10 Must-Know Resources for Children with Special Needs in Orange County
Both new and experienced parents of children with special needs should be privy to all the resources available to them in their own community. As one of the leading counties for medical treatment, Orange County has a wealth of opportunities for families looking for support, encouragement, classes, financial assistance or additional information. While there’s an abundance of information regarding medicine and treatment for children with special needs, there is also a good number of family resources available for needs that go beyond physical health. Below is a list of organizations that every OC parent of a special needs child should get to know.
Run by multidisciplinary team of experts from both UCI and CHOC, CUIDAR helps identify children with attention and behavior difficulties before they enter school. These obstacles to learning are addressed so that the child will have a more successful elementary school experience. The services available to Orange County families and providers and promotes the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children from infancy through five years old.
Family Support Network
This network was founded in 1985 by a group of concerned parents of special needs children and continues on today in Fullerton, bringing together parents and professionals. With support classes that vary from parent-to-parent outreach to a grant writing program, the services offered with FSN go beyond the typical and directly into the needs of the parents.
Special Needs Orange County
This website was created by award-winning writer, Jo Ashline — the mother of a son who has autism, epilepsy and cystic fibrosis — in an effort to provide an additional resource for parents of a child with special needs. The website covers a wealth of topics from tips and advice to product reviews and is a great online source for any parent of a special needs child.
Regional Center of Orange County (RCOC)
Regional Center of Orange County, within the spirit and mandate of the Lanterman Act, assists those with developmental disabilities, and their families, in securing and coordinating services and support to maximize opportunities and choices for living, working, learning and recreating in the community and which result in consumer satisfaction and quality services which stress human dignity and openness to innovation.
Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK)
This parent organization provides assistance and advocacy support to seek and obtain educational, medical and support services for children with disabilities. Headquartered in Anaheim, 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.
United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County (UCP)
UCP of Orange County now serves children with all types of developmental disabilities and provides vital support to nearly 4,000 families each year — 86% of whom have a primary disability other than cerebral palsy. The organization also hosts a variety of programs aimed directly at family support, covering an array of topics from recreational workshops to IEP strategies.
Help Me Grow
Help Me Grow connects children and their families to developmental services to enhance the development, behavior and learning of children birth through five years. A good resource for families who have questions and concerns, Help Me Grow is well-dialed in to local resources for developmental so that any concern you have will be addressed.
The Center for Autism And Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Southern California
Since 2001, the center has been a leader in assessment, diagnosis, care coordination, family support and education for children with autism spectrum and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Not only does the organization provide initial evaluations and diagnosis, it also offers ongoing follow-up care and coordination to help families successfully navigate the service delivery system in our local community. It accepts most types of insurance, including Medicaid, CalOptima and medical.
Western Youth Services
Western Youth Services (WYS) is a private, non-profit human service agency with 40 years of service to the communities of Orange County. WYS provides comprehensive mental health services to children, adolescents and families at strategically located clinics throughout the county. WYS serves over 6,000 clients a year.
YMCA of Orange County Community Services Branch (YCS)
Inclusion builds strong kids, strong families, and strong communities through programs that offer hope, intervention, and opportunity to children and families in need in Orange County. We believe everyone deserves an opportunity to become strong, healthy, and hope-filled members of our community. By applying our talents, dedication, and resources, inclusion seeks to support children with special needs in Orange County.
By Danilae Smith
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