Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. December 18, 2018

In This Issue

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Short Film about Playground Inclusion wins International Acclaim

A role for microRNAs in social behavior

FDA To Finalize Ban On Shock Devices Used On Those With Special Needs

How pregnancy may shape a child's autism

Study links autism to high levels of fat hormone

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

No Wait for RDI at Family Guidance

Bubbly Brunch with TV Stars Christina Sanz and Steven Clark

Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) presents Children's Theatre Workshops!

Club Beacons Winter Holiday Dance

Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment

Lil' Athletes Soccer

Therapeutic Approach to Growth Offering Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) & More!

Little Big Steps is Accepting New Clients!!!

Be a HERO for 2019! Family Friendly Pricing Good thru 12/31/18

Central San Diego Coffee Talk

Basic Education for Students with Disabilities

An Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis in Poway

Congratulations NFAR Teacher Grant Awardees!


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!


  • Short Film about Playground Inclusion wins International Acclaim
  • All kids want to play. Kids with disabilities are no different. "Ian" is a short, animated film inspired by the real-life Ian, a boy with a disability determined to get to the playground despite his playmates bullying him. This film sets out to show that children with disabilities can and should be included.

    "Ian" premiered for audiences around the world on YouTube and was broadcast in Latin America simultaneously on Disney Junior, Cartoon Network, Discovery Kids, Nickelodeon, PakaPaka and YouTube Kids Nov. 30, 2018.

    "Ian" started as a mother's mission to educate her son's bullies on the playground-one to one. When she realized that the need for inclusion was bigger than one playground, she wrote a book and founded Fundación ian to change thousands of minds and attitudes about people with disabilities. She approached MundoLoco, a top digital animation studio in Latin America, about creating "Ian," an animated film to deliver the message of inclusion to audiences all over the world. Read on...

  • A role for microRNAs in social behavior
  • The recent discovery of microRNAs as key regulators of biological processes has fueled an explosion of research activity into their function in health and disease. Researchers have now uncovered a microRNA cluster that regulates synaptic strength and is involved in the control of social behaviour in mammals. The researchers presume that their discovery may point to new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of social deficits in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder or schizophrenia. The research is published today in EMBO Reports.

    Textbook knowledge holds that DNA is first copied to make messenger RNA molecules (mRNAs) that are then translated into protein. MicroRNAs are short snippets of RNA that do not code for a protein. Rather, they function mainly by regulating the stability or translation rate of mRNAs, thereby inhibiting the production of particular proteins. These microRNAs form a whole new layer of gene regulation that has only been uncovered in the past 15 years. Each microRNA typically targets hundreds of different mRNAs, making them ideal for coordinating complex cellular processes.

    In their work at the University of Marburg, Germany and later on at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, the research group of Gerhard Schratt and other laboratories have uncovered that a cluster of 38 microRNAs, termed miR379-410, plays an important role in neural development. Moreover, several hints pointed to the possibility that miR379-410 is involved in social behaviour. Schratt and colleagues now investigated this option in more detail and found that miR379-410 indeed regulates sociability in the brain of mice. The study opens up a new perspective on the molecular mechanisms behind social behaviour. Read on...

  • FDA To Finalize Ban On Shock Devices Used On Those With Special Needs
  • Two years after proposing a ban on devices used to administer electric shocks on people with developmental disabilities, federal regulators say they intend to move forward with the plan.

    The Food and Drug Administration will finalize a 2016 proposal to bar so-called electrical stimulation devices, according to Scott Gottlieb, the agency's commissioner.

    "We believe these products present an unreasonable and substantial risk to public health that cannot be corrected or eliminated through changes to the labeling," Gottlieb wrote. Read on...

  • How pregnancy may shape a child's autism

  • Autism is predominantly genetic in origin, but a growing list of preterm exposures for mother and baby may sway the odds.

    Introduction Inside the womb Outside the womb Birth and beyond Even after her first child, Shane, was diagnosed with autism last year at the age of 2, Melissa Patao knew she wanted a bigger family. She was aware that any other children she had would have high odds of being diagnosed with the condition - estimates suggest that about 20 percent of siblings of autistic children also receive a diagnosis - but she was more than willing to take the chance. "I just adore Shane so much; he's my world," she says. In August, Patao gave birth to her second son, Zayden.

    If it turns out that Zayden is also on the spectrum, "so be it," Patao says. But all through her pregnancy, she wondered 'what if?' She found herself poring over research studies in an attempt to understand his odds of having autism and what might influence them.

    Patao, who is training to become a pediatric nurse practitioner, found no shortage of reading material: Last year alone, scientists published more than 100 papers on events during pregnancy that can influence a child's odds of having autism. Genes determine about 50 to 95 percent of that risk. But that means that "there's more to the story than just that genetic predisposition," says Daniele Fallin, a genetic epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Environmental contributions must also factor in. Read on...

  • Study links autism to high levels of fat hormone

  • Children with autism tend to gain weight rapidly in infancy and to have high levels of the fat hormone leptin, according to a new study1.

    Other studies have tied rapid weight gain in infancy to autism. And a 2008 study reported unusually high levels of leptin in 70 children with autism2. The new study is based on data from more than 800 children - including 53 with autism - in the Boston Birth Cohort, which has been tracking more than 8,500 children.

    The results do not mean that leptin and autism are directly related: Other factors may lead to both high leptin levels and autism, says study investigator Daniele Fallin, professor of mental health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • 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!!

    My 26 yo son is looking for a room to rent near Miramar or Mesa Junior College.
    He is high functioning ASD, quiet, no drinking or drugs. Does not drive so needs to be near public transportation. Ideal living situation would be with 1 or 2 similar young adults. Thank you! 858-837-2355

    Hi any advice on adaptive pe.....there trying to take away the rooms at my son's middle school to give to the drama club. What can I do as a parent?

    I'm looking for a part time communication partner (CP) for my teenage son who uses supportive typing to communicate. CP must have English as a first language. Must have a working knowledge of high school academic curriculum. Must be familiar with software such as Word and PowerPoint. Must be eligible to work in the United States. Must have current LiveScan. Experience with Facilitated Communication preferred.
    Please email me at if interested or want more details.

    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.

  • 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 about RDI®!!!

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

  • Bubbly Brunch with TV Stars Christina Sanz and Steven Clark
  • Join us for a Bubbly Brunch with Born This Way!
    Spend an inspirational morning with cast members from Born This Way. Mingle, munch, and enjoy as we thank our volunteers and supporters and celebrate another year of friendship together.

    Sunday, January 27th, 2019
    11:00am - 1:00pm
    16934 Chabad Way, Poway, CA 92064
    Dress code is dressy casual. Click here for all the info and to purchase tickets!!!

  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) presents Children's Theatre Workshops!
  • Register now for PACT's children's theatre workshop series, offered for elementary aged children of all abilities on Saturday afternoons from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. This 8-week series begins January 26 and concludes March 23. Located at Dance North County in Encinitas, workshops will include improvisational theatre activities designed to improve confidence, cooperation, and creativity. It will be led by PACT Artistic Director Sandy Redmon, and by Jacob Redmon and Jovyn Anderson.

    Tuition is $100 for the 8-week series, with scholarships available. Contact Kathryn Campion at PACT for more information or to register: 760-815-8512,, PACT is a non-profit organization established in 2008. Its mission is to empower individuals with unique needs and create community through the performing arts. Join us!

  • Club Beacons Winter Holiday Dance
  • Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
    Beacons, Inc.
    6150 Yarrow Drive, Suite E, Carlsbad, California 92011
    Cost $30

    Adults 16 - 29 with disabilities are invited to attend the last Club Beacons event of 2018: our Winter Holiday Dance! Food, music, dancing (and movie for those who just want to chill)! Visit for more information and to register!

  • Cortica Care: Comprehensive Autism Treatment
  • Comprehensive autism treatment. Built on neuroscience. Delivered with compassion.

    The Cortica Care Model is the culmination of Dr. Suzanne Goh's research experience and clinical practice. This innovative approach combines optimal biomedical treatment with the most effective strategies for advancing cognition, communication, and behavior. Through the program, children achieve more meaningful social interaction, greater capacity for self-regulation, enhanced cognitive function, and improved overall health across all body systems. Over months and years, the treatment program evolves to match a child's new skills and abilities, making possible meaningful progress toward independent living, social relationships, occupation, and recreation.

    The Cortica Care Model:

    • Neurophysiology
    • Family and Home
    • Biochemistry
    • Cognition and Behavior
    • Sensorimotor Integration
    • Communication
    Together, we clarify the complex, celebrate extraordinary efforts, and witness moments of brilliance as our children grow new skills and abilities. Many of our services are covered by medical insurance plans. Contact us for all the info!!!

    Cortica Care
    7090 Miratech Drive
    San Diego, CA 92121

  • Lil' Athletes Soccer
  • Who: Children 4 to 10 with ASD
    Where: La Mesa
    Structured, basic skills training program to support kids with social and behavioral challenges, to build self -confidence, and have fun!

    Reduced Fees and Scholarships Available!!!
    Contact Family Wellness Center at 858-634-8300 or email

  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth Offering Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) & More!
  • 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

  • Little Big Steps is Accepting New Clients!!!
  • Include Autism is very excited to announce the opening of Little Big Steps - a new site-based, community readiness ABA program for children ages 2.5 to 6 years who are experiencing challenges in behavioral, social, and language development. Our young participants attend onsite in a structured setting where they receive 1:1 ABA instruction as well as small group interaction with peers.

    Our staff of highly trained ABA therapists utilizes the principles of ABA to develop and promote skills to generalize into school and community settings. Our site-based setting offers the structure necessary to target the pivotal and pre-requisite skills needed for success in school-based settings, while our group settings offer access to peers in order to address social and play skills.

    Little Big Steps is a program CTA program. Sessions take place at the Poway location in the mornings until 1:00 PM. Please contact Lauren Enriquez, BCBA at (858) 603-6628 or for inquiries.

  • Be a HERO for 2019! Family Friendly Pricing Good thru 12/31/18
  • On Saturday, April 6, 2019, we are celebrating the 15th annual San Diego Race for Autism Superhero 5K in Balboa Park.

    This family friendly event attracts thousands of local SUPERHEROES, big and small, to Balboa Park each year and directly supports children with autism and their families in San Diego. To date, the Race has funded more than 900 community programs and classrooms.

    Family friendly pricing is good thru Dec 31st.

    Sign Up Today and be a HERO for those with autism, Race for Autism 2019!

  • Central San Diego Coffee Talk
  • Thursday, December 20, 2018 at 10 AM - 12 PM
    10430 Friars Rd.
    San Diego, CA 92108

  • Basic Education for Students with Disabilities
  • My name is Fred Schmitz. I teach the Basic Education Class (DSPS) at the SDCCD North City Campus. The class is a computer lab for students with disabilities. We utilize educational software to help students improve their basic academic skills. Each student works at their own ability level on subjects that they choose to study. I have students of all ability levels and ages range from 18 to 70. The class schedule is Monday - Thursday 1:00 - 3:30 and the class is free. We are flexible and can accommodate students that are unable to stay until 3:30. I would encourage anyone that might be interested in this type of class to contact me at:

  • An Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis in Poway
  • No registration required!!!

  • Congratulations NFAR Teacher Grant Awardees!
  • On Nov. 13, NFAR awarded 59 educators with funding for the 2018-19 school year, helping nearly 1,100 students and bringing our total Teachers Grants awarded over the past years to 759.

    Educators awarded were from across 15 different school districts and 5 non-public schools.

    THANK YOU to all the educators that applied for funding for their students with autism. We appreciate the work that you do!

    To learn more about the Teachers Grants awarded, click here.

  • 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

  • City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services Program

  • The City of San Diego Park & Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Services program provides sports, recreation, leisure and outreach services to people with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.

    Services include therapeutic recreation programs and adaptive sports opportunities. These address the special needs of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty accessing and participating in recreation opportunities offered to the general public.

    Under the direction of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, activities and services are designed to maintain or improve the physical, cognitive and social functioning of those who have limitations. The target population is children and adults, ages 3 and up, with any type of disability.

    For additional questions about Therapeutic Recreation Services, please call 619-525-8247.

    Click here to view their 2018-2019 newsletter and calendar of events!!!

  • "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
  • business_finance_research.jpg

    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.