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Regional Center Disability Program and Services

Criteria/ Eligibility

The consumer has been identified as having a “Developmental disability” that originates before an individual attains 18 years of age; continues, or can be expected to continue, indefinitely; and constitutes a substantial disability for that individual.

These disabilities include intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, and disabling conditions closely related to intellectual disability or requiring similar treatment.

Intellectual Disability

Intellectual Disability is characterized by significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning (i.e., an IQ of approximately 70 or below) with concurrent deficits or impairments in adaptive functioning.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy includes two types of motor dysfunction: (1) non-progressive lesion or disorder in the brain occurring during intrauterine life or the perinatal period and characterized by paralysis, spasticity, or abnormal control of movement or posture, such as poor coordination or lack of balance, which is manifest prior to two or three years of age, and (2) other significant motor dysfunction appearing prior to age 18.


Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with multiple causes or origins. It is defined as a syndrome causing gross and sustained impairment in social interaction and communication with restricted and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities that appear prior to the age of three. Specific symptoms may include impaired awareness of others, lack of social or emotional reciprocity, failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level, delay or absence of spoken language and abnormal nonverbal communication, stereotyped and repetitive language, idiosyncratic language, impaired imaginative play, insistence on sameness (e.g., nonfunctional routines or rituals), and stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms.


Epilepsy is defined as recurrent, unprovoked seizures.

Other Developmental Disabilities

Other Developmental Disabilities are those handicapping conditions similar to that require treatment (i.e., care and management) similar to that required by individuals with intellectual disability. This does not include handicapping conditions that are solely psychiatric or physical in nature. The handicapping conditions must occur before age 18, result in a substantial handicap, be likely to continue indefinitely, and involve brain damage or dysfunction. Examples of conditions might include Down Syndrome, intracranial neoplasms, degenerative brain disease or brain damage associated with accidents.

In addition, the referring party must document and/or demonstrate that the “Substantial disability” presents with significant functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity, as determined by a regional center, and as appropriate to the age of the person:

  • (A) Self-care.
  • (B) Receptive and expressive language.
  • (C) Learning.
  • (D) Mobility.
  • (E) Self-direction.
  • (F) Capacity for independent living
  • (G) Economic self-sufficiency.
Services and Supports

The consumer will be provided with “Services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities”… directed toward the alleviation of a developmental disability or toward the social, personal, physical, or economic habilitation or rehabilitation of an individual with a developmental disability, or toward the achievement and maintenance of independent, productive, and normal lives.

The determination of which services and supports are necessary for each consumer shall be made through the individual program plan (IPP) process. The determination shall be made on the basis of the needs and preferences of the consumer or, when appropriate, the consumer’s family, and shall include consideration of a range of service options. Services and supports listed in the individual program plan may include, but are not limited to, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, personal care, day care, domiciliary care, special living arrangements, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, training, education, supported and sheltered employment, mental health services, recreation, counseling of the individual with a developmental disability and of his or her family, protective and other social and sociologic services, information and referral services, follow-along services, adaptive equipment and supplies, advocacy assistance, including self-advocacy training, facilitation and peer advocates, assessment, assistance in locating a home, child care, behavior training and behavior modification programs, camping, community integration services, community support, daily living skills training, emergency and crisis intervention, facilitating circles of support, habilitation, homemaker services, infant stimulation programs, paid roommates, paid neighbors, respite, short-term out-of-home care, social skills training, specialized medical and dental care, telehealth services and supports, as defined in Section 2290.5 of the Business and Professions Code, supported living arrangements, technical and financial assistance, travel training, training for parents of children with developmental disabilities, training for parents with developmental disabilities, vouchers, and transportation services necessary to ensure delivery of services to persons with developmental disabilities.

A reassessment of substantial disability for purposes of continuing eligibility shall utilize the same criteria under which the individual was originally made eligible.

( Division 4.5 added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1252. )

CHAPTER 1.6. General Provisions [4507 - 4519.7]
( Chapter 1.6 heading added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 178, Sec. 4. )

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 303, Sec. 574. Effective January 1, 2016.)