General Resources

Abilities United, Inc. (formerly C.A.R.) – 525 E. Charleston Rd.,Palo Alto, 650-494-0550. Programs include infant development, creative recreation, LEARN (Learning Experiences for Adults with Real Needs), respite & employment services, independent living skills. Also ice skating at Winter Lodge and swimming at Wright Swim Center, 3864 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, 650-494-1480. – A list of local/national agencies that have info on mental health and spec ed.

Children’s Health Council – A diagnostic and treatment center for children and adolescents facing developmental and behavioral challenges. Offers mental health, special education and developmental services for children and adolescents.

The Diagnostic Center, Northern California – provides high-quality, individualized services to special ed. students, their families & school districts. SF Bay area resources:

Disability Scoop – helpful source of developmental disability news.

The Friendship Circle program for Jewish families with children and teens with special needs matches supervised and trained teen volunteers with special needs children for weekly home visits and various get-togethers. It is available to families in Palo Alto and beyond, including San Jose. For more information, call (650) 858-6990, or .

Great website with lots of resources: – Information resource on a wide range of learning disabilities for parents, teachers & other professionals.

MUMS – A national parent-to-parent organization for parents or care providers of a child with any disability, rare or not so rare disorder, chromosomal abnormality or health condition. MUMS’ main purpose is to provide support to parents in the form of a networking system that matches them with other parents whose children have the same or similar condition.

Morrissey/Compton Educational Center – 595 Price Ave., Redwood City, CA 94306-1924, 650-322-5910. Evaluations, suggestions for accommodations for schools, therapists, tutors. They also have a remedial summer school program.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, a central source of information on disabilities in infants, toddlers, children, and youth; IDEA, which is the law authorizing special education; No Child Left Behind (as it relates to children with disabilities); and research-based information on effective educational practices. P.O. Box 1492, Washington, DC 20013, 1-800-695-0285 (V/TTY),

Parenting the Child with Behaviors That Are Challenging – Positive discipline techniques, classes every quarter, $150/individual or $230/couple. Register at the YWCA, 375 S. Third St., San Jose, CA 95112, 408-295-4011 People we know who have taken this class recommend it highly.

Parents Helping Parents (PHP) – If you don’t know about PHP or have heard about them but not yet made your way there, RUN (do not walk!) to their website or phone to find out what they have to offer. They have an extensive resource directory. Click on “Online Resources”; you can then search by condition & by service needed.

San Andreas Regional Center – Provides publicly funded services for conditions that meet their eligibility requirements, including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism. Services include respite care.

Schwab Learning – Provides support, resources, publications and information to parents of children with learning differences. A service of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation.

State and local chapters of national organizations like United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) provide support groups, programs, information and referral service, legislative advocacy, technology initiatives and research. The MDA—which serves a long list of those with other neuromuscular diseases in addition to muscular dystrophy—also offers limited financial assistance for equipment & modifications and also has an equipment loan closet. Their local offices are:

  • UCP of Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties
    512 E. Maude Avenue
    Sunnyvale, CA 94085-4431
    Phone: (408) 737-7112
    Web site:

  • MDA, 1388 Sutter St., Suite 505, San Francisco, CA 94103
    Phone: (415) 673-7500

VIA Rehabilitation Services, Inc. – a private, independent non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities and special needs achieve greater self-sufficiency and lead richer lives.


  • Americans with Disabilities Act – public facilities, including most public modes of transportation must be accessible to people with disabilities. To learn more, a good place to start, with resources, toll-free information line, regulations info & mediation program is at

  • Open Doors Organization ( – job placement, educational seminars and diversity programs that improve the quality of life for the individual with a disability while opening doors to businesses and society.

Books & Magazines

  • What Every Parent Should Know About Special Education – A handbook prepared by the SELPA 1 CAC.

  • The Special EDge – This newsletter, published three times a year, is funded by the California Department of Education, Special Education Division. The Special EDge is designed to inform and support parents, educators, and other service providers on special education topics, focusing on research-based practices, legislation, technical support, and current resources. Go to current and back issues.

  • Exceptional Parent – good, general magazine for parents of children with all kinds of special needs.

  • Reflections from a Different Journey: What Adults with Disabilities Wish All Parents Knew by Stanley D. Klein & John D. Kemp.

  • 2e Twice Exceptional Newsletter (for Asperger/ADHD children), Glen Ellyn Media, P.O. Box 582, Glen Ellyn, IL 60138-0582.

California Schools