A Resource is defined as a source of support, aid, information or education from which a benefit is produced. Resources may be used to meet specific needs or to enhance one’s life.
The resources in this section may help you find a variety of supports and information that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families often need or find helpful.

Behavioral Health Services

Behavioral Health Treatment Services Information: English | Spanish | Arabic | Tagalog | Vietnamese

Purchase of Service Standards - For Insurance Copayments & Coinsurance

CalABLE Program

California Achieving A Better Life Experience Program

Information about protecting Public Benefit Programs for individuals with disabilities in the state of California.

Support Groups

See the list of Support Groups available to San Diego Regional Center clients and their families.

Community Resources



SDRC Substance Abuse Support
San Diego County - Peggie Webb (858) 576-2996
Imperial County - Lori Robinson (760) 355-8383

Assistive Technology


Southern California Housing Collaborative – Assists in locating affordable housing for persons with developmental disabilities.
Section 8 HUD Housing


DDS Safety Net – How to help clients & families stay safe and healthy.

Take Me Home Registry Program – A San Diego County registry for individuals at risk of wandering, becoming missing or found by law enforcement who are unable to identify themselves because of their special needs.

Recreational Resources

Recreation is important in promoting inclusion and quality of life. Studies have shown that it increases self-esteem and confidence, leads to improved communication, social interaction, and friendship skills.

The San Diego Regional Center supports clients having time to recreate and believes it is essential to a healthy and well-balanced life. Below are links to some popular recreation activities in the San Diego and Imperial Counties. However, SDRC does not endorse, nor provide funding for any recreation activity. SDRC is not liable for anything occurring while participating in any of the recreational activities.

If you have any questions about current or future recreation postings, please contact us. We welcome your feedback.



City Parks & Recreation Programs

Fine Arts & Performing Arts

Horseback Riding & Equestrian Therapy

Senior Activities

Social Clubs

Sports & Fitness


Employment First

California Employment First Policy

California’s Employment First Policy was signed into law in October of 2013 by Governor Brown. Competitive employment is finding a job within the community where you are paid about the same as other people doing the same job and at least minimum wage. It could also be working for yourself in your own small business. Information about the Employment First Policy can be found at the State Council on Developmental Disabilities and at the Department of Developmental Services.

With initiative and the right supports and opportunities, people with developmental disabilities can work. They can succeed at a job, earn decent pay, meet people on the job, and be more a part of their community.

Employment & Your Individual Program Plan

When you plan around employment opportunities with your service coordinator, the first option that will be considered is competitive integrated employment. Competitive work is a real choice. Your service coordinator can help you find resources in the community to support your employment goals.

Supported Employment

Adults who want to work may be eligible for Supported Employment services. Supports could include job development, transportation training, paid internships, and specialized job training. With initiative and the right supports and opportunities, people with developmental disabilities can work. They can succeed at a job, earn a good wage, meet people on the job, and be more a part of their community.

Employment First

The decision about whether or not Supported Employment is the right service is made by the planning team. The adult, his or her service coordinator, the Department of Rehabilitation and other members of the planning team, work together to create an agreement about the supports that might be most helpful. Supported Employment can be provided in individual or group settings, depending upon the needs, interests, talents and skills of the person.


Self-employment options include micro-enterprises. These are small business ventures that reflect the unique skills and talents of a person. The IPP planning team often helps support the development of the business.

Options Other than Employment

If employment isn’t right for you, talk to your service coordinator about other options.

Getting Help from Your Family Members

Talk to your family about the type of work that you might like. Explore training ideas in the community such as adult education or college with their help. Invite your family members to your IEP and IPP meetings.

Is College Right for You?

San Diego Regional Center has been working with local colleges to enhance employment training programs that serve people with developmental disabilities. Talk to your service coordinator to find out if a local program can help you reach your education or employment goals.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

WIOA was signed into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Literacy Act, the Wagner-Preyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It sunsets in 2020.

Learn more about the WIOA.

Highlights of the WIOA

Larger role for public vocational rehabilitation as people with disabilities transition from school to adult life; Required agreements between state vocational rehabilitation systems/state Medicaid systems/state intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) agencies; Definition of “customized employment," "supported employment," “competitive integrated employment;" Enhanced roles and requirements for the general workforce system; One-Stop Career Centers in meeting the needs of people with disabilities



Self-Advocacy is a movement where individuals with developmental disabilities voice their wants, needs and hopes, and take control over their lives.

Locally, San Diego People First is the self-advocacy group for San Diego County.  Imperial Valley People First covers Imperial County. Both People First groups are run by individuals with developmental disabilities and hold trainings and conferences that educate members on various topics regarding self-advocacy. Self-advocates learn to voice their wants, needs, hopes and dreams to family and professionals, and make choices/decisions that affect their own lives. Additionally, self-advocates often unite to promote understanding and educate peers, professionals and the public about self-advocacy and the rights of people with disabilities.

  1. San Diego People First – San Diego and Imperial Valley (619) 688-3323

  2. Paul Mansell is the San Diego Regional Center’s Client Information Specialist. Paul provides support to SDRC staff, clients and their families. Some of his areas of expertise include

  • IPP Preparation

  • Problem Solving

  • Self-Advocacy

  • Public Transportation

  • Organization and Planning

  • Independent Living Topics

Paul is available for one-on-one or group training and can be reached at (858) 503-4438.

   3. Self-Advocacy Online – Excellent resource to learn about Self-Advocacy, find Self-Advocacy groups, view self-advocacy stories and more.


Glossary of Terms

Active Status – When the individual and his/her family are actively partnering with the regional center on plans, decisions and choices regarding provision of services and supports to meet desired outcomes.

Advocate – A person who supports and represents the rights and interests of another individual in order to ensure the individual’s full legal rights and access to services. The advocate can be a friend, relative, service coordinator, or any other interested person.

Age-Appropriate – Consideration of the chronological age of the person in the use of activities, instructional locations, and techniques.

Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorder – Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorder has the essential features of markedly abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication and a markedly restricted repertoire of activity and interests. Manifestations of the disorder vary greatly depending on the developmental level and chronological age of the individual. It must be manifested prior to the age of 3 years.

Case Manager – see service coordinator.

Cerebral Palsy – Cerebral Palsy is a condition which results in a disorder of movement and posture resulting from a non-progressive lesion of the brain acquired during development. “Cerebral” refers to the brain, and “Palsy” to paralysis. It can be mild in nature or very debilitating, depending on the severity. Common manifestations may include spastic rigidity of the limbs, disorders of posture and movement, speech articulation difficulties, lack of muscle tone, poor coordination, poor balance, unusual gait. It is not communicable. Education, therapy and the use of assistive technology can help persons with cerebral palsy lead productive lives.

Circle of Support – Informal and reliable group of people who meet and communicate regularly to offer support in a way appropriate to the client for whose benefit it exists.

Client Development Evaluation Report (CDER) – An assessment instrument administered to each client at intake to determine developmental and functional status. Thereafter, the CDER is reviewed and revised at the IPP meeting.

Community Integration – Presence, participation and interaction in the client’s natural environments.

Consumer – Person who is eligible for regional center services. Sometimes referred to as a client.

Developmental Delay – A significant difference between an infant’s or toddler’s current level of functioning and the expected level of functioning and development for his/her chronological age in one or more of the following developmental areas:

  • Cognitive

  • Motor and physical including vision and hearing

  • Communication

  • Social or emotional

  • Adaptive

Developmental Disability – According to the California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 4512 a developmental disability originates before an individual attains 18 years of age; continues, or can be expected to continue, indefinitely; and constitutes a substantial disability for that individual. As defined by the Director of Developmental Services, in consultation with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, this term shall include intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism. This term shall also include disabling conditions found to be closely related to intellectual disability or to require treatment similar to that required for individuals with an intellectual disability, but shall not include other handicapping conditions that are solely physical in nature.

Emergency Response System – Response system used after business hours to reach an emergency on-call worker within 30 minutes once a caller leaves their contact number with the San Diego Regional Center’s after hours response service.

Empowerment – To gain the knowledge, information and skills necessary to take responsibility for one’s own decisions and choices, empowering an individual to have as much control as possible over his/her life and future.

Entitlement – Persons with developmental disabilities (clients) and their families have the right to receive services and supports which will enable them to make decisions and choices about how, and with whom, they want to live their lives; achieve the highest self-sufficiency possible; and lead productive, independent and satisfying lives as part of the community in which they live.

Epilepsy – Epilepsy, the most common seizure disorder, is a chronic condition that briefly interrupts the normal electrical activity of the brain to cause unpredictable and recurrent seizures, which alter a person’s consciousness, movement or actions for a short time. Epileptic seizures can cause loss of muscle control, tremors, loss of consciousness and other symptoms.

Established Risk – An established risk condition exists when an infant or toddler is diagnosed with a condition which has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay, although that delay may not be evident at the time of diagnosis.

Functional Skills – Skills which enable an individual to communicate and interact with others and to perform tasks which have practical use and meaning at home, in the community, or on the job.

Generic Agencies – Any agency which has legal responsibility to serve all members of the general public and which is receiving public funds for providing such services.

Generic Services or Supports – Services and supports provided by public agencies. For example, medical services through Medi-Cal, educational services through the Public School District, vocational and job placement services through the Department of Rehabilitation, and disability benefits through Social Security. Other generic supports in the community are voluntary service organizations, commercial businesses, non-profit agencies, and similar entities in the community whose services and products are regularly available to members of the general public.

Goal – A general statement of purpose that defines the end result of a program’s impact upon an individual. A goal describes the behavior or skills that a client is to acquire usually within a three-to-five year period.

High Risk – High risk for developmental disability exists when an infant or a toddler has a history of a combination of biomedical risk factors such as low birth weight, prematurity, severe respiratory distress, or seizure activity during the first weeks of life.

Inactive Status – When a client or family requests that they no longer need or want direct or purchased services from the regional center, their status becomes inactive. Status may be reactivated by contacting the regional center serving the area where you live in California.

Individual Educational Plan (IEP) - A program established for individuals who are eligible for special education services. Prepared by an individualized education program team which determines services to be provided under the mandates of the IEP.

Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) – A written statement which lists goals and specific objectives in areas important to the family of a child birth to three years of age. Each objective contains a target date that the objective is to be met, and one or more plans designed to reach the objective. The IFSP is coordinated by the Case Manager.

Individual Program Plan (IPP) – A planning document that is developed for each consumer which specifies the desired outcomes he/she is trying to achieve. The IPP also specifies the steps and actions that will be taken to try to reach a desired outcome, and lists any needed supports and services. The IPP is developed through a process of individualized needs determination and embodies an approach centered on the person and family.

Intellectual Disability (ID) – Intellectual Disability has the essential feature of significantly subaverage intellectual functioning that is accompanied by significant limitations in adaptive functioning in at least two of the following skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, work, leisure, health and safety. The onset must occur prior to the age of 18 years of age.

Interdisciplinary Team – A group of persons who have individual areas of professional expertise and/or know the client and his/her skills and behavior.

Long-Term Goals – Desired outcomes that take at least five years to accomplish and require new skills, certain choices, and certain steps along the way in order to achieve them.

Natural Environment – Places and social contexts commonly used by individuals without developmental disabilities. Examples of natural environments include the neighborhood school, the local child care center, social activities sponsored by the Boy and Girl Scouts, YMCA/YWCA, Parks and Recreation, and activities sponsored through religious organizations.

Natural Support – Support and assistance that naturally flow from the associations and relationships typically developed in natural environments such as the family and community. Examples of natural supports are extended family and friends.

Objectives – Steps taken to move towards a goal. A completion date should be indicated so that everyone involved in the planning will know if the objective is being met or not.

Partnership – When two or more people share common goals and agree to work together to achieve them.

Person-Centered Planning – The way in which the planning team works together to determine where you want to go (goals), how you want to get there (objectives) and what kinds of support you need to get there. Person-centered planning means focusing on your needs, strengths and capabilities, and helping you to have an independent, productive and satisfying life.

Purchase of Service Funds – Funds identified in the Budget Act of the regional center system for the purpose of purchasing services provided by vendors for consumers.

Self-Advocacy – Awareness, motivation and ability of an individual to represent and communicate his or her own interest, to exercise personal choice, to exert control over his or her own environment, and to avoid exploitation and abuse.

Service Catchment Area – Geographical area within which a regional center provides services specified in its contract with the Department of Developmental Services.

Service Coordination – Locating and coordinating support, information and service choices for a client and the family to feel secure, knowledgeable, responsible and empowered.

Service Coordinator (also referred to as Social Worker) – Person assigned as the primary contact and partner at the regional center once eligibility has been determined. The service coordinator is a professional in the area of developmental disabilities and is knowledgeable about counseling, resources, supports and other services.

Social Worker– See service coordinator.

Short-Term Objectives – Steps and actions outlined in the Individual Program Plan to achieve desired outcomes in the future. Objectives are usually time-limited and stated in terms that allow you to measure your progress in achieving them.

Social Security Administration (SSA) – Federal agency which administers benefits to retired or disabled workers and their surviving dependents.

Stakeholder – All members of the community; consumers, families, providers of services and supports, local and state agencies, San Diego Regional Center Board of Directors and staff.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – A program that pays monthly benefits to people with low incomes and limited assets who are 65 or older, blind, or have a disability. Children can qualify if they meet Social Security’s definition of disability and if their income and assets fall within the eligibility limits.

Substantial Disability/Substantial Handicap – Condition which results in major impairment of cognitive and/or social functioning. Moreover, a substantial handicap represents a condition of sufficient impairment to require interdisciplinary planning and coordination of special or generic services to assist the individual in achieving maximum potential.

Vendor – A provider of services who has applied for and received a vendor identification number from the regional center. Regional centers may only purchase services from community agencies, programs and professionals who have completed this vendor process.

Voucher – A written authorization issued by a regional center to a family member or a consumer to procure the service for which the voucher is issued and which specifies the maximum reimbursement authorized by the regional center.

Voucher Program – Direct reimbursement to families for arranging respite care services and transportation.