Diagnostic Center, Southern California
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Educationally Related Resources

The following resources are offered to support educators, students, and families. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, but rather is intended as a starting point. If you are interested in additional information or support, please contact us using our Contact Page. Additionally, Diagnostic Center, South offers professional development for educators on many of these topics. Training topics can be found in the catalog of professional development opportunities (PDF).

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Many people with ASD have different ways of learning, paying attention, communicating, or reacting to things. When selecting appropriate interventions and supports the following factors should be considered: individual and family values, preferences, and culture; evidence of intervention effectiveness; professional judgement and data-based decision making; and capacity to implement intervention with fidelity.

California Autism Professional Training and Information Network External link opens in new window or tab.
CAPTAIN is a multiagency network developed to support the understanding and use of Evidence Based Practices for individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder across the state.

The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder External link opens in new window or tab.
The NPDC was funded by the Office of Special Education Programs in the US Department of Education from 2007-2014. The NPDC developed free professional resources for teachers, therapists, and technical assistance providers who work with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Extension of NPDC: Autism Focused Intervention Resources & Modules (AFIRM) External link opens in new window or tab. is a free learning platform which provides step-by-step process of planning for, using, and monitoring an EBP (Evidence Based Practice) with learners with ASD from birth to 22 years.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network External link opens in new window or tab.
ASAN is nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. It seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to autism. ASAN's members and supporters include autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends.


Preparing for adulthood can be an overwhelming time. As a student begins high school (secondary educational programs) it is important that the student's IEP team members work collaboratively to develop a transition plan based on the individual's developmental level and interests. Further collaboration between IEP team members should involve exposing the student to a variety of post-secondary options that will promote post-secondary success, a student's independence, and increase their quality of life.

California Department of Education External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Department of Education Independent Living page provides resources and guidelines for assisting educators, parents, and agencies that will assist transition age youth identify and move toward their postsecondary goals in independent living.

Supporting Inclusive Practices (SIP) External link opens in new window or tab.
SIP provides tiered technical assistance to local educational agencies focused on building, implementing, sustaining, monitoring, and scaling up evidence-based practices to increase inclusion of PreK – 22 age students with disabilities in general education settings. As such, SIP empowers educational organizations by building their capacity for change through access to funds, professional development, and a network of support.

Resource: Webinars and Padlet Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities External link opens in new window or tab.

California Technical Transition Alliance External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Transition Alliance is a non-profit organization of youth-serving professionals dedicated to helping youth make positive transitions to adult life.

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) External link opens in new window or tab.
NTACT is a Technical Assistance and Dissemination project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). NTACT's purpose is to assist state education agencies, local education agencies, state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, and VR service providers in implementing evidence-based and promising practices ensuring students with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, graduate prepared for success in postsecondary education and employment.

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services External link opens in new window or tab.
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) administers programs that assist in educating children and youth with disabilities and provides funding for vocational rehabilitation services for youth and adults with disabilities. OSERS established the Transition Steering Committee to focus specifically on the services, needs, and outcomes of youth with disabilities. In the intro we established that students with disabilities do need access to such services. I don't think we need this clause.

Executive Functioning and ADHD

Executive functions are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals. Childhood EF skills provide an important foundation for learning and adaptation across a wide range of contexts, including in school. Difficulties with EF are associated with learning challenges and a greater likelihood of behavior problems, and they are a prominent feature of many emotional and behavioral disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., ADHD, ASD, and specific learning disabilities) that interfere with children's education.

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder External link opens in new window or tab.
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) is a national non-profit, tax-exempt organization providing education, advocacy, and support for individuals with ADHD. In addition to the website, CHADD also publishes a variety of printed materials to keep members and professionals current on research advances, medications, and treatments affecting individuals with ADHD.

ADDitude Inside the ADHD Mind External link opens in new window or tab.
ADDitude is a multi-platform resource network that serves over 3 million individuals each month through digital, audio, eBooks, a print magazine, webinars, social media, and more. ADDitude provides evidence-based, expert guidance and in-the-trenches understanding to help readers navigate the very real challenges that arise from living with ADHD and related conditions.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) External link opens in new window or tab.
NIMH is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders and has a wealth of information related to ADHD.

Smart but Scattered Kids External link opens in new window or tab.
Dr. Dawson and Dr. Guare share resources to help parents, teachers, and therapists to better understand the role executive skills play in healthy development and to identify tools and strategies they can use to assist "smart but scattered" kids become successful problem solvers and self-reliant adults.

The Center on the Developing Child External link opens in new window or tab.
The Center on the Developing Child is a multidisciplinary team committed to driving science-based innovation in policy and practice. The Center on the Developing Child has created the page A Guide to Executive Function to walk parents and educators through everything they need to know about these skills including a quick introduction to the basics, resources behind the science of executive function and self-regulation, and guides with activities and suggestions to creating environments that support skill-building.


The foundation for supporting any student is to ensure these inequity barriers are examined and addressed. It is crucial for schools to design education systems with evidence-based, equity enhancing approaches to reducing these gaps and to ensure that the students who have historically been underserved receive an equitable education. The following resources are available to that end:

State Performance Plan and Technical Assistance Program External link opens in new window or tab.
Funded by the California Department of Education (CDE) through a contract to the Napa County Office of Education, the overall purpose of the project is to provide a system of technical assistance for local educational agencies (LEAs) working to address performance and compliance problems relating to disproportionality. Disproportionality refers to the overrepresentation of a particular racial or ethnic group in one of four areas:

  • Special education in general;
  • Special education within a specific disability category;
  • Disciplinary action; or
  • More restrictive environments.

Learning Policy Institute External link opens in new window or tab.
The Learning Policy Institute conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, the Institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for every child.

Racial Equity Tools External link opens in new window or tab.
Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula, and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities, and the culture at large.

Resource: Equity Education Manual

Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered External link opens in new window or tab.
SABE's is the United States' national self-advocacy organization with a mission to ensure that people with disabilities are treated as equals and that they are given the same decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up to empower themselves; opportunities to make new friends, and to learn from their mistakes.

Youth and Organizing! Disabled and Proud External link opens in new window or tab.
Youth and Organizing! (YO!) connects, organizes and educates youth with disabilities. YO! gives youth leadership opportunities, social networks, resources and more. YO! Disabled & Proud can connect youth and youth allies with great resources, on a variety of topics.

Disability Rights California External link opens in new window or tab.
Disability Rights California advocates, educates, investigates, and litigates to advance the rights, dignity, equal opportunities, and choices for all people with disabilities.


Trauma is not an event itself, but rather a response to one or more overwhelmingly stressful events where one's ability to cope is dramatically undermined. These experiences in childhood can lead to a cascade of social, emotional, and academic difficulties. Studies now show that nearly every school has children who have been exposed to overwhelming and adverse experiences.

Trauma Sensitive Schools External link opens in new window or tab.
The website includes tools and resources to help individual teachers and administrators convert the urgency they feel about trauma sensitivity into the awareness and action of a committed coalition—and, ultimately, to the understanding and engagement of the entire school.

The Child Mind Institute External link opens in new window or tab.
The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Resources for a broad range of topics are available for families or educators.

Specifically, multilingual Trauma Guide downloads External link opens in new window or tab. for parents and educators are also available.

The Child Mind Institute is also specialized in providing assessment and treatment for children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning External link opens in new window or tab.
CASEL seeks to advance the development of academic, social, and emotional competence for all students. The mission is to help make evidence-based social and emotional learning an integral part of education from preschool through high school.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network External link opens in new window or tab.
Parents and caregivers play an essential role in helping children and teenagers recover from traumatic events. These resources are for parents / caregivers, and all others who care for children and teens.

Mental Health

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and is as important as physical health. Individuals who have experienced traumatic stress and/or adversity are at greater risk for mental health conditions and internalizing / externalizing behaviors. For this reason, the resources in the Trauma and Behavior sections are recommended in addition to those provided below.

National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health External link opens in new window or tab.
The National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (FFCMH) is a national family-run organization linking more than 120 chapters and state organizations focused on the issues of children and youth with emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs and their families.

National Alliance on Mental Illness External link opens in new window or tab.
Nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness and their families. NAMI has become a leading voice on mental illness, with organizations in every state and over 1100 local communities who support NAMI's mission through advocacy, research, support, and education.

Mind Body Awareness Project External link opens in new window or tab.
MBA designs, delivers, and researches mindfulness and emotional literacy programs for at-risk populations. They also train educators and youth service providers nationally and internationally. MBA's programs successfully help teens develop self-regulation, empathy, and mindful attention, gain impulse control, and learn to relieve extremely high levels of anxiety and stress.

OK2TALK External link opens in new window or tab.
OK2TALK is a community where teens and young adults struggling with mental health conditions can find a safe place to talk about what they're experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope. Anyone can add their voice by sharing stories, poems, inspirational quotes, photos, videos, song lyrics and messages of support in a safe, moderated space.

Crisis Text Line
The Crisis Text Line is available for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from a secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment. Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline External link opens in new window or tab.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Anxiety & Depression Association of America External link opens in new window or tab.
The ADAA is an international nonprofit organization and a leader in education, training and research for anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and related disorders. Links are available for information on treatment along with health care professionals who provide it.


Many children who have experienced traumatic events or adversity (ex. poverty, instability, environmental pollutants, etc.) develop behavioral coping mechanisms to feel safe and in control, yet these behaviors may be misunderstood by educators. Whether a student externalizes (acts out) or internalizes (withdraws, is numb, frozen, or depressed), a student's behavioral response to traumatic events and adversity can lead to lost learning time and strained relationships. Behavior may also be the result of an underlying mental health condition.

For this reason, the resources in the Trauma and Mental Health sections are recommended in addition to those provided below.

Positive Environments Network of Trainers (PENT) External link opens in new window or tab.
PENT is a California Positive Behavior Initiative designed to provide information and resources for educators striving to achieve high educational outcomes using proactive positive strategies. Evidence-based positive practices and helpful information is disseminated statewide through this website. All material on this website can be reproduced for non-commercial purpose for staff training.

Lives in the Balance External link opens in new window or tab.
Lives in the Balance is a non-profit organization which offers a hub of free resources for families, educators, and schools on Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS). CPS is a non-punitive, non-adversarial, trauma-informed model of care, which is recognized as an empirically supported, evidence-based treatment by the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare. Lives in the Balance also has outreach and advocacy efforts to challenge the obsolete, counterproductive ways in which many behaviorally challenging kids are still treated and foster grassroots efforts to promote change and address disproportionality.

Functional Skills

Functional skills are designed to give students basic knowledge of everyday skills (i.e., Community, Recreation/Leisure, Vocational, and Domestic). When students are provided the opportunity to develop their functional skills it increases their independence.

Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) External link opens in new window or tab.
OCALI is a website that informs public policy and develops and deploys practices grounded in linking research to real life. They offer professional development and resources for free. The link provided gives access to standards-based life skills curriculum that can be used for students in Pre-Kindergarten through high school.

Arkansas Functional Curriculum External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Arkansas Functional Curriculum takes standards from Language Arts and Mathematics for grades K-12 and modifies them into the different functional areas (i.e., community, rec/leisure, vocational, domestic).

West Virginia University: Toilet Training Children with Special Needs Article External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This publication has been made available through the Early Childhood Resource Lending Library of West Virginia University. The article addresses the unique needs and characteristics that must be considered before developing a toilet training plan.

Resources for Educators

National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) External link opens in new window or tab.
The mission of NCLD is to empower parents and advocate for equal rights and improved opportunities for those with learning disabilities. It provides a comprehensive online resource for parents that offers daily access to experts in the field and specifically designed tools that provide personalized support.

Learning Disabilities Online External link opens in new window or tab.
LD OnLine seeks to help children and adults reach their full potential by providing accurate and up-to-date information and advice about learning challenges, including processing deficits.

Understood External link opens in new window or tab.
Understood is an organization with online resources. They focus on making real, positive impact in the lives of people who learn and think differently by offering tools, support, and community.

International Dyslexia Association External link opens in new window or tab.
The mission of the IDA is to create a future for all individuals who struggle with dyslexia and other related reading differences so that they may have richer, more robust lives and access to the tools and resources they need. There are invaluable resources on current research and interventions.

Florida Center for Reading Research External link opens in new window or tab.
Part of the Florida Center for Reading Research's mission is to disseminate information about research-based practices related to literacy instruction and assessment for children in Pre-K through 12th grade. This includes several classroom activities developed by teachers at FCRR for use in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms and pedagogical information for empowering teachers with the skills and knowledge for effective instruction in the classroom.

Sight Words Site External link opens in new window or tab.
The SightWords.com team is dedicated to developing child literacy curricula that are research-based and classroom-proven, with clear and simple instructions and accompanied by attractive and easy-to-use materials.

Additional resources are also available at the website for Diagnostic Center, North, some of which include: