To provide a safe and nurturing environment in which children can connect, communicate, and create.



For each child to realize his or her unique social, emotional, and academic potential.

The Children’s School integrates comprehensive social teaching and applied behavior analysis strategies into the classroom in a student-centered learning environment.

Led by nationally recognized pioneers in the field of behavioral health, The Children’s School is at the forefront of integrative science and education, providing dynamic opportunities for students with ADHD and related challenges with executive function.

Our Program

The Children’s School is a non-profit private school serving children and adolescents in grades three through eight. We provide small classroom sizes with highly individualized planning. We are also certified by the California Department of Education to serve children who are eligible for Special Education services in a non-public school setting (NPS).

Specially trained educators, paraprofessionals, and professionals provide a comprehensive approach to educating the whole individual, providing the necessary support for students to reach their own academic, social and behavioral potential.



Our teachers design and deliver a robust educational curriculum aligned with Common Core California State Standards. Each classroom teacher is supported by a team of two behavioral paraprofessionals with specialized undergraduate training at the University of California, Irvine Child Development Lab. Together, this team provides a comprehensive, individually-tailored program that ensures all students can best access their academic instruction.



Licensed behavioral health professionals partner with each classroom team to provide daily on-site consultation and in-vivo counsel for students as needed. All students also participate in a daily group social skills sessions led by these same professionals, which emphasize self-awareness, self-regulation, effective communication, and social problem solving.



Parents attend regular group family education sessions with the same behavioral health professionals working with their children to learn to develop in-home supports aligned with those that their children experience in the classroom. Families set unique and specific goals that give their children a way to chart their individual progress and experience success.



Informed by our Scientific Advisory Board, and in collaboration with nationally and internationally recognized scholars, we are driven to find new and better ways to help students reach their potential and create a place for families to change what it means to live with ADHD and other related challenges. The Children’s School’s innovative spirit is energized by its deep connection to the 30-year history of the Child Development Center School program at the University of California, Irvine, the source of numerous national research studies informing best practices in the education of and support for children with ADHD.

A smiling mother and daughter.

Parent Education


  • A review of evidence-based strategies for supporting children with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (AD), and related challenges
  • Managing difficult behaviors common in children aged 6 to 12 years with executive functioning challenges
  • Applying evidence-based strategies in real-life situations
  • Positive discipline techniques – Delivering effective praise, attention, and directions
    • Establishing and maintaining a home-based reward system for any age
    • Implementing cognitive behavioral approaches to conflict resolution
    • Managing sibling relationships
  • Parent self-care and extended family relationships




July 28th through September 1st, 2021

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm



Our Summer 2021 sessions will be held at our school:

3400 Michelson Dr. Suite 200

Irvine, CA 92612


Please contact us at 949.812.6222 for more information.

The cost of the course is $850.

*This course is for PARENTS ONLY. Childcare is not available during in-person sessions.


What is a "positive rewards-based system"?

A positive, reward-based system is an established token-economy system for tracking and rewarding classroom behaviors essential for success with specific emphasis on following directions, productivity and healthy relationships.  Practically speaking, that means students are able to earn tickets with value based on virtual ‘points’ earned at the conclusion of each 30 minute period of time across the school day.  At the end of the day, students are able to exchange these tickets/points during a recess in which the activities available directly correspond to the number of points earned.   

Which learning differences does TCS support?

TCS is modeled after the laboratory school that was developed over 30 years at the UC Irvine Child Development Center, an internationally recognized research center for children primarily with ADHD (also sometimes known as ADD) and commonly related problems including mild to moderate Autism Spectrum Disorder and Dyslexia, ODD, as well as anxiety.  

Can TCS accomodate students with high-functioning autism?

TCS classrooms are designed to promote the generalization of social skills and self-regulation by employing evidence-based cognitive-behavioral strategies in the context of a token economy positive reward system.  Most children with autism who also have at least average intellectual capability are also able to benefit from the daily therapeutic strategies and classroom structure.  Some children with autism who may have more significant intellectual difficulties or significantly delayed speech may not be best served by these strategies.  

Will my child be able to stop taking their ADHD Medication after joining TCS?

This is a complex question.  We recommend strongly that if a student or candidate is currently taking medicine for ADHD that is prescribed by a physician, that child continues to take his or her medicines as prescribed for at least the first few months of enrollment.  That being said, our interdisciplinary team is experienced at collaborating closely with treating physicians in our community in helping to determine if medicines can be reduced, changed, or eliminated when medically indicated.   

Do I need a formal diagnosis?

A formal diagnosis of any behavioral health problem is not required for admission.  In fact, many children who attend may not meet full criteria for a diagnosis and only have moderate challenges with symptoms of ADHD in settings other than school.  Most children who attend do present with what we call ‘functional impairment’ in their skills of executive functioning as they are related to school performance.  That is, as the demands of school increase, our candidates experience particular challenges with following complex directions, organization, and timely work completion.  For many of our candidates, these challenges have started to adversely impact social relationships and may have even led to discipline problems.  

Does TCS do ADHD testing?

Presently, diagnostic assessment for ADHD is only available to our currently enrolled families.  This service is provided by a licensed clinical psychologist who has specific training and experience with children with ADHD and ASD.  Assessments are conducted with evidence-based, standardized assessment tools and include extensive classroom observation as well as consultation with parents, teachers, and treating physicians/pediatricians.   

Do all students at TCS have ADHD and/or learning differences?

Most children who attend TCS are experiencing difficulty reaching their academic potential in more traditional school settings primarily due to problems with attention and impulsivity.  Some of our students may also struggle with a specific learning disorder in math or reading.  Many of our students, however, are academically high-achieving across subjects, but are struggling with the pace and social demands of larger schools.    

Will my child be able to keep up with academics for their grade level?

TCS utilizes California state adopted educational curriculum and instructional materials and provides grade-level general education instruction unless otherwise indicated by an Individualized Education Plan.  For core subjects including English Language Arts and Mathematics, students are grouped for instruction based on a combination of factors including chronological age, grade last completed, social development, and academic achievement.  Some of our students may be working above “grade-level” and curriculum at TCS can be modified as needed.  Others candidates may be performing below grade level standards even if they do not have an identified Specific Learning Disorder.  These students may require more support to complete grade level standards or additional assessment to better determine the nature of their challenges as they develop.   TCS is designed to challenge students to reach their academic potential while also ensuring that those students’ social, emotional, and behavioral potential is not compromised, but optimized.  The concept of ‘grade level’ is largely dynamic and sometimes quite nebulous measurement, highly dependent on the expectations of the culture in which we live.  That being said, our mission is to ensure each child is encouraged to reach their highest potential. 

My child is behind in academics. Can TCS get them caught up?

Students who are falling behind their peers or siblings due to challenges with attention and impulsivity are often able to improve in their organizational skills and increase their time on task.  As such, many of our students are able to complete grade level standards or better once they are properly supported.  TCS is not specifically designed, however, for children who are experiencing significant specific delays in learning, and as such some of our students will continue to need academic interventions across their development. 

Does TCS have sports and extracurriculars?

Regular structured physical activity is an integral component of each day at TCS, including structured games and sports with peers during social skills, and available with staff during recesses.  TCS does not participate in any intramural sports leagues.  We do not currently offer any extracurricular clubs.  

Is TCS related to UCI?

Dr. Sabrina Schuck is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UC Irvine and has worked in collaboration with the staff and leadership at TCS to develop the programs there in the model of the laboratory classroom program run at UCI for the last 30 years. Her research at UCI focuses on psychosocial interventions designed to improve outcomes for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Schuck serves as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for The Children’s School, a team of volunteers made up of renowned scholars and community practitioners, many of whom are faculty from UCI. She also supervises undergraduate students conducting independent research projects, many of which are open for enrollment to students at TCS and their families. Currently, she is conducting a research study examining the role of therapy dogs in assisting in interventions for children with ADHD, funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The Children’s School is also a designated community partner with the UC Irvine School of Social Ecology Field Study Program and hosts field study students seeking to learn more about school-based interventions for the developing child. Field study students are fully vetted prior to observation by UCI and by TCS and undergo the same rigorous screening and background check process required for all volunteers and personnel.   

Our Family

Directors & Managers


Patty Ramsey LMFT

Director of Students & Families


Rose Holland MSW

Programs Director


Erica Nguyen, LCSW

Community Health Manager

Administration & Coordinators


Carol Reed

Admissions Coordinator


Mary Gonzalez

Social Skills Coordinator


Josh Brown

Program Coordinator


Mariam Babuji

Administrative Assistant

Teachers & Education Specialists


Rachel Newman


Kelli Caruso


Lindsey McKee


Karen Ketterer

Behavior Specialists


Chris Tulio


Robbie Peyton


Rachel Stokes


Karen Sosa


Arya Tavakoulnia

Officers & Board of Directors

David Allison, President/CFO, Board Member

Gene Witkin, Secretary, Board Member

Danielle Allison, Board Member

Cambria Cline, Board Member

Marci Surfas, Board Member

Scientific Advisory Board


Sabrina Schuck, Chair, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, UC Irvine

Maryam Abdullah, Advisor, Parenting Program Director, Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley

John Brady, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Education, Chapman University

Wendy Goldberg, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Psychological Sciences, UC Irvine

Ron Kotkin, Ph.D., Clinical Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, UC Irvine

Matt Koury, M.D., M.P.H.,  Assistant Clinical Professor, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, UCLA

Kimberley Lakes, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Psychiatry, UC Riverside

Marc Lerner, M.D., Clinical Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, UC Irvine