Department of Developmental Services Eligibility for Young Children

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) offers support to eligible clients from birth through adulthood.  DDS does provide support to infants, toddlers and preschool-age children with disabilities and the eligibility for DDS services is a little different.  There has been some confusion about how or when to help families whose children are likely to need some kind of lifelong support from the State of Connecticut.  Below is information on how to apply for support through the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) for individuals from birth through adulthood, but specifically reflects eligibility for young children:

  1. Any infant or toddler with an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or young child with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is eligible for services through DDS regardless of the disability because the disability of an intellectual disorder cannot accurately be diagnosed prior to age six or seven.  At the age of six or seven, families wishing to maintain or apply to DDS will need to document that their child has an intellectual disorder.  For children beginning at age three, this is most often accomplished by using the educational records from the school district that specify why the child is eligible for special education.  Documentation must include evaluation information about the child’s cognitive and adaptive skills.
  2. Some young children with autism, who are later determined not to have an intellectual disorder, may still be eligible for services through the DDS Autism Services Division.
  3. A parent of a young child who is interested in applying for support through DDS should go to the website at  The link to “eligibility services” is  Look for the information on requesting an eligibility packet.  The parent will need to complete the eligibility packet and will need a copy of the child’s most recent IEP.
  4. Once determined eligible for support through DDS, the state agency will send the information to the DDS region in which the child resides.  The family will receive a letter from DDS explaining that although they will not be assigned a case manager, they will get a toll-free Help Line number.  Families can use that number to find out about any family support services that might be available.
  5. If the child has been diagnosed with or identified as a child with autism by the Birth to Three System or by the school district, DDS will share the information with their Autism Services Division.  The child could be on a waiting list for autism services at the same time that he or she is receiving family support services from a DDS region.

Parents who would like additional information can contact DDS through the main number, 860-418-6000, and then ask for the Eligibility Unit.