Carola is a mother of two amazing boys, aged 7 and 13, with Autism; both boys receive services from the Regional Center. She was born and raised in Bolivia, where she graduated with honors from Chemical Engineering at San Simon University. She also worked as a researcher at the Universidad Mayor de San Simon (UMSS) Agrotechnology Center for 4 years, and has a Master’s of Science in Refining and Natural Gas treatment from the IFP French Institute of Petroleum Paris-France.
Carola, who speaks fluent Spanish, came to the United States in 2007, two years before her oldest son, who was diagnosed with autism at age two, was born. Four years after that, her younger son was also diagnosed with autism. Carola considers these events to have completely changed her life and since then, she has been dedicated to learning how to navigate the complex disability world.
As a mother herself with more than 10 years of experience in this world, she understands how hard this can be, and how lonely this journey can feel. She had learned to navigate systems like Special Education, Regional Center, In-Home Support Services, and health insurance; each one helping her to become a more effective advocate. Her personal journey in the Self-Determination Program began in 2015 when she became a member of her sons’ Regional Center’s Self-Determination Local Advisory Committee. Her sons transitioned to Self-Determination in 2021. While venturing out this way and finding new ways to shape the lives of individuals with special needs originally seemed daunting, she has been able to see the benefits of the Self-Determination Program every day in her own sons’ lives. The Self-Determination Program focuses on strengths, interests, dreams, and passions. This requires a significant shift in the way people think about their loved ones and themselves, as most are used to thinking about deficits and challenges. It has opened many doors for Carola’s sons, and she sees it as a privilege to be part of helping others achieve their dream lives.
Carola completed 2 years of training via The Learning Rights Center’s TIGER program, focuses on Special Education and rights under IDEA (the Individual with Disabilities Education Act). In addition, she has completed trainings on Person Centered Thinking and holds Independent Facilitator certifications from the State Council of Developmental Disabilities, Autism Society of Los Angeles, Disability Voices United, and Guidelight Group. Carola is familiar with Developmental Disorders like Autism, as well as other related diagnosis like Sensory Processing Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Receptive and Expressive Language Disorders, and Dysarthria, as well as Mental Health diagnoses like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), interoception and dual diagnoses.
Besides her private practice, Resilience Facilitation Services, where Carola offers Independent Facilitation Services for the Self-Determination Program, she also works at Autism Society of Los Angeles (ASLA) as a Hispanic Community Moderator for their Multicultural Independent Facilitator (IF) training series, where she is in charge of creating training materials and providing training to new, multicultural IFs in both English and Spanish.
Alex received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the California State University, Dominguez Hills and also holds an Associate Clinical Social Work (ACSW) License. He presently works at a psychiatric hospital as a clinical social worker, specifically in Developmental Delayed Units (DDMI), where he works with children, adolescents, and adults with development disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and mental health issues. Alex is trained in emotional interviewing and nonviolent crisis interventions to assist patients who undergo behavioral outbursts. As a psychiatric social worker, he has experience working with dual diagnoses and providing individual and group counseling utilizing Cognitive and Dialectal Behavioral modalities.
As a bilingual, Spanish-speaking, social worker, and having been raised in South Central Los Angeles, Alex has first-hand experience witnessing the socioeconomic disparity of marginalized and under-resourced communities and the challenges that families with similar backgrounds face. His passion lies in assisting families to feel supported and guiding them in accessing services through the Regional Center or generic resources. As a former Regional Center Service Coordinator, Alex is familiar with multiple community resources and has created partnerships with community members. He continues to assist as many families as he can and hopes to empower them to self-advocate in the process.
Santiago is a young man on the autism spectrum who was also the first participant at South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC) to begin the Self-Determination Program (SDP) after it rolled out to all individuals served by Regional Centers in July 2021. He shares with the team his personal experience of always feeling like the traditional Regional Center services and system didn’t meet his needs, as well as the life-changing opportunities presented to him by SDP and having his voice and opinion matter. Santiago is a graduate of the February 2022 cohort of Disability Voices United’s Emerging Leaders Program and he hopes to eventually become a Service Coordinator at a Regional Center. He is currently working towards that goal with employment supports via Self-Determination, volunteering as a coach of a Challenger Little League team, and reaching out to other self-advocates through this project.
In collaboration with the Harbor Regional Center (HRC) Local Advisory Committee, Phoenix Facilitation is pleased to offer FREE coaching services to participants and families interested in Self-Determination.
Our team of bilingual staff can work with you in English, Spanish, Korean, and/or Mandarin, and can assist you with determining if Self-Determination is the right choice for you and your loved one. We can help connect you to an Independent Facilitator to complete a Person-Centered Plan, provide additional information about, and training on, the process, liaison with the Regional Center, explore services and supports that might assist you and your family, and more!
If you would like to participate in coaching and/or learn more, please contact your Service Coordinator or email email@example.com. You can also reach Phoenix’s team directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and/or calling or texting 310.863.7977.
Helen is the parent of a young man who receives Self-Determination services from Regional Center of the East Bay (RCEB). She is not only his advocate who has had to explore the various resources and portions of the program, including communication with the Self-Determination Ombudsperson, but also a trained Independent Facilitator via Charting the Life Course. In this role, Helen has worked with numerous Regional Centers, including Westside Regional Center and North Los Angeles County Regional Center. Since summer 2021, Helen has also led a successful coaching program through the Local Advisory Committee at South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC). Helen speaks Mandarin and is able to provide language of choice services to the Chinese community
Pursuant to Welfare & Institutions Code 4704.6, individuals served by Regional Centers have certain appeal and complaint rights in regards to vendored services. Please click here for the Department of Developmental Services' website and/or contact the Department of Developmental Services at 916-654-1987 for more information or if you would like to file a complaint.