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What is a developmental disability?

A developmental disability is a disability that is present from early childhood. A developmental disability is usually lifelong. Developmental disabilities can affect day-to-day physical function, learning, language, or behavior.

Find out how the Code of Virginia defines “developmental disabilities.” You can also learn more about DD by reading on this website!

Who can receive DD supports in Virginia? 

In Virginia, the service system helps people with developmental disabilities and their families from birth through adulthood. You have to be eligible to receive services.

What DD services are available?

The service system includes the following:

  • service providers,
  • advocacy organizations,
  • public agencies, and
  • nonprofit partners.

A person receives services and supports based on individual needs.

Where do I start?

Contact your local Community Services Board or Behavioral Health Authority (CSB/BHA) to start the process. Local CSB/BHAs are entry points to DD waiver services in your region. Learn more about CSB/BHAs.

How do I get help for my infant or toddler?

Early Intervention Services (EI) helps families with children who are:

  • under the age of 3,
  • not developing as expected, and
  • have a medical condition that can delay normal development.

EI services also help parents and caregivers support their children with everyday activities. Services are available for all eligible children and their families. This is true whether you can pay for the services or not. To learn more about EI services, contact Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia.

How do I get help for a child older than 3?

Your local school system offers services to help your child succeed in school through Special Education services. To connect with the special education program at your local school system, visit the Virginia Department of Education’s Virginia School Directories.

To learn more about how families are supporting each other in locating community supports and resources, visit our Resources for Families page. For information on supports for children with special health care needs, please visit the Virginia Department of Health’s Care Connection for Children and Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT).