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School districts and regional centers are required by law to provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities, including autism. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), with a few exceptions, regional centers have the responsibility for providing needed supports and services to qualified children until they are three years old. At that time, the school districts assume primary responsibility for providing educational supports and services for disabled children until they complete their schooling. At that time, regional centers resume primary responsibility.
If your child is under age 3, the Regional Center is responsible for providing services through the “Early Start” program. This program is mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The California legislature has found that early intervention services “represent an investment of resources, in that these services reduce the ultimate costs to our society, by minimizing the need for special education and related services in later school years and by minimizing the likelihood of institutionalization.” The Legislature has recognized that time is of the essence in that “[t]he earlier intervention is started, the greater is the ultimate cost-effectiveness and the higher is the educational attainment and quality of life achieved by children with disabilities.” Regional Centers are required to provide services to infants and toddlers with developmental delays in one or more of these five areas: cognitive development; physical and motor development, including vision and hearing; communication development; social or emotional development; or adaptive development. Regional Centers also provide services to children who have conditions that have harmful developmental consequences, or have a high risk of developmental disability. The regional center is required to determine a child’s eligibility for services by conducting an assessment by a multi-disciplinary team of qualified individuals. Services provided through the Early Start program include special instruction, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, respite and other services, depending on the child’s needs.
If your child is over the age of 3, both the school district and the regional center have a responsibility to provide services. School districts are required to provide a “Free Appropriate Public Education,” also called FAPE, which is required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). School districts must provide specialized instruction and related services without charge. The services must address all of the child’s special education and related service needs, and must be based on the individual needs of the child and not on the child’s disability. Generally speaking, school districts must provide a “floor of opportunity” in which the child may obtain “meaningful educational benefit.” School districts are not required to provide the best possible educational program. Special education law also requires that a student be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE) and that removal of a student from the regular education environment occur only when the nature or severity of the student’s disability is such that education in regular education classes cannot be achieved satisfactorily. In 2004, IDEA was amended significantly and passed into law. Many of the provisions in this new IDEA law will become effective on July 1, 2005.
Regional Centers provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities under California’s Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Act. The Lanterman Act requires regional centers to provide developmentally disabled people with those services and supports that will allow them, “regardless of age or degree of disability, and at each stage of life” to integrate “into the mainstream life of the community” and to “approximate the pattern of everyday living available to people without disabilities of the same age.” The Act also states that persons with developmental disabilities have the right to treatment and habilitation services and supports which foster the individual’s developmental potential and are “directed toward the achievement of the most independent, productive and normal lives possible.” The Act contemplates that the regional centers will work with consumers and their families to secure “those services and supports that maximize opportunities and choices for living, working, learning and recreating in the community.” It is possible for a school district to provide a child a FAPE without providing those supports and services required for them to meet the Lanterman standards. In such a case, regional centers are to meet those unmet needs. However, parents must make a good faith effort to obtain those services and supports from their school district before the regional center is required to provide them. Further, regional centers have a responsibility to advocate for services from the school district and any other potential “generic” funding sources.
Regional CentersEastern Los Angeles Regional Center 1000 South Fremont Alhambra, CA 91802-7916 Gloria Wong, Director (626) 299-4700 www.elarc.org Eastern Los Angeles county including the communities of Alhambra and Whittier Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center 3303 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 700 Los Angeles, CA 90010 Diane Campbell Anand, Director (213) 383-1300 www.lanterman.org Central Los Angeles county including Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena Harbor Regional Center 21231 Hawthorne Boulevard Torrance, CA 90503 Patricia Del Monico, Director (310) 540-1711 www.hddf.com Southern Los Angeles county including Bellflower, Harbor, Long Beach, and Torrance Inland Regional Center 674 Brier Drive San Bernardino, CA 92408 Mary Lynn Clark, Director (909) 890-3000 www.inlandrc.org Riverside and San Bernadino counties North Los Angeles County Regional Center 15400 Sherman Way, Suite 170 Van Nuys, CA 91406-4211 George Stevens, Director (818) 778-1900 www.nlacrc.com Northern Los Angeles county including San Fernando and Antelope Valleys Regional Center of Orange County 801 Civic Center Drive West, Suite 300 Santa Ana, CA 92701 William J. Bowman, Director (714) 796-5100 www.rcocdd.com Orange county San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center 761 Corporate Center Drive Pomona, CA 91768 R. Keith Penman, Director (909) 620-7722 www.sgprc.org Eastern Los Angeles county including El Monte, Monrovia, Pomona, and Glendora South Central Los Angeles Regional Center 650 West Adams Boulevard, Suite 200 Los Angeles, CA 90007-2545 Dexter Henderson, Director (213) 763-7800 www.sclarc.org Southern Los Angeles county including the communities of Compton and Gardena Westside Regional Center 5901 Green Valley Circle, Suite 320 Culver City, CA 90230-6953 Michael Danneker, Director (310) 258-4000 www.westsiderc.org Western Los Angeles county including the communities of Culver City, Inglewood, and Santa Monica
School DistrictsABC Unified 16700 Norwalk Blvd. Cerritos, CA 90703-1838 (562) 926-5566 www.abcusd.k12.ca.us Alhambra Unified 15 W. Alhambra Rd. Alhambra, CA 91801 (626) 308-2255 www.alhambra.k12.ca.us Arcadia Unified 234 Campus Dr. Arcadia, CA 91007-6902 (626) 821-8300 http://site.ausd.net Azusa Unified 546 S. Citrus Ave. Azusa, CA 91702-0500 (626) 967-6211 www.azuzausd.k12.ca.us Baldwin Park Unified 3699 N. Holly Ave. Baldwin Park, CA 91706-5397 (626) 962-3311 www.bpusd.k12.ca.us Bassett Unified 904 N. Willow Ave. La Puente, CA 91746-1615 (626) 931-3000 www.bassett.k12.ca.us Bellflower Unified 16703 S. Clark Ave. Bellflower, CA 90706-5203 (562) 866-9011 www.busd.k12.ca.us Beverly Hills Unified 255 S. Lasky Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90212-3644 (310) 551-5100 www.beverlyhills.k12.ca.us Bonita Unified 115 W. Allen Ave. San Dimas, CA 91773-1437 (909) 971-8200 www.bonita.k12.ca.us Burbank Unified 1900 W. Olive Ave. Burbank, CA 91506 (818) 729-4400 www.burbank.k12.ca.us Charter Oak Unified 20240 Cienega Ave. Covina, CA 91723-0009 (626) 966-8331 www.cousd.k12.ca.us Claremont Unified 2080 N. Mountain Ave. Claremont, CA 91711-2643 (909) 398-0600 www.cusd.claremont.edu Covina-Valley Unified 519 E. Badillo St. Covina, CA 91723-0269 (626) 331-3371 www.cvusd.k12.ca.us Culver City Unified 4034 Irving Pl. Culver City, CA 90232-2810 (310) 842-4220 www.ccusd.org Downey Unified 11627 Brookshire Ave. Downey, CA 90241-7017 (562) 469-6500 www.dusd.net Duarte Unified 1620 Huntington Dr. Duarte, CA 91010-2534 (626) 358-1191 www.duarte.k12.ca.us El Rancho Unified 9333 Loch Lomond Dr. Pico Rivera, CA 90660-2913 (562) 942-1500 www.erusd.k12.ca.us El Segundo Unified 641 Sheldon St. El Segundo, CA 90245-3036 (310) 615-2650 http://elsegundousd.org Glendale Unified 223 N. Jackson St. Glendale, CA 91206-4334 (818) 241-3111 www.gusd.net Glendora Unified 500 N. Loraine Ave. Glendora, CA 91741-2964 (626) 963-1611 www.glendora.k12.ca.us Hacienda la Puente Unified 15959 E. Gale Ave. City Of Industry, CA 91716 (626) 933-1000 www.hlpusd.k12.ca.us Hermosa Beach City School District 1645 Valley Drive Hermosa Beach, CA 90245 (310) 937-5877 www.hbcsd.org Inglewood Unified 401 S. Inglewood Ave. Inglewood, CA 90301-2501 (310) 419-2700 www.inglewood.k12.ca.us La Canada Unified 4490 Cornishon Ave. La Canada, CA 91011 (818) 952-8300 www.lcusd.net Las Virgenes Unified 4111 N. Las Virgenes Rd. Calabasas, CA 91302-1929 (818) 880-4000 http://corp.lvusd.org Long Beach Unified 1515 Hughes Way Long Beach, CA 90810-1839 (562) 997-8000 www.lbusd.k12.ca.us Los Angeles Unified 333 S. Beaudry Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90017 (213) 241-1000 www.lausd.k12.ca.us Lynwood Unified 11321 Bullis Rd. Lynwood, CA 90262-3600 (310) 886-1600 www.lynwoodusd.org Manhattan Beach Unified 325 South Peck Ave. Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-2478 (310) 318-7345 www.manhattan.k12.ca.us Monrovia Unified 325 E. Huntington Dr. Monrovia, CA 91016-3585 (626) 471-2000 www.monroviaschools.net Montebello Unified 123 S. Montebello Blvd. Montebello, CA 90640-4729 (323) 887-7900 www.montebello.k12.ca.us Norwalk-La Mirada Unified 12820 Pioneer Blvd. Norwalk, CA 90650-2894 (562) 868-0431 www.nlmusd.k12.ca.us Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified 3801 Via la Selva Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274-1119 (310) 378-9966 www.pvpusd.k12.ca.us Paramount Unified 7340 Jackson St Paramount, CA 90723-4809 (562) 602-6000 www.paramount.k12.ca.us Pasadena Unified 351 S. Hudson Ave. Pasadena, CA 91101-3507 (626) 795-6981 www.pusd.us Pomona Unified 800 S. Garey Ave. Pomona, CA 91766-3325 (909) 397-4800 www.pusd.org Redondo Beach Unified 1401 Inglewood Ave. Redondo Beach, CA 90278-3912 (310) 379-5449 www.rbusd.org Rowland Unified 1830 Nogales St. Rowland Heights, CA 91748 (626) 965-2541 www.rowlandschools.org San Gabriel Unified 408 Junipero Serra Dr. San Gabriel, CA 91776-4500 (626) 451-5400 www.sgusd.k12.ca.us San Marino Unified 1665 West Dr. San Marino, CA 91108-2594 (626) 299-7000 www.san-marino.k12.ca.us Santa Monica-Malibu Unified 1651 16th St. Santa Monica, CA 90404-3891 (310) 450-8338 www.smmusd.org South Pasadena Unified 1020 El Centro St. South Pasadena, CA 91030-3118 (626) 441-5810 www.spusd.net Temple City Unified 9700 Las Tunas Dr. Temple City, CA 91780 (626) 548-5000 www.templecity.k12.ca.us Torrance Unified 2335 Plaza del Amo Torrance, CA 90509 (310) 972-6500 www.tusd.org West Covina Unified 1717 W. Merced Ave. West Covina, CA 91790-3406 (626) 939-4600 www.wcusd-ca.schoolloop.com
Disclaimer: Everything contained herein is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be misconstrued as legal, medical, or any other type of professional advice. Nothing contained herein is intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from your own medical and legal professionals. LA FEAT makes no promises, guarantees or implied agreements as to the accuracy or completeness of anything contained or referenced to herein, or how such may affect your family. Please seek out your own professional advice before making any decisions concerning your child.