California BrainWaves

"Making a Splash in the Neuro Community!"

Resources for Brain and Developmental Disabilities

Most of our shared resources are local to the SF Bay Area in California or are virtual/nationwide. 

Do you know of a resource we should feature? Email us!

[email protected]

The Child Mind Institute is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders by giving them the help they need to thrive.

We’re the leading independent nonprofit in children’s mental health, operating three Mission Areas that work together for greater impact: Care, Education and Science.

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NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

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The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, located in Berkeley, California, and Washington, DC, USA is a national cross-disability civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities.

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Family Sanity is all about sharing information. We share what we have learned about working with schools, and are continually building our list of professional resources, which is available to you on this site.

We also want to foster ongoing conversation among those of us who are facing these issues. Our online forum on this site is a place for sharing our stories, and providing ongoing support to each other.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay area, you might also want to join one of our monthly parent support groups.

If you have kept a journal or chronicled your experiences as a parent that you feel might be helpful to others, please consider sending us your writings for our Blog. Email them to us at [email protected]  

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Are you struggling to stay connected with your teenager or young adult as they experience anxiety, depression, addiction, school refusal or lack of motivation?

Willows provides help and guidance for parents as they work to restabilize as a family. Join a supportive community of parents who are on a similar journey.

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The Mind-Eye Institute is an optometry practice with an emphasis on neuro-optometric rehabilitation that provides world-class care by measuring the eye as well as how the brain processes its visual inputs. Each person’s unique reactions and responses to lens changes are measured with state-of-the-art therapeutic lenses. Through groundbreaking research and innovative treatments, Dr. Zelinsky, who is "2E", and her team have been creating life-changing experiences for nearly 30 years.

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Today we simply don’t know enough about autism. SPARK—a landmark autism research project—aims to make important progress possible. SPARK stands for ‘Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research,’ and the mission is simple: we want to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives.

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Spectrum is the go-to destination for the latest news and analysis about autism research and a springboard for scientists and clinicians to forge collaborations that deepen our understanding of autism.

We sift through the steady stream of autism papers and highlight the most noteworthy. Our deeply reported news articles explain the context and impact of each finding. We also turn to experts in the field for their opinions on trends or controversies in autism research.

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We recognise the important role Deaf and disabled people play in identifying solutions to their own challenges and that these solutions can be of benefit to others. This site shares some of that knowledge and experience we have been collecting since 1998. And now, this site provides opportunities for disabled parents and their professional allies to share that expertise more directly with others.

We are based in England, and our information is specifically targeted to disabled people in England. However, until 2012, we published a quarterly international journal, Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood international, dedicated to disabled parenting not only in England but in the wider international community. The journal is no longer published separately, but the content is being integrated into this website.

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The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research.

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At The Inspired Treehouse, we believe that with a little help, kids can build strong, healthy bodies and minds through play. We feature easy-to implement activities that are designed to promote all kinds of developmental skills for kids.

We are pediatric occupational and physical therapists so we are also passionate about sharing information, tips, and strategies to help readers conquer the common developmental roadblocks that come up for kids. We believe that the more parents, teachers, and caregivers know about child development and wellness, the better off kids are!

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The Balanced Mind Parent Network (BMPN) is an online support community for parents and caregivers to find connections, resources, and hope.

The Balanced Mind Parent Network was created to connect parents across the world who are raising children living with mood disorders. Our family-focused community provides reliable information to caregivers about mood disorders, treatment, school accommodations, research, and more. The online community has groups, forums, and other resources to support you along your journey. The discussion boards are moderated by dedicated volunteers who are parents and caregivers themselves and understand the realities of raising a child living with a mood disorder diagnosis. 

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We guide patients with complex neurological, immunological, genetic, and metabolic issues to optimal health by providing comprehensive, individualized medical care.

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SignOn connects the hearing and Deaf communities through authentic virtual learning interactions that give American Sign Language learners the unique opportunities to communicate one-on-one with a Deaf ASL Ambassador. Users can personalize their experience choosing to practice everything from basic vocabulary to daily conversation. SignOn gives people the confidence they need to engage with the Deaf Community while practicing and retaining language techniques.

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Through strong therapeutic relationships, we sensitively observe and adapt individualized academic and behavioral instruction with medical oversight for our students. Students thrive in our 3 students to one teacher ratio.

Our world-class medical researchers, speech and occupational therapists, teachers and psychologists work in concert to reveal a unique – and constantly updated – 360° view of your child. We’ve partnered with UCSF’s STAR Autism and Neurodevelopment Program to apply and study science-based treatment and education models. Located in a peaceful and natural setting in the hills of Marin County, Oak Hill School students learn to successfully self-regulate and tap into their own creativity and curiosity. 

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Twenty years ago, Mrs. Brown was working in a classroom when she became frustrated with the lack of success she was witnessing among the students with Down syndrome. Taking it upon herself to find a better way, she read Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome by Patricia Oelwein. A masterpiece of literature when it comes to educating children with learning disabilities, this book became the foundation of So Happy to Learn. Beginning with three students in her living room, the So Happy to Learn family now includes hundreds of learners.

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In the late 1960s, a Southern California public school reading specialist began to realize the interconnection of sensorimotor abilities, language acquisition, and academic achievement. In exploring the use of movement to enhance academic skills, he founded a group of reading centers where, based on his own empirical research along with study in such fields as psychology, neuroscience, and developmental optometry, he adapted specific movements to his students’ needs.

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Individuals with conditions such as Autism, ADD/ADHD, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, T-21/Down syndrome, dementia, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, and pain are finding a reduction of symptoms with QRI®. Practitioners report that use of the protocols for reflexes often relieves and heals specific areas of pain faster. Although QRI® works for individuals with specific disabilities, they also allow individuals to reach their potential by strengthening neurological connections.

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The Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex IntegrationSM (MNRI®) training programs provide professionals and families with revolutionary, foundational knowledge and guidance in addressing neurologically based challenges.

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Our philosophy is that through education,

accessible resources, practical

strategies and a commitment to

consistently incorporating the

experiences and perspectives of

autistic people, we can support the

leveling up of society when it comes to

autism and neurodiversity. 

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The SCERTS® Model is a research-based educational approach and multidisciplinary framework that directly addresses the core challenges faced by children and persons with ASD and related disabilities, and their families. SCERTS® focuses on building competence in Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support as the highest priorities that must be addressed in any program, and is applicable for individuals with a wide range of abilities and ages across home, school and community settings.

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DBSA provides hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders.

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Support and resources for families & educators of children with diverse learning needs. Located in the San Francisco East Bay in Lafayette, CA

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The IDEA makes available a free appropriate public education to and ensures special education and related services to eligible children with disabilities.

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When was Fape created?

v. Amy Rowley The first special education decision from the U. S. Supreme Court in 1982 defines FAPE.

Under the IDEA, public schools are required to provide each child with a disability with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment, at no cost to the child's parents.

The legal concept of "FAPE" is shorthand for "free, appropriate public education." In a nutshell, FAPE is an individualized educational program that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and from which the child receives educational benefit, and prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living.

The legal definition of FAPE is in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at 20 U. S. C. § 1401(3)(A)(9) (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, page 51) and in the Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R. § 300.17 (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, page 196).

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What is an example of an emotional disability?

Some conditions that might be present in students found to have an Emotional Disability are anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.

 “Emotional Disturbance” is the term used in the nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

IDEA defines emotional disturbance as follows:

“…a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:


(A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

(B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.

(C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

(D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

(E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.” (2)

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What is the purpose of SELPA?

The purpose of a SELPA is (1) to achieve a sufficient size and scope to effectively provide the full continuum of placement and program options called for in federal law, (2) to provide the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities, and (3) to provide a local governance system.

Today, there are over 130 SELPAs in California. The SELPA governance structures vary in form, including models for Multi-District SELPAs, Multi-District/County Office SELPAs, Single District SELPAs, Multi-District/Multi- County SELPAs, County SELPAs with Joint Powers Agreements, and Charter only SELPAs.

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The IHSS Program will help pay for services provided to you so that you can remain safely in your own home. To be eligible, you must be over 65 years of age, or disabled, or blind. IHSS is considered an alternative to out-of-home care, such as nursing homes or board and care facilities.

The types of services which can be authorized through IHSS are housecleaning, meal preparation, laundry, grocery shopping, personal care services (such as bowel and bladder care, bathing, grooming and paramedical services), accompaniment to medical appointments, and protective supervision for the mentally impaired.

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CRP, founded in 1996, has been dedicated to providing intensive crisis prevention, emergency response intervention, and follow-up services as support for Regional Center consumers throughout California.

CRP’s goal is to provide crisis prevention, intervention, training, and follow-up services as support to community homes, day programs, and families. CRP works specifically to decrease police involvement and psychiatric hospitalization and also to increase the success of consumers in the community and staff’s ability to handle future crises. Additionally, CRP strives to help address the mental health needs of individuals with developmental disabilities.

CRP serves consumers with developmental disabilities who receive Regional Center services.

Many consumers that CRP serves are dually diagnosed with developmental disabilities and mental health disorders.

Services Offered

* Crisis Prevention

* Community trainings

* Crisis Intervention

* De-escalation

* Residential trainings

* Follow-up services

* Behavioral plans

* CBT program

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The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness who have income and resources below specific financial limits. SSI payments are also made to people age 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial qualifications.

You may be eligible to receive SSI monthly payments even if you are already receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or retirement benefits.

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From the CEO/Founder Denise Carbon, a special needs therapist of 30 years: 

I dream of a time when all children, regardless of their abilities or limitations, are easily and completely included into society. My mission is to help kids with special needs thrive while helping parents conquer stress, fear, and overwhelm. I work with children with any special need in person and virtually.

I work with kids from birth to 7 years old, and also coach parents and families (regardless of their child's age) who are:

★ frustrated and exhausted trying to navigate the systems

★ unsure how to best support their child

★ struggling with limiting beliefs and self- sabotaging behaviors

★ experiencing negative emotions such as worry, guilt, anxiety, and fear

★ wanting to better understand and help their child grow up and live a happy, independent life

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A safe space where parents can breathe, and all children can expand.

Just opened January 2022 in San Ramon, CA! Our services are for all children, including those with disabilities or delays, ages 0-9. Please join our growing community of local families seeking connection, support, and fun!

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NeuroMovement® evolved from over 30 years of Anat Baniel’s experience with thousands of clients using practical applications of brain plasticity principles.

The Method’s approach is founded in neuroscience and the biodynamics of the human body and supported by current brain plasticity research. 

This Method has helped thousands of people—from five days old to 90 years old—tap into the incredible power of their brain to change.

They have overcome pain and limitation, and achieved higher levels of physical, emotional, and cognitive performance.


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Education. Empowerment. Equity.


Supporting Families in Need

Since 1982, Support for Families of Children with Disabilities has offered information, education, and parent-to-parent support free of charge to families of children with any kind of disability or special healthcare need.

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Family Support Services assists families who face serious challenges in successfully caring for their children. These include families with children who have mental or physical disabilities; families taking care of children who are substance exposed, medically fragile, or are HIV+; and families in which grandparents or other relatives have had to step in to care for children. Family Support Services also works with families in which children are at risk of abuse or neglect to help parents improve their parenting skills and ensure that these children are raised in safe, healthy, and nurturing environments.

Our mission is to nurture children, youth, and caregivers to keep families healthy and intact.

Family Support Services delivers programs in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties. We reach clients in some of the most underserved communities in the Bay Area. Of the families we support, over 83% are families of color, over 62% are headed by a single adult, and over 60% live in poverty. Our Agency served more than 2,000 Bay Area clients each year.

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Their mission is to contribute to the

enrichment of lives of children & adults with developmental disabilities.

They provide youth and young adults with the skills and opportunities they need to become successful and productive members of society.

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Community Works seeks to catalyze our collective power to transform justice through programs and policy rooted in humanity and healing.

Our direct service work heals trauma, builds individual capacity, and reduces barriers to family connection. Our advocacy work elevates the voices of our clients to advance policies and practices that promote diversion and successful reentry. We serve currently and formerly incarcerated mothers and fathers in custody and post-release in San Francisco County.

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Centerforce is a leading reentry service provider in the San Francisco Bay Area, serving people with a history of incarceration, their families, and communities. We provide evidence-based programs that exemplify reentry best practices, and have done so for over 40 years. Founded in 1977 to provide shelter to loved ones visiting prisoners at San Quentin, Centerforce now provides a broad range of services during incarceration, reentry, and after release.

We work with correctional entities, probation departments, other non-profits and research institutions to design, implement and evaluate programs that support communities impacted by incarceration. Centerforce is one of a handful of community-based service providers to offer a continuum of services pre and post-release, with expertise in working inside both jails and prisons.

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Since 1989, Manos Home Care has been providing in-home services for adults and children with developmental disabilities throughout the East Bay in cities such as Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Antioch, Walnut Creek, Livermore, Hayward, Union City, and Fremont. Manos serves clients of the Regional Center of the East Bay in the Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Manos Home Care is Employee owned.

We provide:

• Respite care

• Daycare and personal assistance

• Home care for seniors and adults

• Independent living (ILS) instruction

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First 5 (County-wide Program per State) helps young children grow up healthy and ready to learn during the most important time in their development. We have nearly two decades of experience funding innovative programs and advocating for policies that produce better futures for our children. In partnership with the community, we support a county-wide continuous prevention and early intervention system that promotes optimal health and development, narrows disparities and improves the lives of children from birth to age five and their families.

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Mission: Bay Area Friendship Circle creates inclusion and friendship for children and teens with special needs. We empower our teen volunteers to become engaged and caring community leaders.

Vision: We strive to create a more compassionate community in which individuals with special needs are fully embraced as contributing members. Our teen volunteers gain a deeper and more meaningful perspective on life, which shapes how they will impact the world.

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Community & Youth Outreach (CYO) helps save lives and develop youth.

We believe that once you establish a trusting and caring relationship , even with the very highest risk young people, you can provide them with opportunities to succeed and support them in overcoming challenges.

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Employment and Independent Living for Californians with Disabilities since 1963.

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LifeLong Medical Care has convenient locations across Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin Counties. LifeLong Medical Care has earned widespread national recognition for creative approaches to community health challenges, including the needs of the low-income elderly, people with disabilities, and high-risk pregnant women. Other health centers look to LifeLong’s model as they develop their services for these patients. We continuously advocate for public policy improvements related to quality care access, the reduction of health disparities, and expanded home- and community- based care.

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Compassionate care in the comfort of home.

We offer private duty nursing, skilled nursing, physical rehabilitation, companion care, respite care,

and behavioral care for individuals with chronic and acute illnesses and disabilities.

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600,000+ people come home from prison every year. With a job and support, they have a chance to succeed.

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Founded in Oakland, California, the mission of Roots Community Health Center is to uplift those impacted by systemic inequities and poverty. We accomplish this through medical and behavioral health care, health navigation, workforce enterprises, housing, outreach, and advocacy.

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TRANSFORMING LIVES AND LANDSCAPES SINCE 1983

Our mission is to re-engage young adults to earn a high school diploma, gain job skills, pursue college, and embark on family sustaining careers.

Since its founding in 1983 as one of the first local conservation corps in California, Civicorps has advanced the CCC’s mission to protect and enhance California’s natural resources and communities. As the only conservation corps serving the East Bay, Civicorps meets the region’s urgent need for sustainable land management while providing high quality education and workforce development opportunities for youth.

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"Building career pathways for economic equity and climate resilience"

Rising Sun is a premier nonprofit organization working at the intersection of economic equity and climate resilience in the California Bay Area and San Joaquin County. With offices in Oakland and Stockton, our workforce development programs specialize in preparing youth, women, and individuals in reentry for high-road careers and green pathways that offer family-sustaining wages. Since our founding in 1994, Rising Sun has served more than 3,000 youth and adults while helping over 52,700 households reduce their carbon footprint.

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For nearly 40 years, Success Centers has worked with people living in difficult circumstances. We have positively impacted the lives of thousands of individuals, helping them to obtain employment, complete their education, and tap their creative power.

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Our Mission

The Unity Council’s mission is to promote social equity and improve quality of life by building vibrant communities where everyone can work, learn, and thrive.

Our Vision

We envision a joyful, united, and engaged community where people have the power to shape their lives.

We welcome, embrace, and celebrate the beauty of our rich community diversity. 


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"Justice for Birth Injury Victims"

Many birth injuries are the result of medical negligence before, during, or after labor and delivery. Learning birth injury causes, signs, and treatments can empower and guide you as you take action to help your child.

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What is 510Families?

Have more fun with kids in Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, and Alameda! 510Families.com is the best website for East Bay parents to find kid-friendly activities every day.

Our local events calendar is usually packed with drop-in classes, free storytimes, and festivals. Plan your weekend and your summer vacation: daily articles and a weekend planner help you find what’s fun and free when you need it.

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The people we serve direct their EBI services as much as they can. We help people strive for independence when possible, and we provide assistance when independence is not possible. We believe in services that are flexible and change over time as people change.

OUR SERVICES:

Supported Living

Independent Living

Employment Services

Project SEARCH

Community Day Supports

Transitional Care/Case Management

LifeTrust Care (LTC)

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