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The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities provides a variety of comprehensive services to eligible children and adults who have developmental disabilities.
Programs and supports are available to help qualified children and adults with special needs in Ohio reach their full potential through education, vocational rehabilitation, mental health services, respite, and individualized supports.
The Center for Infants and Children with Special Needs at Cincinnati Children's recommends these highly valuable services.
A developmental disability is a mental or physical impairment that:
Examples of conditions that qualify as developmental disabilities may include, but are not limited to: mental retardation, autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, traumatic head injury, muscular dystrophy, sensory impairment, seizure disorders, orthopedic impairments or other neurological conditions.
In the State of Ohio, the guidelines for eligibility depend on the age of the individual. After the initial evaluation, eligibility has to be reevaluated at ages 3, 6 and 16 years. Contact your local County Board of Developmental Disabilities to see if your son or daughter qualifies for the following services:
Ages 0 to 3 Years (Early Intervention)Early intervention services are provided to children up to age 3 who have delays in development or who may be at risk for delays in development due to medical complications or environmental factors. The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities works with the Ohio Help Me Grow program to provide home-based therapy, programming and supports through the development of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Families learn ways to improve and enhance their child's development and are connected to resources in the community. Contact your Ohio Help Me Grow county office or your local County Board of Developmental Disabilities to see if your child is eligible.
Ages 3 to 5 Years (Early Childhood)Early childhood services are provided to children ages 3 to 5 if they have two developmental delays or a risk of developmental delay due to medical or environmental risk. Some areas offer preschool programs that are individualized to meet each child's needs and offer assistance and support to families. Families should also contact their local school district to see if their child is eligible for admission into the district's preschool program.
Ages 6 to 15 Years (Children)Many children who received support before the age of 6 may not continue to qualify for services. Additional criteria for eligibility must be met. A child must have a diagnosis of a life long developmental disability. The diagnosis must be made by a qualified professional and a report submitted verifying the diagnosis. A representative from the Board of Developmental Disabilities will evaluate the child asking a series of questions from the Children's Ohio Eligibility Determination Instrument (COEDI). In order to be eligible for services, the child must show deficits in at least three of the six life skill areas considered:
Eligible individuals may qualify for a variety of specialized services including educational programs, behavior supports, crisis intervention, transition services, vocational skills, functional skills, residential facilities, supported living in the community and therapy services.
Ages 16 Years and Older (Adult)The individual must have a diagnosis of a life long developmental disability that began before the age of 22. The diagnosis must be made by a qualified professional and a report submitted verifying the diagnosis. A representative from will evaluate the individual asking a series of questions from the Ohio Eligibility Determination Instrument (OEDI). In order to be eligible for services, the individual must show deficits in at least three of the seven life skill areas considered:
Eligible individuals may qualify for a variety of specialized services including behavior supports, crisis intervention, educational programs through age 22, transition services, vocational training, employment, adult day programs, residential facilities, supported living in the community and therapy services.
Children and adults with developmental disabilities may also have mental health needs requiring intensive behavioral supports. Contact your local Ohio County Board of Developmental Disabilities to see if you qualify for services.
The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities is also looking into establishing a limited number of New Futures Waivers to specifically target:
Patterns of challenging behaviors might include intense tantrums, excessive activity levels, withdrawal, self-stimulatory movements, aggression toward others, destruction of materials, and injury to self. The waivers, when available, will cover services up to $20,000 per year for specialized supports that could include psychosocial services, respite care and community inclusion.
Eligible individuals and families should request that a Service Facilitator be assigned to identify and coordinate needed services. A Service Facilitator can monitor supports, help families and individuals apply for and maintain medical benefits and financial assistance, provide crisis intervention and emergency services, assist with educational needs, identify residential options, connect with employment services, and link with programs and supports in the community.
A waiver is one way that Medicaid enables an individual with mental retardation, developmental disabilities or significant health care needs to live at home or in the community. While some eligibility requirements are "waived" for these programs, the individual must require a protective level of care related to daily living skills or skilled medical care. The financial criteria is based only on the income of the individual. For individuals on a waiver program, there are more choices about where they live and who will provide their direct services. Being on a waiver automatically qualifies the individual for a monthly Medicaid card.Since waiver programs pay for services for a limited number of people, their openings can fill up quickly and there may be a waiting list. However, children under 6 years of age who have been hospitalized for more than 30 days will go to the top of the waiver waiting list, thereby significantly reducing their waiting time.The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities oversees the Individual Options (I/O) Waiver and the Level One Waiver programs through their local county boards:
Helps fund items or services in the Individual Services Plan. There is an annual cap of $25,000 for children and $40,000 for adults. The waiver becomes effective 7/1/12.
You can search an online directory for Individual Options and Level One waiver providers.
Some Ohio county boards operate school programs that provide an option for children whose intense needs cannot be met in their neighborhood schools.
Schools districts using the agency schools pay an annual cost per student.
Sometimes a family needs to take a short break from caring for a child with intense special needs. Respite care is usually periodic, overnight care to cover family illnesses, special events, vacations and stressful family times. Read more about day care and respite options.
There are a variety of residential options available that range from supported living in the community to large state facilities. Read more about residential options supported by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.
In Ohio, the trend is toward placement into community residential settings over group homes or large facilities. Individuals are served based on emergencies, intensity of needs, caregiver situation and/or waiver waiting lists.
Find additional information about residential options.
Web sites for local Ohio counties include:
Check the local County Board of Developmental Disabilities to locate other counties in Ohio.
Additional services are available to help families support the unique needs of their child with mental retardation and / or developmental disabilities.
Division of Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
The Point / ARC of Northern Kentucky provides advocacy, residential, employment and social opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.
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