Explore local and national resources, support groups, and services available for children with special needs and the parents and guardians who care for them.
Special Needs Inclusion Project (SNIP)
The DCYF Special Needs Inclusion Project (SNIP) provides agencies funded by the Department of Children, Youth & Their Families (DCYF) with free training, resources, free on-site technical assistance, and the support they need to successfully include children & youth with disabilities into their agencies' programs. The SNIP website also has a great deal of information that is very helpful to other programs about how to support the special needs population. Parents are also encouraged to use SNIP to get information about "out of school time programs," or extracurricular activities, for special needs children.
Out of School Time and the Americans with Disabilities Act
Out of School programs serve a diverse population of children in a variety of settings. Many programs operate on tight budgets and aim to serve all those who need care. When a person with a disability wishes to attend a program, what responsibility does the provider have? The Child Care Law Center has answered a number of Frequently Asked Questions about OST and the ADA to help parents and care givers understand the federal law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination.
- San Francisco Unified School District
Their website offers resources and guidance for parents with students of all ages and needs. The District has an Enrollment Guide for Special Education in English, Spanish, and Chinese. There is also a district support organization Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Special Education that will offer support to parents.
- Support for Families of Children with Disabilities
1663 Mission Street, 7th Floor, SF, CA 94103. (415) 282-7494
Find a drop-in center, phone line support, referrals, support groups, parent mentors, workshops, and clinics for families.
- Children’s Council Child Care Inclusion Challenge Project
This project supports child care that allows all children to learn together in an educational atmosphere that supports and nurtures the individual strengths of each child. The goal is for each child to participate in the daily routines and activities of the class, regardless of cognitive or physical impairments.
- Special Olympics
This local branch of the international non-profit provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people 8 years of age and older with developmental disabilities.
- The San Francisco Examiner's website (examiner.com) has a great blog dealing with special education issues for families.
- Dandelion- The Bay Area’s first and only magazine just for parents of kids with special needs!
- KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) a sports programs for children with mental and physical disabilities meets most Sundays at the Embarcadero YMCA and other locations.
- The Janet Pomeroy Center
207 Skyline Blvd., San Francisco, (415) 665-4100
This non-profit organization provides therapeutic recreation programs to children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.
- LightHouse for the Blind
214 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, (415) 431-1481 or TTY: (415) 431-4572
The center provides programs and services to blind and visually impaired children and adults.
Offers a variety of local and beyond website resources for a variety of needs.
Easter Seals of Northern California
Regional Headquarters: 20 Pimentel Court, Suite A-1 Novato, (415) 382-7450 (voice)
Offering children's services to children and adults with disabilities and other special needs and support to their families. Support includes early intervention, child care counseling, educational services and more.
Through the Looking Glass
2198 6th St., #100, Berkeley, (800) 644-2666, (800) 804-1616 (TTY), (510) 848-1112, ext. 70
Consultation and service for parents and expectant parents with disabilities, including free, in-home occupational therapy and adaptive baby care equipment can be found Through the Looking Glass.
The LaChris Connection (TLC)
603 Manuel Drive, Novato, CA 94945, (415) 721-1905
serves families of children with disabilities focusing on their need for adventure and respite! "Lighten the Load" by providing easy access to adventures, respite and information about: Specialized Child Care Resources, Parent getaways, Accessible Family Vacations, Support Groups for parents and care providers, Adaptive sports and camps for children.
State and National Resources
A national leader in helping families find special needs resources, in addition to child care resources. Care.com offers many caregiver support resources and articles. See the Special Needs Caregiver Guide.
Published a kit containing information and advice for families to use during the first 100 days following the diagnosis of autism. It contains a week-by-week plan, as well as suggestions and forms that families can use as they begin to find services for their child.
Find resources for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses and disabilities. The website includes a comprehensive directory of services.
Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids
Find educational consultants, psychologists, educational diagnosticians, health care providers, academic therapists, tutors, speech language therapists, occupational therapists, coaches, advocates, and attorneys for children with disabilities. You will also find special education schools, learning centers, treatment programs, parent groups, respite care, community centers, grassroots organizations, and government programs for children with disabilities.
NLD (Nonverbal Learning Disorders) LineHotline: (831) 624-3542
This non-profit organization provides education and support to parents of children with nonverbal learning disorders and other neuro-cognitive and neurobiological disorders, including anxiety disorders, Asperger's Syndrome, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Supports families and individuals impacted by autism.
What is an IEP?
An Individualized Education Program, or IEP, is a written plan of educational goals and objectives. This plan is reviewed at least once annually with input from the student's teachers, aides, and family. Parents or teachers may request a meeting to develop, review or revise the IEP at any time. For more information on the IEP process, visit the Protection and Advocacy, Inc. (PAI). Support for Families also offers trainings and resources to assist families in the IEP process.
• What is an IFSP or IPP?
An Individual Family Service Plan, or IFSP, is a written plan of special support goals and services to be provided to infants and toddlers under the age of three. An Individual Program Plan, or IPP, is provided for individuals over the age of three. The plan, either IFSP or IPP, is reviewed at least annually through dialogue with the individual (when age appropriate), their family, aides, and teachers. Families may request a meeting to develop, review or revise the IFSP/IPP if a significant change has occurred that affects the goals or objectives set forth in the plan. For more detailed information about Early Intervention and the IFSP process see the PAI manual. For information on the IPP process see the PAI manual. For information on both plans please visit the Golden Gate Regional Center. Support for Families also offers trainings and resources to assist families in the IFSP and IPP processes.
** Looking for private or non-public school that cater to children with special needs? Here is pretty comprehensive list www.baprivateschools.com/specialed.htm