The information presented below is a brief overview of this state's special education support system. Please contact the state education agency or follow the included links for more detailed information.

Educational definitions of disabilities

  • Autism - uses autistic-like behaviors and is consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Intellectual disability - consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Emotional/behavioral disorder - uses serious emotional disturbance and is consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

More detailed eligibility information is available at eligibility categories.

Numbers of students with disabilities served

For the 2012 child count, California reported the following:

  • Autism - 78,629 students, third highest among disability populations
  • Intellectual disability - 43,672 students, fifth highest among disability populations
  • Emotional/behavioral disorder - 25,114 students, sixth highest among disabilities populations

Support service structure

California Department of Education, Special Education monitors and supports the special education services provided by schools. Special Education Local Plan Areas provide regional support to member districts. Three California Department of Education's Diagnostic Centers assist districts and families with assessing children for autism and other disorders.

Task forces

The Superintendent's Autism Advisory Committee completed a statewide review of autism policies in California in 2007.

Statewide disability clearinghouse

California does not have a statewide disability clearinghouse.

Disability scholarship program

California does not have a disability scholarship program.

Insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorder services

California enacted legislation related to insurance coverage specifically for autism spectrum disorder-related services. See California insurance for more information.

TRICARE-approved applied behavior analysis providers

As of May 2013, California had 533 supervisors (direct service providers) and 3,722 tutors (assistants requiring supervision to provide services).

Secondary transition resources

Information and resources related to secondary transition in California are available at secondary transition.

Parent training and information center

California has three types of family support groups:

  • Six parent training and information centers
  • Five Community Parent Resource Centers that provide support for parents from under-represented populations
  • Fourteen Family Empowerment Centers that include the six parent training and information centers

Organizational information and contacts are provided at parent organizations.

Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission

California is a member of the Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission.

Special education resources

Information on resources for families is available from the local school district, the local Special Education Local Plan Area and the parent training and information centers listed above. Additional information is provided at Family Involvement & Partnerships.

Military education resources

Information and resources specifically identified for military-connected families in California may be found at military education resources.

Student writing