santa cruz special needs

Special Needs Resources

santa cruz special needs

Adaptive Yoga Project

Autism Family Network Santa Cruz

Autism Family Network Santa Cruz is dedicated and committed to “Bridging the Gap” within our communities for those individuals on the Autism Spectrum and those with Special Needs by providing education, resources, special events, public awareness, acceptance and inclusiveness for all.

We strive to assist our community for the supporting of Autism Awareness, Acceptance and Activities while empowering individuals to embrace our differences and motivate inclusiveness.

Autism Family Network is about inspiring and motivating those in the community to “Be The Difference” for individuals on the Autism Spectrum and special needs.

Birth Injury Justice Center

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 10% of all babies born in the U.S. were born preterm in 2017. Babies who are born premature (weighing less than 3 ⅓ pounds) are up to 30 times more likely to develop mental or physical disabilities caused by a birth injury. Many birth injuries are the result of medical negligence before, during and after labor and delivery. Learning the causes, signs and treatments for birth injuries can empower and guide you as you take action to help your child.

Blind Babies Foundation

Blind Babies Foundation has been providing critical early intervention and education services to infants and preschoolers in Northern California who are blind or visually impaired since 1949. The program’s family-centered services are provided in the homes of the families we serve, encouraging every child’s development to the fullest degree possible with careful attention to their individual abilities and needs.

Cabrillo Extension Summer Youth Program

With a focus on inclusion, Cabrillo Extension offers no-charge enrollment for any instructional or support aide who accompanies a student with special needs in any of our camps. Please contact our staff to talk about how we may help!

California Children Services Program (CCS)

California Children Services (CCS) is a statewide program that arranges, directs, and pays for medical care, equipment, and rehabilitation, when these services are authorized by the program.

CASA of Santa Cruz County

We need caring adult volunteers to speak up for the best interests of children who have been abused or neglected. A CASA volunteer spends time with his or her child each week, gathering information from everyone involved in the child’s case. CASA volunteers also work with attorneys and social workers. They review records, research information, and talk to anyone involved with the child, including parents, extended family members, doctors and teachers. Learn more at and click on “Volunteer”.

Cerebral Palsy Group

Cerebral Palsy Group is an online resource for anyone who has been affected by cerebral palsy, birth injuries, or brain injuries. Our team was created so we can provide answers and all types of assistance needed to help improve the quality of life for loved ones and family members with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy Guide

Cerebral Palsy Guide shares information about the treatment, therapies, and support that is available for those with CP and their families.

Cerebral Palsy Guidance
Cerebral Palsy Guidance was created to provide answers and assistance to parents of children with cerebral palsy. Our goal is to reach as many members of the cerebral palsy community as possible, building up a network of support, as well as providing necessary assistance.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is to cure cystic fibrosis and to provide all people with the disease the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment and ensuring access to high-quality, specialized care.

Dance for Parkinson’s
Motion Pacific Dance
131 Front Street Suite E
Downtown Santa Cruz

Wednesday’s 1-2:15 Except no class first Wednesday’s. No Dance Experience is Required. No Charge to Participate.

Our classes are based on the innovative and internationally renowned Dance for PD® program designed by the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. Using this method, professional dancers draw on their unique expertise and artistic experience to support people with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers to engage sight, sound, touch, thought, and imagination to inspire movement, expression and community.
Free to the public. Classes are appropriate for anyone with Parkinson’s. Movement modifications will be available and caregivers, family members and friends are always welcome to join in the fun.

Early Start

An early intervention program for children from birth to 36 months of age who have disabilities or are at risk of having disabilities.

The Epilepsy Foundation

Head Heart Hands Healing
406 Mission Street, Suite E
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Aurore Sibley, M.S. Ed, CST-T offers craniosacral therapy for all ages, as well as educational support through an individualized combination of Waldorf extra Lesson and remedial education. It is her passion to support the development of the whole child.

Jacob’s Heart
Children’s Cancer Support Services

We provide family-centered care that addresses the emotional, practical and financial struggles for families of children and teens during treatment, families experiencing anticipatory grief and those who are bereaved.

Jim Booth Swim School
Santa Cruz at Harvey West Pool and Watsonville at Duncan Holbert Pool 

At Jim Booth Swim School our comfortable 94° pools have always made swimming fun and enjoyable. When possible, we try to include all swimmers in our small group lessons. For those who need a caregiver, our recreation swim is free of charge to visit and enjoy the benefits of the pool. For more information call 831-722-3500.

The Jean Kvamme Center for Adaptive Riding Center
9115 East Zayante Road, Felton
[email protected] to make an appointment

Our goal is to provide a caring program designed with individual needs in mind to effect positive change. We have seen the therapeutic results of working with horses and believe that our therapeutic riding program can help persons with these special needs meet personal goals – be it living more comfortably in the body they have, or improving their mobility or communication capabilities.

Miracles Santa Cruz
Contact: Steve Ferro @ 831-325-5685

Miracles Santa Cruz is a performing arts troupe for young adults and adults with special needs. We rehearse on Monday evenings in Scotts Valley. Everyone is invited to join us whether as a performer or a volunteer. Let’s make some theater magic together!

Music Together/MusicalMe, Inc.
Locations throughout Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County
Call/Text: 831-332-9002
[email protected]
Make music an exciting & enriching part of your child’s life. In our weekly classes, babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and the grownups who love them come together for 45 minutes of fun-filled, learning-filled, bonding-filled family time. Our classes are all about relaxed, informal music-making for the whole family, regardless of age, ability, or learning style. Because the things we do in class are developmentally appropriate for all participants, you and your child with special needs are always welcome to join our warm and inviting community of singing, dancing, instrument-playing families. Our Mixed-Age classes include children from birth through age 5, so each child is uniquely accepted and included. All abilities are respected, regardless of age or stage, and all children are encouraged to participate in their own way. As you discover fun ways to play with music both in & out of class, you’ll be supporting your child’s music-learning and overall development. Classes are offered throughout the year, with a new song collection each season. Contact us today and bring the joy of music into your family’s life.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Santa Cruz Chapter

Parents Helping Parents

Ride a Wave

Ride a Wave’s mission is to give children with special needs the chance to feel the thrill of riding a wave and experience a safe, fun-filled day at the beach, whether they are physically, developmentally or economically challenged.

The Santa Cruz Playground Project

Bringing the community together to build an inclusive playground for all our children.

Scotts Valley Library Special Needs Resource Center

The Special Needs Resource Center (SNRC) was created in response to the increasing need to provide information and guidance to families, educators, and providers to the special needs community. It is a collaborative effort between the Scotts Valley Friends of the Library (FVSVPL) and the Santa Cruz Public Libraries.

Seahorse Swim School Inc
831-476-SWIM (7946)

Swim lessons are available with Seahorse Swim School for those with special needs. Tiffany Harmon and Heidi Andersen have experience working with children on the Autistic Spectrum and those with attention issues. Private lessons are suggested to cater the lesson to each student’s individual needs.

Special Parents Information Network

SPIN’s mission is to help children with special needs achieve their full potential by empowering their families and the professionals who serve them through information, support and resources.

Stars Therapy Services
(844) 700-9889

Stars has been providing services in Santa Cruz County as a vendor of the San Andreas Regional Center since 2015. Stars offers free of cost developmental assessments for children from birth to 3 years of age.  Assessments include a review of the five areas of human development:  motor, communication, self-help/adaptive, social-emotional, and cognitive development. Call us if you have any concerns regarding the development of your child or a child in your community. Hablamos Español


This is by no means a complete list of all the resources in Santa Cruz County. If you would like to have an organization included in this resource list, please email [email protected]GUiSC is not responsible for any errors or omissions, nor does inclusion in this listing constitute endorsement of a program. To be included in future resource guides please email [email protected].