Special Needs Program

Lake Forest's Special Needs Program contributes to the growth and development of persons with developmental disabilities, and supports their families. The program serves participants of all ages.

The City partners with local businesses to bring our special needs community comprehensive programs designed to increase their opportunities to participate in community, recreation, leisure and cultural programs, as well as activities to build daily living skills. Programs and services help prepare persons who are disabled to become as socially, emotionally, and intellectually independent as possible. All classes are held in the City of Lake Forest. For more information including registration, schedule of events, and fees, check out the Leisure Times.

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game night

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Special needs holiday dance

Classes and Programs

Social Group for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Location: Autism Behavior Services, Inc. (23701 Birtcher Dr.) 
Fees: $75 per session (resident) and $80 per session (non-resident) 
Contact: (949) 581-0100 or toll free (855) 581-0100

The Learn About Friends and Family social groups were developed by Rosa Patterson MS, BCBA to assist children on the autism spectrum. The groups are based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and focus on social-emotional & behavioral growth. Areas addressed are play, social language, social reciprocity, perspective taking, problem solving, social relatedness, and much more!

Exercise and Social Skills for Teens

Location: Us Too Gymnastics (25 Spectrum Pointe, Suite 405)
Fees: $125 per 4-week session (resident) and $130 per 4-week session (non-resident)
Contact: (949) 461-3450

An exercise-based social skills class for teens on the autism spectrum. Activities include sharing age appropriate conversations, sharing with the group, playing basketball, volleyball, exposure to other sports and basic exercises.

Social Play Class for Kids with Special Needs

Location: Us Too Gymnastics - 25 Spectrum Pointe Dr. Suite 405
Fees: $100 per 4-week session (resident) and $105 per 4-week session (non-resident) 
Contact: (949) 461-3450

Enjoy a social based class where your child will participate in fun games, gymnastics, yoga, exercise circuits and a fun dance party at the end. 

Swim Lessons for Children and Adults with Special Needs

Location: SwimLabs (20918 Bake Pkwy. Suite 100)
Fees: $50 per 30 minute lesson 
Contact: (949) 461-3450 

Our adult instructors are experienced in teaching special needs swimmers and our small, indoor facility is ideal for focused swim lessons. Moreover, with the use of pool-side TV monitors and video cameras, our ability to give students instant visual feedback during their lesson is invaluable.  

US Too Gymnastics for Kids with Special Needs

Location: Us Too Gymnastics - 25 Spectrum Pointe Dr. Suite 405
Fees: $75 per month (resident) and $80 per month (non-resident)
Contact: (949) 461-3450

Our gymnastics class is specifically designed for children and teens with special needs (Autism, Down Syndrome, etc.). Your child will learn basic gymnastics, while working on social behaviors and taking turns. Most of all, they will have fun.  

Top Soccer

Contact: Rick Trevers at Rick.Trevers@LNYSA.org and Sandy Castillo at scastillo@calsouth.com. 

The Outreach program provides a safe and fun environment for athletes with special needs to participate in organized sports. Athletes between ages 4 and 30 compete in the program, which emphasizes development, training, and meaningful participation rather than competition. It's ALL about FUN!  For more information, visit


Shooting Stars Basketball

This program is designed for special needs athletes or anyone who for whatever reason cannot participate in the SVUSD Boys' and Girls' Basketball league. Players will be grouped by ability to create competitive teams and provide any needed support. League stresses fun and participation. Registration includes jersey for all new players, practice and game meetings, picture, day, team party and trophy. Volunteer Coaches and Teen Volunteers are welcome. For more info, please email Laurie and Richard Jimenez at SVUSDShootingStars@gmail.com.

Ages: 1st Grade-Adult
Game Location: RSM Intermediate School Gym, 21931 Alma Aldea, Rancho Santa Margarita