Where do I start?


A developmental disability is defined in federal and state law as a severe and chronic disability attributable to a mental or physical impairment other than mental illness, manifested before age 22, likely to continue indefinitely, and resulting in substantial functional limitations in major life activities according to Ohio Revised Code 5123.01 and Federal Public Law 106-402.

To make a referral for a child birth through age 2 for Early Intervention services, call 740-439-1858 or online at https://odhgateway.odh.ohio.gov/ochids/public/refer.


To initiate the eligibility process for children 3 years and older contact the Guernsey County Board of Developmental Disabilities at 740-439-4451. Individuals and guardians will be directed to obtain documentation to confirm a developmental disability. The individual or guardian must sign consent forms if records are needed from the community.  

What are the steps in determining eligibility?

For ages 3-5 years old
Documentation of at least two developmental delays or established risk. This can usually be documented through the child’s individualized Education Plan (IEP), Evaluation Team Report, or medical records.

For ages 6 and over
The eligibility process in Ohio is a two-step process:

  1. Diagnosis verification

    • An item list will be sent indicating the required paperwork needed to begin the process.

    • A qualifying diagnosis of a developmental disability must meet the following criteria:

      • Onset of disability must be documented prior to age 22.

      • Diagnosis must be made by a licensed, qualified professional and be supported by the appropriate diagnostic assessments.

      • The disability must be likely to continue indefinitely.

    • The diagnosis must be a physical or mental impairment other than mental illness.

    • Examples of acceptable diagnoses and documentation:

      • Intellectual Disability: Psychological evaluation by Ph.D. which includes both IQ scores and adaptive functioning scores.

      • Down Syndrome: Medical documentation signed by MD.

      • Autism Spectrum Disorder: Comprehensive evaluation incorporating clinically appropriate assessment tools used to diagnose ASD signed by MD or Ph.D.

      • Seizure Disorder: Current medical documentation signed by MD

      • Cerebral Palsy: Medical documentation signed by MD

    • Examples of educational terms/informal labels that are not acceptable as qualifying diagnoses for ages 6 and over include: global developmental delay, Borderline Intellectual Functioning, Cognitive delay/disability, non-specific learning disabilities, and any diagnosis using the terms ‘featuring of’ or ‘history of’ a certain disorder.

  2. Administration of the Level of Care or Functional Assessment
    Once the diagnosis is verified, the Level of Care Assessment is completed by a trained Assessor. The Level of Care Assessment is a screening instrument developed by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and is used to determine if an individual has substantial functional limitations in major life areas. If the person has a qualifying diagnosis and at least three (3) areas of substantial functional limitations according to the Level of Care Assessment, then the person is eligible for services through Developmental Disabilities of Guernsey County. The limitations are listed below:

    • Functional Assessment – Ages 6-10
      Mobility / Self Care / Self Direction / Capacity for Independent Living / Learning / Receptive and Expressive Language

    • Level of Care – Ages 10 and over
      Mobility / Self Care / Self Direction / Capacity for Independent Living / Learning / Receptive and Expressive Language / Economic Self Sufficiency (16 and over)

When is eligibility re-determined?

If a developmental disability is confirmed by fulfilling the diagnosis verification reviewed above, an Intake Evaluator meets with the individual and others to administer the State mandated evaluation tool (Level of Care Assessment) to assess the impact of the individual’s disability on his/her functional abilities.

The State of Ohio requires that eligibility be re-determined when an individual turns 3, 6, and 16 years old. It may also be done when a qualifying diagnosis changes, functional skills change, following an extended “break” in services, or on an annual basis as requested by any member of the IP team. Also, if you move to another county, your eligibility status may be re-determined. You will maintain your current eligibility status until the re-determination occurs in the new county of residence. A new Level of Care shall be completed anytime the individual experiences a significant change of condition.

What happens after eligibility is determined?

Once determination has been made, based off of the Ohio Revised Code Section 5123-8-01. The condition described in paragraph (C)(2)(a) of the rule, resulting in substantial functional limitations in at least three of the following areas of major life activities; Self-Care, Receptive & Expressive Communication, Learning, Mobility, Self-Direction, Capacity for Independent Living, or Economic Self-Sufficiency, a Service and Support Administrator (SSA) will be in contact with you in the next few weeks to coordinate services that you have requested.