Classes for Autism Spectrum Kids

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi,

    I have a 17-year-old daughter who has her driver's permit and is ready for driver's training. She has high functioning autism and is fearful about learning to drive. I would appreciate any recommendations for a good driving school with a patient instructor. 



    We loved bubble of safety for our teen w ASD!
    also there’s this great link for some more ASD-specific driving training tips

    my 18 yo’s ASD turned out to be a super-power for his driving skills, which has been an enormous confidence booster. Good luck to your teen. 

  • Martial Arts programs for 10yo with autism

    (2 replies)

    We are looking for martial arts class for my 10 year old son (he is diagnosed with autism). In general we are interested an outlet for him to exercise, gain strength, focus and confidence. I went over a few places but either they don't provide accommodations or are charging 5-6 times more than the typical rates. He is a sweet boy but would need more of an one-one or a small group class. 

    We moved from east coast and had excellent small group classes for kids with special needs. Just wondering if there are any programs like that in Bay Area. Looking for suggestions from parents. 

    Many thanks

    Pallen’s Martial Arts in San Leandro has been awesome for my almost 8 year old son with HF ASD and SPD. Feel free to email me for more details.

    Unfortunately, I don't have a place to recommend but if you do find a place, we would be interested in possibly checking it out too. I also have a 10y boy with ASD. 

  • I am looking for a good film/media/video teacher who has experience working with young people on the autism spectrum.  My son is interested in film and video and I think  he could really benefit from being able to express himself creatively through this medium.

    My son enjoys creating videos on The company used to be called Go Animate. The platform is very intuitive and has figured out how to add elements, make edits, and sync audio for videos really by himself. His videos are quite funny and the monthly subscription is affordable. I know you asked for a coach but this may be something your child can begin trying out until you find one. My child is on the spectrum as well. 

    Try posting to

    Hello! I used to work at Youth beat media formerly media enterprise alliance and we teach photo and video production to students in Oakland. We have had students on the spectrum before and some have done really well. It’s a safe space. And all the students I have worked with there that I was aware of  being on the autism spectrum have all returned for multiple years.  Here is a link

    I can recommend Allison Leigh Holt as a media tutor. She is one of the only "adults" who has been able to get my son to overcome his extreme social phobia and open up. She has a depth of sensitivity to special needs folks that is rare. I have also seen the work of some of her other students and it is all very creative, expressive, and sometimes hilarious! I think her students are very lucky to have found her!

    She is listed on BPN here:

    Her website:

    Good luck!

  • Painting group for adult autistic son

    (1 reply)

    My son is 29 and a very talented artist. He works at Creative Growth Art Center, a wonderful organization for adult disabled artists; he exhibits and sells his quirky artwork at their gallery openings.  He is autistic, very high functioning, intellectual and of course socially awkward (I guess that's the right word).  He has a lot to offer, sort of a cross between an art nerd and a Buddha, but has no outlets outside of CGAC to meet like minded/hearted people.  He's lonely and would be ecstatic finding a group of painting enthusiasts to paint with, in or outside.   Does anyone know of a casual painting group that would accept him into their fold?  Or does anyone have any ideas about forming such a group?  Please post or write to me.   

    The art studio program at the Ed Roberts Campus. Not a painting group, but some are painters. Contact the director Nick Nold at nicknold [at] 

  • My toddler was recently diagnosed with ASD. We've worked hard the past few months and have various therapies in order. I'm now looking for lessons or classes that can accommodate my kiddo, particularly dance, swimming, gymnastics/tumbling, or music. I'd like to know if there are any local places that can accommodate a child like mine into a class or lesson. My toddler is a ton of fun but has difficulty following instructions and requires patient instructors. I've looked up a few places but reviews tend to be dated. 

    I'm also interested in potentially joining a support group for parents with kids on the spectrum. If there are any in Oakland, Emeryville or Berkeley, I'd love to hear about them.


    A couple of good places to find resources & support:

    East Bay Autism Parents (Facebook group)

    Family Resource Navigators (they have a 6 week ASD parenting class that's helpful, among other supports)

    For classes, a few places to start are:

    -Berkeley YMCA swim & gym class for special needs kids ages 2-6.

    -Head over heels has special needs tumbling classes

    -Pediatric Motor playground in Lafayette runs small group classes for OT, including gross & fine motor skills & sensory integration.

    I'm sure there are so many more out there, as well. Happy to chat privately, if you like. I have four kids, ages 15 months to 5 yo. Two of them  were diagnosed with ASD this year, so we're just starting out with figuring this stuff out, too.

    Is your child going to receive ABA? If so, most places will allow kids to attend classes with their ABA therapist, which I would highly recommend. Your child is liable to get much more out of the class. As for specific classes, I recommend University Village gymnastics and music classes with Melita ( in Berkeley.

  • I am looking for an after school or weekend class for my 12 1/2 year old son. He is (for lack of a better word) "high functioning" autistic, very socially motivated but with some social and emotional difficulties. He is interested in Lego, robotics, coding and gaming.He really wants to meet friends who are like him, similar in age with the same interests. The class or group would ideally include an adult familiar with the challenges of autism with the insight and expertise to help appropriately when emotional upsets and misunderstandings happen especially when they become physical. Thanks, BPN!

    oh let's talk.  you're describing my kiddo! drop me a line via my BPN user name, and let's see if we can get them together.

    I believe this is a specialty of Autistry Studios in San Rafael. They connect autistic and/or "quirky" kids ages 13+ with their passions, which I have seen include robotics, legos, remote control cars, coding, painting, animation. Also they do some social outings--some exapmles on their facebook page are Sessions are on weekends for the younger set.  --Maker Mama