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Children and youth develop skills in five main area as they grow… social emotional, speech and language, fine and gross motor and activities of daily living and cognitive or thinking skills. Each child develops differently, reaching milestones at their own pace.  Doctors and teachers help identify when a child has issues meeting the typical milestones.  Delays may be caused by a short term issues such as frequent ear infections or a physical delay because of being a premature baby and in the hospital for a long time.  Some children/youth have issues that they will not outgrow and are diagnosed as having developmental disabilities.  Evaluations help understand the problem and with supports and services children can make progress throughout school and into adult life.

In addition to school services there are supports available to people who meet certain requirements through New York State’s Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).  To be eligible a person must have a qualifying disability that started before age 22 AND significant challenges that limit their ability to function in comparison to typical peers.

Support is Available from OPWDD (Office for People with Developmental Disabilities) for:

  • Care Coordination
  • Respite
  • After School Programs
  • Behavior Services
  • Housing
  • Community Habilitation
  • Employment Programs
  • Assistive Technology
  • Day Services
  • Environmental Modifications

To Receive OPWDD Services a person must have:
A qualifying disability before age 22 AND significant challenges that limit their ability to function in comparison to their typical peers.

  • Intellectual Disability
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Familial Dysautonomia
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Neurological Impairment
  • Prader Willi Syndrome
  • Any other condition that causes impairment in general intellectual functioning or adaptive behavior

Children from Birth through Age Seven (7) Do not need a specific diagnosis
Require a 12 month delay in one or more functional areas:

  • Physical
  • Cognitive
  • Language
  • Social
  • Adaptive Development


Parent Network of WNY’s Eligibility Navigator can assist families in Erie and Niagara Counties with completing the necessary paperwork to get the eligibility process started.

CONTACT: Theresa Veprek
Eligibility Navigator
FSS Eligibility Navigator Program
(716) 332-4167

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