Through the DDS Disparity Funds Program, WRC was able to produce the following videos to provide consumers, families, and communities with equitable access to information on regional center services, supports, and resources.
Autismis a disorder that affects a child’s ability to communicate, play, and relate to others. A diagnosis of autistic disorder is made when an individual displays 6 or more symptoms across three major areas: (a) social interaction, (b) communication, and (c) restricted and repetitive behaviors. Click here to read “Understanding Autism: A Parent’s Guide.”
Cerebral Palsy(also known as CP) is a disorder that affects muscle coordination and body movement, usually causing stiffness. Cerebral Palsy can be caused either when the brain does not develop properly during pregnancy or there is damage to the brain before, during or after birth. Someone with mild CP might have a slight limp while someone with a more severe case of CP may require a wheelchair.Click here to read “Understanding Cerebral Palsy: A Parent’s Guide.”
Down Syndrome is one of the most common genetic disorders, affecting about 1 in 800 to 1000 live born children. It occurs among all ethnic groups and economic classes. The disorder is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome – people with Down syndrome are born with three copies of chromosome 21, instead of the usual two. This is caused by an error in cell division called “nondisjunction”, which usually occurs at conception and is not related to anything the mother did during pregnancy.Click here to read “Understanding Down Syndrome: A Parent’s Guide.”
Dual Diagnosisis a term applied to the co-existence of both developmental disabilities (autism, intellectual disability, epilepsy, or cerebral palsy) and mental health issues.
Epilepsyis a disorder that is characterized by recurrent seizures. Seizures may involve loss of consciousness, uncontrolled body movements, and loss of memory. However, having a seizure does not necessarily mean that a person has epilepsy. You can only be diagnosed with epilepsy if you have had two or more unprovoked seizures. Click here to read “Understanding Epilepsy: A Parent’s Guide.”
Intellectual Disability(previously known as mental retardation) is a term used when a person has certain limitations in mental functioning and adaptive skills. These limitations will cause a child to learn and develop more slowly than a typical child. For example, it may take them longer to learn to speak, walk, or take care of their personal needs such as dressing or eating. Click here to read “Understanding Intellectual Disability: A Parent’s Guide.”
The following resources are for all populations including families, adult individuals, and children.
Attention Deficit Disorder is the world’s leading adult ADHD organization. We are an international non-profit – 501C – organization founded over twenty-five years ago to help adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) lead better lives. Since its inception, ADDA has become the source for information and resources exclusively for and about adult ADHD. ADDA brings together scientific perspectives and the human experience to generate hope, awareness, empowerment and connections worldwide in the field of ADHD.
ADD Resources help people with ADHD achieve their full potential through education, support and networking opportunities.
LD Online seeks to help children and adults reach their full potential by providing accurate and up-to-date information and advice about learning disabilities and ADHD. The site features hundreds of helpful articles, multimedia, monthly columns by noted experts, first person essays, children’s writing and artwork, a comprehensive resource guide, very active forums, and a Yellow Pages referral directory of professionals, schools, and products.
Asperger/Autism Network works with individuals, families, and professionals to help people with Asperger Syndrome or similar autism spectrum profiles build meaningful, connected lives. We do this by providing information, education, community, support, and advocacy–all in an atmosphere of validation and respect.
Asperger Syndrome & High Functioning Autism Association serves individuals on the autism spectrum, their families, and the professionals who work with them, providing crucial resources and support as they face challenges, build on their strengths and fulfill their potential.
Ability Tools, formerly the AT Network, is California’s Assistive Technology Act Program that provides a variety of services for Californians with disabilities of all ages.
EmpowerTech is Los Angeles County’s only non-profit organization devoted to bringing the latest in assistive technology to children and adults living with disabilities.
Autism Center of Excellence center’s mission is to discover an early behavioral and biological signature of infants at risk for autism as young as 12-months.
Autism Science Foundation mission is to support autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.
Autism Society of America is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization. They work to increase public awareness about the day-to-day issues about people across the spectrum, advocate for appropriate services for individuals of every age, and provide the latest information regarding treatment, education, research, and advocacy.
Autism Society of Los Angeles is a non-profit 501c3 corporation serving millions of people in the L.A. area affected by autism. They aim to improve the lives of all affected by autism in Los Angeles County by empowering individuals with autism, their families, and professionals through advocacy, education, support, and community collaboration.
Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.
UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment involves understanding the origins of social, communicative, and language deficits demonstrated by individuals with autism. It also focuses on the design and testing of experimental treatment interventions.
American Psychiatric Association is an organization of psychiatrists working together to ensure humane care and effective treatment for all persons with mental illness, including substance use disorders. It is the voice and conscience of modern psychiatry. Its vision is a society that has available, accessible quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.
Blind or Visually Impaired
American Foundation for the Blind provides resources, research, and advocacy for people who are blind or visually impaired, the people who work with them, and the general public. One of the foundation’s most famous ambassadors was Helen Keller, who spent 40 years working for the organization.
National Federation of the Blind is the largest membership organization of blind people in the United States. The NFB’s focus is advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence.
Cerebral Palsy Group offers resources and information on Cerebral Palsy for families and those diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
My Child at Cerebral Palsy provides information, tips, resources, encouragement and inspiration to individuals touched by Cerebral Palsy.
UCLA/Orthopedic Hospital for Cerebral Palsy is dedicated to improving function in children and adults with cerebral palsy through a program of timely diagnosis, comprehensive assessment and individualized treatment.
CitizenshipWorks provides easy-to-use online tools to help low and moderate-income individuals to prepare for the naturalization process and tests.
LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs is a guide to immigration resources and immigrant rights. Users can access legal resources, learn how to file immigration fraud claims, and learn about their path to citizenship.
Los Angeles County Libraries – All LA County Libraries can assist with locating material on citizenship and immigration. In addition, the County Library proudly hosts the U.S. Pathways for New Americans centers. These centers provide additional materials and handouts to help you in the citizenship and immigration process. There are currently two locations to serve customers of the LA County Library: Huntington Park Library and Rosemead Library.
Path 2 Citizenship – Explore the site to find many different types of information to help you navigate the process of becoming a citizen of the United States. This site also provides information about: community and legal services; citizenship services; citizenship forms; educational materials; news and events; and more!
¡Protégete!…¡Ciudadanía Ya! – Eligible legal permanent residents (LPRs) in Los Angeles County can use this site to apply for citizenship, find trustworthy naturalization services, and locate citizenship workshops throughout Los Angeles County.
Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles is here to enhance the welfare of people with Down Syndrome and their families through the development and promotion of education, counseling, employment and recreational programs and to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of Down Syndrome.
National Down Syndrome Society works every day to increase public awareness about Down syndrome and discover its underlying causes through research, education and advocacy.
County of Los Angeles Public Library provides computer use, laptop checkout & unlimited Wi-Fi access; programs for families and children; free Online Learning for Personal & Professional Development; Passport Services; free online Live Homework help for kids and teens; free citizenship events; free online language-learning classes for all ages; and more!
Fiesta Educativa provides information and training to Latino families on how to obtain services for all persons with disabilities. Training is also provided to professionals who work with these families. Fiesta Educativa’s efforts include an annual statewide conference on topics such as resources, patient and client rights, educational and vocational programs, and stress management for families; home-based parent education and training program “Fiesta Familiar”; and an advocacy and outreach project assisting families and persons with disabilities to make the best use of the agencies and resources available to them in their communities.
The Help Group provides innovative and comprehensive special education and therapeutic programs. The Help Group has been dedicated to serving young people with special needs related to autism, Asperger’s Disorder, learning disabilities, emotional development, mental retardation, and abuse and neglect.
Early Start/Head Start
Early Head Start is designed to nurture and support your child’s physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development, from birth to age three. Pregnant mothers can even benefit from Early Head Start resources and services, such as parenting and nutrition classes to learn how to fully take care of themselves and their babies. They also provide resources to support healthy development and learning at home, family health and nutrition, and coordinate services for children with special needs.
Federal Interagency Coordinating Council (FICC) provides a useful storehouse of information for parents of children with disabilities, focusing on the efforts of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council (FICC). The council facilitates federal, state and local activities related to serving infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, from birth through age 5, who receives services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as other federally funded programs such as health care, child care and social services.
Head Start gives kids, ages three to five, the learning and social skills they need to be ready to start school. They also help provide families with the support they need most, including making healthy food choices and ensuring every child is receiving regular medical and dental care. We also help coordinate additional services for children and families, including nutrition, services for children with special needs, and mental health services.
Head Start Center for Inclusion website contains a wealth of information on supporting and including children with special needs in the classroom and home. Look here for training materials, tools, as well as other resources.
Ability Jobs is an employment website for job seekers with disabilities.
California CareerZone is a website that helps people explore, plan for and pursue careers that reflect their passion, skills, and life goals.
California Employment Consortium for Youth is a collaboration of 45+ representatives of 25+ state agencies, associations, and organizations, families, and self-advocates with responsibilities for the education, rehabilitation, employment, and support of youth with disabilities. The CECY aims to stimulate policy change and build capacity in California state systems and local communities to increase the number of youth and young adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (IDD) in competitive integrated employment (CIE).
Getting Hired– Employment opportunities for Individuals with disabilities – Bridging the Gap between Job Seekers with Disabilities & Employers Looking to Hire
Job Accommodation Network (JAN): Provides free resources and information for job seekers with disabilities who have questions about self-identifying, asking for reasonable accommodations and much more.
My Next Move is an interactive tool for job seekers and students to learn more about their career options. My Next Move has tasks, skills, salary information, and more for over 900 different careers.
RecruitDisability.org provides job listings, with a good search tool, and a salary comparison tool for applicants with disabilities.
Roadmap to Careers is a helpful online tool to help students find careers and majors based on their likes and interests. Read about the career journeys of professionals who share your interests.
“Talent Knows No Limits” serves to spread awareness of the myriad of services and resources available to the disabled job-seeking community; as well as to employers that can benefit from this valuable labor pool. TKNL also strives to break barriers and to address misconceptions about the employability of people with disabilities.
Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy is the leading nongovernmental agency fully committed to funding research in epilepsy. CURE’s mission is to cure epilepsy, transforming and saving millions of lives. We identify and fund cutting-edge research, challenging scientists worldwide to collaborate and innovate in pursuit of this goal.
The Epilepsy Foundation will ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences and will prevent, control and cure epilepsy though research, education, advocacy, and services. This site has general information on epilepsy as well as information on research, programs, and advocacy.
Fragile X Syndrome
Finding a Cure for Fragile X is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization committed to finding a cure for fragile X. FRAXA has funded more than $26 million in biomedical research, yielding discoveries that are changing the lives of families coping with fragile X.
National Fragile X Syndrome has the latest articles, news and events, along with stories directly from the families they serve. Their mission is to provide unwavering support for every family affected by Fragile X, while relentlessly pursuing a cure.
Health/ Health Care
Achievable Health Center provide high quality, integrated health care to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and other vulnerable populations.
California Health Care Options (HCO) Presentations provides educational and informational sessions offered to Medi-Cal eligible persons at some County welfare offices, clinics and hospitals. They provide the tools with which to make an informed decision about managed health care. No appointment is necessary and all services are free. Please verify the schedule before attending.
Caregivers & Older Adults Connected & Healthy (COACH) program is designed to help aging and disabled adults 55+ remain in their homes with dignity and independence. COACH provides this fully customized support and connects underserved and at-risk people and their caregivers to a wide range of services based on individual assessment of needs and geographic location, Los Angeles County/Orange County. COACH provides services at no cost to the community.
Disability Benefits 101 gives you tools and information on health coverage, benefits, and employment. You can plan ahead and learn how work and benefits go together.
Healthy City improves the ability of low income, underserved children, adolescents, and their families to access services and advocate for critical resources in their neighborhoods and communities.
L.A. Care is an independent public agency created by the state of California to provide health coverage to low-income Los Angeles County residents.
Safety Net is a web site is dedicated to the dissemination of information on the prevention and mitigation of risk factors for persons with developmental disabilities. The site includes information from across the nation on current research and best practices and practical information directed towards improving consumers’ health and safety and insuring their protection from harm.
211 L.A. County is a dedicated service that provides an easy-to-use, caring, professional source of guidance, advocacy, and 24 hours 7 days per week access to a comprehensive range of human services to the people of Los Angeles County.
Most Commonly Requested Documents (MCRD) is a two-sided information sheet. The front side, provides a list of the most common County administered programs/services and the required documents needed to apply for the programs/services. The reverse side provides website information and toll-free telephone numbers to obtain documents needed to apply for the programs/services. Click here to view the document in English or Spanish.
YourBenefitsNow! is a website for Los Angeles County Residents to apply for and to view their benefits online. YourBenefitsNow! supports CalWorks, CalFresh, General Relief and MediCal applications. You can also schedule an in-person appointment for a NEW application.
Affordable Apartment Search is an online search tool to find low-rent apartments in California. Simply select a city, county, zip code or name of property, specify the apartment type, and the number of bedrooms to begin your search.
Affordable Housing Online – If you’re searching for a low income apartment, HUD housing, a Section 8 apartment, subsidized housing or income based housing, just enter your location in the search box to find available places near you.
City of Los Angeles Housing Resource Center is a free, online property-search service that links people with affordable and accessible housing in our communities. It can be accessed online or via toll-free phone. Property profiles can include photos and information about property and neighborhood amenities to properties stand out to qualified tenants, including accessibility features, schools, public transit and more.
DDS Housing Resources: This site provides information about affordable housing projects in which DDS is involved. The site also links users to public and private agencies that can assist individuals with developmental disabilities in finding affordable housing.
GoSection8 – Find a great place to live with the largest affordable housing listing service in the nation – whether you have a section 8 voucher or are just looking for a good deal.
Homeless Outreach Program Integrated Care System (HOPICS) – provide an array of services to homeless and low-income households in South Los Angeles. For example: South Central Drop-In Center, an emergency access center for single adults and families who are literally homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless; Home and Family Program, an intensive case management and housing placement service for homeless families with children ages 0-5; Rapid Re-Housing Program, helps individuals experiencing homelessness become stably housed through financial assistance.
Housing Choice (Section 8) Vouchers – The housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments. If you are interested in applying for a voucher, contact the local PHA. For further assistance, please contact the HUD Office nearest to you.
Social Serve is an online search tool that helps you find affordable housing in California using information from housing websites across the nation.
The Infant Development Association of California‘s mission is to foster collaboration between families and professionals working with children, birth to three with special needs. The Infant Development Association of California provides education, leadership and advocacy.
March of Dimes improves the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. The March of Dimes carries out this mission through programs of research, community services, education and advocacy.
The Arc is for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities where they promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.
LD Online seeks to help children and adults reach their full potential by providing accurate and up-to-date information and advice about learning disabilities and ADHD. The site features hundreds of helpful articles, multimedia, monthly columns by noted experts, first person essays, children’s writing and artwork, a comprehensive resource guide, very active forums, and a Yellow Pages referral directory of professionals, schools, and products.
Learning Disabilities of America provides support to people with learning disabilities, their parents, teachers and other professionals with cutting edge information on learning disabilities, practical solutions, and a comprehensive network of resources. These services make LDA the leading resource for information on learning disabilities.
National Center for Learning Disabilities provides information to parents, professionals and individuals with learning disabilities, promotes research and programs to foster effective learning, and advocates for policies to protect and strengthen educational rights and opportunities.
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates work to protect and enforce the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families. Their primary goal is to secure high quality educational services and to promote excellence in advocacy.
Disability Rights California advocates, educates, investigates and litigates to advance and protect the rights of Californians with disabilities. They assist with Regional Centers, employment, special education, mental health, benefits and managed care, discrimination, and voting. Each Regional Center has a Clients’ Rights Advocate that is provided by DRC and is there to help individuals and families when then need assistance.
Immigration Law Help – A searchable online directory of over 1,000 free or low-cost nonprofit immigration legal services providers in all 50 states
Learning Rights is a legal service nonprofit that fights for a child’s right to education. Learning Rights assists low-income families by providing free legal counsel and advice, advocacy, direct representation, education, training and policy work.
TASK, Team of Advocates for Special Kids is a nonprofit organization that specializes in special education and assistive technology support for the families of children with disabilities and the professionals who serve them.
Reach Across L.A. is a cross-systems, collaborative program administered by Westside Regional Center. The program focuses on recognizing and addressing the needs of individuals with dual diagnosis. It was established in 2008 and is made possible by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) grant funding from the California Department of Developmental Services.
SanaMente is a California focused mental health movement providing information, resources, training and support.
American Society for Nutrition supports its members and fulfills its mission by fostering and enhancing research in animal and human nutrition; providing opportunities for sharing, disseminating, and archiving peer-reviewed nutrition research results); fostering quality education and training in nutrition; upholding standards for ethical behavior in research, the protection of human subjects, and the care and treatment of research animals; providing opportunities for fellowship and support among nutritionists; and bringing scientific knowledge to bear on nutrition issues through communication and influence in the public domain.
Eat Right-Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.
Meals on Wheels West for People & PETS No matter why a person is unable to leave home, a recent hospital stay, poor health, accident or disability, they often face the major difficulties of poor nutrition, limited mobility and isolation. Meals on Wheels West deliver medically appropriate meals and a wellness check to homebound clients.
Nutrition.gov is a USDA-sponsored website that offers credible information to help you make healthful eating choices.
P2P (Parent 2 Parent) is a national non-profit organization that promotes excellence in P2P programs across the nation. Parent to Parent programs have been providing emotional and informational support to families.
Family Voices is a national family-led organization of families and friends of children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and disabilities. We connect a network of family organizations across the United States that provide support to families of CYSHCN. We promote partnership with families at all levels of health care–individual and policy decision-making levels—in order to improve health care services and policies for children.
Parents Helping Parents supports, educates, and inspires families and the community to build bright futures for children with special needs.
ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in: English; Mathematics; Reading; and Science. Learn when and where the test is offered, registration deadlines and fees, which colleges require or recommend the test and other important information by going online or asking your high school counselor.
ACT Accommodations – The ACT approved accommodations for students with disabilities in accordance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). To request accommodations on the ACT, the student must work with a school official to submit their request and supporting documentation via the Test Accessibility and Accommodation System (TAA). The school official will then contact the student within 2 weeks of submitting their request with a decision from the ACT.
ACT Fee Waiver – If you are a 11th or 12th grade student who can’t afford the registration fee for the ACT or ACT with writing, you may be eligible for an ACT Fee Waiver. Information about the eligibility requirements and how to request a fee waiver is sent each summer to high schools. You should work with your high school counselor to determine your eligibility.
College Board, Services for Students with Disabilities – Students who show that their disabilities affect participation in the SAT, SAT Subject Tests™, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and Advanced Placement® Exams are eligible to take those exams with accommodations. All accommodations must be approved by the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). Work with your high school’s designated SSD Coordinator to submit an accommodations request. The request process may take up to 7 weeks so start early!
The SAT and SAT Subject Test are national college admissions examinations that measure what you learned in high school and what you need to succeed in college. Learn when and where the test is offered, registration deadlines and fees, which colleges require or recommend the test and other important information by going online or asking your high school counselor.
SAT fee waivers are available to low-income 11th and 12th grade students and SAT Subject Test fee waivers are available for students in grades 9–12. If you’re eligible for a fee waiver, you can take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests for free. Contact your school for more information or go online to see if you meet the eligibility requirements.
Post-Secondary Education (Searching for Colleges)
California Community Colleges: The community college system consists of 110 two-year institutions. Each college provides services for students with disabilities. Contact a specific college for more information.
California State Universities: The California State University system consists of 23 campuses providing bachelor’s (four year) and graduate programs. Each state university provides accommodations for students with disabilities. Contact a specific college for more information about services.
Independent California Colleges and Universities – Comprised of 83 private nonprofit colleges and universities in Northern and Southern California. Each campus provides accommodations for students with disabilities who meet the academic and technical standards required for admission and participation in an educational program or activity. Contact a specific college or university for more information and learn how to apply.
University of California: The University of California is a statewide system of ten campuses providing bachelor’s (four year) and graduate programs. Each campus provides accommodations for students with disabilities. Contact a specific college for more information about services.
Post-Secondary Education (Applying to College)
Assist.org is an online student-transfer information system that shows how course credits earned at one public California college or university can be applied when transferred to another.
CaliforniaColleges.edu provides students with an all-inclusive guide with: college search tools; college major search tools; application types overview (Community College, California State University, University of California); career search tools; financial aid eligibility information, and more!
College Application Fee Waiver – Every income-eligible student who takes the SAT or SAT Subject Tests using a test fee waiver can choose four colleges from over 2,000 participating colleges and apply for free. These waivers will be delivered online to eligible students. Contact your High School or go online for more information.
College Board helps students prepare for a successful transition to college providing information on testing and accommodations (PSAT, SAT, AP, etc.) as well as information on colleges, majors, options for paying for college, free step-by-step college plans, and more!
Common Application – Students are able to complete one college application and send copies to more than 800 schools (private, public, large and small). Simply create an account and begin the application process. The website offers an array of tools, checklists, tips and strategies to help students save time and stay on track to meet deadlines.
CSU Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) provides admission, academic and financial assistance to low-income, educationally disadvantaged students throughout California. If eligible, EOP participants receive services such as ongoing advising, tutoring, mentoring, and workshops designed to help students succeed and graduate from college. Find out if you meet the eligibility requirements and learn how to apply!
Post-Secondary Education (Paying for College)
California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth – If you are or were in foster care for at least one day, between the ages of 16 and 18 as a dependent or ward of the court and have financial need, you may qualify for up to $5,000 a year for career and technical training or college. You don’t have to pay this money back. You may also be able to use your grant to help pay for child care, transportation and rent while you’re in school. You can use your Chafee Grant at any eligible California college or university or career or technical school, as well as schools in other states.
California College Promise Grant – Whether you want to move into a career or move on to a four-year university, California community colleges want to help you achieve your educational goals. The California College Promise Grant, available to eligible students, will waive your per unit enrollment fee at any California community college throughout the state.
California Dream Act – The California Dream Act Application allows students interested in attending eligible California Colleges, Universities and Career Education Programs to apply for state financial aid.
CSS Profile – Specific colleges, universities, and scholarship programs use CSS Profile® as part of their financial aid process for some or all of their financial aid applicants.
Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. It’s money that helps a student pay for education expenses at a college, career school, or graduate school. Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid also can help pay for a computer and for dependent care.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid: To apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study, and loans, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school. In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.
Scholarships and Awards: Click on the links below to view scholarship opportunities.
Disabled Students’ Program and Services (DSPS)/ Disability Support Services (DSS) – Students who continue on to higher education have a number of services available to them. Upon admission to college, the student should contact the DSPS or DSS office which will refer the student for services that they may qualify for. You MUST inform the school that you have a disability and need an academic adjustment. Every public and private community college, college, and university has a DSPS office and their own website.
Post-Secondary Education (Resources)
California Cash for College – Students and families can attend FREE Cash for College workshops across California for help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act (CADAA) and Chafee Grant for Foster Youth applications. Enter your current location, zip code, school name or county for workshops near you. Registration is required.
CA Transition Alliance provides resources for students and parents as they transition from secondary education to adult life.
College Navigator is an interactive website that allows you to explore and compare features of different institutions, including programs and majors, admissions considerations, campus crime statistics and more.
EdSmart Winning in College: A Guide for Students with Disabilities – An online college guide that helps students learn about their civil rights, requesting accommodations and supports, choosing the right school, paying for college and more!
Going to College contains information about living college life with a disability. It’s designed for high school students and provides video clips, activities and additional resources that can help them get a head start in planning for college.
I Can Afford College is a bilingual (English and Spanish) website that educates current or future students about the year-round availability of financial aid at California’s community colleges to pay for fees, books, supplies and sometimes even help with rent. The website also connects students with events in their area to receive one-on-one help completing applications.
Khan Academy offers free online SAT prep courses covering mathematics, reading and writing. They also offer practice online and paper SAT tests, tips, test-taking strategies and more.
Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability.
Talent Knows No Limits:“Taking Charge of Your Education: A Guide for Young People with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood” is an online transition guide that provides information regarding: Education; Independent Living; Employment; Finances; Healthcare; Social/Recreation; and more!
AYSO Region 7 (Westchester, Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey, Inglewood, Ladera Heights) conducts an AYSO VIP soccer program for athletes with mental or physical challenges every fall from September through November. Started locally in 1999 and winner of a 2001 WRC Excellence Award for community based programs, AYSO Region 7 provides a full soccer experience for special needs athletes regardless of age, ability, experience, or where they live.
Best Buddies program links volunteers with people with intellectual disabilities.
Boys and Girls Club of America provides sports & recreation, arts, education, health & wellness, and character & leadership after school programs to youth in the community.
Easterseals Camp is a week-long resident camp serving children and adults in the San Bernardino Mountains. Held at Camp Oakes, an accredited American Camping Association site, Easterseals’ camps offer children and adults with disabilities the same excitement and activities available at other camps.
Elysian Park Therapeutic Recreation Center provides quality recreation programs for persons with disabilities to maximize their cognitive, social, and recreational growth. Activities, programs, and special events are designed for individuals with disabilities to promote wellness, increase self-esteem, provide opportunities for socialization, and improve psycho-motor development in a safe and well supervised environment. This facility has an amphitheater with outdoor seating that can accommodate 200 to 300 people. A therapeutic program for children and teens with disabilities is available.
Friendship Circle aims to provide children and teenagers with special needs and their families with many of the social and recreational opportunities that are currently available to the general community.
Kids Like Me (The Help Group) offers a number of after-school programs for children and teens with autism spectrum disorder and other special needs in the Los Angeles area.
Leaps n Boundz provides adaptive sports, recreation and social programming for individuals with special needs. They teach in therapeutic and fun environments that promote strength and growth in all aspects of life.
The Challenger Division was established in 1989 as a separate division of Little League to enable boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 4-18, or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school, to enjoy the game of baseball along with the millions of other children who participate in this sport worldwide. For more information on the Little League Challenger Division, contact 570-326-1921, ext.2254; or email challenger@LittleLeague.org.
Culver City has a Challenger League, for more information click here.
My Play Club – is a free community outreach program of Shane’s Inspiration that brings children of ALL abilities together at one of our inclusive playgrounds for a play date. They buddy children with challenges with typically developing kids, giving both the opportunity to get to know about each other.
Queue-Up is a Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program for all youth and adults including Veterans, those with Disabilities, PSTD, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delay, Multiple Sclerosis and Learning or Language Disabilities. Members learn the art and technique of horseback riding. We have had enormous success in paring members with horses.
Reserve California website allows you to make online reservations for camping, lodging, boating, tours, and activities in California.
Shane’s Inspiration Playground projects are designed to be accessible playgrounds and inclusive playgrounds for children with disabilities to play along with typically-abled children. These free, outdoor inclusive play environments are age-appropriate and include safe, state-of-the-art, sensory-rich structures that encourage healing in children with developmental disabilities such as Autism, Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy.
Sierra Club, the Angeles Chapter, provides opportunities for youth and their families to get outdoors to explore enjoy & protect our natural world.
Special Needs Network raises public awareness of developmental disabilities and to impact public policy, while providing education and resources to families, children and adults. SNN serves as a link between under-served communities and mainstream developmental disability organizations and governmental institutions.
Special Olympics Los Angeles & San Gabriel Valley Regions offer 11 Olympic-style individual and team sports (e.g. track & field, basketball, bocce, golf, swimming, bowling, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball, floor hockey) that provide meaningful training and competition opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Team Santa Monica is a swim club, non-profit, parent-run organization. It serves Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Culver City, Venice, Marina del Rey, Beverly Hills, Brentwood and the Westside of Los Angeles.
Vermont Studio Center – A nonprofit, year-round, international creative community, dedicated to serving artists and writers in an open, nurturing, supportive work environment.
Westside Special Olympics – Special Olympics Southern California-Westside offers year-round sports programs and competitions for athletes in Santa Monica, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, West Hollywood, West LA, Century City, Westwood, Culver City, Mar Vista, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey and Westchester.
Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK)helps and supports people with disabilities and their families with: special education, IEPs, 504 plans, transition services, and more. They also offer FREE workshops in English and Spanish
Access Services is responsible for the administration of Access, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandated para-transit transportation program for Los Angeles County. This service is offered to individuals whose disabilities prevent them from independently using regular bus or rail service. It is comparable to fixed-route service and offers curb-to curb service during hours when local bus service is provided. Regular service is provided from 4am to 12am daily, including Sundays. Reservations for Access must be made up to one (1) day in advance.
CityRide is a transportation assistance program for individuals age 65 or older and qualified disabled persons in the City of Los Angeles and select areas of Los Angeles County. The program offers Cityride participants reduced costs for the purchase of City of Los Angeles permitted taxi rides and Cityride Dial-A-Ride services.
Complete Access is an organization that adapts vans and equipment for the disabled and has adapted rental equipment available. They also provide remodeling services to make homes more accessible. Complete Access accepts various private insurance and is awaiting Medicare approval.
Culver CityBusserve the Westside communities of Blair Hills, Century City, Culver City, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Palms, Playa Vista, Venice Beach, West Los Angeles, Westchester, and Westwood. ACCESS Services users ride Culver CityBus for free with a valid ACCESS card. Personal care attendants are required to pay full fare when accompanying the ACCESS Services user. All Culver City buses are wheelchair/mobility device accessible.
Help your adolescent study and take their written permit test once they are 15½ – 17½. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers the written test in various languages, large print, audio version, video version (American Sign Language) and person-to-person (examiner asks the questions). Contact the DMV specialist to request accommodations ahead of time at 1-800-777-0133. Once your adolescent has passed a written driving test, holds a provisional instruction permit, and has or will have access to an insured vehicle, WRC may assist with funding for the cost of driver education classes AFTER the first 25 hours (WRC Service Standards, pg. 51). Speak to your Service Coordinator for more information.
Disabled Person (DP) Parking Placards and License Plates – Provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles, you may qualify for a Disabled Person placard or Disabled Person license plates if you have impaired mobility due to having lost use of one or more lower extremities, or both hands, or have a diagnosed disease that substantially impairs or interferes with mobility, or one who is severely disabled to be unable to move without the aid of an assistive device. You may also qualify if you have specific, documented visual problems, including lower-vision or partial-sightedness.
LIFE (Low-Income Fare is Easy) Program – Adult riders, Senior/Disabled, K-12 grade students and full time College/Vocational students are eligible if their incomes are within a specified range. The following transit operators accept LIFE coupons toward fare on their respective systems: Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA); Culver City Bus; Foothill Transit; LADOT Transit; Long Beach Transit; Metro; Montebello Bus Lines; Norwalk Transit System; Santa Clarita Transit; Santa Monica Big Blue Bus; Torrance Transit.
Dial-A-Ride: Provides curb-to-curb, shared rides in lift-equipped vehicles. The service operates within the City of Los Angeles on weekdays, between 6:30am and 4:30pm. Trips may be reserved up to two (2) business days in advance.
Taxi Service: Cityride members are eligible to pay for trips on select city-permitted taxis, using fare value. Non-permitted taxicab companies operating in the City of Los Angeles will not accept fare value as a form payment. ADA ramp and lift-equipped taxis are available upon request.
The Lyft app makes it easier for riders with disabilities to get from A to B at the push of a button. With the Lyft app, riders no longer have to prearrange rides through a dispatcher or other, less convenient, ways. Riding with Lyft costs less than a taxi and drivers are always nearby, so you can get picked up, on demand, in minutes.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) – Metro’s Reduced Fare Programs enable eligible applicants to obtain special TAP cards and purchase reduced-rate monthly passes to qualified Senior citizens, Disabled/Medicare, College/Vocational or Students (K-8 and 9-12).
Santa Monica Big Blue Bus – All Big Blue Buses offer riders many accessibility features and services, including: ramp boarding for mobility devices; LED screens that display information for riders with hearing challenges; audio announcements at bus entry and on-board for riders with sight challenges; and large print schedules.
Uber – The Uber app makes it easier for riders with disabilities to get from A to B at the push of a button. With the Uber app, riders no longer have to prearrange rides through a dispatcher or resort to other, less convenient, means of hailing a ride. Assistive technology such as visible and vibrating alerts can help riders who are deaf or hard of hearing use the Uber app easily, and in-app features, such as the ability to enter destination, can facilitate non-verbal communication between the rider and driver-partner. Choose your ride and set your location. You’ll see your driver’s picture and vehicle details, and can track their arrival on the map.
WRC Voting Rights Resource Document 9 2018– If you have a disability and you: cannot get into your polling place; the accessible voting machine is not working; other people can see how you are voting; you are told you cannot vote because you have a disability; or you have a question about your right to vote or the voting process, Disability Rights California can explain your rights, work to resolve the problem and help you file a complaint. For more information, click on the link above.
A generic resource is a service provided by an agency that has a legal responsibility to provide services to the general public and receives public funds for providing those services. According to the Lanterman Act, regional centers must exhaust all available generic resources before accessing their funded services. Some generic agencies you might be referred to are:
California Children’s Services (CCS): A state program for children with certain diseases or health problems. Through this program, children up to 21 years old can get the health care and services they need.
Child Health & Disability Prevention (CHDP): A preventative health program. They help children and teens stay healthy and find health problems before they become painful by working to make health care available to all children who are uninsured or under-insured.
Denti-Cal: The Medi-Cal Program currently offers dental services as one of the program’s many benefits. Under the guidance of the California Department of Health Care Services, the Medi-Cal Dental Services Program aims to provide Medi-Cal beneficiaries with access to high-quality dental care.
Department of Mental Health (DOMH): Serves populations suffering from persistent mental illness, especially those with no safe living environment, inadequate access to resources, and absent family or kin. Highest priority is afforded to those struggling in foster care, subsisting in the streets/shelters, frequenting ERs, “living” on psychiatry wards, and languishing in the criminal justice system.
In-Home Support Services (IHSS): Provides personal care and domestic services to persons who are aged, blind or disabled and who live in their own homes. IHSS is provided to those who otherwise might be placed in an out-of-home care facility but who can safely remain in their own home if IHSS services are received.
Local School Districts The Los Angeles County Office of Education provides the public with a directory of all Los Angeles County School and College Districts
Medi-Cal: Offers free or low-cost health coverage for California residents who meet eligibility requirements. Most applicants who apply through Covered California and enroll in Medi-Cal will receive care through managed health plans.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income; and provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.
Sign up for Westside Regional Center’s newsletter !