Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.
Receiving a diagnosis of a developmental disability comes with a lot of information, paperwork, appointments, changes, and feelings. You may have many questions regarding developmental disabilities. As you look for answers, you will encounter information about the various conditions, their causes, and possible treatments. All of this information may make it challenging to organize options and begin to choose a treatment plan that best fits your family.
It is natural to want to identify the single root cause of the diagnosis. Many families may battle with feelings of guilt and/or shame. Please understand that these diagnoses are complex and there may not be a single factor that has been identified as the cause. Know that families and caregivers can be strong advocates and have high expectations of a person/family member with the disability.
Westside Regional Center anticipates supporting you and your family as you proceed from the initial diagnosis to ongoing support services. You are not alone in this process. For additional information about diagnosis, you may contact your service coordinator, WRC’s Staff Psychologist, Kaely Shilakes, Psy.D at 310-258-4157, or click on the following documents below:
Attention Deficit Disorder Association 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.
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.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
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 Council of the Blind is a national organization of blind, visually impaired and sighted individuals whose purpose is to work toward independence, security, equality of opportunity, and improved quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people. ACB programs and services include “The ACB Braille Forum,” a bi-monthly publication, numerous scholarship awards; ACB’s annual convention; the Audio Description Project; ACB Radio; ACB’s national information hotline; program consultation; membership services; public awareness; outreach to disability, businesses and government agencies to collaborate on programs and activities to benefit the blindness community; and active participation in the national legislative and advocacy scene. ACB is also a valuable resource for information on programs and services in the blindness field and laws affecting blind people.
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.
Braille Institute is a non-profit organization offering a broad range of free programs, classes and services serving thousands of students of all ages to empower themselves to live more enriching lives with blindness and vision loss.
California Association of Blind Students answer your questions and address your concerns regarding the education and related services that blind students receive. We change what it means to be a blind student, educate others about blindness, and teach blind students the alternative techniques for gaining a fulfilling education, preparing them for satisfying careers and bright futures.
California Council of the Blind mission is to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life for all Californians who are blind and visually impaired.
National Federation of the Blind of California assist blind persons to acquire the skills of independence; develop confidence in themselves through our many service activities; encouraging seniors to continue their active and meaningful lifestyles; prepare blind students for productive tax-paying careers through academic and training scholarships; inform diabetics about their options for coping with vision loss; support parents and friends of blind children with information about the capabilities of the blind; protect and promote the civil rights of blind persons through public education and legislative action; advocate for policies that eliminate discrimination and guarantee equal access to educational programs and high quality rehabilitation; educate the public through seminars, community activities and our publications.
Wayfinder Family Services provide expert, individualized support and services to children, youth and adults, from those who have vision loss or profound special needs to foster youth with serious medical conditions or trauma, and their families.
American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine is an Academy of over 1,100 health professionals dedicated to providing multidisciplinary scientific education and promoting excellence in research and services for the benefit of people with and at risk for cerebral palsy and other childhood-onset disabilities.
Center for Cerebral Palsy at UCLA is dedicated to improving function in children and adults with cerebral palsy through a program of timely diagnosis, comprehensive assessment and individualized treatment.
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.
American Society for Deaf Children provide resources to help your deaf child and to understand the possibilities for your child’s future. Access to visual language resources and support for your child’s development.
Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) support the empowerment of deafened people. Late-Deafened Adults are people who have lost the ability to understand speech with or without hearing aids after acquiring spoken language. ALDA is committed to providing a support network and a sense of belonging by sharing our unique experiences, challenges and coping strategies, helping one another find practical solutions and emotional support, and working together with other organizations and service providers for our common good.
Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc. (GLAD) specific and primary purpose is to act as a coordinating agency that addresses the broad social service needs of deaf and hard of hearing people through direct service provision, advocacy, research and dissemination of information regarding deafness to parents, professionals and consumers.
National Association of the Deaf is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.
National Cued Speech Association supports effective communication, language development (international languages) and literacy in families with deaf, hard of hearing or learning disabled infants, children and youth through the use of Cued Speech.
Signing Exact English (S.E.E.) Center provides quality training and support for those who want to learn or improve their Signing Exact English skills. On this website, you will find upcoming SEE Training Online classes and Workshops.
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 Congress is a national resource of support and information about Down syndrome, from the moment of a prenatal diagnosis through adulthood.
National Down Syndrome Society works every day to increase public awareness about Down syndrome and discover its underlying causes through research, education and advocacy.
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.
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.
National Association of Epilepsy Centers supports epilepsy centers in delivering quality comprehensive care to people with epilepsy, by setting standards of care, advocating for access to high quality epilepsy center services, and providing knowledge and resources to its member centers.
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.
Fragile X Association of Southern California was formed in 1996 to promote public awareness of Fragile X Syndrome with special emphasis on educators and health professionals; provide a forum for families of children with Fragile X to meet and share their ideas, concerns, and problems; and support scientific research on Fragile X Syndrome.
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.
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 Association 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.
Resources in the Community
These are services that are available to the general public and typically funded by the government or local community. There may be eligibility requirements that need to be met in order to access these services. Westside Regional Center (WRC) wants you to increase awareness of these opportunities as they may support you and your family’s needs in ways that WRC may be unable to do. WRC is considered the payer of last resort which means that some services may be funded by WRC after we have explored and exhausted all other possible sources. This is not an exhaustive resource list.
ACCESSIBILITY IN THE COMMUNITY
County of Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services – Do you have a disability that makes it hard for you to apply for benefits or meet program requirements? We can give you extra help. You do not need to give us your medical papers/proof of your condition. We can help you with: getting through lines; reading our documents and forms; filling out our forms; getting documents we need; changes to program rules and work requirements; making appointments; other reasonable accommodations and modifications.
Department of Motor Vehicles – If you need to visit a DMV office and would like to request reasonable accommodations during your visit, you can make an appointment by calling the Telephone Service Center or by using the online appointment service. When you arrive at the DMV office, check-in at the “Start Here” Appointment/Persons with Disabilities Only window in the field office to receive a Queue ticket for DMV services. To find out what accommodations are available to you, call the Telephone Service Center at (800) 777-0133.
Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles – Any court user with a disability can ask for accommodation. The accommodation must be for a court service, program or activity, including going to the court to testify, appear in a case or serve on jury duty. The kind of accommodation depends on the needs of the person with the disability. Every county court has at least one ADA coordinator to handle accommodation requests. Please make your request as far in advance as you can by contacting the ADA coordinator or requesting a MC-410 form.
AGING & OLDER ADULTS (55 years +)
Adult Protective Services (APS) – Provides help to older adults (65 years and older) and dependent adults (18-64 who are developmentally, physically or mentally disabled), when these adults are unable to meet their own needs, or are victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Alzheimer’s Association, Southland Chapter – A voluntary health organization that works to provide care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. They offer: a 24/7 helpline staffed by specialists and master’s-level clinicians who offer information and referrals; support groups for caregivers and others dealing with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia; online resources; education programs (in English and Spanish); and more.
BenefitsCheckUp, National Council on Aging – You can search for benefits or programs that meet your unique individual needs, which include: income assistance; food and nutrition; housing and utilities; tax relief; transportation; and more!
California Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) – HICAP counselors located in your area can help with questions about Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) Policies and Long-Term Care Insurance. HICAP counselors receive extensive training and are registered with the California Department of Aging. All HICAP counseling appointments are free, private and confidential. For individuals who are homebound, in-home consultation is available. Contact HICAP to schedule an appointment.
California Healthier Living – Their workshops help you learn ways to manage your health, so that you can feel better and live life more fully, every day. Most workshops run for around 2-2 ½ hours once a week for 6-8 weeks, depending on the program. There are 3 types of workshops: Health Self-Management Programs; Falls Prevention & Physical Activity Programs; and Caregiver Support & Memory Programs. Find a workshop near you.
Community Center/ Senior Citizen Center/ Senior Centers offer a wide variety of programs and services. including: meal and nutrition programs; information and assistance; health, fitness and wellness programs; transportation services; public benefits counseling; employment assistance; social and recreational activities; and more. Find your local center today!
Eldercare Locator has been linking those who need assistance with state and local agencies on aging, as well as community-based organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers. Whether help is needed with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver needs training and education or a well-deserved break from caregiving responsibilities, the Eldercare Locator is there to point that person in the right direction.
Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) provides support to unpaid caregivers caring for elderly relatives, or to older caregivers of younger family members. The purpose of the program is to help minimize the negative emotional, physical, and financial consequences of unpaid family caregiving. Eligible Caregivers are adult family members or another individual who provides unpaid care to an older individual (ages 60 or older) or an individual of any age with Alzheimer’s disease.
Los Angeles Alliance for Community Health & Aging offer health programs to help you take small steps and make big life changes. Health programs offered are: Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program, Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, Chronic Pain Self-Management Program, Diabetes Self-Management Program, Fall Prevention Program, and more. You may register for a program online or you may call and email the local program coordinator through the contact information provided in each workshop listing.
Meals on Wheels America is the community-based program designed specifically to meet the nutritional and social needs of seniors by delivering nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks. Look for a local program near you.
Senior Information and Assistance Program (I&A) staff assess individuals’ needs and link them to local services or provide referrals to programs in other communities. The I&A program provides accurate and up-to-date information about different support programs and services available within the local community. Call (800) 510-2020.
Traditional Legal Assistance Program (TLAP) is provided to individuals 60 years of age and older with economic or social needs. This valuable service is provided by a member of the California State Bar or a non-attorney supervised by a member. Other services include consultation at senior center sites, in-home consultations with individuals confined to the home, and monthly community legal education seminars at selected sites.
WISE and Healthy Aging provides services for older adults and their families and caregivers throughout the Los Angeles County. Programs and services provided include: benefits enrollment center; caregiver support; caregiver training academy; financial and legal clinics; Medicare insurance counseling; mental health services; training and education center; information and referral services; and more!
Ability Tools provide a variety of services for Californians with disabilities of all ages: AT Exchange marketplace; device lending libraries; financial loan program for AT; information and referral; reuse program in affiliation with organizational partners; in-person and webinar training; and more.
Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF) assists individuals with disabilities in the selection, acquisition or use of assistive technology including the evaluation of AT need, providing guidance and counseling as to where to buy the proper item from the right vendors.
Disability Community Resource Center: Assistive Technology (AT) advocates provide information on assistive technology, referrals to qualified AT professionals for evaluations, assessments and training, help in locating vendors, services and funding resources, and much more.
EmpowerTech is Los Angeles County non-profit organization devoted to bringing the latest in assistive technology to children and adults living with disabilities.Offers: assistive technology exploration sessions in which individuals can try out technology with an AT specialist to find out if it is the right fit for them; assistive technology assessments to help individuals determine what technology is appropriate for them to meet their individual goals; computer training to individuals who are blind or visually impaired; and much more!
Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK): The TASK Tech Center is a place for parents, children, adult consumers, and professionals to learn about assistive technology by providing hands-on access to computer hardware, software, and adaptive equipment. The Tech Center has eleven computers, over 1100 software titles, and a multitude of different adaptive equipment such as alternative keyboards, trackball mice, and switches for consumers to use and try. The center offers assistive technology evaluations, tech labs, a software/switch/toy lending library, assistive technology workshops and presentations, assistive technology training and guided labs, after-school tech time for kids, toddler tech time and a high tech summer program called Camp TECHie.
Wayfinder Family Services: The assistive technology training program at Wayfinder Family Services offers adults, ages 18 and older, who are blind or visually impaired, instruction on the latest assistive technology devices and software for success in today’s job market. Following an initial student assessment, our staff develops a plan individualized to meet each client’s goals. Bilingual instruction available in English and Spanish.
African Community Resource Center assists African refugees, immigrants and people of African heritage. Current program and services: referrals for emergency shelter, domestic violence, victims of human trafficking; resettlement assistance; counseling; immigration clinic with probono immigration lawyers; transportation assistance; food assistance; support groups; and more.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California works on behalf of people in the Southern California region, namely in Los Angeles, Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. Provides the community with resources to help them learn their rights if and when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents appear at your door or work; on your bus or train; pull you over on the road; and other locations.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles provides legal services and education to individuals, especially those who speak little or no English. Advancing Justice-LA’s assistance requires an intake over the phone and assistance may range from advice provided over the phone to representation in court.
CARECEN provide free or low cost immigration legal services: Citizenship/ Naturalization; Work Permit Renewal; Residency Card Renewal/ Replacement; U-Visa/ VAWA; DACA Renewals; and more.
Centro Cha provides immigrant integration services to the Greater Long Beach community with application assistance for Naturalization, request for fee waivers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and applications to replace green card for lawful permanent residents. They also provide presentations, consultations, and trainings to community members and stakeholders about the naturalization process of becoming a United States citizen. If applicants are approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they do not pay anything for the process. Application assistance services are provided through monthly large-scale workshops, as well as via individual appointments during office hours. Centro CHA also prepares its naturalization applicants for the interview process with USCIS.
CitizenshipWorks provides easy-to-use online tools to help low and moderate-income individuals to prepare for the naturalization process and tests.
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) is recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to provide immigration legal services at low-cost to its members and provide community education to help immigrants understand their civil and human rights as well as to educate them about opportunities. For more information about their services and programs call (888) 624-7452.
Find a Person in Detention – Access Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) online detainee locator or call the Southern California field office at (213) 830-7911.
Immigration Law Help is a searchable online directory of over 1,000 free or low-cost nonprofit immigration legal services providers in all 50 states.
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!
Pilipino Workers Center – Our immigration team at Pilipino Workers Center work closely with Ice out of LA to provide Free Legal Clinics with attorneys of our choosing. We also provide rapid response training, administer assistance for work visas and asylum cases, handle deportation defense cases, and refer clients to free or low-cost legal representation.
¡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.
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. They organize and advocate for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. They assist students in applying for or renewing their DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and educate people on their rights through local events and resource sharing. Their programs include: Deportation Defense; Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP); and Education Equity.
California Senate – Here, you can find everything you need to stay informed and engaged in the legislation being considered in our house – legislative calendars, details on policy committees, helpful resources, live-streamed and archived videos, information on each of the Senators who represent the state’s 40 districts and how to contact us, and more.
Find Your House of Representatives – Also referred to as a congressman or congresswoman, each representative is elected to a two-year term serving the people of a specific congressional district. Among other duties, representatives introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments and serve on committees. Not sure of your congressional district or who your member is? This service will assist you by matching your zip code to your congressional district, with links to your member’s website and contact page.
Register to Vote – U.S. Citizens who are 18 years of age are eligible to vote! Registration-by-mail forms are available throughout LA County, including most County buildings, city halls, fire stations, libraries, state motor vehicle offices, public assistance offices (DPSS, WIC), banks and post offices. For information about requirements and submitting an application, contact your local County Registrar of Voters.
Selective Service System, Who Must Register – Men who have a disability and who live at home must register with Selective Service if they can reasonably leave their homes and move about independently. A friend or relative may help a disabled man fill out the registration form if he can’t do it himself. These men with disabilities that would disqualify them from military service still must register with Selective Service.
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!
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.
Ability Jobs is an employment website for job seekers with disabilities.
American Job Centers (AJC) help people search for jobs, find training, offer free computer access and answer other employment related questions. Find a local AJC near you by calling (877) 872-5627.
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).
Clothes the Deal is a non-profit organization that assists low-income men, women, and at-risk youth by providing them business attire to empower them to interview with dignity and confidence in their pursuit of to achieve economic self-sufficiency through securing gainful employment. Services: Business Clothes Program; Dress to Impress Workshop; Adaptive Clothing Program.
Department of Rehabilitation (DOR): State agency responsible for providing vocational rehabilitation services (e.g. career education and training; job search and interview skills; career assessment and counseling; transportation; independent living skills; assistive technology) and individually tailored services to help people meet their employment goals.
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.
Financial Assistance Programs
California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE): Provides a discount of approximately 30% on monthly electric bills for eligible customers. Apply online or over the phone at 1-800-798-5723, or mail and return an application.
CalFresh Program provides monthly food benefits to eligible individuals and households with low-income. Use CalFresh Food to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and more.The program issues monthly benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Food may be purchased at any grocery store or farmers’ market that accepts EBT cards. SSI recipients can apply for food benefits as of 6/1/19.
California Lifeline Program: Provides discounted home phone and cell phone services to qualified low-income households. You may qualify if you are on certain public assistance programs or based on your household income. Contact a participating service provider in your area: if you qualify, the company can sign you up for service. If you already receive service from the company, they can apply your benefit to your existing account.
California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program is a time-limited program that provides financial assistance to eligible needy families with (or expecting) children to help pay for housing, food, utilities, clothing, medical care, and other necessary expenses. Needy families may apply for assistance online or by visiting a local DPSS office.
Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) provides cash assistance to certain aged, blind, and disabled legal non-citizens ineligible for Supplemental Social Security Income/State Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP) due to their immigration status. CAPI participants may be eligible for Medi-Cal, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), and/or Food Stamps benefits.
Energy Assistance Fund (EAF): Provides critical support to those when they need it most by providing one-time bill payments of up to $100 for qualified Southern California households. Contact one of their participating community agencies below to make an appointment for assistance in the application process.Visit online for a complete listing.
Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP): Provides assistance to low-income households in a crisis situation, such as receiving a utility shut-off notice or other energy-related emergency created by a natural disaster. ECIP Heating and Cooling Services (HCS) provides for the emergency repair or replacement of a home heating and/or cooling system.
Energy Savings Assistance Program: Income-qualified So Cal Edison customers are eligible for a number of appliance upgrades or energy-saving services: cooling measures; refrigerator replacement; pool pump replacement; weatherization services; and lighting. If you qualify, SCE will cover the costs, including installation, or new energy-efficient appliances. For more information, please call 1-800-736-4777.
Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA): Provides a discount of 12% on monthly electric bills for qualified households of 3 or more. Apply online or over the phone at 1-800-798-5723, or mail and return an application.
Federal LifeLine: Provides a discount on monthly phone and internet service for eligible low-income subscribers. You may qualify if you are on certain public assistance programs or based on your household income. Contact a participating service provider in your area: if you qualify, the company can sign you up for service. If you already receive service from the company, they can apply your benefit to your existing account.
Gas Assistance Fund: If you’re having difficulty paying your gas bill during the winter, the Gas Assistance Fund (GAF) may be able to provide you, or someone you know, with a one-time grant for the amount of the gas bill, not to exceed $100.00.
In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program 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.
LIHEAP Weatherization Program: Provides free energy efficiency upgrades to low-income households to lower their monthly utility bills. May include weather-stripping, insulation, caulking, water heater blankets, heating/cooling system repairs, energy-efficient lighting, thermostat repair/replacement and other measures.
Low Income Discount Program (LIDP): The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) offers a residential Low Income Discount Program (LIDP) rate for customers within qualifying income levels. This rate reduces the cost of electricity, water, and sewer services for the participants’ permanent, primary residence.
Physician Certified Allowance Discount: Discounts on electric bills are available to customers who provide verification by a state-licensed physician that a full-time member of the household is a paraplegic, hemiplegic, quadriplegic, multiple sclerosis patient, neuromuscular patient, or scleroderma patient being treated for a life-threatening illness. An allowance is also available if a member of the household has a compromised immune system and has a state-licensed physician’s certification that an additional heating and/or cooling allowance is medically necessary.
Subsidized Housing Assistance Relief for Energy (SHARE): Need help paying your natural gas bill to obtain or retain section 8/subsidized housing? The SHARE program provides funds to help you, or someone you know, clear past utility debt and meet the subsidized housing requirements.
Utility User’s Tax Exemption was developed to offer senior and/or disabled citizens an exemption from their utility bills, including (but not limited to) electricity, gas, water, sewer, telephone (including cell phone and long distance), sanitation and cable television. Please contact your city of residence for more information about the eligibility requirements and application process. (Please note: this is not a complete listing)
California Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program is a new program that allows people with disabilities to establish a tax-advantaged savings account and save up to $15,000 per year and up to $100,000 in total without losing vital public benefits, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Special Needs Trust helps plan for individualized care over your child’s lifetime while protecting his or her eligibility for public assistance benefits. The primary objectives of a SNP include: protecting assets left to a special needs beneficiary; provide additional income to facilitate a better quality of life; prevent the loss of government benefits (e.g. SSI, Medi-Cal); and plan for the ultimate future once the primary caregiver is no longer able to take care of the individual with disabilities.
Food Assistance (Emergency)
Food Bank of Southern California provides USDA surplus commodities (such as infant formula, flour, cornmeal, pinto beans, rice, milk, cheese, and butter) to help supplement the diets of low-income households, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost.
Achievable Foundation – Health Center provides high quality primary medical, mental health, and other specialty care to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and other vulnerable populations. Staff are bilingual in English and Spanish.
APLA Health provides primary care, dental care, counseling, PrEP and PEP, HIV/STD testing, HIV medical care and support services, vaccinations, etc. Services and hours vary by location.
Benevolence Health Centers provide community access to medical, dental and mental health clinics, including adult day health care centers, case management, youth programs as well as HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
Complete Care Community Center – You can call to make an appointment in English or Spanish. They offer many same-day appointments and these are available on a first come, first served basis. Bilingual and bicultural doctors and nurses.
Find a Health Center: Helps you search for health centers near a specific place by typing a city, zip code, or a specific street address into the location box.
Mission City Community Network – provide, advocate and model quality health care and social services for the uninsured and low-income families. Services: physical and dental examination; general medicine; vision/optometrist; immunizations/ vaccinations; pediatric services; adult health; and more.
South Bay Family Health Care Center provides a range of services for economically disadvantaged and uninsured populations, such as: adult medicine, chronic disease management, women’s health, prenatal care, pediatric care, dental care, family planning, and more.
Venice Family Clinic services vary by location. You must call to make an appointment/ schedule a visit (no walk-ins).
Watts Healthcare provides free rideshare transportation service to and from medical appointments for patients. Services vary by location.
Westside Family Health Center services include: Family Practice, Reproductive Health Services, Pediatrics, Prenatal, Community Outreach & Education, Childbirth Classes (Eng/Span), Diabetes Education Series, Mammograms.
Health Insurance (Education/Advocacy)
California Health Care Options (HCO) 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.
Center for Health Care Rights (CHCR) is a nonprofit health care advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring access to quality health care through education, counseling, informal advocacy, and legal services. CHCR’s direct services empower elderly and disabled consumers and their family members to use Medicare, Medi-Cal, and other health benefits effectively, make informed health care choices, and take appropriate action to resolve their health care problems.
Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy (HICAP) is supported by trained volunteers, HICAP provides community education and counseling assistance with Medicare and related health insurance issues through advocacy or legal representation. For individuals who are homebound, in-home consultation is available.
Health Insurance (Applying)
Covered California is the place where individuals and families can get affordable health insurance. With just one application, you’ll find out if you qualify for free or low-cost health insurance, including Medi-Cal.
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.
Insure Kids Now: Children and teens qualify for free or low-cost health and dental coverage through MediCal & the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Learn about coverage options for your family.
Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program. This is a public health insurance program that provides free or low cost medical services to low-income adults, families with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, children in foster care and former foster youth up to age 26. Apply for Medi-Cal online or in person at a local county office. If you need help applying or have questions, a Certified Enroller can help you via phone at (800) 300-1506.
Medicare is health insurance for people 65 or older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant). If you’re automatically enrolled, you’ll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of disability. If you don’t get Medicare automatically, you’ll need to apply for Medicare online.
No-Cost/ Low-Cost Programs in LA County – If you are uninsured and are not eligible for Medi-Cal or a plan through Covered California, you may qualify for limited health services offered by the Los Angeles county. These programs are not insurance plans and do not provide full coverage. Programs include: Ability to Pay (ATP); Pre-Payment Plan; Discount Payment Plan; County Mental Health Services (Short Doyle); Child Delivery Plan; Dialysis, Tuberculosis, Post-Polio Plan; and No Extra Cost Medicines. For more information regarding eligibility requirements, costs, coverage and where to apply, go online.
Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program (BCCTP) provides cancer treatment and services for eligible low-income California residents who are screened by Cancer Detection Program: Every Woman Counts (CDP:EWC) or Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (Family PACT) program and found to be in need of treatment for breast and/or cervical cancer. For information on eligibility requirements, program information and application questions, contact the eligibility specialist.
California Children’s Services (CCS) provides diagnostic and treatment services, medical case management, physical and occupational therapy services and adaptive equipment to children under age 21 with CCS-eligible medical conditions. CCS also provides medical therapy services that are delivered at public schools. Some examples of CCS eligible conditions include: cerebral palsy, chronic medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, heart disease, cancer and uncontrolled seizures. Refer to the website below for additional specific eligible medical conditions that are covered and the eligibility requirements.
California Vision Project is a non-profit, optometric charity designed to provide low-income, uninsured families and individuals throughout the state of California with free comprehensive eye exams and glasses. To be eligible for an exam, patients must qualify as low-income, must not have had an eye exam in the past two years, must not have any insurance (government or private – this includes Medi Cal and Medicare) that covers vision services, and must submit a $10 non-refundable administrative fee to accompany their application. Applicants are screened for eligibility, and those who are approved are matched with an optometrist from their area.
Cancer Detection Program: Every Woman Counts provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and follow-up services. This includes clinical breast exams, mammograms, and Pap tests, as well as other tests when needed to eligible women in California. Call (800) 511-2300 to see if you qualify!
Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) program helps to prevent or find health problems through regular, no cost, health check-ups which includes: health and developmental history; physical exam; behavioral, vision, hearing and nutrition screenings; referrals to dentists, medical specialists, mental and behavioral health services; and more! Babies, children, youth under the age of 21 with Full Scope Medi-Cal or under the age of 19 with low family income are eligible. To find out more about CHDP services or the application process, please contact your county CHDP office.
Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment Services offers no-cost health care screening, diagnostic and treatment services to prevent, identify, or address health and behavioral health problems. With EPSDT, infants, children, and youth can have regular check-ups as well as other screenings when needed. These services help keep children and youth healthy and meet their developmental needs. Children who qualify will automatically be enrolled by Medi-Cal.
EyeCare America provides eye care through volunteer ophthalmologists at no cost to those who qualify. Those who are 65 or older and who have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years may be eligible to receive a comprehensive, medical eye exam and up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam. Those who are determined to be at increased risk for glaucoma and have not had an eye exam in 12 months or more may be eligible to receive a free glaucoma eye exam if they are uninsured.
Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (Family PACT) ensure that low-income women and men have access to health information, counseling, and family planning services to reduce the likelihood of unintended pregnancy and to maintain optimal reproductive health. To find a Family PACT provider, and to make an appointment to discuss eligibility for program services, find a provider near you.
Genetically Handicapped Person Program (GHPP) offers full medical coverage for adults age 21 and older with cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, hemophilia and other hereditary bleeding conditions. Children may also qualify. Please call GHPP at (916) 552-9105 if you want to refer yourself or refer a person who has an eligible condition.
Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment (IMPACT) provides high quality FREE prostate cancer treatment to Californian men with little or no health insurance. They also provide FREE short-term individual counseling and nutrition education. Call 1-800-409-8252 to find out if you qualify!
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.
Sight for Students: A Vision Service Plan (VSP) program in partnership with The Entertainment Industry Foundation, provides eye exams and glasses to children 18 years and younger whose families cannot afford vision care.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) helps families get healthy food and a lot more. WIC helps families by providing nutrition education, breastfeeding support, vouchers for healthy foods, and referrals to healthcare and other community services. WIC serves babies and children up to age 5, pregnant women, and new mothers. Dads, grandparents, foster parents of young children, and working families are welcome at WIC too! Find out if you qualify by calling (800) 852-5770 or go online for more information and locations.
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.
LA County Helps! is a free and easy way to find out if your family can get help from many different health and human services programs.
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.
Home Modifications/ Repairs
Los Angeles Housing & Community Investment Department Handyworker Program provides free minor home repairs and/or improvements to eligible homeowners that address basic health, safety, security, and accessibility issues of owner-occupied, single family homes or condominiums/townhomes. These repairs/improvements assist with preventing accidents in the home, help seniors and people with permanent physical disabilities to remain in their own homes, and preserve the City’s aging housing stock. Safety and security device improvements only are available to eligible renters as well. Call (866) 557-7368 to find the nearest community partner that can help you with your application or visit the website for more details.
CalWORKs Homeless Assistance (HA) Program was established to help CalWORKs families meet the reasonable costs of securing housing. The CalWORKs HA program serves eligible CalWORKs recipients or apparently eligible CalWORKs applicants, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
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 services for homeless families with children ages 0-5; Rapid Re-Housing Program, helps individuals experiencing homelessness become stably housed through financial assistance.
Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP) assists disabled individuals who are experiencing homelessness apply for disability benefit programs while also providing housing assistance. Eligible individuals are those who are disabled or likely disabled and who are experiencing homelessness, giving highest priority to chronically homeless and those who rely most heavily on state and county funded services. Contact your local county welfare office to apply/learn more.
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) – If you are a homeless individual or family or believe you are at significant risk of becoming homeless, please contact the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), at (213) 225-6581, or visit LAHSA’s website for specific information about city-funded programs that are available to homeless individuals, youth, and families and which you may be eligible to receive services under.
211 LA County – Individuals and families who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or have other housing-related needs, or the service providers who work with them can call or contact 211 LA (24/7) for assistance in finding homeless services. Dial 2-1-1 on your phone.
Housing/ Independent Living
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.
Disability Community Resource Center Housing Specialists works with landlords, project managers, housing developers and others to find available units in and surrounding DCRC’s catchment area.
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.
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.
Low Income Purchase Assistance Program helps first-time, low income homebuyers purchase homes by providing loans to cover the down payment, acquisition, and closing costs. They provide a loan of up to $90,000 for down payment, closing costs, and acquisition. To find out if you are eligible or for more information call (213) 808-8800.
Social Serve is an online search tool that helps you find affordable housing in California using information from housing websites across the nation.
Southern California Housing Rights Center offer FREE monthly Walk-In Clinics in various cities to educate individuals about basic landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities, preventing housing injustices, and laws that protect against discrimination. They also investigate allegations of housing discrimination and provide free telephone and in-person counseling to both tenants and landlords regarding their rights and responsibilities.
Infant & Children: Birth to 5
California Children’s Services (CCS) program provides diagnostic and treatment services, medical case management, physical and occupational therapy services and adaptive equipment to children under age 21 with CCS-eligible medical conditions. CCS also provides medical therapy services that are delivered at public schools. Some examples of CCS eligible conditions include: cerebral palsy, chronic medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, heart disease, cancer and uncontrolled seizures.
California Department of Education, Child Development – There are many child care and development programs in California. These programs are for children from birth to age twelve. They offer early learning and after-school services to babies, toddlers, children in preschool, and children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Some programs assist children with disabilities and children of migrant farm workers. Many of the programs were set up to help parents with child care while they work. Child care and development programs can provide care, education, and food for children. They are paid for with state and federal tax money, and in some cases, parent fees. For more information, visit the website below.
California 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.
Department of Developmental Services, California Early Start Program California’s early intervention program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. Early Start services are available statewide and are provided in a coordinated, family-centered system. All infants and toddlers potentially eligible for a regional center program will be evaluated by the regional center to determine eligibility for Early 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.
Family Resource Centers – Families of infants and toddlers can receive parent-to-parent support from Early Start Family Resource Centers. Family Resource Centers (FRC) actively work in partnership with local regional centers and education agencies and help many parents, families and children get information about early intervention services and how to navigate the Early Start system. Family support services are available in many languages and are culturally responsive to the needs of the individual family.
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.
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.
Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Children Services is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and their families who are 0 to 15 years old experiencing mental health challenges by providing a wide range of client-centered, family-focused services. Contact DMH for information regarding specific services and programs.
Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK) specializes in special education support for people with disabilities from birth to age 26 and their families. They support all disabilities, including mental illness, chronic health and medical conditions, and emotional challenges due to abuse or environmental trauma. In the area of assistive technology (AT), they serve all ages, including adults, and help families explore ways to use AT to promote learning, communication, and independence. Call (866) 828-8275 for a location near you!
Wayfinder Family Services, Early Intervention Program – Young children in Southern California who are blind, visually impaired or have multiple disabilities increase their visual functioning, sensory awareness, communication and social skills by attending an early intervention program. Wayfinder’s early intervention program is for infants, toddlers and children ages birth to 6 years of age. Services are in English and Spanish. For more information concerning services and program details, contact us!
Legal Advocacy/ Assistance
Bet Tzedek provides basic assistance to any individual who does not have an attorney but wishes to file for conservatorship. They can help you in preparing the necessary documents and processing them with the court. Services are offered at no cost and there are no income eligibility requirements to their services. You must be a resident of Los Angeles County. Call for dates and times at (323) 939-0506 or visit their website . Assistance is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
California Child Support Services has primary responsibility for establishing parentage, establishing court orders of child support, and enforcing orders for child, spousal and family support. Locates parents, modifies court orders, collects and distributes court-ordered support, and works with other counties, states and countries to obtain child support.
California Offices of the Family Law Facilitator can help you with child support, spousal support, and health insurance issues, regardless of your income. They can: give you educational materials; give you court forms; assist you with court forms; calculate the guideline child support; refer you to the local child support agency (LCSA), family court services, and other community agencies. Please note: the family law facilitator cannot represent you or the other party.
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.
Disability Rights Legal Center provides disability rights advocacy by providing FREE legal assistance to people with disabilities experiencing discrimination in violation of their civil rights. DRLC accepts cases involving: (1) Discrimination, Mistreatment and/or Harassment by public or private entities based on disability (e.g. housing, transportation, public places, schools, parks, telecommunications, law enforcement, jails and juvenile halls); (2) Special Education focusing on systemic discrimination and denials of a free, appropriate public education (including due process hearings).
Learning Rights Law Center 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.
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles is a nonprofit law firm that helps people in civil legal matters by providing legal representation and other legal assistance for low-income individuals. They help with: employment and employment barriers; evictions; family law; government benefits; housing; immigration; etc.
LAFLA Self Help Legal Access Centers are walk-in clinics that offer individuals who are representing themselves legal information, assistance in preparing legal forms, and guidance on a variety of civil matters, including evictions, divorces, child custody/support and paternity actions, and other areas of law. All services are FREE.
Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) is part of Disability Rights California and funded by the Department of Developmental Services. OCRA has a Clients’ Right Advocate (CRA) at each regional center. The CRA helps protect regional center consumers rights and can help with issues such as: abuse/neglect; conservatorship and alternatives; guardianship; IHSS; Medi-Cal; mental health; private insurance; regional center services; school services; social security; and much more!
Public Counsel is a not-for-profit law firm that delivers legal services, FREE of charge, for low-income individuals. They provide assistance in the following areas: children and youth legal issues; immigration; government benefits; homelessness prevention; women and girls; and more.
Reduced Cost or Free Special Education Attorneys and Advocates – As part of its interagency agreement with the California Department of Education, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) maintains a list of attorneys and a separate list of advocates who self-certify that they are knowledgeable about Special Education and that they offer services either free or at a low cost. OAH considers the primary purpose of these lists is to help parents of children with exceptional needs to locate free or reduced cost representation in preparation for special education due process hearings. It is important that if you choose to use the list that you contact the attorneys and advocates to discuss their fees.
State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) is an independent state agency that ensures that people with developmental disabilities and their families receive the services and supports they need to live independently and productively, in the least restrictive environment possible. Regional Offices: help connect people to needed services and supports; strive to improve services and supports; and help people become part of their communities.
LGBTQ+ is an abbreviation of initial letters pronounced differently. It stands for: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning. The “+” includes all other communities.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California works to eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The ACLU SoCal is creating a state where LGBTQ people can live openly and with dignity, where their identities, relationships and families are respected, and where there is fair treatment on the job, in schools, in housing, in public places and in government programs.
Bi.org is an online resource to better understand your own sexuality, a loved one’s or simply to learn about bisexuality.
Deaf Queer Resource Center (DQRC) is an online national nonprofit resource and information center for, by and about the Deaf Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex and Questioning communities.
The Genderbread Person is a teaching tool for breaking the big concept of gender down into bite-sized, digestible pieces.
Human Rights Campaign, as the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
It Gets Better Project mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them.
It’s Pronounced Metrosexual is an online resource educating on issues of identity, sexuality, gender, privilege, and oppression, but in a fun, approachable way.
Los Angeles LGBT Center provides services for LGBT people, offering programs, services, and global advocacy that span four broad categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy.
LGBT National Help Center serves gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning people by providing free and confidential peer-support and local resources. All of the services are free and confidential.
PFLAG Los Angeles – You may be a parent, family member or friend of someone who is gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender or questioning. You may be an LGBTQ person in the process of coming out and dealing with family, workplace, or social issues related to your sexual identity. Whatever your situation, you’ll find support, information, acceptance, and friendship at PFLAG Los Angeles.
Planned Parenthood health centers provide education, support, and sexual and reproductive health services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex patients. Services include: drop-in center; education; hormone therapy for transgender patients; resources; service referrals; support groups; and more.
Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf work to establish and maintain a society of deaf gays and lesbians to encourage and promote the educational, economical, and social welfare; to foster fellowship; to defend their rights; and advance the interests as deaf gay and lesbian citizens concerning social justice.
The Safe Zone Project is a free online resource providing curricula, activities, and other resources for educators facilitating Safe Zone trainings (sexuality, gender, and LGBTQ+ education sessions), and learners who are hoping to explore these concepts on their own.
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. The Trevor Project offers programs and services to LGBTQ youth that create safe, accepting and inclusive environments over the phone, online and through text.
Mental Health (Resources)
ACCESS Hotline operates 24 hours/day, 7 days/week as the entry point for mental health services in Los Angeles County. Services include deployment of crisis evaluation teams, information and referrals, gate keeping of acute inpatient psychiatric beds, interpreter services and patient transport. Call 1-800-854-7771.
Los Angeles County, Department of Mental Health provides services to adults and older adults who are functionally disabled by severe and persistent mental illness, including those who are low-income, uninsured, temporarily impaired, or in situational crises. Services to children and youth are focused on those who are emotionally disturbed and diagnosed with a mental disorder. They include wards or dependents of the juvenile court, children in psychiatric inpatient facilities, seriously emotionally disturbed youth in the community, and special education students referred by educational institutions.
Los Angeles Warmline provides a safe place to talk for those individuals experiencing loneliness, financial problems, relationship problems, substance use issues, and difficulties with employers or therapists. Call (855) 952-9276.
Mental Health Gov provides easy access to find information about mental health services and resources in your area.
Mental Health Matters is a user-friendly directory for mental health professionals, consumers, and their families.
SanaMente is a California focused mental health movement providing information, resources, training and support.
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.
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.
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.
Post-Secondary Education (Paying for Textbooks and Other Items)
Amazon Prime Student is an online membership program created for college students. As a Prime Student member, you receive a FREE 6-month trial that includes Free Two-Day Shipping on over 100 million items such as textbooks, electronics, school supplies, groceries and more. After your trial, you can choose to pay a reduced monthly or annual fee to continue to use your Prime Student benefits.
Barnes and Noble: Rent or buy textbooks, E-textbooks, lab manuals, study guides, manuals, and workbooks at low prices directly from BN.com. At the end of the semester or quarter, if your purchased textbooks are still in good condition, you can sell your books back to B&N for cash!
Campus Book Rentals provides students with affordable textbooks for rent and free shipping both ways.
Chegg: Save money by buying or renting used or new textbooks and E-textbooks. Chegg also offers 24/7 homework help for a fee, search engines for finding internships and scholarships, and more!
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 (Tax Benefits)
American Opportunity Tax Credit is a tax credit to help pay for education expenses paid for the first four years of education completed after high school. You can get a maximum annual credit of $2,500 per eligible student and 40% or $1,000 could be refunded if you owe no tax. This credit is subject to income limitations.
Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) is for qualified tuition and related expenses paid for eligible students enrolled in an eligible educational institution. This credit can help pay for undergraduate, graduate and professional degree courses–including courses to acquire or improve job skills. There is no limit on the number of years you can claim the credit. It is worth up to $2,000 per tax return.
Student Loan Interest Deduction: Student loan interest is interest you paid during the year on a qualified student loan. It includes both required and voluntarily pre-paid interest payments. If your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is less than $80,000 ($160,000 if filing a joint return), there is a special deduction allowed for paying interest on a student loan (also known as an education loan) used for higher education.This deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $2,500.
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!
Public Benefits (Search Tools)
Benefits.gov is a easy-to-use website to help citizens understand which benefit program they may be eligible for and how to apply. Categories include: Disaster Relief; Family and Children’s Services; Financial Assistance; Food and Nutrition; Healthcare and Medical Assistance; Housing and Public Utilities; Immigration and Refugee Assistance; Social Security and more!
Most Commonly Requested Documents (MCRD) – The County of Los Angeles and its partners developed a two-sided information sheet that provides: 1) a list of the most common County administered programs/services and the required documents needed to apply for the programs/services; 2) website information and toll-free telephone numbers to obtain documents needed to apply for the programs/services.
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.
Social Security Administration
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Pays benefits to you and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. (Your adult child also may qualify for benefits on your earnings record if he or she has a disability that started before the age of 22.)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) makes monthly payments to people with low income and limited resources who are 65 or older, or blind, or disabled. Your child, if younger than age 18, can qualify if they have a medical condition or combination of conditions that meets Social Security’s definition of disability for children, and if his or her income and resources fall within the eligibility limits.
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.
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
Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK) specializes in special education support for people with disabilities from birth to age 26 and their families. They support all disabilities, including mental illness, chronic health and medical conditions, and emotional challenges due to abuse or environmental trauma. In the area of assistive technology (AT), they serve all ages, including adults, and help families explore ways to use AT to promote learning, communication, and independence. Call (866) 828-8275 for a location near you!
Access 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. An in-person evaluation is required to determine your eligibility with Access Services.
Access to Work (ATW) is a pilot program where Access customers can use Access to travel to and from employment or job training. The trips are scheduled to ensure customer gets to work on time. ATW trips have a special one-way fare of $2.00, regardless of distance. For more information on the program, eligibility requirements or to request an application, please contact Access’ Customer Service at (800) 827-0829.
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.
HopSkipDrive – Get your kids from home to school or camp, or to extracurricular activities any day of the week. Schedule one-time rides up to 8 hours in advance or by 7pm for morning rides, and make last minute changes without worry. For regular activities like after school practice or classes, schedule a recurring ride with ease.
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.