Patricia Robinson MFT
Support Groups, Resources, and Recommendations
Find my free articles on autism, Asperger's, and ADHD. Read frequently updated parenting tips as well tips for adults with Asperger's on my blog: Around the Autism Spectrum.
Local Support Groups:
(Please verify the times and location)
Check out the Facebook group East Bay Autism Parents. This group is for family, teachers, and caregivers of children with autism in the East Bay. From the description: "Find support, local tips, a safe place to vent, ask questions, set up play dates, and share helpful resources, all related to caring for someone with Autism. This group is set to private, so your Facebook friends won't see that you have joined, and the comments posted here are kept confidential. Feel free to add friends to this group that also have loved ones with Autism."
Special Parents 4 Special Kids, a support group for parents of kids with special needs. This group also offers periodic lectures and workshops, assistance for newcomers to secure the appropriate services and therapies, and help in advocating with the Regional Center and the school districts. The group publishes a "Roadmap for Autism" resource guide. The group also offers some social activities for families like adapted screenings of movies at Regal Cinemas in Dublin, CA. Lowered volume, adjusted lighting, no previews, and admission of a caretaker.
For people from about 14 to 24 on the Autistic Spectrum, there's a "Transitions to Adulthood" group that primarily communicates online. Contact email@example.com for information on this group.
CHADD of Northern California offers a number of services for both adults and the families of kids and teenagers with ADHD. Visit their website to access their schedule of support group meetings and find parent trainings.
CARE Parent Network offers parent support including peer facilitated groups, workshops, newsletters, and a biannual conference in the East Bay. Contact CARE for an intake evaluation, since the groups are not open to drop ins. This organization has groups for both Spanish and English speaking families. Email Louise Schneiders at LSchneiders@careparentnetwork.org.
We Care's Autism Family Support Project serves children ages 2 to 7 with any Autistic Spectrum Disorder and their families. They offer parent support meetings, parent education, monthly activities, as well as a summer camp. The support group for parents meets at We Care in Concord. Please contact the Project Coordinator, Vi Ibarra, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meetup.com is also a helpful resource in finding local groups, meetings, and get-togethers for adults with Asperger's and other special needs, as well as families of kids with Asperger's Disorder.
The Springstone School in Lafayette and the Orion Academy in Moraga are schools for kids with Asperger's and NLD. They offer different informational and support opportunities, so you should check their websites regularly for up-to-date information.
The Father's Circle meets in Pleasanton. This is a group for fathers of children with special needs. Check their website for their online schedule, and find some interesting links there as well.
There is an online group on Yahoo Groups called eastbayautism.
There is also a Yahoo Group for teens on the autism spectrum, including self diagnosed individuals. It's sponsored by Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and moderated by adult members of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Visit ASANTeens to join.
The Transition Options Program (TOPS) through Mt. Diablo Adult education, addresses the unique needs of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and related disorders transitioning to higher education, independent living and/or employment. The goal of the program is to provide education and support to enable students to be successful in work, home and the community. The program is flexible and allows participants to easily balance work and/or college by selecting the days that best fit their needs and interests. The following four core areas of instruction are offered: Social Skills/Relationship Skills; Career Exploration and Preparation/College Success; Independent Living Skills; Community Access & Resources. For more information, contact Karen Lingenfelter-Carman at email@example.com
The Creekside School in San Jose offers periodic trainings for parents in Floortime/DIR. Their events pages has downloadable information as well.
For adult social activities, check out Abantey, a Role Playing Workshop. Abantey is not specifically for ASD individuals, but welcomes all.
All sorts of activities for adults on the autism spectrum are available through Aascend in San Francisco. Their newsletter gives updated information.
Social Skills Groups:
Here are some of the local East Bay social skills groups available for different ages of children. Some run continuously, others only occasionally. Some are more formal and others (my favorites!) incorporate a lot of play activities.
A Few Selected Websites:
OASIS @ MAAP has a wealth of information and resources on Asperger's, autism and PDD. They also publish a newsletter.
GRASP is a favorite because of the extensive articles and podcasts.
About.com's website Verywell is very extensive, with information on just about any topic related to autism, including Asperger's. This is the site where I send newly diagnosed clients. Verywell has a regular newsletter too.
Parents Helping Parents (PHP) is located in San Jose, but they hold events throughout the Bay Area, and their resource list is extensive.
ADDA, the Attention Deficit Disorder Association, is for adults with ADHD. They have links to resources, newsletters, other sites, local support, and much more.
Insurance Issues: For help dealing with insurance issues, some parents have had luck with Autism Speaks Insurance and Yahoo's Kaiser Spectrum Kids, although I'm not particularly familiar with them.
CHADD has an enormous website, with resources, articles and local contacts.
For help with educational issues, Community Alliance for Special Education is very knowledgeable and useful. CASE has an online handbook with details about special education, as well as training and consultations.
Autism Asperger's Digest has articles and columns from people on the autistic spectrum, as well as their family members and various professionals.
ADDitude Magazine aimed at those with an ADHD or learning disability diagnosis, has articles aimed at both parents and adults with ADHD.
For some of my favorite books on autism, Asperger's, ADHD, Organizing, and Parenting; check out book reviews and the list on the sidebar of my blog: Around the Autism Spectrum.
Summer Camps in the East Bay, and beyond:
Here are some camps I've heard about that either focus on special needs and social skills, or have themes appeal to many kids on the autism spectrum. These have been recommended to me by parents or other professionals, but I am not professionally or personally involved in any of them, so please keep that in mind. If you are aware of other East Bay programs for the summer that you recommend, please let me know!
Aspen Network is a two week sleep away camp for teens and young adults, located in Northern California's Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Joey Travolta's Summer Inclusion Film Camp is for ASD campers ages 10 to 25. The camp is held at St Mary's College in Moraga.
UC Berkeley has a social skills camp that offers a program for kids with social skills deficits, grades 3 to 12. Younger kids are in groups with a leader, but take part in their activities along with the typical kids from the larger daycamp. For teenagers with special needs, the camp offers a counselor-in-training program, with focus on social skills as they relate to job skills.
Trails to Success offers their summer camp programs in Orinda. They also have a counselor-in-training program for teenagers.
iD Tech Camps are for students ages 7 to 17, where they can design video games, mod with Minecraft, code apps, engineer robots, build websites, produce films, and more. Hands-on learning takes place in small clusters of 8 students per instructor, guaranteed. Weeklong, day, and overnight programs are held at prestigious campuses nationwide, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State, and others. While iD camps are not specifically for kids with Asperger's, the material does tend to overlap with common Asperger's interests.
iD Programming Academy is for teens ages 13 to 18 who want to get immersed in technology. Students program with C++ and Java™, code apps, mod with Minecraft, engineer robots, program websites with HTML and PHP, and more. Teens tour a development studio, create a cutting-edge college portfolio, meet new friends, and interact with industry professionals. 2-week, pre-college academies are held at prestigious universities nationwide.
Alexa Café, in Palo Alto, was created for girls ages 10 to 15 to collaborate around café tables and learn to code apps, produce films, design websites, develop wearable electronics, and more. High-energy, hands-on courses are taught in small clusters of just 8 girls per instructor, uniquely emphasizing leadership, philanthropy, brand identity, and innovation.
Quest Camps in Alamo offer programs for campers ages 6 to 18, with special responsibilities and programs for teen campers. They have daily activities, field trips, and therapy.
Walnut Creek offers a weekly summer program for special needs individuals ages 5 to 21.
We Care in Concord has also offered an autism summer camp, although I only found online information on the 2009 program.
Sarah’s Science “This Land Is Your Land” camp is not designed specifically for special needs children, but the science and nature themes may be of interest to many kids. A mom told me that her son with Asperger’s really enjoyed the camp. Older campers can do more challenging projects, and there is a counselor-in-training program. This camp has locations in Oakland and Berkeley.
For roleplay enthusiasts, Abantey offers after-school and summer camp groups, as well as adult social activities (listed above).
Tech Know How offers camps focused on computers, Legos, and game design. Again, this camp is not designed specifically for kids with special needs, but it does match well with the interests of many kids on the spectrum, and a mom reported her child with Asperger's enjoyed it. They have locations throughout the Bay Area.
Breaking Barriers summer camp, from Ed Support Services offers a Regional Center vendorized ABA based camp in Concord for kids ages 5 to 13. They also offer a spring break camp and a winter respite program.
Camp Altitude, located in Atherton, offers both residential camps and day camps for boys and girls with social-cognitive challenges.
Landmark College, a college for students with learning differences, ASDs, and ADHD, offers summer programs in Vermont for high school students.
National Autism Resources has a physical store in Benicia, CA. They have educational materials, therapy tools, games, and other items.
To schedule an appointment, a consultation, or to find out more information, please contact me at:
Patricia Robinson MFT
171 Front Street, Suite 203
Danville, CA 94526
Patricia Robinson MFT
171 Front Street, Suite 203
Danville, CA 94526