I'm not talking about signing up with a dentist here...this blog post is about the Department of Developmental Services. The DDS is fully funded by Social Security and is meant to create partnerships and opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to "participate fully and meaningfully in, and contribute to, their communities as valued members."
The way I understand it is that DDS is more to help adults with disabilities to engage and function and contribute to the community. So why are we signing up little 3-year-old Evie? I'm still figuring that out. I hear that getting into DDS now can help to make the transition easier as she becomes an adult. The questionnaire to apply was already quite length for Birth-5 years old, so I imagine that it's even harder answering the questions for a teenager. We can also be connected with the local ARC to have more resources for Evie. When Evie is older and transitioning to more independent adult living, she can have a DDS worker help her to learn further skills to do so. (My more experienced DS mama friends, feel free to comment!)
I wanted to blog about our DDS interview and the process so far (This is in Massachusetts, so not sure if it's different in another state).
I sent in the lengthy questionnaire about Evie's birth and medical history along with a copy of her IEP back around Thanksgiving, and heard back from the eligibility coordinator during the first week of February. She came to our house today and brought 3 packets full of questions to ask me. She actually did not need to do anything with Evie; she just needed to see Evie to confirm that she exists and seems to have a disability. The rest of the time was to answer questions about Evie's development.
We went through medical history briefly, demographics, and safety issues. She then went through each category of development, like Receptive Communication, Motor Skills, Social Skills, etc. I was pleased that Evie was an "All the Time" for questions like "Can she identify at least 10 alphabet letters" and "Can she follow 2-step instructions." There were other skills like being able to draw shapes other than a line or to recognize her own written name that I could not say yes to. But all in all, I felt proud of her accomplishments.
The 30-minute interview ended, and I asked her what was next. She said that while there are 5 interviewers, there is only 1 psychologist, and he has to review all of the applications. So she estimated that we would not hear back for another 4 months. I expect that we will hear that we have been accepted into the DDS system and then they will connect us with our local ARC and we will go from there. If Evie needs certain augmentative communication devices or other assistive devices, they may be a good resource.
Hope this helps someone know what the process looks like for applying to DDS!