Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. December 06, 2019

In This Issue

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Government workers with autism may go unpaid, despite their valuable contributions to science

CORRECT LINK: Autism and ADHD share genes

New MRI scans reveal brain features of depression

Former Enfield school board member with autism sues board, claiming discrimination

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker - Special Needs Resource Foundation Annual Fundraiser!!


Groups for children, teens and young adults enrolling now!

Family Chanukah Party!

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth

Special Benefit Event for Unscripted Learning

Holiday Central San Diego Family Pool and Pizza Party

Unlocking the Mystery of the Special Needs Trust

Holiday Workshop Sat Dec 14

Strategies to Build Social Competencies - Social Thinking Conference

Villa de Vida, Inc. - Social Club Event

Sensory-Friendly: How the Grinch Stole Christmas


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ValeriesList is a FREE resource newsletter and Facebook Page for San Diego County and has been for over 20 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!

  • Government workers with autism may go unpaid, despite their valuable contributions to science
  • Twenty-two years after a Ross's goose hatched from an egg in Saskatchewan, Canada, it was shot somewhere in California. Scientists collected the metal leg tag to have it added to a searchable database-one of 77 million entries for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Bird Banding Laboratory.

    The fact that we can learn the story of a 22-year-old goose today is due to a large effort to digitize millions of avian profiles from paper and microfilm. Contractors did much of the labor, but a group of college-aged students also played a significant role by uploading 500,000 Bird Banding Laboratory records. The contractors made $1 per record. The students, who were autistic, earned nothing.

    Launched in 2012, the USGS STEP-UP program uses students on the spectrum for a myriad of projects, including typing up records from tagged birds, sorting microfossils, identifying species on trail-camera images, cataloging rock cuttings, and more. The program has expanded its bounds in recent years, from a single school to partners in Denver, Salt Lake City, Monterey, and other cities across the country. To date, it's enrolled 195 individuals. Read on...

  • CORRECT LINK: Autism and ADHD share genes
  • Researchers from the national psychiatric project iPSYCH have found that autism and ADHD share changes in the same genes. The new knowledge relates directly to the biological causes of the two child psychiatric disorders.

    In Denmark, approximately one per cent of schoolchildren have autism and two to three per cent are diagnosed with ADHD. Autism and ADHD are different developmental disorders, but they can have certain common symptoms. For example, children with autism can demonstrate violent or aggressive behaviour, be impulsive, and have problems in school and with social relations-and these same symptoms can be shared by children with ADHD. Read on...

  • New MRI scans reveal brain features of depression
  • Recent advances in brain scanning may bring welcome news to people with depression. Two new types of MRI appear able to spot distinct brain characteristics of the condition.

    The researchers say that their findings deepen knowledge about how depression affects the brain and should lead to better treatments.

    One of the new types of MRI reveals differences in the blood-brain barrier (BBB), and the other highlights differences in the brain's complex network of connections.

    Scientists recently used the novel MRI technologies in people with or without major depressive disorder (MDD). Read on...

  • Former Enfield school board member with autism sues board, claiming discrimination
  • A former member of the Enfield Board of Education who is autistic has sued the school board and the town for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, alleging that the board did not provide her with the accommodations she needed to function as an effective member of the board.

    Sarah Hernandez, who her lawyers believe is one of the first openly autistic people in the nation elected to public office, contends in the suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court that the board "failed to take steps to ensure effective communication" and as a result "denied her an opportunity equal to that afforded to non-disabled board members."

    Hernandez who was elected in 2017 and served a two-year term through November, 2019 has autism, is hard of hearing, and has auditory processing disabilities. 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.

    Our son recently got diagnosed with Autism and we are currently trying to setup RESPITE services for him.

    We were approved for 8hrs of RESPITE per month. We selected "24HourHomeCare" as our RESPITE agency. The agency mentioned that they don't have care givers available at this point and we were asked if we knew anyone that can join 24HourHomeCare.

    Can you please help us find caregivers specialized in Autism and someone that can provide us RESPITE services.
    Thanks, Kalyani.

    I'm looking for recommendations of a psychologist or psychiatrist experienced in working with adults with autism. My 32 yr. old son has recently developed anxiety and signs of hypochondriasis. Has anyone had experience with someone they would recommend or not recommend? Any help is greatly appreciated. Sharon

    I would love to find a theatre, dance or improv teacher to volunteer teach at my son's school in Poway. They're 18 -22 years old. Can you help? Thank you.

    Seeking Special Needs Ministry Team Volunteers
    I am seeking any volunteers who would be interested to be part of a developing Volunteer Special Needs Ministry Team I have proposed already onboard Miramar Base starting with the Catholic Community at Airman & Marine Memorial Chapel. I am in the beginning planning phase and hoping will be approved . I envision making the Special needs ministry all inclusive meaning for all disabilities if possible and for all ages . I was also envisioning the team to be comprised of but not limited too support volunteers of professionals like a BCBA who could help with addressing any challenging behaviors that may arise , Special education or Faith formation teachers who have experience working with children and adults with special needs so could help modify the curriculum and help with materials , interpreter for the deaf on an as need basis , speech therapist who could help with creating social stories and other communication and social needs , occupational therapist who could help with sensory regulation needs and more , guest speakers for informational sessions may be offering and more .You do not need to be military but that would be most welcomed as we are serving the military community on board Miramar . If all goes well and receive permission to proceed forward with my proposal then would like in the future to include the other faith based communities served on base . As mentioned this is a team I am currently forming so wanted to reach out to the Special Needs Community to see if any of you are interested to volunteer your time to assist me. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or if interested to Michele at

    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.

  • Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker - Special Needs Resource Foundation Annual Fundraiser!!
  • Friday, December 20, 2019, 7pm
    UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas
    7510 Hazard Center Drive #100
    San Diego, CA 92108
    Tickets start at $40

    A very special event will be taking place December 20, 7pm at the UltraStar Cinemas Hazard Center in Mission Valley OPENING NIGHT weekend for the much anticipated Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker!

    The festivities begin at 5:30 pm; theater seating begins at 6:30 pm. Your ticket includes the pre-show fun! Create a TIE fighter galaxy canvas at our craft tables, take your family photo with a FULL FORCE of Star Wars characters, win Star Wars character sketch by DC Artist Alex Sinclair and so much more!

    Then sit back and enjoy the opening weekend viewing of the much-anticipated sequel, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

    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. The 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.

    Click here for all the info and to purchase your tickets!!!

    Click here to view the final trailer for the movie!!!

  • CorticaCare
  • Cortica is a leading provider of advanced neurological therapies for children with autism, speech and language delays, sensory processing disorder and other conditions that impact brain development.

    Based on the scientific research and clinical practice of our leaders in pediatric neurology, speech therapy, ABA, music therapy and more, we have designed a multi-modal approach that allows the team to create customized treatment programs for children based on an in-depth understanding of the child's neurobiology and developmental profile. Every child has a unique path to reach their highest potential.

    For more information, please visit

    In San Diego:
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121
    (858) 304-6440

    In Carlsbad:
    5870 El Camino Real
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    (760) 539-5818

  • 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

  • Family Chanukah Party!
  • Sunday, December 22, 2019 at 4 PM - 6 PM
    Poway Fun Bowl
    12941 Poway Rd, Poway, California 92064

    The Friendship Circle of San Diego will be celebrating Chanukah at Poway Fun Bowl! This Family event has been generously sponsored by SynergEyes! This event is FREE for the first 40 RSVPs, so signup today! For all the info and for questions or help in signing up please contact or call 858.487.4879

  • 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

  • Special Benefit Event for Unscripted Learning
  • You are invited to a special benefit event for Unscripted Learning and our CONNECTIONS program on Saturday, December 14th at 2:00 p.m.

    The event will feature a wine/appetizer reception on our patio, followed by a performance by the students in our Connections program. It will be a very fun...and funny, afternoon.

    Tickets are $45 with all proceeds benefitting Unscripted Learning.

    We hope to see you there!

  • Holiday Central San Diego Family Pool and Pizza Party
  • Friday, December 13, 2019 at 6 PM - 8 PM
    Aqua Pros Swim School
    4635 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, California 92117

    Join us for our Holiday Pool Party on December 13th - Santa will be joining us, and will have goodie bags for the kids! We will be serving our usual pizza but ask that families bring cookies to share for this holiday celebration.

    Bring the entire family to enjoy a swim in an indoor, heated pool with free pizza and drinks. Lifeguards are provided. For safety purposes, no flotation devices or "floaties" are permitted. A special thank you to Aqua Pros for making this event possible. RSVPs are greatly appreciated!

    ** Admission is free but a $5 donation per family is appreciated to help cover the cost of the food and venue.

    ** For the safety of your children, we ask that you do not enter the pool area until 6:00 pm.

    For more information, please visit our website at

  • Unlocking the Mystery of the Special Needs Trust
  • Featuring the expertise of Mary L. Waltari Esq., attorney in estate planning, first and third party special needs trusts as well as conservatorships.

    Join us by registering at

    The webinar will be held on Tuesday December 10th at 12:00 noon and will repeat Thursday December 12th at 7:00 pm.

  • Holiday Workshop Sat Dec 14
  • E-mail: or call 602-502-2743

  • Strategies to Build Social Competencies - Social Thinking Conference
  • January 29 - 31, 2020
    DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Santa Ana-OC Airport
    201 East MacArthur Blvd
    Santa Ana, CA 92707

    Join us in Orange County to gain evidence-based strategies to help people in every stage of life improve their social competencies, including: self-regulation, social-emotional learning, executive functioning, perspective taking, and social problem solving.

    Early Bird Pricing in effect right now! Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Villa de Vida, Inc. - Social Club Event
  • Villa de Vida Social Club presents: Holiday craft & time to socialize!
    Remember to email -

  • Sensory-Friendly: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park has a sensory-friendly performance of Dr. Seuss's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" & a $10 discount for returning guests! The show is Saturday, Dec.14th at 10:30am.

    For tickets, please call the Ticket Office at (619) 234-5623 and say "FRIENDLY" or use this link:

    PLUS, come early to enjoy AXIS-a FREE event on the Copley Plaza before the show! Our second consecutive year of this special free AXIS event will include a pre-show concert by "Banding Together" as well as singing, improv, and a sensory-friendly workshop by actor and teacher Samantha Ginn. These exciting opportunities make the sensory-friendly Grinch even more inclusive!

  • 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

  • Autism Through the Lifespan

  • Please RSVP for Spanish Translation support

    For further information, please contact:
    Carolyn Carterette, M.A. (619) 725-8080 email:
    Grace Fantaroni, Ed.D. (619) 563-2839 email

  • Therapeutic Recreation Services - Winter Calendar 2019

  • Here is the TRS Newsletter for Winter of 2019.

    First day of registration is Saturday, November 16th at 10:00 a.m.

    You may register online or at our office at the War Memorial Building (3325 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92101). If you plan on paying at the office, please remember we no longer take cash as a payment.

    If you have any questions, please contact the office at (619) 525-8247.

  • 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.