Whether you’re looking for parenting support, to develop a deeper understanding of a learning or developmental disorder or wondering what educational programs are available for your special needs child, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for in Los Angeles.
From school-based programs to nonprofit organizations, Los Angeles is home to a great support system for those parenting or teaching children in need of special education. Special needs children themselves will also find many useful resources.
Special Education Programs in Los Angeles Schools
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) provides many resources for special needs students, teachers and parents. From a Community Advisory Committee that offers workshops about special education policies in the district to online links to brochures about developing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), LAUSD ensures that special education is a top priority in this city.
Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) is an educational agency run by the county’s Superintendent of Schools and Board of Education. Through a team effort that includes psychologists, nurses and curriculum specialists, LACOE provides support services for special education students. These services include counseling, physical therapy, speech therapy and even transportation.
More Resources for Students, Teachers and Parents
Outside of the Los Angeles education system, parents and special needs children will find many organizations designed to help them in various ways.
The Parents Education League (PEL) of Los Angeles, for instance, supplies parents with a list of schools in the area that have strong special education programs.
Several nonprofit organizations also have offices based in Los Angeles. These provide advocacy for or information about different types of developmental disorders and disabilities. One of the main goals of many of these organizations is to raise awareness about specific disorders or disabilities through public speaking events, workshops, free literature and videos. Some of these organizations include:
- Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles: the local affiliate of a national advocacy organization that hosts summits, training sessions and seminars to help parents, teachers and others understand epilepsy and to develop strategies in teaching, caring for and supporting these special needs individuals.
- Autism Speaks: a leading advocacy organization with a host of family services; the website has links to everything from autism apps to autism-friendly youth organizations.
- Special Needs Network: seeks to enhance public awareness about autism through conferences, camps and other events; is currently developing an Autism Medical & Developmental School-Related Clinic.
- Los Angeles Learning Disabilities Association: focuses on ADD/ADHD; provides links to California special education laws.
- South Central Los Angeles Regional Center for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, Inc. (SCLARC): works with the State Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to deliver services for those with special needs; provides support groups.
Where Else You Can Go
We’ve focused on organizations and educational institutions in this article, but students, teachers and parents have other resources in Los Angeles they can tap into.
Hospitals, clinics and government agencies are valuable sources of information about developmental disorders. Some include:
- USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- Boone Fetter Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health
- Los Angeles County In-Home Supportive Services (operated through the Department of Public Social Services)
As you can see, if you are a Los Angeles resident raising or teaching a special needs child, or if you yourself have a learning or developmental disorder, you are not facing your struggles alone.