The California Deaf Education Resource Center supports education and related services for all Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in California through the domains of early intervention, parent education, assistance to local education agencies, community education, and assessment services.


Assessment services are intended for students with any form of hearing loss that reside in Southern California. Assessment reports may include whether the student may need special education and related services; the basis for making the determination; relevant behavior observed and its relationship to academic and social functioning; discrepancies between achievement and ability for students with learning disabilities and how special education services can be implemented; determination on the effects of environment, culture, or economic challenges as appropriate; and the need for specialized services, materials, and equipment for pupils with low incidence disabilities.

Requests for assessment services are made by a referral from a school district with completed packet (District form, Teacher form, and Parent form). After a complete application is received, the file will be reviewed to determine is assessment can be provided. Testing will be scheduled with the family and typically takes up to four days to complete on the campus of California School for the Deaf, Riverside. At the conclusion of testing, an Assessment Review meeting will be scheduled with the family and a district representative to review the preliminary findings of the assessment. This is not an IEP meeting. Members of the assessment team can participate, by phone, in subsequent IEP meetings scheduled by the district, given the meeting is related to the assessment completed. There is no charge for assessment services.

To request an application for assessment services, please contact us at cderc@csdr-cde.ca.gov

The California Deaf Education Resource Center has a number of staff members that are experts in their fields and can offer additional resources, support, and workshops.

Topics for workshops may include:

  • Deaf Children and Diagnoses on the Autism Spectrum
  • Deaf Children and Mood Disorders
  • How to Assess Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
  • Effective Behavioral Intervention with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

DEAFTec logo in orange and brown

In partnership with the Rochester Institute of Technology and the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education National Center of Excellence, CDERC is excited to bring to all high schools, DeafTEC: A technological education clearinghouse for professionals who work with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students. On a broad, national level, DeafTEC serves as a resource for high schools and community colleges that educate deaf and hard-of-hearing students in STEM-related programs and for employers hiring deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

DeafTEC has established a model within targeted regions of the country to create partnerships among high schools, community colleges, and industry to improve access to technological education and employment for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. CDERC is offering DeafTEC trainings for high school teachers. We will train your staff on the premise of Universal Design: making the classroom setting accessible for all deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Under the grant, all high school teachers will receive a stipend for participation in training(s).

STEM Signs Dictionary Project

Signs for vocabulary used in Information Technology have been developed and are provided here. Other STEM disciplines will follow. Please note that, like all dictionaries, this is a work in progress. It is a start but is not exhaustive. We invite you to e-mail suggestions for additional terms and other improvements to aslstem@rit.edu. This project has been funded in part by the DOW Chemical Corporation.


Request a Workshop

Project Access

A workshop designed to provide teachers with strategies for providing improved access to learning for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in mainstreamed classes. This experiential workshop enables participants to gain an understanding of how Deaf students experience a mainstreamed classroom, and provides real-life strategies and extensive on-line resources that will help teachers and faculty modify their teaching to provide greater access for students by:

  • Sensitizing educators to challenges faced by Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in a mainstream environment
  • Presenting effective use of support service personnel (sign language interpreters, notetakers, tutors, and captionists)
  • Preparing individual teaching strategy plans
  • Assisting in mastering strategies to meet the goals of Universal Design in education

Project Access shares best practices for instruction for the benefit of all students in the classroom.

Working Together

A workshop designed to help employers and co-workers develop the sensitivity and skills for Deaf and hearing colleagues to work together successfully. Through hands-on activities, small group discussions, and specially-designed materials, this workshop provides employers and human resources personnel with the skills they need to hire, train, and retain Deaf and Hard of Hearing workers. Topics explored include:

  • Understanding hearing loss
  • Communicating on the job
  • Integrating Deaf and Hard of Hearing employees into the workplace
  • Accommodating Deaf and Hard of Hearing employees

Working Together helps employers understand the skills that Deaf and Hard of Hearing employees can bring to the organization, and helps create a workplace where all employees can realize their full potential.

About Project Fast Forward

Project Fast Forward is helping Deaf and Hard of Hearing students go from high school to college by offering dual credit college courses designed especially for you. If you qualify, you can enroll in Rochester Institute of Technology courses offered through the college of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The courses are taught at your own high school, by your own teachers, during regular school hours. you can earn both college and high school credit for your work. The credit you earn can be used toward a degree at RIT/NTID or at any other college across the country that accepts the credit. Once you complete an RIT/NTID dual credit course you can receive an official RIT transcript showing the final grade for the course and college credit earned.

Why Dual Credit?

  • Earn college credit while you are still in high school
  • Save money
  • Learn how to study for college courses
  • Prove that you can do college work
  • Get the confidence you need to succeed in college
  • Explore STEM careers

How Much Does It Cost?

There is currently no cost associated with enrolling in an RIT/NTID dual credit course and receiving the college credit through Project Fast Forward.

Which Courses Can I Take?

Project Fast Forward offers STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) courses for dual credit. RIT/NTID courses currently being offered for dual credit are: Information Technology: Computer Applications (MS Office), Intro to Programming, PC Hardware, and Web Development Graphic Arts: Page Layout I (Adobe InDesign) and Raster & Vector Graphics (Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator) Engineering: Blueprint Reading and Engineering Graphics (CAD) Lab Science: Biological Studies, Environmental Studies, and Forensics

How Do I Qualify?

Dual credit courses are offered through an agreement between your high school and RIT/NTID. To enroll in a dual credit douse, you would have to satisfy both the college and high school requirements and show that you are ready for college-level coursework. See your guidance counselor for more information. Note: Completion of a course does not guarantee admission to the college of NTID and other colleges may or may not accept the credit for transfer. For more information go to: www.deaftec.org/fast-forward.


Parents are the key to the development of every skill a child has: social, psychological, academic, and cognitive. All of these skills are shaped by language fluency. Understanding your child’s language needs and learning strategies and skills to communicate with your child is critical for academic success and overall well-being.

Development of the Whole Child

Developmental Milestones

Students in a Classroom

The goal of CDERC-South is to support parents in their efforts to provide their Deaf/Hard of Hearing baby with the language and early listening experiences through everyday activities in the natural environment (home/school). Therefore, our program focuses on the parent’s knowledge and understanding to communicate efficiently with their Deaf/Hard of Hearing baby.

Parents are ultimate decision-makers and we are here to provide support. Staff and specialists serve as resources for families.

Learning through play and exploration is primary within the context of a language rich environment.

We provide our students with a strong language foundation to support the acquisition of secondary languages.


It is an innate human need to think and communicate thoughts. Language acquisition and the ability for a child to communicate with parents, family, peers, and those in their community is critical to their development and academic success. The key is finding a mode of communication that is accessible to the child and the family.

A Kid Looking Through a Bubble Shape

American Sign Language

Parents are the key to the development of every skill a child has: social, psychological, academic, and cognitive. All of these skills are shaped by language fluency. For many Deaf and Hard of Hearing children the primary language is ASL (the secondary language is English). In order to effectively mitigate the development of your child, you need to learn ASL.

The links below are resources available that can be used to help improve sign language proficiency, storytelling and interactions with your Deaf or hard of hearing child, and more information on Deaf culture and services available to your family.

IEP Resources and Support

Additional Resources:

Better IEPs: How to Develop Legally Correct and Educationally Useful IEPs by Barbara Bateman and Mary Anne Linden

The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child by Lawrence Siegal

Preparing Instructional Objectives by Robert Mager

Measuring Instructional Results by Robert Mager

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs by Peter W. D. Wright, Pamela Darr Wright, and Sandra Webb O’Connor

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition by Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright

Least Restrictive Environment/Language Rich Environment

The legal concept of Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) can be complicated, but it really comes down to where does the child have the most access to education?

When most people see the term Least Restrictive Environment, they imagine a place where the student is most comfortable and able to interact with peers and professionals. From a hearing perspective, this would mean that a Deaf child is able to freely interact with hearing peers. From a Deaf perspective this would more likely mean that a Deaf child has access to a community of people that use the same language, ASL or a combination of ASL and spoken

Historically, school districts have advocated for placement in local programs as a first choice. Districts look at placement options like a continuum with mainstream class placement at one end and full time separate classes (often at a NonPublic School) at the other end. Often times, the Schools for the Deaf are mistakenly considered a NonPublic School or a very restrictive educational environment.

According to IDEA’s LRE Provisions when discussing LRE, the IEP team should consider:

  • How much (time) should the hearing or deaf child be with nondisabled peers?
  • Is regular progress being made in the regular classes?

This is the IEP team’s decision. Often times what happens is the IEP team assumes that LRE is tied to the local program. In actuality, LRE is not place-specific. It is entirely based on the needs of the child. By law, after discussing the educational needs of the child, the IEP team should be presented with and discuss all possible placement options when considering FAPE. Keeping that in mind, deaf and hard of hearing are unique so the application of LRE to this population should be different.


Working with a Deaf Child

Communication skills are one of the most important abilities that human beings possess. They are not attained in an isolated environment. Much like a spider’s web which connects to and with many different areas, communication is developed with support and input from different sources; the more connections are made, the stronger the spider’s web and the better the language skills. When these skills are lacking (in any language) our ability to connect to others, develop healthy coping skills, learn from our environments and build our internal scaffold is greatly affected. It is common knowledge that children’s most optimal time for exposure to and development of language and communications skills is from birth to 5 years of age. According to the National Science Foundation, Most researchers agree that children acquire language through interplay of biology and environmental factors. Some researchers theorize that children are born with an innate biological “device” for understanding the principles and organization common to all languages. According to this theory, the brain’s “language module” gets programmed to follow the specific grammar of the language a child is exposed to early in life.

When considering the optimal mode of communication for children, it is important to note the most effective mode of communication for the child given his/her age and most accessible mode of language. ASL, English, other languages supported by the use of objects and pictures, can have equal impact. Children benefit from as much exposure and access to language in all of the above modes, and should be provided daily conversation, instruction and access to language in any or all modes on a daily basis. At home as well as in the classroom it is important to not anticipate children’s needs but rather provide opportunities that allow them to retrieve and express appropriate language.

According to research done at Gallaudet University, in addition to functional communication skills it is also essential that children’s language acquisition allows them to develop skills in Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP); CALP refers to formal academic learning. This includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing about subject area content material (in ASL or printed English). This level of language learning is essential for students to succeed in school. Students need time and support to become proficient in academic areas. This usually takes from five to seven years. And the earlier children are exposed to accessible language, the better the foundation is for future language use.

Working with Deaf Professionals

Don’t be intimidated by trying to communicate with Deaf or hard-of-hearing colleagues. It’s perfectly fine to ask how they would prefer to communicate, and there are a lot of communication options. Just remember to share informal information with deaf colleagues as well as formal information, and to include deaf or hard-of-hearing employees in conversations, work break activities, and social events.

People who are Deaf or hard of hearing use a variety of ways to communicate. Some rely on sign language interpreters; others use assistive listening devices like hearing aids or cochlear implants; and others may rely primarily on written messages. Many can speak even though they cannot hear. The accommodation your company would need to provide would vary depending upon the abilities of the person who is deaf or hard of hearing and on the complexity and nature of the communications that are required.

Addressing Behavior

In schools today, at all grade levels, teachers and administrators face a growing number of students whose behavior may interfere with individual and class-wide learning. Schools have come to rely on school-wide behavioral programs which practice prevention of unwanted behaviors through teaching strategies and reinforcing positive behaviors. The promotion of clear rules and expectations, caring about students, as well as praising and encouraging positive behaviors are important skilled techniques. Individual students that have additional disabilities, may require more specific techniques and a system for referral. Referrals may come in the form of a behavior consult, discussion at an Interdepartmental Disciplinary Team (IDT) meeting, requests for Assessment Plans, or other school-based intervention programs. More specific information can be shared on a case by case basis through the California Deaf Education Resource Center.

Interpreter Resource

Signs for vocabulary used in Information Technology have been developed and are provided here. Other STEM disciplines will follow. Please note that, like all dictionaries, this is a work in progress. It is a start but is not exhaustive. We invite you to e-mail suggestions for additional terms and other improvements to aslstem@rit.edu. This project has been funded in part by the DOW Chemical Corporation.

Itinerant Teachers

As reported in the 30th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (2008) in 2006, 86.4% of students that were Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing (DHH), ages 6-21, were educated in mainstream schools.

DHH students spend the majority of their school day in classes with hearing peers, supported by itinerant teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing, interpreters, speech-language pathologists, note-takers and captionists, and resource room teachers. In 2006, almost half of mainstreamed DHH students attended regular classes with hearing peers for 80% or more of the day (30th Annual Report to congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, 2008).

As a result of these changes over 40 years, more DHH students are attending their local public school where they receive support services from itinerant teachers. They travel among these schools to work with their students individually to support their mainstream education. Itinerant teachers of DHH also provide support for students regarding self-advocacy skills, self-concept development, communication repair, social skills, and transition processes. Additionally, an itinerant teacher provides ongoing support and consultation to school staff members and parents. Specific services are based on the needs of the student and usually documented within the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

For more information and additional videos that further describe each category, please visit http://deaftec.org/itinerant.


Staff Photo


All of the CDERC staff work full time for the California School for the Deaf, Riverside (CSD Riverside).

In the fall of 2013 the California Deaf Education Resource Center – South (CDERC-South) was established under the California Department of Education. Housed at the School for the Deaf in Riverside, the goal of the CDERC-South is to act as a clearinghouse of resources for Southern California for those serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and adolescents.

The center, as defined in EC 59002.5, functions to “disseminate special curriculum, media teaching methods, instructional materials adapted for deaf individuals, achievement tests and other assessment methods useful to the instruction of deaf individuals.”

This is an exciting collaboration to best meet the needs of all 9,000 Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing students in southern California.

CDERC-South has already established programs and gathered resources to promote our vision for Deaf Education. Towards this goal, CDERC-South has the following programming / trainings in place:

  • DeafTEC: DeafTEC is a grant from the National Science Foundation with the primary purpose of employing more DHH individuals into technology/STEM careers. In addition, there are training materials and workshops targeted for DHH teachers on universal design and writing in the disciplines
  • Early Start Workshop Series: Focus on techniques for parents and professionals that work with the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and strategies to develop language skills. Instruction will include presentation, demonstration, videos, guest speakers, and hands-on opportunities. Spanish and ASL interpreters will be provided.
  • CDERC-Assessment Services: A Deaf or Hard of Hearing student may be referred, as appropriate, for psychological assessment and recommendations.
  • Request a Workshop / Consultation: CDERC has a network of professionals – psychologists, teachers, Audiologists, Occupational Therapists – who can provide workshops or consultation.

This is an exciting era in Deaf education. I invite you to witness the culture of academic excellence and join me in celebrating California Deaf Education Resource Center!


Dr. Natasha Kordus

Dr. Natasha Kordus, Ph.D

Dr. Kordus is a graduate of both the Deaf Studies program at California State University Northridge and the Clinical Psychology program at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. She has also completed her PPS credential and her Administrative Credential at Cal Baptist University. Dr. Kordus has worked in the Deaf Community for over 20 years and has been the supervisor of the CDERC since it was established.


Jane Rogan

Jane Rogan

Ms. Rogan is a graduate of the Southern Illinois University and the University of Washington, with degrees in both Speech and Audiology. She is a Licensed-Dispensing Audiologist ASHA CCC-A; and a Credentialed Teacher and Rehabilitation Specialist. Ms. Rogan has worked in Deaf Education for 30 years moving from a 0 to 3 Early Start program, to a medical clinic specializing in rehabilitation. Before moving to CSDR, she also taught classes at local Universities.

Behavior Specialists/Psychologists

Phil Kyre

Philip Kyre, M.S. Behavioral Training

Mr. Kyre has his Bachelor’s in Therapeutic Recreation and his Master’s in Social Work from Gallaudet University. He has worked in Deaf Education for 14 years and focuses on how behavior impacts functioning in the classroom.

Rachel Mingo

Rachel Mingo, Psy.S. School Psychologist / Training and Assessment

Ms. Mingo earned her Bachelors, Master’s and Specialist degree from Gallaudet University in School Psychology with an emphasis on deafness. She also holds her Pupil Personnel Services Credential. Ms. Mingo has worked in Deaf Education for 20 years and conducts in-depth psychological assessments as well as develops / provides trainings.

Brain G. Strom

Brian G. Strom, M.Ed. School Psychologist / Training and Assessment

Mr. Strom earned his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Gallaudet University and his Masters in Special Education from the University of Arizona. He also has his Educational Diagnostician credential from Southwest Texas State University and his Pupil Personnel Service Credential in School Psychology. He has been employed in Deaf Education for 23 years and conducts in-depth psychological assessments as well as develops / provides trainings.

Brain Williams

Brian Williams, Psy.S. School Psychologist

Mr. Williams earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from East Carolina University and his Masters and Specialist Degree from Gallaudet University. He is a credentialed School Psychologist and a Certified Behavior Intervention Case Manager. He has worked in Deaf Education for 13 years.

Rachel Yingst

Rachel Yingst, Psy.S. School Psychologist / Training and Assessment

Mrs. Yingst earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist Degree in School Psychology from Gallaudet University. She also holds her Pupil Personnel Services Credential and Certification in the Education of Students with Autism. She has worked in Deaf Education for 8 years.

District and Community Respresentatives

Denise Hamilton

Denise Hamilton, M.A. District Liaison

Ms. Hamilton has her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s in Educational Administration from Arizona State University. She has worked in Deaf Education for 15 years and was one of the founding members of the CDERC. Ms. Hamilton is the Principal Investigator for DeafTEC and develops material for and coordinates all workshops. If you are interested in setting up training for your district, contact Ms. Hamilton.

Erika Thompson

Erika Thompson, M.A. Community Resource Specialist in Public Relations and Publications

Mrs. Thompson has her Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication and English and her Masters and Clear Credentials in Special Education from California State University Northridge. She has worked in Deaf Education since 1997.

Patricia Melvin

Patricia Melvin, M.A. Family Education Coordinator

Ms. Melvin earned her A.A. degree at Imperial Valley College as Rehabilitation Technician; a B.A. degree at California State University, Northridge, in Liberal Studies as well as M.A. degree in Special Education, Area of the deaf and her clear Multiple Subjects Credential, & Specialist Credential in Communication Handicapped-Deaf. She taught deaf students in preschool through high school for 33 years prior to becoming a Family Education Coordinator.

Terri Vincent

Terri Vincent, M.S.W. Family Education Coordinator

Ms. Vincent has her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and her Masters in Social Work from Gallaudet University. She has worked in Deaf Education for 8 years.

Occupational Therapist

Laurie Lewis

Laurie Lewis, M.A. Occupational Therapy / Consultation and Assessment

Ms. Lewis has her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and her Master’s in Education. She is also certified for Assistive Technology Applications and the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test. She has worked in Deaf education for 33 years and focuses on the sensory and motor needs or students as well as on the training of parents and professionals on how to support children in the classroom.

Diagnostic Teacher

Mary Angoorani

Mary Angoorani, B.A, Diagnostic Teacher

Ms. Angoorani is a proud alumnus of the California School for the Deaf, Riverside for the past fifteen years. During this time she has worked as a Middle School Math teacher, a Behavior teacher, and the last seven years as the Lead Teacher for the Middle School Department. While in these various roles she has served on many committees and became a certified Boy’s Town trainer. Ms. Angoorani holds her California deaf/hard of hearing teaching credential. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from California State University Northridge. She continued post graduate work at McDaniel College in Deaf Education.


3044 Horace Street

Riverside, CA 92506

951-824-8015 VP