Special Olympics – Southern California

Special OlympicsSpecial Olympics Southern California changes the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through sports training and competition.

Children and adults with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image.

More than 13,000 athletes in 11 counties participate in Southern California.

The mission of Special Olympics Southern California is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Their vision is to provide sports and training programs for any individual with intellectual disabilities who chooses to participate, thereby improving their lives and the lives of everyone they touch.

Website:  www.sosc.org  Local program page: www.sosc.org/programs 

Contact:  info@sosc.org

Phone: (562) 502 1100  (check local program sites for specific neighborhood information)

Main Location:  1600 Forbes Way  Suite 200  Long Beach, CA. 90810

Special Camp for Special Kids

Special CampSpecial Camp for Special Kids is a non-profit summer camp program, located in Orange County, for kids and teens aged 6-21 with a wide variety of disabilities.

Each day of camp they take field trips all over Southern California – from the beach to Knott’s Berry Farm.  They pair campers one-on-one with high school and college aged volunteer counselors/friends. All counselors go through training and interviews and they are selective in their process. The staff is very experienced and there is always a nurse on staff.

Special Camp for Special Kids has provided a normal summer camp experience, long-lasting friends, and a fun-filled camp experience since 1992.

Website:  www.specialcamp.org

Contact: Lindsay Eres  lindsay.eres@smes.org

Phone:  (949) 661-0108  x699

Location: 31641 La Novia Avenue  San Juan Capistrano, California 92675  (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  therapeutics@crpd.org

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.

Website: www.tesidea.com

Contact:  Downtown Los Angeles location:  Javiar Marquez  jmarquez@tesidea.com

Alhambra location:  Silvia Campos  scampos@tesidea.com

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)

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 ldavis@viaservices.org

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.

Website:  www.villaesperanzaservices.org

Contact:  info@villaesperanzaservices.org

Phone: (626) 449-2919

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