Tips and Hints for the Intellectual Disability System

  • Seek Help Promptly: Enrolling in the intellectual disability system is a process that will help that will help you plan for the future. It is especially critical for young people transitioning to adulthood. Because specific services may not be available immediately, families should complete registration and determine eligibility at least 2 to 3 years in advance of anticipated need.
  • Find Support: The Commonwealth is rich with resources, including advocacy and support groups.  Each county may have a different way to navigate the way in which to get the services you need. Call your county Department of Human Services. They will provide you with the information to find the services that will assist families as they navigate the intellectual disability system, as well as provide individual advocacy in absence of one’s own “natural” or personal and community supports.
  • Limited Resources: Regardless of the funding source for intellectual disability supports and services, resources will always be limited by budgets and the number of people already enrolled. Please note that the counties are only permitted to enroll the number of individuals approved by the Office of Developmental Programs into Waiver Programs.
  • Individual Rights: Individuals with intellectual disability have the right to choose the services they need, and choose willing, qualified and contracted service providers.
  • What to Expect: When you call to make an appointment to determine eligibility, you’ll be asked to provide copies of school records and documentation of psychological testing. You’ll want to have as much relevant information as possible. Staff will tell you what information you need to submit. They may ask to contact the school on your behalf. If you agree to this, you’ll need to sign a consent form. You may do this on your own if you prefer.
  • You Have Choices: Once the eligibility process is complete, staff should help you with registration and choice of the Supports Coordination Services.
  • Questions are Welcomed: If you are unsure of any information, please ask!


Other Tips and Hints

  • Everyone has the right to pick their provider (the agency or individual who delivers the service).
  • The provider must be willing, qualified and able to deliver the service.
  • Provider agencies must be registered with the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and must meet qualification standards.
  • Provider agencies must be authorized for payment through Waivers or through Base Funding. See frequently asked questions