DVU board members and self-advocates pose in a big group in front of the Santa Monica Courthouse, all smiling and holding up the victory sign with their fingers in a V

A Self-Determined Life: Davis’ Story

Our son Davis has a very rare chromosomal condition. He’s non-verbal, and has a lot of needs. Before Self-Determination, regional center supported us with diapers for our son. We had to get them from the vendored agency and they were of poor quality. We had respite vouchers, but … Read More >>

Two women smile, one Asian and one white and both wearing red pose with their arms around each other

We Want to Be in Control of Our Lives: Christine’s Story

Sadly, as a person with a developmental disability becomes an adult and special education ends, the lack of quality providers and services becomes more evident. This is a true depiction of my experience when I entered adult services … Read More >>

A Latino man speaks at a microphone, wearing a suit and holding papers. People sit in rows behind him. Text on image reads: Oversight Hearing. Moving Toward Equity: Addressing Disparities in Services Provided by the Regional Center System

We want our children to have more choices: Abner’s Story

My 9-year old son, Abner, Jr, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 ½ and became a client of South Central Los Angeles Regional Center. We were told at the time that the regional center was the “light.” We blindly believed that they would … Read More >>

Two Latina women and a Latino man with a disability sit at a table with food, looking off toward a presentation

Ayuda: Jared’s Story

Jared was born with a rare disorder called Dandy-Walker syndrome, which affects his brain and causes intellectual disabilities, severe autism, partial blindness, hearing loss, and motor difficulties. He can only make a few sounds that few understand. Jared is now 16 and has … Read More >>

A young white boy with blonde hair looks out a window, his face reflected back at him

Pay for Lawyers, But Not Services? John’s Story

John* was a teenager with autism who had some significant behavioral challenges.  He couldn’t be left alone and needed to be with a caregiver who understood his needs.  Part of his caregiver’s salary was funded through respite services at … Read More >>

A man with a buzz cut wearing a backpack smiles while a woman with long brown hair hugs him from behind and smiles widely

Steak is Coming: Joaquin’s Story

In his early life, my brother, Joaquin Carson, attended a segregated public school and then a completely separate non-public school for autistic children. After being expelled from both schools and introduced to psychotropic medications, Joaquin spent a large portion of … Read More >>

A young man with short brown hair and a small beard stands with his arm around a woman, his mother, while both of them laugh. He is a full head taller than her.

A Family in Crisis: Danny’s Story

My son, Danny, is 21 years old and has autism and mental health disabilities. Throughout his life, Danny has faced tremendous adversity – more than most children without a profound disability. He has faced significant crises related to family tragedies and his … Read More >>

An Asian man with a disability skydiving, strapped to an instructor

Flying High: Tim’s Story

I have Cerebral Palsy and I type with my toes.   I have always been good at self-advocacy.  I graduated from college, work, and have been living on my own with supported living for almost 15 years and I’m officially in my fourth decade, plus two years. I’m 42 for those … Read More >>