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SOS also provides peer matches for individuals with disabilities, extended family members or professionals.

Direct Services - Transition / Adult Services (Teenage Preparing to transition to adulthood and adults)

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What is a developmental disability?

Missouri defines a developmental disability as a disability attributable to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, head injury, autism, learning disability related to a brain dysfunction, or any other mental or physical impairment that occurs before age 22. It must be determined that this disability is like to continue indefinitely and that it results in a substantial functional limitation in two or more of the following six areas of major life activities: self care; receptive and expressive language development and use; learning; self direction; capacity for independent living or economic self sufficiency; and mobility.

If I suspect my son/daughter has a developmental disability, what should I do?

If your physician has indicated that your son/daughter may be experiencing significant developmental delays, you should contact the Regional Center nearest to your home and ask for assistance with determining eligibility for services.

If I have a son or daughter with a developmental disability, at what age should I apply to the Regional Center for services?

You can make application at any time during your child’s life. The Division of MRDD provides services to persons of any age. The only age requirement in determining eligibility is that the disability must have occurred prior to age 22 and is likely to last indefinitely

What kinds of help are available for my child and my family?

There are many types of services and supports available for based on individual needs. Some examples of supports include vocational services, specific therapies (i.e., Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Behavior Therapy, Music Therapy, and counseling services), respite care, personal care attendant services, residential services and adaptive equipment.

Is eligibility for services based on income?

Financial eligibility varies from agency to agency, but often there are income guidelines that must be met. It is best to ask each individual service agency if eligibility for their services is based on income.

Eligibility for Regional Center services is not based on income. However, you will be asked to submit income information and a “Standard Means Test” determines your ability to pay for services. Most services are exempt from charges to the consumer. Your service coordinator at the regional center can provide you with specific information related to your situation.

What services are available to help when my son or daughter graduates from high school?

There are several different service agencies that may be helpful. The MRDD Regional Centers often become involved in helping to coordinate services for young adults. Depending on the circumstances and wishes of the person with a developmental disability, regional centers can coordinate vocational training and job placement services, referral to supported employment or other supported activities based upon the needs of the individual.

For students considering a college or university as their next step, "Disability-Friendly Colleges: A Guide for Students with Physical Disabilities" is a helpful online college guide for students with physical disabilities.  The site contains detailed information about 75 colleges that go beyond ADA requirements in what they offer students with disabilities.  It also lists 4 colleges that provide extensive resources for students, including accessibility, transportation, adaptive sports, and personal care.  This online guide offers tips and advice as well as a blog feature to create a forum for interactive dialogue about college experiences related to accessibility.

Other programs and supports that might be of help are listed below.

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Department of Mental Health - Division of MRDD
The division improves the lives of persons with developmental disabilities through programs and services to enable those persons to live independently, productively and safely, and in the most integrated living arrangements possible. The eleven Regional Centers serve as the entry point into the developmental disability service system. Those determined eligible are given a case manager who works with the person and or families/guardian to make appropriate community connections for supports needed.

Regional Centers are designed to assist individuals in meeting needs related to their disability through a variety of ways, while maintaining people in their homes and communities, if possible. In general, the Regional Centers have access to early childhood intervention services, vocational services, residential services, specific therapies (i.e., Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and counseling services), in-home supports, adaptive equipment, respite care, personal care attendant services, and crisis intervention services. There are so many services available that it would be difficult to list them all, but your Regional Center service coordinator will be knowledgeable about specific services in your area.

Department of Health and Senior Services -- Special Healthcare Needs
The Hope Program provides assistance for children birth to age 21 who meet financial and medical eligibility guidelines. The Healthy Children and Youth (HCY) Administrative Case Management Program assists families in meeting their child's needs to function at an optimal level.

Medicaid – Missouri Department of Social Services
Medicaid is a program that pays for medical assistance for certain individuals and families with low incomes and resources. This program became law in 1965 and is jointly funded by the Federal and State governments (including the District of Columbia and the Territories) to assist States in providing medical long-term care assistance to people who meet certain eligibility criteria.

SSI – Supplemental Security Income
SSI makes monthly payments to people with low income and limited resources who are 65 or older, or blind or disabled. Your child under age 18 can qualify if he or she meets Social Security’s definition of disability for children, and if his or her income and resources fall within the eligibility limits.

Senate Bill 40 Boards
Senate Bill 40 Boards fund services for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental retardation in 74 counties in Missouri. These counties have enacted legislation establishing the boards. The organizational structure of each Senate Bill 40 Board is different. Some Boards provide direct services, some provide funds to community agencies to provide services, and some Boards provide both direct services and funds to community agencies.

Sharing Our Strengths
SOS is a statewide support network of parents, family members, people with developmental disabilities and professionals who are matched with peer mentors to share experiences, offer emotional support and to network with others.

Going to College    High school students with disabilities can learn about planning for college at this new site. Videos include interviews with successful college students with disabilities; activities help students explore more about themselves, learn what to expect from college, and discover important considerations and tasks to complete when planning for college. The site is from the Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports and Job Retention. It was developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

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