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Developmental disabilities (DD) are specific disorders that may occur anytime from before a baby’s birth, up until the age of 22. A developmental disability may take different forms. A developmental disability condition may cause a child to develop more slowly all along, or to have physical difficulties and limitations, or have trouble learning and growing like other children in general. Sometimes an individual has more than one condition or disability.

To receive services a person must have:

  • Significant challenges which limit their ability to function in comparison to their non-disabled peers.

  • Become disabled before the age of 22 with:

    • Intellectual Disability

    • Cerebral Palsy

    • Epilepsy

    • Autism

    • Familial Dysautonomia

    • Neurological impairment, or

    • Any other condition which causes impairment in general intellectual functioning or adaptive behavior.

  • Do not need a specific diagnosis

  •  Require a 12 month delay in one or more functional areas:

    • Physical, cognitive, language, social and adaptive development

    • 33% delay in one functional area or 25% delay in two functional areas. For example, a child will have significant delays in both speech and fine motor development.

    • Testing scores that meet a specific criteria (2 standard deviations below the mean in one functional area or a score of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in two functional areas).

  • Will be reevaluated for eligibility at age seven (7).

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is responsible for
coordinating services for more than 126,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, familial dysautonomia and neurological impairment (injury, malformation, or disease involving the central nervous system).

Medicaid Service Coordination (MSC)
MSC is provided by qualified service coordinators to develop, implement and maintain an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) with and for the person served. MSC coordinates services and promotes the concepts of choice, individualized services and supports and consumer satisfaction.


There are supports that may be available to people who are found eligible for services through OPWDD. These services are designed to help people with developmental disabilities:

  • Live their life

  • Learn about new things

  • Become employed

  • Recreational activities

Front Door
To receive assistance from New York State in caring for a child or adult with a disability, you will need to access the “Front Door.” The Front Door is the New York State point of entry for people looking into services for a person with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

  • Individualized Service Plan (ISP) - The ISP is created through a team process that includes the individual and family. It describes the supports and services needed to reduce barriers to achieve personal goals.

  • People with developmental disabilities benefit from comprehensive long-term services. With such services, people with disabilities are often able to be more productive and independent.

References and information provided by:,

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