Recently I held a telephone town hall on resources for individuals with disabilities. Thank you to all who joined and submitted questions. We had representatives from the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Disability Rights California, Autism Speaks, and Disability Voices United. For those who could not join us, I have included some resources mentioned on the call below. As always, please reach out to my office by calling 562-529-3250 if you have any follow up questions or would like to share issues you have encountered during COVID-19.
Information about Regional Centers:
Top Questions the State Council on Developmental Disabilities Received from Parents and Family Advocates (during COVID-19)
Department of Developmental Services directives related to COVID-19 and Regional Center services (Guidance for Waiving Requirements for In-Person Eligibility, Services, or Individual Program Plan Meetings and Authority to Regional Centers for Health & Safety Waiver Exemptions):
Here is the link to ALL the DDS directives that have been released:
Flexibility in Provision of Services and Support for Consumers and Providers
Rule Changes for Eligibility, In-Home Respite Workers and Fees:
Guidance for Additional Participant-Directed Services:
- ENGLISH (original directive)
Extensions of waiver modifications and directives due to COVID-19:
- ENGLISH (original directive)
ARCA has a webpage devoted to COVID-19 resources. Every regional center is providing updates and information to their community. They centralize that info on specific pages or parts of their websites. The full list, including direct links to those pages, is available at:
Green Mountain Self-Advocates is a group of individuals with developmental disabilities, based in Vermont. They have created a very helpful information packet, written by and for people with developmental disabilities, all about COVID-19. The packets are in both English and Spanish, available at:
Information about the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities:
Healthcare and Housing:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Healthcare: Know Your Legal Rights
- Accessing Medi-Cal Services During the COVID-19 Public Emergency
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rights of People who get IHSS and Caregivers
- Access to Medications (For people with Medi-Cal)
- Webinar on Accessing Education, Services, and Health Care during the Coronavirus Crisis
- National Housing Law Project Memo on Reasonable Accommodations and Disability Discrimination in the Context of COVID-19
What are my special education rights during the COVID-19 School Closures? (ENGLISH)
- If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 plan, they are still entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
- Due to health guidelines, your child’s IEP or 504 plan may not be implemented the way it was when school was in session. Schools may provide services through distance learning, such as video conferencing, with appropriate accommodations and modifications.
- School districts do not have to call IEP meetings to start distance learning services. But parents still can request IEP meetings to be held within 30 days (not including schools breaks of 5+ days).
- Keep a journal of the special education or 504 plan services your child has missed as a result of the school closure and request an IEP or 504 plan meeting to discuss compensatory services once school re-opens.
- If your child receives early intervention services, school districts must still develop and implement an IEP by your child’s third birthday.
- In "exceptional situations," school districts may provide services in-person in order to maintain students’ mental/physical health and safety during periods of distance learning.
- If your child receives a distance learning plan, make sure it states that the distance learning services are temporary and that the regular IEP or 504 plan will go back in effect once schools re-open.
- For more information, visit the Disability Rights California website or call their intake line:
Tel: (213) 213-8000
Intake Line: (800) 776-5746
¿Cuáles son mis derechos de educación especial durante el Cierre Escolar COVID-19? (SPANISH)
- Si su hijo tiene un Plan de Educación Individualizado (IEP por sus siglas en inglés) o un plan 504, su hijo todavía tiene el derecho a una educación pública gratuita y apropiada (FAPE por sus siglas en inglés).
- Debido a pautas de salud, puede que el IEP o plan 504 de su hijo no sea implementado como cuando la escuela estaba en sesión. Las escuelas pueden proporcionar servicios por modo de aprendizaje a distancia, como por conferencia de video con acomodaciones y modificaciones apropiadas.
- Los distritos escolares no tienen que llamar a las reuniones del IEP para iniciar los servicios de aprendizaje a distancia. Pero los padres todavía pueden solicitar que las reuniones del IEP se lleven a cabo dentro de los 30 días (sin incluir las interrupciones escolares de más de 5 días).
- Lleve un diario de los servicios de educación especial o del plan 504 que su hijo ha perdido como resultado del cierre de la escuela y solicite una reunión del IEP o del plan 504 para discutir los servicios compensatorios una vez que la escuela se reabra.
- Si su hijo recibe servicios de intervención temprana, los distritos escolares aún deben desarrollar e implementar un IEP antes del tercer cumpleaños de su hijo.
- En "situaciones excepcionales", los distritos escolares pueden proporcionar servicios en persona con el fin de mantener la salud y seguridad mental/física de los estudiantes durante los períodos de aprendizaje a distancia.
- Si su hijo recibe un plan de aprendizaje a distancia, asegúrese de que establece que los servicios de aprendizaje a distancia son temporales y que el IEP regular o el plan 504 volverán a ser vigentes una vez que las escuelas reabran.
- Para obtener más información, visite el sitio web de Disability Rights California o llame a su línea de admisión:
- Tel: (213) 213-8000
Línea de Asistencia: (800) 776-5746
Information about Educational resources:
Most Districts have now transitioned to a distance learning platform. Students should work with their local school district to access materials. In addition to local district resources, the CDE has compiled a list of free distance learning resources.
The California Department of Education has also developed a series of webinars on distance learning.
COVID-19 information and resources for families.
Specifically, how to handle school closures and services for your child with autism.
The IEP Guide can help parents understand their rights in the IEP process.
Autism Speaks Resource Guide – can help families connect with virtual options for providers and support in their area.
OCALI ASD strategies in action online trainings.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (ATN site) has a virtual learning series with a number of strategies for home learning and therapy.
Customizable teaching story/visual supports for a day at home.
Information about Emergency Preparedness and Mental Health Resources:
Resources developed on mental health and emergency preparedness:
Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health
- Get help now: 800-854-7771 (open 24/7)
Or text "LA" to 741741
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Offers free, confidential crisis counseling 24/7/365. You do not have to be suicidal to call. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Information about State Action:
Official message from State Director of Special Education.
April 9, 2020 – CDE Special Ed Guidance.
CDE webinars on distance learning, including specific webinars on special education.
The State has waived certain restrictions around payment and documentation to help both In home supportive services and the Developmental Disability system, including the following:
- Regional Centers: Modification of intake practices to allow intakes, assessments, and eligibility determinations to be conducted remotely;
- Communication with communities regarding regional center operations, available resources, and the changing landscape of service delivery;
- Tracking and accounting for funds expended as a result of the response to COVID-19.
Additionally, The federal funding from the CARES ACT has extended and provides additional funding for the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act program to continue to help low-income, older adults and people with disabilities apply for Medicare prescription drug subsidies and Medicare Savings Programs (through which Medicaid covers some or all Medicare premiums and other cost sharing payments) through November 30, 2020.
Contacts for the organizations that participated in the tele-town hall:
- State Council on Developmental Disabilities: (916) 263-7919; Toll Free: (833) 818-9886; firstname.lastname@example.org; https://scdd.ca.gov/contactus/
- Disability Rights California: Tel: (213) 213-8000; www.disabilityrightsca.org
- Disability Voices United: Phone/Fax: +1 530 564-6388 (530-JOINDVU); Email: email@example.com ; http://www.disabilityvoicesunited.org/1/
- Autism Speaks: (323) 549-0500; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; https://www.autismspeaks.org/southern-california
Do you know of food banks that offer foods like lactose-free milk, gluten-free, dairy-free products that our children can consume that have special food restrictions due to their condition?
We have shared this information with cities in our district in order to inform them of these needs at food banks. We recommend contacting the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (at 2-1-1) directly for more information about what food is available.
Additionally, the Los Angeles Salvation Army center offers assistance with food and other emergency assistance and we have three locations nearby in Bell, Long Beach, and Bellflower.
The United Way can connect individuals with many programs and resources in their area regarding Food assistance, Healthcare, Housing, Utilities and other bills, and other community resources. They can visit www.211.org or call 2-1-1 to learn more.
For our students with 504s or IEPs in place, how are they going to continue to receive their services? Is there going to be compensatory time when they return to school?
It is not yet known, as this will be decided in a case by case basis. Experts recommend that individuals record the services that your student is missing for the duration of the pandemic in a journal in order to document the need.
Are there resources for food/medicine/housing and other necessities for individuals who are undocumented that you know of?
Resource guide created by California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance
CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles) has a free hotline you can call if you think you have the Coronavirus at 888-624-4752. In California, immigrants have access to emergency care regardless of immigration status. More information here.
Immigrants Rising created a document on tangible support for undocumented communities during the pandemic. There are resources on addressing fear and coping with stress, health access and guidance, connecting to free/low-cost resources, legal rights as employees, and more; that can be viewed here. You can also contact them by emailing email@example.com
- We know that many families are dealing with financial hardship at the moment due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Because of this, Autism Speaks is offering Autism Speaks Cares Grants to people with autism and their families/caregivers who are in need of support. This grant will provide $250 to help with groceries, medication, therapy, or utilities. To apply, they can contact our Autism Response Team (ART) by calling/emailing (info down below)
- Contact the Autism Response Team
1888 AUTISM2 (2884762)
En Español: 18887729050
- Contact the Autism Response Team
What are some resources on academically appropriate learning for children with disabilities, particularly resources on sensory items for anxiety during COVID-19?
See the resources listed above, under "Educational Resources".