If Your Child Has a Disability or Special Need
We all want our children to grow up healthy and happy.
We are proud of their accomplish-ments and delight in
watching them grow.
Getting help early—even starting at birth—
can make a big difference in how children develop. If
you have any concerns about your child, talk to your
If your child does have a disability or chronic illness,
your best support may be other parents who have children
with disabilities. You may feel alone and anxious. Other
parents can give you emotional support and help you
find information and resources.
Regional Centers help children and adults with developmental
disabilities, such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy
and autism. They can provide treatment, equipment, family
support and other services.
Most services are free. Call your Regional Center. Call
California Early Start or visit www.dds.ca.gov/earlystart.
Alexis pulls her friends across the street in
her electric wheelchair.
Support for Families
To find a parent group, call your local hospital or
Family Resource Center. Call California Early Start.
• Need a break or help with housework or child
care? Your family may qualify for In Home Support Services
through your county Social Services Department. Call
Support for Your Growing Child
Your baby needs love and nurturing and opportunities
to learn through play. As she grows:
- Help her find ways to do things on her own or
with as little help as possible. Let her be creative
and make mistakes.
- Have your child practice making choices and
decisions. She will need these skills as she grows.
- Look for older children or adults with your
child’s disability. They can be role models and
give support and information. Call Disability Services.
Things You Can Do
Where to Find Help
Mariah and Deon are using
sign language to read. Because they got help early,
they will be ready to start school with their
Get Help Early
- If you think your child might have a problem, talk
to your doctor. Early services can make a big difference
in your child’s development. By law, there
are free services for children from birth to age
3 if they are at risk of developing slowly. Call
California Early Start. Visit www.dds.ca.gov/
Joseph’s mother says, “We looked until we found
the right medical team. They see that our son is a wonderful
boy with a full future.”