Mother and Daughter

Definitions on Common Terms

Substantial Handicap refers to a condition which results in: Major impairment of cognitive and/or social functioning, representing sufficient impairment to require interdisciplinary planning and coordination of special or generic services to assist the individual in achieving maximum potential; and The existence of significant functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of activity, as appropriate to the person’s age. Since the individual’s cognitive and/or social functioning are multi-faceted, the major impairment shall be determined through assessment(s) in the following areas of daily life activity: receptive and expressive language, learning, self-care, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. A developmental disability shall not include conditions that are solely psychiatric disorders, solely learning disabilities, or solely physical in nature.

Intellectual Disability is characterized both by a significantly below-average score on a test of mental ability or intelligence and by limitations in three or more areas of adaptive living skills, including but not limited to communication, self-care, social skills, home living, functional academics, and community living.


Cerebral Palsy refers to any one of a number of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood. Cerebral Palsy includes two types of motor dysfunction: (1) nonprogressive lesion or disorder in the brain occurring during intrauterine life or the perinatal period and is 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.


Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain sometimes signal abnormally. The major types of seizures include grand mal seizures, focal (frontal, parietal, or occipital lobe) seizures, temporal lobe (psychomotor) seizures, and minor (petit mal, myoclonic, akinetic) seizures. About 3% of all children may have benign febrile convulsions.


Autism is a complex developmental disorder with multiple causes and origins. It typically appears within the first three years of life. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Specific behaviors may include impaired awareness of others, lack of social or emotional reciprocity, communication, stereotyped and repetitive language, and stereotyped, repetitive motor mannerisms.


Other Disabling Conditions Similar to Intellectual Disabilities (ID) are those handicapping conditions similar to mental retardation that require treatment similar to that required by a person with intellectual disabilities. This disability must begin prior to the individual’s 18th birthday and be expected to continue indefinitely and present a substantial disability.


Prenatal diagnostic services are medical procedures that identify some developmental disabilities in an unborn baby early in the pregnancy. Such procedures include pregnancy/genetic counseling, expanded alpha–fetoprotein (AFP), chorionic villus sampling (CVS), amniocentesis, and ultrasonography. Redwood Coast Regional Center will provide or arrange for prenatal diagnostic services for women over the age of 35 who request such services. Upon request, services will also be provided or arranged for women under the age of 35 who have a history of a child with a developmental disability, a family member with a genetic disorder, or medical risk factors that would affect a developing baby.


A Person-Centered Planning approach assists individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to build upon their strengths and capabilities. It is part of the person’s planning team’s process to assist the individual with developing a description of where they would prefer to live, the kinds of supports and services that may be needed, how and with whom they choose to spend the day, and their hopes and dreams for the future. It is about supporting people in the choices they make about their life and providing all the information they need to make those choices. Person-Centered Planning is not just a single event but rather a continual series of discussions or interactions among the planning team members.


Once an individual has qualified for service through the Intake and Assessment process, an Individual Program Plan (IPP), or in the case of children aged 0-3, an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP), is drawn up. The IPP/IFSP is an original document, crafted for and with each consumer and/or family. It sets forth those services that will support a person’s choices and that will make a positive difference in the individual’s life. The IPP will be scheduled within 60 days of completion of the Assessment.


An IFSP is to be scheduled within 45 days of referral. In some situations, an interim IFSP can be written to meet the critical needs of a family. Redwood Coast Regional Center has committed to Person-Centered Planning in the development and implementation of the IPP/IFSP. That is, the IPP/IFSP will be centered on and driven by the consumer and, where appropriate, the consumer’s family, and will be based on providing the kinds of support and services needed and chosen by the consumer to achieve his/her own individual goals. The IPP/IFSP will address and respect the consumer’s and family’s needs, preferences, and culture. The IPP/IFSP will promote community inclusion, independent and productive lives, and stable and healthy environments. The regional center is committed to actively support personal (and, as appropriate, family) input from the consumer in order to ensure that the consumer’s life goals, strengths, and preferences are respected as the driving force behind all planning decisions.


The Family Cost Participation Program (FCPP) is established for the purpose of assessing cost participation to parents of children who receive three specific regional center services: daycare, respite, and/or camping. The Family Cost Participation Program is being implemented by the 21 regional centers statewide and applies to families who meet the following criteria: The child has a developmental disability. The child is under 18 years of age. The child lives in the parents’ home. The child is not eligible for Medi-Cal. You can find more information about Family Cost Participation Program on the DDS website.


The Parental Fee Program (PFP)

The Parental Fee Program (PFP) assesses a monthly fee to parents of regional center consumers under the age of 18 who receive 24-hour out-of-home care services paid for with state funds.

Parents of regional center consumers in 24-hour out-of-home care services paid with state funds are eligible for a parental fee assessment. Parents with annual gross income at or above 201 percent of the current Federal Poverty Level are assessed a fee based on a percentage of income. A chart of household size, annual gross family income and fee percentages provides parents the ability to estimate their monthly fee English| Spanish. The monthly fee shall not exceed the cost of caring for a child, as determined by the most recent data available from the United States Department of Agriculture’s survey on the cost of raising a child in the west region, or the cost of services provided, whichever is less. The statutory authority for the Parental Fee Program is located in the Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 4784. You can find more information on the Parental Fee Program on the DDS website.


Developmental, hearing, medical, speech, genetic, and nutritional assessments are just a few of the assessments or evaluations that may be provided to establish whether a person has or, in the case of an infant, is at risk for a developmental disability. These may be completed by a regional center staff member or coordinated with community service providers.


The Early Start Program is California’s response to federal legislation ensuring that early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families are provided in a coordinated, family-centered network. Based on the child’s assessed developmental needs and the families concerns and priorities as determined by each child’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) team, early intervention services may include: assistive technology audiology family training, counseling, and home visits health services medical services for diagnostic/evaluation purposes only nursing services nutrition services occupational therapy physical therapy psychological services respite services service coordination (case management) social work services special instruction speech and language services transportation and related costs vision services.  More information regarding the Early Start Program can be found on the DDS website.