by KAREN LAGRANGE COX
If abuse is either seen or suspected of a child or adult with developmental disabilities, please immediately contact 911 to reach the property authority.
Whether a child is diagnosed with a developmental disability (DD) while in the womb, as a baby, child, or teenager, the diagnosis can be gripping for everyone. The child, the parents, siblings, grandparents, and the whole family and friends can be affected by a diagnosis of a disability or disabilities that fall under the umbrella of a developmental disability.
Upon the DD diagnosis, the emotions of the parents, family, and child may be denial, sorrow, grief, and anger. Usually, the cycle of emotions turns to the one big emotion of love, with parents doing whatever they can to ensure their child’s health, well-being, and happiness.
A DD diagnosis does not indicate that the child will be home or bed bound. With inclusion and accessibility more widespread, children with DD may more easily participate with other children in the classroom, sports, playgrounds, and community. Inclusion can help provide a child with DD with peer acceptance, boosting their social and emotional development.
To help their child, parents may feel the need to advocate on the local, state, or federal level to support needed services and support for their child with DD. This may entail writing letters to local, state, and federal government representatives, attending meetings regarding support and services, getting involved with policy change, etc.
Having a diagnosis of a developmental disability (DD), it is likely the child or adult will need some type or types of services and support. Their parents or guardians may not know where to turn for support and resources for their child. Sometimes, parents may not know help is available for their child and their family.
Services for children with DD are contingent upon the unique needs of each child. Services may be provided in the home, community, education system, group home, facility, or other places.
Below are some resources and services the family of a child with DD may seek assistance and resources 1) Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, 2) Families Helping Families of Acadiana, and 3) Louisiana Citizens for Action Now. There are other resources and supports available; however, for this article, the focus is on these three organizations.
Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities
Louisiana Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD) provides some support and services for individuals with DD and their families. OCDD is the Single Point of Entry into the system of disability services in Louisiana. The Louisiana Region IV OCDD services are through Acadiana Area Human Services District, which serves Acadia, Evangeline, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, and Vermilion parishes. Their office is located at 302 Dulles Drive in Lafayette, Louisiana. Their phone number is (337) 262-5610.
According to the OCDD website, part of the definition of a developmental disability in Louisiana is that the disability manifests before the age of twenty-two. Another is that the disability is likely to continue indefinitely. [source] To view the full definition of a developmental disability in Louisiana, visit the Louisiana Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities webpage.
The following services, with a summary of each service, is from the Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities website.
EarlySteps provides services to families with infants and toddlers aged birth to three years (thirty-six months) who have a medical condition likely to result in a developmental delay or who have developmental delays. Learn More about EarlySteps >>
Flexible Family Funds
OCDD provides monthly stipends to families of eligible children with severe or profound developmental disabilities from birth to age eighteen to help their families meet extraordinary costs. These subsidies are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply, contact a human services district or authority. Call (337) 262-5610 for more information.
Freedom of Choice Providers
This is the process whereby OCDD assures that each person and/or their family has the right to choose the service provider most qualified to meet their needs. Learning as much as possible about a prospective provider is important to decide which agency will best suit you or your family member’s needs. Begin the process of locating a provider >>
Home and Community-Based Services
Medicaid home and community-based waiver programs allow people greater flexibility to choose where they want to live and to use services and support that best suit their needs. Services provided must represent a least-restrictive treatment alternative. Each home and community-based waiver has specific service packages and eligibility requirements. Waiver opportunities depend upon funding and are also offered based on the individual’s need and priority level from their Screening for Urgency of Need (SUN) through the Request for Services Registry.
OR visit the links below to learn more about each waiver offered by OCDD.
- Children’s Choice Waiver (CC)
- New Opportunities Waiver (NOW)
- Residential Options Waiver (ROW)
- Supports Waiver (SW)
Individual and Family Support
Individual and family support services provide assistance not available from any other resource that will allow people with developmental disabilities to live in their homes or with their families in their community. These include respite care, personal assistance, specialized clothing, dental and medical services, equipment and supplies, communication services, crisis intervention, specialized utility costs, specialized nutrition, and family education. Services are provided through contractual agreements by private provider agencies or through individualized agreements with individuals and families who obtain their service providers.
My Place Louisiana
My Place Louisiana is the state’s program for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Money Follows the Person (MFP) Rebalancing Demonstration, designed to help states try new ways of delivering Medicaid services. The demonstration program is designed to help people to move or “transition” from an institution into home- and community-based living settings, such as a home or apartment. Learn more about MY Place Louisiana>>
OCDD Resource Center
The OCDD Resource Center provides technical assistance and consultation to build provider capacity to support individuals with DD to live and work in community settings and direct, specialized treatment for persons in the community with developmental disabilities in the most critical situations. Through collaboration with both families and providers, the Resource Center services are designed to assist individuals to remain in a community living environment and migrate placement in more restrictive and potentially more costly institutional placement. Learn more about the Resource Centers >>
Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID)
ICF/IID provides active treatment services and supports in a 24-hour residential setting, including ongoing evaluation, planning, and coordination/integration of health and habilitative services and supports. ICF/IID services are provided in a range of residential settings, including privately-operated community homes (up to six people), group homes (nine to 15 people), small facilities (16 to 32 people), and private or publically-operated large institutions (33 or more people). Access the current licensed ICF/IID provider directory >>
Support Coordination (formerly case management) is defined as services provided to Medicaid Eligible recipients to assist them in gaining access to the full range of needed services, including medical, social, educational, and other support services within OCDD. Learn more about Support Coordination >>
Tiered Waiver System
OCDD’s four developmental disability home and community-based waivers, New Opportunities Waiver (NOW), Residential Options Waiver (ROW), Supports Waiver, and Children’s Choice Waiver, have now been operationalized to a tiered waiver system of service delivery, which will allow for individuals to be supported in the most appropriate waiver. Learn more about Tiered Waiver System >>
Families Helping Families of Acadiana
Families Helping Families of Acadiana is a non-profit resource center organized and directed by family members of individuals with disabilities. The organization has programs and resources for individuals with disabilities and their families. Visit Families Helping Families of Acadiana’s Facebook page >>
Louisiana’s Council Advocacy Network
Louisiana’s Council’s Advocacy Network, also known as LaCAN is a grassroots initiative of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council. Its mission is to lead and promote advocacy, capacity building, and systemic change to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. LaCAN furthers this mission by advocating for policies and systems that support inclusion everywhere people learn, live, work, and play. Visit LaCAN Region IV’s Facebook page >>