Developmental Disabilities Information

Washington State defines a developmental disability as:

“a disability attributable to Intellectual Disability, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Autism, or another neurological or other condition closely related to intellectual disability or that requires treatment similar to that required for individuals with intellectual disabilities, which originated before the individual attained age eighteen, continued or can be expected to continue indefinitely, and results in substantial limitations to an individual's intellectual and/or adaptive functioning.” (RCW71A.10.020(3))

As of November 2017-
 83,000 people estimated in Washington State have a developmental disability
 42,647 clients enrolled with the WA State Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)
 28,402 of those clients received at least one paid service from DDA
 14,245 of those clients received no paid services from DDA

The primary demand for services focuses on:

 Family services and information, including respite to prevent out-of-home placements;
 Employment support to help individuals find and keep jobs and contribute to our economy;
 Community residential services for individuals who need supervision and supports; and
 Other Medicaid-funded services such as health care, therapies, dental, vision, etc.

The vast majority of individuals live in local communities with their families, many with very significant disabilities. A 2013 report  by our State Auditor reported that the largest number of people with “high” acuity levels (as designated by their DDA assessment) live with their families.

Large congregate care institutions (Residential Habilitation Centers or RHCs) were once the recommended placement for people with developmental disabilities. They are now an outdated, costly way ($800 a day per person) to support individuals with significant disabilities.  Our state still operates four of its six original institutions, even though the number of residents has declined from over 4,000 to fewer than 550.

Additional charts and data from the Developmental Disabilities Administration can be found here.