Special Needs


Special Needs Foundation of San Diego

Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego’s mission is to connect families (and individuals) with disabilities to resources, services and opportunities while encouraging an inclusive community and enhancing quality of life.  https://specialneedsresourcefoundationofsandiego.com/

Flourishing Families

Annual publication by Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego with 1,200+ resources for special needs.


Exceptional Parent Magazine

A family and professional site for the special needs community.

The Special Life

The information you'll find here will help you on a day-to-day basis, whether you live with a special needs child or are a teacher of someone with special needs, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism or Aspergers syndrome.

Wrights Law

Provides a free internet newsletter with legal updates and tips. The website also offers links to important cases and legislation and publications.

Disability Awareness

Educator Speaker Podcaster Inclusionist Dianna Pastora Carson https://www.abilityawareness.com/


San Diego Regional Center
The San Diego Regional Center (SDRC) serves as a focal point in the community through which a person with a developmental disability and his or her family can obtain services and be linked to other community resources within San Diego and Imperial counties.
It is the philosophy of the Regional Center that each client shall be provided with opportunities to participate in everyday living experiences that permit development to the highest potential.
The San Diego Regional Center provides a variety of services to persons with developmental disabilities, their families, and the community. These services are in addition to those provided within the health, education, and social services systems.
The San Diego Regional Center advocates for opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities to maximize potential and to experience full inclusion in all areas of community life.
Web: http://sdrc.org/

San Diego County SELPAs
What is a Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA)? In 1977, all school districts and county offices of education were required to join to form geographical regions of sufficient size and scope to provide for all of the special education service needs of children residing within the region boundaries. Each region developed a local plan describing how it would provide special education services. The SELPA governance structure varies in form. Single district SELPAs are of such significant size to provide all services within their boundaries while smaller districts joined consortia to provide the full range of services. There are six SELPAs in San Diego County:
• North Coastal Consortium for Special Education SELPA
• North Inland Special Education Region SELPA
• East County SELPA
• South County SELPA
• Poway Unified School District SELPA
• San Diego Unified School District SELPA
Web: http://www.sdcoe.net/student-services/special-education/Pages/county-selpas.aspx

TASK-Team of Advocates for Special Kids
Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK) is a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission is to enable individuals with disabilities to reach their maximum potential by providing them, their families and the professionals who serve them with training, support, information, resources and referrals, and by providing community awareness programs.
Initially, the primary focus was on children three to 21 years of age, but services evolved to include all ages, especially in the TASK Technology Center. TASK serves families of children aged birth to 26 years of age under IDEA and other systems mandated to provide services to individuals with disabilities. As a federally-funded Parent Training and Information Center, TASK is part of a national network of centers providing similar services. TASK provides advocacy information, workshops and information in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Phone number: (877) 609-3218 (toll-free in California) or (619) 282-0846
E-Mail: task@taskca.org
Web: www.taskca.org

Easter Seals of San Diego County
Easter Seals provides exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or other special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.
El Centro Adult Day Center: 760-482-2777
North San Diego County Services & Administration: 760-737-3990
South San Diego County Services: 619-336-0630
Web: southerncal.easterseals.com

Food Allergy Research and Education
About FARE - Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in 13 children in the United States – or roughly two in every classroom. FARE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was formed in 2012 as the result of a merger between the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and the Food Allergy Initiative.
Web: http://www.foodallergy.org

Learning Disability Association of San Diego (LDA)
LDA is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all individuals with learning disabilities and their families, alleviating the restricting effects of learning disabilities, and supporting endeavors to determine the causes of learning disabilities.
Phone: 858-467-9158
Web: www.LDAsandiego.org

National Education Association (NEA)
Gives updates on the US Dept. of Education's Office of Special Education programs and reports.
Web: www.nea.org/specialed


Ability First-Camp Paivika
Located in the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest, the camp offers overnight summer and winter/spring programs for children and adults with mild to severe developmental and physical disabilities such as autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and Down syndrome. It is fully accredited by the American Camp Association.
Phone number: (626) 396-1010 ext. 1123
Web: www.camppaivika.org/default.htm

Kids of Courage
A unique traveling Summer Camp for critically ill children, who are given a chance to disconnect from their daily struggles and experience freedom and adventure like every child. Under strict medical supervision they visit parks and attractions, bond with new friends, meet celebrities, and experience the Dream & Wish trip of a lifetime.
Web: kidsoc.org/

The Painted Turtle
The Painted Turtle is the sixth addition to Paul Newman's family of Hole in the Wall Camps for seriously ill children, including those with cerebral palsy. It is also the only multi-disease camp and family care center of its kind on the West Coast. Through educational, therapeutic, safe, and just plain fun summer camp and year-round programs. The Painted Turtle offers an exhilarating, challenging, and nurturing array of traditional summer camp recreational activities, seamlessly intertwined with programs that inspire children to become more self-confident and self-reliant, as well as more cooperative with their medical caregivers.
Phone Number: 661-724-1768 x 203
E-mail: info@thepaintedturtle.org
Web: www.thepaintedturtle.org

Coast Music Therapy
Coast Music Therapy, Inc., is a San Diego-based agency committed to serving children and adolescents who require a creative approach to learning by using music to facilitate individual growth and achievement. We believe that accessing an individual's strengths to overcome personal challenges leads to a meaningful and positive learning experience.
Contact: Michelle Lazar, MT-BC
Phone: 858-453-5211
Web: www.coastmusictherapy.com

Paws'itive Teams
Paws'itive Teams, incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in California, provides service dogs for persons with disabilities, enabling these persons to live more independent lives and to achieve an enhanced quality of life. We custom-train our service dogs to meet the specific needs of the individual and provide lifetime team support following placement. All placements are limited to San Diego County.
Phone: 858-279-7297
Email: paws@pawsteams.org
Web: www.pawsteams.org


City of San Diego
Provides sports, recreation, leisure and outreach services to San Diegans with physical, mental and emotional disabilities. Services include therapeutic recreation programs and adaptive sports opportunities which address the special needs of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty accessing and participating in recreation opportunities offered to the general public.
Phone: 858-756-4117, ext. 319
Web: www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/activities/trs

San Diego Adaptive Sports Foundation
Provides adaptive sports programs year-round. San Diego Adaptive Sports Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life for children and adults with physical disabilities through sports and recreation.
Phone: 619-336-1806
Web: www.sdasf.org

SDSU Fitness Clinic for Individuals with Disabilities
The Fitness Clinic for Individuals with Disabilities is designed to help those in the San Diego community with disabilities to maximize their level of fitness.
Contact: Jan Thurman
Phone: 619-594-2017
Web: http://fitnessclinic.sdsu.edu/

Martial Arts
Family Karate
A Karate program located in Rancho Penasquitos that has classes for kids with special needs.
Phone: (858) 484-4747
Web: familykaratepq.com

Orion Marital Arts
Orion Martial Arts, located in San Marcos, proudly presents a class for students with special needs. All children are welcomed and embraced! A structured class that meets the needs of kids with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental disabilities, etc. Students are taught to defend themselves, work together and succeed!
Contact: Laura Gomez
Phone: 760-445-9731
Email: fiverings@cox.net

San Diego Gulls Special Hockey
San Diego Gulls Special Hockey is an athlete-centered hockey program for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The goal is to build confidence and promote a sense of community through a full hockey experience of practice and skill development, playing games and traveling to tournaments. They are guided by the values of good sportsmanship, honesty, and respect for all individuals and their hope is that their athletes have a lifetime of playing and competing in hockey.
Web: https://sdspecialhockey.org/

Rock Climbing
MESA RIM Adaptive Climbing Program
We at Mesa Rim Climbing Center are always looking for ways to create an all-inclusive environment. In order to carry out that vision we have created a program allowing children and adults with physical disabilities a chance to experience the amazing sport of rock climbing within a safe and encouraging environment. Participants are paired with experienced climbers who will match them with the appropriate gear and get them climbing!
Web: www.mesarim.com
The Miracle League of San Diego
The Miracle League is a charitable organization that provides children with mental and/or physical challenges with opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league.
Phone: (858) 964-2222
Web: www.miracleleagueofsandiego.org
Vista Girls Spirit Softball Division
Softball program for boys and girls ages 5-17 with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.
Contact Person: Faygene Barber
Email: spirit@vistags.org

U.S. Youth Soccer TOPSoccer
U..S Youth Soccer TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities, organized by youth soccer association volunteers. The program is designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girl, who has a mental or physical disability. Our goal is to enable the thousands of young athletes with disabilities to become valued and successful members of the U.S. Youth Soccer family.
Web: http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/programs/TOPSoccer/

Helen Woodward Animal Center (Ages 4 AND UP)
Contact: Alicia Roe
Phone: 858-756-4117, ext. 319
Web: www.animalcenter.org/therapeuticriding/

RAD Therapeutic Riding Center
Ride Above Disability Therapeutic Riding Center is a non-profit organization providing equestrian activities to children and adults with special need.
Phone number: (858) 349-1692
Email: wayne.radtrc@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/radtrc

Reins-Therapeutic Horsemanship Program (Ages 2 AND UP)
Contact: Debbie Shiner or Shauna Jopes
Phone: 760-731-9168
Web: www.reinsprogram.org/


College Living Experience
Since 1989, College Living Experience (CLE) has been providing post-secondary supports to students with autism, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, and other varying exceptionalities. Dedicated to providing the highest quality of individualized services in the areas of academics, independent living, social skills, and career development, CLE supports are tailored to each young adult we serve. It is through personalized services, their team celebrates the uniqueness of students in such a way that we are able to make a lasting impact in their lives and in their communities.
Web: http://experiencecle.com/

ClubXcite is a private San Diego youth mentoring and tutoring organization focused on supporting children and teens facing academic, social, behavioral, emotional or athletic challenges. If you have a child who is struggling please take some time to look through this website.
Web: www.exciteway.com

Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) engages, empowers and transforms families by providing the knowledge and skills to partner with schools and communities to ensure their students achieve their full potential. 
Web: https://www.piqe.org/

Able-Disabled Advocacy
Able-Disabled Advocacy (A-DA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1975 that provides employment and training services to individuals with all types of disabilities and other barriers to employment. Able-Disabled Advocacy's mission is “to provide vocational skills training and educational advancement for youth and adults with disabilities and to assist them in finding employment and overcoming barriers to personal and financial self-sufficiency.”
Phone number: (619) 231-5990
Web: www.able2work.org

Department of Rehabilitation
The San Diego District of the Department of Rehabilitation serves people with disabilities in all of San Diego County and Southern Orange County. With offices in North, East, Metro and South Counties, there is an office close to every major population center. The San Diego District supports the overall mission of the Department.
Web: https://www.dor.ca.gov/home/SDDistrict

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