Special Needs Resources
Adaptive Yoga Project
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 www.casaofsantacruz.org 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.
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.
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 Sruz, 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.
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.
Lichen Oaks 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 January thru May on Monday evenings at Hope Services downtown and perform in May or June. Everyone is invited to join us whether as a performer or a volunteer.
Music Together and Canta y Baila Conmigo
Offering the best in early childhood music & movement programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and the adults who love them. Our mission is to serve all children, including those with special needs and local schools that serve children with disabilities. Over 20 years ago, our director, Lizz Hodgin Weihrauch, was inspired to teach Music Together (a worldwide program) by her son Daniel, who is on the Autistic Spectrum and has Down Syndrome. Since 1996, thousands of local families have joyfully participated in class, feeling fully supported and comfortable in a group setting. What makes our two programs such a great fit for families who have children with special needs is that they’re not performance-oriented. Rather, they’re about creating a learning environment and allowing children to learn wherever they are developmentally. Music learning supports all learning, regardless of ability. In class your whole family will learn by singing, dancing and playing together in a joyful, inclusive way. Please contact us for a Free Preview Class.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Santa Cruz Chapter
Parents Helping Parents
At Pediatric Therapy Center our occupational and speech therapists use a creative collaborative approach to encourage learning and growth offering motivating and purposeful opportunities to further develop confidence. Each adventure at our clinic is client-driven and must entail a high fun-factor. We celebrate each individual – their interests, passions, and gifts. Individual sessions and peer-based programs are designed to build independence and self -esteem in client’s everyday roles and activities. We feel having opportunities for problem-solving and adapting is an important part of the learning process to build motor skills, motor planning, sensory processing, regulation, social interactions, communication, food tolerance, and play.
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
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
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].