Eligibility for Regional Center Services is defined by California law and regulation. The Lanterman Act, specifically section 4512 of the Welfare and Institutions Code defines a developmental disability as a disability that originates before an individual attains 18 years of age; continues, or can be expected to continue, indefinitely; and constitutes a substantial disability for that individual.
This term shall include:
1) Intellectual Disability
2) Cerebral palsy
5) This term shall also include disabling conditions found to be closely
related to intellectual disability or to require treatment similar to that
required for individuals with an intellectual disability, but shall not include
other handicapping conditions that are solely physical in nature.
A “substantial disability” means the existence of significant functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity, as determined by a regional center, and as appropriate to the age of the person: Self-care, Receptive and Expressive language, Learning, Mobility, Self-direction, Capacity for independent living and Economic self-sufficiency.
From Lanterman Act, Sec 4512 (a) and Sec 4512 (l)
Intellectual Disability (ID) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior.
Intellectual functioning refers to the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, comprehend complex ideas and learn from experience. Intellectual functioning is measured by standardized cognitive assessment tools.
Adaptive behavior refers to the ability to carry on everyday life activities, such as self-care, communicating, socializing, etc.
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a group of neurological disorders appearing in infancy or early childhood that permanently affect a person’s movement, muscle coordination and balance. Children with cerebral palsy have delays reaching motor milestones (i.e., sitting, crawling, walking) and exhibit a wide variety and severity of symptoms, including: lack of muscle coordination; variations in muscle tone, either too stiff or too floppy; weakness in one or more arm or leg; difficulties swallowing or speaking; random involuntary movements; difficulty with precise movements such as writing or buttoning a shirt.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of seizures, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizures may result in a temporary disturbance of motor, sensory or mental function. For Regional Center eligibility, the diagnosis must be made by a neurologist and the epilepsy is typically refractory to treatment, impairing an individual’s ability to care for self, communicate, or learn.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurological & developmental disorder characterized by impairments in social communication, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. These deficits are present in early childhood, and lead to clinically significant functional impairments.
Impaired social interaction and social communication (i.e., difficulty with back-and-forth conversation; reduced sharing of interests, emotions or affect; not able to initiate or respond to social interactions; poor verbal and social communication, limited gesturing such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving; limited eye contact or avoids eye contact, etc.).
Restricted or stereotyped patterns of behavior, interest and activities (i.e., lining up toys or flapping hands, insistence on sameness, extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions from one activity to another, rigid thinking patterns, need to take same route or eat same type of food every day, strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement.