Support Groups for Special Needs Families

See also: Support for Parents – Support Groups for Parents

Support Group Guideline Suggestions

Using “I” Statements

Blocks to Listening
Learn to avoid these common blocks to listening

Active Listening Techniques
Become a better listener.

Group Traits to help Recovery
An example of group traits that aid in support and recovery.

Support Group Basics by The Community Toolbox

Creating and Facilitating Peer Support Groups

Support Group Meetings

SPIN Supported Groups:
Call: 722-2800 or 423-7713
Autism Spectrum Parent Support Group
Down Syndrome Parent Support Group: English & Spanish
SPIN / NAMI Parents of Bi-polar children and young adults support group

Community Based Groups:

CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) Support Group
Led by Judy Brenis, ADHD and Life Coach
Monthly support groups for families of children with ADHD.  Go to her website to contact her for more information.

Family Mental Health Advocacy Services
Children’s Mental Health Advocate
Adult Mental Health Advocate
Support groups for families of children and adults with Mental Health issues

Learning Disabilities of America (LDA) Support Group
View website above for the national organization information.  Contact the  local group through the Central Coast email contact.  Volunteers lead this non-profit group of parents and professionals to provide informational support on Learning Disabilities of all types.  Meeting is at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos on the first Thursday of each month in room 704.

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Santa Cruz County: NAMI-SCC
Ongoing Support Group, classes and workshops for Family and Friends of Mentally Ill children and adults. (includes autism, bi-polar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, TS, OCD, and other disorders

Parenting the Unique Child with Vivian Gratton, M.A., Marriage and Family Therapist
104 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, CA
Parenting the Unique Child group; therapeutic support for youth who have Sensory Processing Disorder, learning disorders and other challenges, and for their parents and caregivers.

Parents of Bi-polar Children Support Group (Christian-based)
Contact NAMI (above) for contact info.

PHP (Parents Helping Parents) Support Groups
Click on the link above to see listing of PHP support and information groups to find information about meetings for 20 different support groups including those for particular disabilities such as Down Syndrome or Asperger Syndrome, and for general groups such as Vietnamese families, Parent Coffees, and sibling support group.

Click here for PACDD (Parents of Adult Children with Developmental Disabilities) Support Group

Sibling Support Project
National group for peer support of brothers and sisters of people who have special health, developmental, or mental health concerns.
Offers library, publications, ‘sibshops,’ listserve and more.

Sibling Workshops (Sibshops) through PHP
Please register online or call (408) 727-5775 for more details.

Special Connections Family Resource Center
984-2 Bostwick Lane, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Serves Santa Cruz County families with special needs infants and toddlers. Provides information and support; resource library, parent-to-parent support groups; educational workshops, parent training and more. Please call for more information.

Online Support Groups

Autism Intervention Bay Area California
Online discussion group for parents and caregivers of children with Autism

Fun and Function Facebook Page
Find friends who are parenting special needs children, as well as learn about relatively inexpensive products and useful ideas to support sensory and other special needs challenges.

EvoLibri Neurodiversity Counseling
Offers counseling, newsletter, online discussion, info links, and other resources

SPIN Special Parents Online Yahoo Group
Offers an opportunity to exchange information with other parents of children with any type of disability (autism spectrum, developmental delays, physical or medical disabilities, learning disabilities, neurobehavioral disabilities such as: TS, OCD, ODD, NVLD, AD/HD, or Bi- polar) and other conditions. Go to website and join.

Tourette Syndrome Asssociation Northern California and Hawaii Chapter
Get information on local support groups for Tourette Syndrome and related disorders, join the online yahoo group, find out about news and events, and check out links.

Yahoo Groups
Search for parent groups for special needs parents or special needs homeschooling, etc.

California Parenting Special Needs Children Yahoo Groups List

Down Syndrome

Peninsula Parents of Special Needs Kids – All California

Physical Challenges Bay Area

SELPA 3 CAC of Santa Clara County Yahoo Group
See their website also at: