalence.

  • The interactive map provides a clear look at the distribution of studies on autism prevalence over time and space. It highlights the places for which prevalence data are available - or missing. We plan to fill in the gaps as the data become available.

    The number of people diagnosed with autism worldwide has risen dramatically over the past few decades. Prevalence estimates in different countries vary widely, as these estimates depend in large part on how scientists collected the data.

    You can filter the studies using various relevant criteria, download the data and analyze it yourself.

    We invite you to explore the map, learn more about its creation, and let us know what you think. You can also share the map on social media, tagging @Spectrum on Twitter or Facebook. Follow us for map updates and more.

  • Depression: Three new subtypes identified

  • A new study now published in the journal Scientific Reports has identified three new subtypes of depression. The findings help explain why some types of depression do not respond well to medication.

    According to recent estimates, depression affects over 300 million people worldwide, and at least 16 million people in the United States.

    Over 60 percent of U.S. individuals living with depression have experienced severe impairment as a result, and up to 30 percent of people living with depression do not find relief in existing treatments.

    Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed drugs for depression. They work by boosting levels of the "happiness hormone" in the brain: serotonin.

    New research may help explain why SSRIs are unable to fully tackle some types of depression. A team led by Prof. Kenji Doya, of the Neural Computation Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in Japan, has now identified three new subtypes of depression. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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 šŸ˜ŠContact 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:

    We hired an advocate this summer for our middle schooler, but feel that it is a lot of money for what we are getting. We just would like someone who would answer questions we can have once in a while, but in an immediate way because sometimes it's urgent...does anyone know of someone/somewhere we can get those kind of services? 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.

  • 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

  • Are you prepared for your IEP meeting?
  • banyon tree

    Come join us!
    5PM - 7PM

    Our second meeting will feature guest speaker Seth Schwartz from the Law Offices of Schwartz and Storey. Seth is a local special education attorney who will be here to discuss making the most of your IEP meetings, working with school districts and the power of a positive attitude. We can't wait to see you there! Click here to RSVP!!!

    Banyon Tree
    Learning Center - Point Loma
    2820 Roosevelt Road, Suite 104
    San Diego, CA 92106

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

    Our primary approach for treatment of autism spectrum is a developmental program called Relationship Development Intervention (RDIĀ®). RDIĀ® 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 RDIĀ®?
    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

  • NFAR Mom's Group - Wed. Nov. 14
  • 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    **NEW LOCATION**Filippi's Pizza Grotto
    5353 Kearny Villa Rd
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Dinner: Pizza, Salad.
    Dinner is provided

    These meetings are for Moms to come together in a fun and relaxed setting. The group will meet the 3rd Wednesday of the month for dinner and guest speakers. It's an opportunity to share resources, experiences and enjoy being with other moms of individuals with autism.

    November Topic: Tips to Help Your Child Stay Safe, (bring your questions)

    Over the past 30 years, GET SAFE has positively impacted the lives of more than 200,000 people of all ages and abilities by providing the violence prevention education and self-defense training that is critical to protecting the well-being of its students and to building safer, more inclusive communities.

    Come learn more about ways to help empower and keep your loved one safe.

    Guest Speaker: Stuart Haskin, Founder and Executive Director - Get Safe

    Stuart works closely with law enforcement officers, military personnel, children, survivors of sexual assault, victims of domestic violence, and persons with disabilities. Stuart interacts with his students on the emotional, cognitive and physical levels combined with his trademark humor to create an empowering, life-changing shift in personal awareness and safety.

    To learn more about Get Safe.

    To RSVP and for directions.

  • 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

  • Target is Now Selling Affordable Weighted Blankets
  • The weighted blanket you've been wanting to try is finally available at an affordable price. Target is selling 12-pound weighted blankets this holiday season for only $70-most well-rated blankets sell for over $100. These quilted throws come in cream and gray. Click here for all the info!!!

  • Options Program at Cathedral Catholic High School
  • The Options Program at Cathedral Catholic High School provides students with intellectual disabilities and/or delays an opportunity to become a part of the CCHS community. Students enrolled in the Options Program will become fully integrated as possible into the total life of the school community through participation in general education classes and campus activities with the support of peer mentors. Students will earn a Certificate of Completion upon their four years at CCHS. There is also support from a special education case manager who designs individualized curriculum for each student. Incoming Freshmen may apply.

    Cathedral Catholic High School
    5555 Del Mar Heights Road
    San Diego, CA 92130

  • Club Beacons in Carlsbad - November 16th
  • Beacons, Inc.
    6150 Yarrow Street, Suite E
    Carlsbad, CA 92011

  • Support & Information for Adults: Public Benefits Information - TONIGHT!
  • Tuesday, November 13, 2018
    6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
    Autism Society of San Diego
    4699 Murphy Canyon Road (United Way Building)
    San Diego, CA 92123

    This presentation will cover the basics of the various complex systems utilized by individuals with disabilities including SSI, SSA, 250% working Disabled, CalABLE, and several helpful resources. We will also discuss entitlements and services available to adults who are recipients of regional center services.

    Melissa Hough has worked in the disability field in various capacities since 1995. She began working for Creative Support Alternatives in 2004, serving as Associate Director since 2014. She is passionate about utilizing person-centered planning tools to develop truly individualized services consistent with Creative Support Alternatives' beliefs and mission.

    Melissa received both her Bachelors degree in Vocational Education, Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University. Melissa serves on the Cal-TASH Board, is a founding member of the local San Diego Micro-Business Coalition, and maintains membership in the California Supported Living Network, San Diego Supported Living Vendor group, Cal-TASH, and APSE. She also teaches DSPS Continuing Education classes through a local community college.

    There will be an opportunity for networking and questions and answers.
    Light refreshments will be served.
    We hope you will join us!

  • North County Breakfast Club-Hope for the Holidays event
  • November 15th at 10 AM - 12 PM
    Swami's Cafe Vista
    20 Main St #100
    Vista, California 92083

    The holiday season is upon us. Autism can sometimes make fun gatherings stressful and challenging for your loved one with autism and the whole family. Join TACA Mentor Malinda Cook and Co-Coordinator Vanessa Surprise and leave with a plan and ideas to make this your best holiday season yet! We will have sheets to help you make shopping lists, magnets to help motivate (and give away for gifts) and of course friendship and support.

  • 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!

  • Clinical Training: Apply for Spring 2019
  • Want to learn hands-on from Michelle Garcia Winner and other world-renowned members of our clinical team? Apply for Social Thinking's three-day intensive Clinical Training Program to get ground-floor, top-notch training in the Social Thinking Methodology. Observe and discuss a live assessment using the Social Thinking Informal Dynamic Assessment, observe live Social Thinking group and individual treatment sessions with clients of different ages, and discuss treatment strategies for the different levels of the social mind. We're sold out for 2018, apply to secure your seat for spring 2019 before it's gone!
    Click here for all the info and to apply!!!

  • 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.