Autism Resources for Families In and Around Santa Clara County
A diagnosis of autism (ASD) or Asperger Syndrome (AS) in the family usually prompts a search for services. and resources. When a child or teen is facing ASD or AS, there may be issues that arise which cause parents or caregivers to seek help. Sometimes, it is difficult for parents to find good resources for children with special needs. Often, parents may not even be aware of services and resources that are available. We don’t know what we don’t know!
First off, finding resources to help the child or teen with autism should not be difficult, but it is. Parents are strapped for time. They work long hours and spend time at home caring for their child with special needs. So, searching for resources becomes another entry on the To-Do list. Parents need a lot of good luck to get that To-Do list done.
For families that want an informative, easy-to-read list of autism resources in the Santa Clara area, look no further. This resource list will provide a great place to start, whether the child is newly diagnosed with ASD or AS, or the teen with autism suddenly needs programs or additional support.
Next, the information is presented in alphabetical order and is not reflective of popularity or importance. Autism resources listed here are based on information available in January 2020; please check before making decisions or following advice as resources and services are subject to change.
Above all, this list of autism resources for the Santa Clara area is not exhaustive. It is intended to help parents or caregivers connect with helpful services and programs in their region.
A is for Apple
Affiliated with Autism Speaks and PHP, A is for Apple treats and educates children with autism and helps them discover their potential, socially and interpersonally. A is for Apple provides testing and assessments for Autism in San Jose to help with the IEP process, ABA therapy, early intervention services, speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, and in-home learning sessions. A wide range of clinical services is designed to help children with autism thrive.
Abilities United (affiliated with GATEPATH)
Abilities United offers therapeutic, recreational, and vocational experiences to help individuals lead meaningful lives. They provide resource connections that make it easier for them to lead the lives they want. Their early intervention services include home visits, occupational and/or physical therapy, speech, and language therapy, and mental health assistance. The day programs assist individuals on the spectrum with community involvement through employment, education, recreation, social, and volunteer activities.
If families find themselves near San Francisco, ACRO Sports offers a Special Needs Open Gym. This gym encourages your child in the self-guided exploration of the facility. They have space to run, jump, crawl, swing, balance, bounce, and climb. Their aim is to help kids with different abilities to reach their goals while building strength, improving self-esteem, solidifying friendships, and enhancing their life experience. They are dedicated to assisting students in physical activities designed to promote sensory integration, strength, skill acquisition, self-confidence, and body awareness. Each student is required to have an adult participant on the floor with them at all times. There is a coach to help facilitate a fun, safe environment.
Adulthood Checklist for Autism Resources
This autism resources, available on the San Andreas Regional Center website, provides parents and caregivers with a broad plan to follow during the life of their child with special needs (1-18 and beyond). Need to know when to consider conservatorship? Check this. Wondering about a special needs trust? There’s info here.
A.G.E.S. Learning Solutions
Offering compassionate and effective ABA treatment plans, A.G.E.S. has a vision of being Analytical, Goal-based, Empowering, and Supportive to their clients with ASD. They offer Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Verbal Behavior (VB), Natural Environment Training (NET), and Pivotal Response Training (PRT). Discrete Trial Training (DTT) is a highly-structured, ono-on-one teaching approach. Verbal Behavior (VB) is used to assess and facilitate the development of language skills. Natural Environment Training, or NET, utilizes the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis to teach children in the natural environment. Pivotal Response Training is a naturalistic form of applied behavior analysis used as an early intervention for children with autism.
A.G.E.S. strive to provide highly individualized ABA Treatment programs for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) throughout the following areas in Santa Clara County:
Autism in San Jose
Autism in Santa Clara
Autism in Sunnyvale
Autism in Milpitas
Autism in Mountain View
Autism Learning Partners
Autism Learning Partners strives to give hope, support, and paths of progress for children with Autism in San Jose and their families living with autism and related disorders. They follow an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach. They believe that a tailored, comprehensive care plan managed by clinical talent, partnered with love and commitment from the family, allows each child to achieve his or her maximum potential.
Autism Society Santa Clara
Talk about autism resources in the Santa Clara area for families! This San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Autism Society provides a great list of programs, workshops, and services for Santa Clara County. Among the offerings is the Stanford Autism Center, bringing together expertise in the field from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Hospital, and Stanford University (see below under “S”).
CalABLE is a savings and investment plan offered by the state of California to individuals with disabilities. Earnings on qualified withdrawals are federal and CA state tax free. Up to $15,000 per year can be deposited into a CalABLE account without affecting the beneficiary’s public benefits. If the account owner receives SSI benefits, the owner can have as much as $100,000 in the account with no effect on federal or state benefits.
Center for Autism and Related Disorder (CARD)
CARD is the world’s largest autism treatment provider. They have locations in Hayward, San Mateo, Fremont, Pleasanton, and Cupertino. They all offer treatment for autism in San Jose, and autism resources in the Santa Clara area. Unique to CARD is the one-to-one ABA sessions for children, teens, AND adults that take place at a CARD center rather than in the home.
Disability Rights CA
With several offices throughout the state, Disability Rights California began with a vision of an inclusive, barrier-free world where people with disabilities enjoy equal rights and opportunities. This advocacy and educational association works for freedom from discrimination, neglect, and abuse. They promote choice, respect, and inclusion. Those eligible for services include individuals with developmental disabilities, whether they be physically disabled, learning disabled, sensory-based, psychiatric based, and/or emotionally impaired. Furthermore, it is good to know about Disability Rights CA if families desire legal, civil, or service rights information, technical assistance, training, advocacy support, and/or outreach within the disability communities. The staff can help with questions about SSI (Supplemental Security Income), IHSS (In-Home Supportive Services), Medi-Cal, and CCS (California Children’s Services).
Equestrian Therapy (Hippotherapy)
(There are three listings below, presented in alphabetical order)
Leave a Trail
This equestrian center offers treatment for autism in Milpitas. They provide healing for the body, mind, and spirit in a way that traditional talk therapy, on its own, cannot. Working with horses offers a way to engage in healing activities outside of a traditional therapeutic environment.
One Step Closer
One Step Closer Therapeutic Riding is an award-winning, Premier Accredited adaptive horseback riding program to help the participants achieve their full potential – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – to be all that God intends for them to be. This is one of the best autism resources in the Santa Clara area.
Victory Ranch is an equestrian 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to helping impact the lives of those that need a caring, loving touch that horses so generously give.
EvoLibri is one of the best autism resources in the Santa Clara area. They offer several group programs that provide additional support, guidance, and knowledge in a comfortable environment for this with high functioning autism. They offer classes for teens and young adults, parent support groups, and social clubs. EvoLibri believes that everyone should have joy, happiness, and social connection in their lives. They created a series of social communities based on the principle that everyone should have a peer group where they feel safe and connected.
The mission of Fiesta Educativa Inc. is to provide information and training to Latino families on how to obtain services for all persons with disabilities. In addition, training is provided to professionals who work with these families. They offer home-based parent education and training programs. In addition, they are an advocacy and outreach project assisting families and persons with disabilities to make the best use of the agencies and resources available to them in their communities.
InstaCalm Anxiety Treatment
Social and/or generalized anxiety is common in ASD and AS. InstaCalm may have something to assist those suffering from anxiety as a symptom or attribute of autism. If you are seeking treatment for autism in San Jose, Clinical Hypnotherapist Charles Beeson may provide some much-needed help in the treatment of anxiety.
IHSS (In-Home Supportive Services)
Children with disabilities may be eligible for the In-Home Supportive Services program. This program helps pay for services so eligible children and adults can remain living at home. There are strict qualifications about who may receive IHSS. Basically, a parent is interviewed by a county social worker who determines the child’s need for IHSS. If eligible, the county will authorize a number of hours for services. You can then hire someone to perform the services or become a provider yourself. There are a few trainings involved and time sheets to manage. Overall, it’s worth looking into this program.
Joy and Laughter Developmental Therapy
For autism in San Jose, solutions offered at this center include occupational therapy (which incorporates sensory regulation), feeding therapy (also focusing on sensory issues around food), speech therapy, Integrated Listening, Handwriting Without Tears, and more.
Keys to Communication
Keys to Communication is a family-centered practice specializing in diagnosis and treatment of speech and language disorders, which are common in autism. For patients with autism in San Jose, they use evidence-based, cutting edge practices to help those with developmental delays, from infancy through adulthood.
Laughing Giraffe Therapy
This is a pediatric therapy clinic for kids with autism in San Jose that provides occupational and speech therapy to children with a wide range of diagnoses. They have partnerships with The Morgan Autism Center and AchieveKids Palo Alto.
Morgan Autism Center
Another center for autism in San Jose, with a school program and an adult program, the Morgan Autism Center has 50 years’ experience in providing an individualized educational program to students on the spectrum. The adult program focuses on independent living and vocational opportunities. Morgan Center is certified by the CA Department of Education and endorsed by 26 Bay Area school districts in the South Bay. It is considered to be one of the best autism resources in the Santa Clara area.
Pacific Autism Center for Education
The Pacific Autism Center for Education (PACE) provides autism resources in the Santa Clara area with high-quality programs for children and adults with autism. They serve individuals who live with moderate-to-severe autism, especially those who struggle with communication. Comprehensive services include Sunny Days Preschool, an inclusive preschool for children ages 2 ½- 6, the PACE School serving ages 6-22, Pace Residential group homes, Faces Behavioral Services for children with 1:1 Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and Porchlight Autism Education Series, a free e-learning training system with modules for parent and caregiver solutions to implement at home.
Parents Helping Parents
If you are looking for resources about autism in San Jose and Gilroy, this fantastic organization supports, educates, and inspires families facing special needs to come together and build a bright future for the family. They believe all children are valued, respected, and included. PHP offers a speaker series and monthly parent meetings. The workshops are held on the second Thursday of each month at the San Jose office. The support group is ideal for parents, professionals, and caregivers working with individuals with ASD. Attendees can share stories, meet other parents, or just listen as others share. No child care is available at meetings.
Rapid Prompting Method (RPM)
The Rapid Prompting Method is an educational method for autism and related conditions that empowers the student to communicate thoughts and opinions and answer questions. RPM was developed by Soma Mukhopadhyay. You can find her website here: www.halo-soma.org. Conferences to help parents learn RPM are held occasionally, and RPM instructors do local workshops in certain California cities.
San Andreas Regional Center
As is the mission of Regional Centers throughout California, the San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) provides service coordination and case management for individuals with disabilities.
Regional Centers are contracted by the California Department of Developmental Services to provide the state’s developmentally challenged individuals with service coordination. Every individual with an active case at the Regional Center is assigned to a service unit by zip code and age; that unit is composed of a district manager and service coordinators, who work to identify an individual’s needs and the services best suited to meet those needs. Service coordinators, in conjunction with the individual, their caregivers, and other associated professionals, friends, and family, draft a one to three-year “blueprint” of the individual’s needs and requested services called an “Individual Program Plan”(IPP). Importantly, this plan sets goals for the individual, enumerates his or her needs, and is used to consider services. (Services may include respite care; ask your Service Coordinator).
San Jose Public Library
Inclusive storytimes support all children and their families, including children with disabilities and English learners in a safe and welcoming environment that fosters a sense of belonging and provides opportunities for increased peer interactions and networks. A schedule is provided on the website for treatment with autism in San Jose.
Schools: Private and Non-Public
This link will provide parents easy access to 14 non-public schools (NPS) and autism resources in the Santa Clara area.
Silicon Valley Speech
Silicon Valley Speech is a complete therapeutic team that offers a variety of speech and language services for pediatric disorders of communication including autism in San Jose.
SSI and Government Assistance
This is a basic page of resources with explanations regarding benefits from a law office in Santa Clara. Since SSI and Medi-Cal can be confusing, having some basic information helps parents get started.
Stanford Autism Center
Among the various assessments and treatments offered through the Stanford Autism Center are: developmental-behavioral pediatrics, child and adolescent psychiatry, medical genetics, pediatric neurology, and rehabilitation services for communication disorders and other physical conditions related to ASD.
TACA (The Autism Community in Action)
Join TACA at a local coffee talk event where parents can informally network, find resources, and speak with seasoned parents. Not every city has a TACA event; however, most events are within driving distance of San Francisco. Also, TACA has yearly autism conferences on the east coast and the west coast. The west coast conference is usually held in Orange County (near John Wayne Airport) and is relatively inexpensive and extremely helpful.
Via provides three levels of programs for special needs individuals. Altitude provides year-round camping experiences for kids with social cognitive challenges including verbal and nonverbal learning disabilities, ADHD, Asperger’s, and high functioning autism. They aim to build social skills, independence, and self-confidence to prepare our participants for the transition to young adulthood, future relationships, and the rest of their lives. Via is one of the go-to autism resources in the Santa Clara area.
First Step provides play-based speech and occupational therapy to children ages 0-10. They also partner with the San Andreas Regional Center and other local agencies to provide Early Start assessments for children ages 0-3.
Via West provides residential respite care with weekend and week-long special needs camping programs throughout the year. They offer innovative programs and activities that include both learning and outdoor experiences. Additionally, they have skill-building activities that are specifically designed to improve self-sufficiency.
Whole Kids Therapy
Whole Kids Therapy takes the DIR Floortime approach of Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Wieder as the basis of fostering relationships between children and their families. WKT strives to incorporate underlying neurology in the treatment of sensory processing disorder and other disorders. Their website is chock full of relevant information and includes a blog.
When a family is facing autism, the search for help can be daunting. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing out there and other times it can feel like there are so many autism resources in the Santa Clara area that it’s overwhelming. Putting in the time and effort to search out good resources is a giant task. This resource list for the Santa Clara area should be useful to parents and caregivers seeking help. Remember, dealing with autism and other special needs is a marathon, not a race. Take your time and search wisely for appropriate resources.
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Keri is a special needs parent and a veteran high school English and journalism teacher turned writer. She enjoys writing, reading, painting, hiking, gardening, cooking, wine tasting, and practicing yoga. She a passion for creating awareness for and acceptance of differently-abled individuals. Visit her blog at www.kerimehome.com.View All Posts