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.
- 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.
- 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 few local resources but a focus beyond San Francisco with resources for a variety of needs. They offer a magazine and parent blogs for support.
Easter Seals Bay Area
AreRegional 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.
Tips from 72hours.org — Disaster Planning for People with Disabilities
• Set up a Personal Support Network: Designate someone to check on you in an emergency and to help with evacuation or sheltering-in-place.
• Prepare and carry with you an emergency health information card: This will help you to communicate if you are found unconscious or incoherent. Include information about your medications, adaptive equipment, blood type, allergies and sensitivities, insurance numbers, immunization dates, communication difficulties and preferred treatment, as well as contact information for your health providers, personal support network and emergency contacts.