Surfers Healing

Surfers HealingSurfers Healing is a non-profit organization that teaches Autistic children to surf.

Founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz for the benefit of their son Isaiah Paskowitz, who was diagnosed with autism at age 3, Surfers Healing seeks to enrich the lives of people living with Autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing.

Surf camps are free of charge to autistic children.  Based in San Juan Capistrano, they’ve held camps in locations throughout North America, including Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, New York,  New Jersey, North Carolina and Rhode Island. 

The camp is operated by Israel Paskowitz, owner of the world-reknowned Paskowitz Surf Camp and a former competitive professional surfer.

Registration opens every April . Due to high demand, registration is usually open for 24 hours before all slots are filled. Demand far exceeds the resources of their all-volunteer organization and regrettably they can only accommodate a small percentage of those that apply.  Contact Surfers Healing directly for more details on how to register on a timely basis.



Phone: (877) 966-SURF

Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 1267  San Juan Capistrano, CA.  92693  (map)

Therapy in Action

Therapy in Action

Therapy in Action hosts an action filled summer camp each year for kids ages 4-12 yrs. old.  Based on the requests of parents, they’ve designed their summer camp to provide special elective opportunities for a fun way to learn social skills, writing, self-regulation skills, sensory- motor skills, and coping with a sibling who has special needs.

Therapy in Action is a nationally recognized premier pediatric occupational and physical therapy facility that has been providing services since it was established in 1978.

Website:  Therapy in Action

Phone:  (818) 708-2292

Locations:  18522 Oxnard St. Tarzana, CA 91356

810 Lawrence Dr., Suite 100 Newbury Park, CA 91320  (map)

Thousand Oaks Therapeutic Recreation Unit

Therapeutic Recreation UnitThe Therapeutic Recreation Unit in Thousand Oaks, CA. provides year-round recreation, sport and leisure programs for children, teens and adults who have difficulty participating in recreation due to the presence of a disability. Participants of Therapeutic Recreation programs include individuals with cognitive, neurological, physical, or emotional disabilities, and/or sensory impairments. A formal disability diagnosis is not required for participation.

They strive to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which your child can play and develop at his or her own pace. The provided activities are designed to capitalize upon campers’ existing interests while motivating and supporting engagement in new experiences, promoting new learning, and providing the opportunity to generalize prior learning.

Campers will have a choice of many activities and opportunities to express themselves and learn about the world. Activities such as: sports, sensory experiences, games, arts and crafts, cooking, music and movement, swimming, water play, therapeutic horseback riding, educational presentations and entertainment will be offered through the camp schedule. Older campers will be offered differentiated content and outing opportunities.

Both the design of the camp setting and pre-camp staff training provide for the use of sensory regulation strategies, visual supports, positive behavioral support, and encouragement of emerging communication and social skills. The camp also supports communication between parents, camp staff, and campers, through the pre-camp questionnaire, the use of daily communication logs, and the encouragement of daily informal discussion between parents and camp staff.

Website:  Therapeutic Recreation Unit

Contact: Cecilia Laufenberg, RTC or Devon Herbert, RTC

Phone:  (805) 381-2739

Location: Old Meadows Center, 1600 Marview Drive  Thousand Oaks, CA.  91362   (map)

Total Education Solutions

Total Education SolutionsTotal Education Solutions is a company dedicated to the field of special education, so they are able to accommodate all special needs, including autism, down syndrome, speech and language impairment, etc.  They operate 4 different summer camps:

Social Skills Summer Camp

Total Education Solutions is hosting social skills training sessions this summer for children of all ages.
A wide range of teaching strategies will be used to facilitate skill development, including role play, video modeling, and interactive games.  Sessions will focus on areas such as problem solving, maintaining appropriate boundaries, and developing and maintaining friendships.

Health and Wellness Summer Camp
Total Education Solutions is excited to offer a Health and Wellness camp for children ages 8 to 15 years old. Their enrichment program will focus on helping children gain a healthy perspective on nutrition and fitness through fun and engaging group games and activities while introducing a variety of strength and stretching exercises.

Handwriting Summer Camp
Total Education Solutions offers a fun-filled multi-sensory handwriting experience for children ages 3 years to 9 years of age who are in need of a little extra support in developing and maintaining proper handwriting skills. Through developmentally appropriate games, music, crafts and multi-sensory writing activities their handwriting groups will make the experience of writing engaging as well as entertaining for your child.

Speech and Language Summer Camp
Total Education Solutions hosts a Speech and Language summer camp for children aged 2 to 5 years. Their enrichment program will focus on speech, language, and early reading skills. Your child will participate in fun, play-based activities such as identifying and recognizing rhyming words, engaging in imaginative and creative play, and socializing and sharing with other children.


Contact:  Downtown Los Angeles location:  Javiar Marquez

Alhambra location:  Silvia Campos

Phone: Downtown Los Angeles:  (213) 607-4400  Alhambra: (323) 622-0746

Downtown Los Angeles Location:  1111 W. 6th Street, Suite 111  Los Angeles, CA 90017  (map)

Alhambra Location: 1000 S. Fremont Ave.  Unit 27, Suite 10100  Alhambra, CA 91803   (map)


Trips, Inc – Special Adventures

Trips Inc Special AdventuresSpecial Adventures provides all-inclusive vacation packages for travelers ages 16 & older with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Trips Inc. has over 21 years experience in special needs travel and has provided peak experiences and treasured memories for more than 12,000 travelers from all 50 states. This innovative organization has earned high praise featured in many major daily newspapers across the country.

They offer a ratio of one chaperone for every three or four travelers. Their average group size is 20 and they strive to match the mobility, ages, social skills, and capabilities of trip participants.

Trips Inc. offers a variety of trips to numerous destinations throughout the year.

Website:  Trips Inc. Special Adventures

Contact:  trips@

Phone:  800-954-2873

Office: 4311 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 530  Los Angeles, CA 90010   (map)

UCLA Early Childhood Clubhouse Program

UCLA ClubhouseThe Early Childhood Clubhouse Program at the UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital is a special social recreational after-school program for children three to six years of age with autism, Asperger’s Disorder, developmental disabilities, and/or behavioral disorders.

The Clubhouse is designed for children who need a high degree of structure that traditional social skills groups or community recreation programs cannot provide. Staffed with caring and trained professionals, this unique program offers formalized social skills training, along with a variety of developmentally appropriate, structured therapeutic social recreation activities.

This is an after-school program for children ages 2-6 with autism, Asperger’s, developmental disabilities and/or behavioral disorders. Five days a week, 1-5 pm. Highly structured and integrated program includes various recreational activities.

Website:  UCLA Early Childhood Clubhouse Program

Contact:  Elizabeth Laugeson

Phone: (310) 825-0367

Location: UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital  760 Westwood Plaza  Los Angeles, CA 90024  (map)


Via West Campus

Via West CampusVia West Campus, located in Northern California in the Santa Cruz Mountains 15 miles west of Santa Cruz, CA., offers year-round day and residential programs that give adults and children (ages 5 and older) with physical and/or developmental disabilities and special needs a chance to learn and grow amid fresh air and scenic surroundings.Programs emphasize “Living Healthy” themes that include nutrition, physical activity, health awareness and self-management.

During summer sessions, participants enjoy a well balanced schedule of activities. They are given the opportunity to choose additional activities that target their interests.  Sessions range in length from 3 to 7 days.  Past sessions have included: Autism, for ages 8 – 20 (focusing on communication and skill development); Downs syndrome, for participants ages 8 – 20 (focusing on skill development and recreational activities), and Young Adult Leadership Development, for ages 18-30 (developing leadership and independent living skills).

Via West covers 13-wooded acres in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Stevens Creek County Park, just 15 miles west of San Jose and 45 miles south of San Francisco. The facility has six modern and accessible sleeping lodges equipped with bathrooms, showers and heaters. There is a spacious main lodge where dining and large group programs take place. There are two pools (one of which is fully accessible), a health center, fire circle, creative arts and performing arts buildings. There also is a sports court, nature pavilion, horse corral, platform tent site and hiking and nature trails.

Website:  Via West Campus

Contact: Leslie Davis

Phone: (408) 243-7861

Camp Costanoan Location:  13851 Stevens Canyon Road, Cupertino, CA 95014  (map)

Office Location: 2851 Park Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95050-6006   (map)


Villa Esperanza Services

Villa EsperanzaVilla Esperanza Services is a nonprofit corporation devoted to the care, education, health and social services of developmentally disabled children, and adults and seniors with disabilities. Summer sessions available.

They offer a variety of program in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties for children and adult with special needs.

Villa Esperanza Services has been at the forefront of creating programs to give the developmentally disabled the chance to learn, work and play with others since 1961. Today, Villa serves 24 school districts and over 41 cities in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Villa serves people with a wide variety of disabilities including autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.

Villa believes in:

• An individualized approach to education
• Using positive behavior support to maximize each child’s educational experience
• Creating a supportive and educational environment for family members and caregivers
• On-going staff development to incorporate current educational and behavioral teaching strategies
• Teaching communication as the cornerstone for educational and social growth.



Phone: (626) 449-2919

Location:  2116 East Villa Street  Pasadena, CA.  91107 (map)


Vista Inspire Program (VIP) – Miracle Theatre

Vista Del Mar - Autism the MusicalThe Vista Inspire Program (VIP) in West LA is a socialization program that uses the arts to foster communication, self-confidence, and group dynamics for children with autism and other special needs (ALL abilities welcome).

Founded on the principles of The Miracle Project, created by beloved autism programs advocate Elaine Hall and profiled in the HBO Emmy award winning documentary, Autism: The Musical, this is a life changing experience for our campers, their siblings, parents, and for our community.

Classes in dance, drama, music and musical theatre for ages 7 and up.

The VIP Summer camp, held every August, offers swimming, singing, dancing, cooking, and the chance to make friends for children and teens of all abilities.

In addition to the summer program, VIP offers classes throughout the year.



Contact:  Naomi Salamon

Phone: (310) 836-1223 ext. 322

Location:  Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services  3200 Motor Avenue  Los Angeles, CA 90034 (map)


Y Spirit Program

Y Summer CampThe Y Spirit Program is a recreation and socialization program for teens with developmental disabilities.  The program is operated by the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, for young adults ages 13-21.  They offer a  1:3 staff/participant ratio.

Phone: (626) 432-1507

Location:  First Church of the Nazarene  3700 East Sierra Madre Blvd. #106  Pasadena, CA (map)