About the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)

The Washington State Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) is responsible for many of the services available for individuals with developmental and intellectual  disabilities and are responsible for administering many of the Medicaid waivers that provide vital services to families who have members who have a developmental disability. Applying to DDA can be a long process, but most families, especially those who are on Apple Health or Medicaid, will need to go through this process in order to receive these services they require, such as respite, physical therapy, behavioral health help, and stabilization services.

The first, and often most laborious, task in receiving services from DDA is receiving an official diagnosis.  This must be done before the individual with the developmental disability is 18 years old.  The developmental disability must be expected to continue indefinitely and constitute a substantial limitation to the person.  Washington State determines these conditions as: “Intellectual Disability, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Autism, or another neurological or other condition closely related to an intellectual disability or that requires support similar to individuals with intellectual disabilities.”

Only a medical professional can officially diagnose a disability, meaning that a doctor or psychiatrist needs to be consulted. While some of the aforementioned conditions are diagnosed in one or two visits, some can take years and a variety of specialists to diagnose.  Some of the cognitive tests to prove eligibility include those that can be administered in school by a psychologist or through a medical provider. They include: Stanford-Binet, Wechsler Intelligence Scales (WISC), Differential Abilities Scale (DAS), Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC), Das-Naglieri Cognitive Assessment System (CAS), Woodcock Johnson Test of Cognitive Abilities (WJ), and Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales, 2nd Edition (RIAS 2).  The specific test used may change overtime, so do check with the latest eligibility requirements from the DDA.

Different conditions are eligible for DDA support during different developmental periods. Support for babies, toddlers, and children with developmental delays are available for individuals up to a child’s 10th birthday. Individuals aged four and older with any other condition connected to intellectual disabilities are eligible for DDA services. For a full list of supported conditions, age ranges supported, and acceptable tests for diagnosis, visit the DDA site on eligibility.

Once a diagnosis is official, several forms must be filled out and returned to the DDA to be approved for services, which can be viewed at the DDA eligibility website. In particular, the Request for DDA Eligibility Determination contains most of the important questions, and can be reviewed in advance of gathering information to start the DDA process.  For more information on filing the right paperwork, view PAVE’s DDA Access Eligibility video about finding all the forms you need to submit. Informing Families also has a video about Applying for DDA.

To Apply for DDA assistance:

  1. Review the Eligible Conditions With Age and Type of Evidence to check eligibility.
  2. Fill out a Request for DDA Eligibility Determination.
  3. Complete the Consent Form.
  4. Agree to the DSHS Notice of Privacy Practices for Client Medical Information.
  5. Submit all requested information to your local DDA office.

For help and information from the DDA, call:

  • 1-800-462-0624 for residents of: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima Counties
  • 1-800-788-2053 for residents of: Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties
  • 1-800-248-0949 for residents of: Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, and Wahkiakum Counties

Outside Assistance with DDA eligibility

ARC Parent Coalition

Informing Families

PAVE

Pierce County Coalition for Developmental Disabilities (PC2)

Articles about DDA

Applying for DDA Services in Washington

DDA 101: Information, Sources, and Resources

How to Prepare for a DDA Assessment