ParentClick Ventura

Resources & Defining “Special Needs”


“Special needs” is a broad umbrella underneath which a large array of diagnoses can be wedged. Children with special needs may have mild learning disabilities or profound intellectual disabilities; food allergies or terminal illness; developmental delays that catch up quickly or remain entrenched; occasional panic attacks or serious psychiatric problems. While the designation is useful for getting needed services, setting appropriate goals, and gaining understanding for a child and stressed family, it can certainly be overwhelming just figuring out where and how to start the process.

Special Education… Each district special education local plan area (SELPA) or county office shall provide for the identification and assessment of an individual’s exceptional needs and the planning of an instructional program to best meet the assessed needs. A child’s program will be developed at the individualized education program (IEP) team meeting. Both federal and state laws require that an IEP / 504 Plan be written for each student who is eligible for, and placed in, a special education setting. The IEP is a written statement about the special education and related services that will be provided for each child. SPECIAL EDUCATION OVERVIEW >

Who is eligible? There are 13 different disability categories under which a student may be found eligible for special education and related services… Autism, Deafness, Deaf-blindness, Hearing impairment, Mental retardation, Orthopedic impairment, Multiple disabilities, Other health impairment, Emotional disturbance, Specific learning disability, Speech or language impairment, Traumatic brain injury and Visual impairment. Parents need to ask the schools for he support they need for their children.


The Santa Barbara community is rich with dedicated professionals. Sports programs, inclusion preschools, tutoring services, parenting support groups and special needs materials resources are all available locally.

Looking for special or inclusive programs for kids with special needs? There are many local camps and classes that offer special programs or inclusive/adaptable programs for all children of all abilities! For more details and information, contact

Camps & Services Designed for Kids with Special Needs in SB & Ventura Counties:
  • Reid’s Gifts
  • Abbott & Burkhart Therapy
  • Autism Society Ventura County
  • Center 4 Special Needs
  • Lighthouse Learning Solutions
  • SB Foresters and Challenger Early Summer Sports Camp
  • Evergreen Learning Center summer program
  • Happy Adventure Camp
  • Camp Chit Chat
  • Camp Wheez
  • Jr Wheelchair Camp
  • Alpha Resource Center teen theater camp
  • Hearts Therapeutic Summer Horse Experience
  • Peer Buddies Inclusion Camp at Elings
  • Wilderness Youth Project Summer Inclusion Camps
  • ClubFitKidz
  • ORCA Camp
  • Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara
  • Challenger Flag Football
  • Challenger Cheer leading and Dance
  • No Limits Dance Classes – SB Dance Arts
  • Page Youth Center Basketball Skills Clinics
  • SB Parks and Recreation – ongoing classes
  • Social Skills Dinner Dances
  • Yoga Fitness at the GV Community Center
  • These programs have welcomed our children with special needs and provide various levels of support.

In some cases, parents would need to provide a support person, depending on what level of assistance is needed. Parents should always contact the camp director to discuss their child’s needs ahead of time.

  • TapToTalk – Give your child  voice
    With apps like TapToTalk, non- or partially-verbal kids (such as those with autism, Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy) can explicitly tell parents, siblings and teachers what they’re thinking about and need. It runs on hand-held devices including the tablets, smartphones and computers.
  • Miracles are Made: A Real Life Guide to Autism – Using a unique combination of play therapy, neurofeedback and family dynamics counseling Lynette Louise travels the globe helping parents become experts in their families healing.
  • CARLY’S VOICE: BREAKING THROUGH AUTISM, written by her father, Arthur Fleischmann, with Carly’s writing throughout, is her inspiring story. “I am an autistic girl but autism doesn’t define who I am or how I’m going to live my life.”
  • Unintentional Humor; Celebrating the Literal Mind
    A hilarious book depicting the communication challenges that result from a literal interpretation of language. Inspired by Brent Anderson, a young adult with autism, and written by his mother, Linda Gund Anderson, Unintentional Humor is filled with 98 true stories and 82 original cartoons. The definitions in the back of the book are an excellent resource for educators, therapists and parents to teach commonly misunderstood words and idioms. Unintentional humor appeals to people of all ages.
  • Press & Dress Priscilla Play, by Tammy Raden – iTunes App
    Press & Dress Priscilla Play is an interactive book app for the ipad. This app takes your child through a day with Priscilla. As Priscilla changes activities, she needs to change her outfits. Children are instructed to pick the right outfit for the right activity. Objects move with a simple touch to the screen, and there are hidden surprises to discover as the story cues the child on what to touch. The story is narrated by the author and can be viewed in full on YoutTube.
  • The Autism & ADHD Diet
    This is a step-by-step guide to hope and healing by living Gluten Free and Casein free and other interventions. Author Barrie Silderberg was inspired to write this book by her personal journey through challenge, hope, love and healing for her son Noah, who has experienced drastic improvements with his autistic symptoms as a result of the diet. The book includes extensive resources and information about Autism Spectrum disorder, tips for starting the diet and where to find foods as well a list of foods, menu suggestions and support organizations. It also includes about 18 recipes.
March 8, 2015

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