Working Within the System

Most people with intellectual disabilities and their families depend on “the system” in some way. At some point in your child’s life, usually from birth, you may need to work with your county IDD board.

However, services are not automatically available for every child. Rules and regulations change frequently, and you must stay on top of the system to access maximum benefits.

Start Early

There is often a waiting list for many services, so apply as soon as possible. Do not wait until you’ve completed your letter of intent or created a circle of support.

The waiting list for residential services in the IDD system is particularly problematic. It’s not uncommon to be on the waiting list for 10 or more years before receiving services.

To get started in the system, call your county board and ask for the Intake Department to start the application process.  Exactly how the process works differs somewhat from county to county.

If your child has not received services from the county board in some years, you should ask the board for an eligibility re-determination.

Click here for more information on how the IDD system works. 

Tips for Working with the IDD Board:

  • Meet annually with the support administrator.
  • Ask professionals refer you to needed available services, resources or families. For example, a job coach may know of another family that is planning for a home and can make an introduction.
  • Update the board about your child’s situation and the services needed for the next year and the long range.
  • Agree on actions to be taken.
  • Send a follow-up letter documenting the meeting’s business and outlining what is expected from everyone, and then ask for a written response.]
It’s up to you to stay on top of the system to get the most for your child.

If Your Child Doesn’t Qualify

If your child doesn’t qualify for IDD services, there may be other options for assistance.

Ask medical professionals, therapists, social workers, or teachers who are currently working with your child about other possible resources.

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