The Department is dedicated to creating, in partnership with others, innovative and genuine opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate fully and meaningfully in, and contribute to, their communities as valued members.

Did you miss our April 28th, 2021 remote Transition Fair? Good news: we’ve recorded agency presentations for you! Click her image to watch Maria Stefano describe DDS services for our KP students. You can also view her slides by clicking the slide icon below.

Contact Information

The Regional Office handles applications:
DDS Metro Region
465 Waverly Oaks Road, Suite 120
Waltham, MA 02452
Intake and Eligibility Line: (781) 314-7513
The Walpole Area Office information is relevant only after your student has been deemed eligible for
DDS services:
Department of Developmental Services
125 West Street
Walpole, MA 02081
Phone: (508) 668-3679
TTY Phone: (617) 727-9410×130
​Fax: (508) 668-1590
DDS website 

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for DDS, an individual must have a diagnosed intellectual disability, autism, or closely related developmental condition. An intellectual disability is generally defined as having an IQ score of or around 70 or below, and significant limitations in adaptive functioning – a condition which has manifest before age 18.
Since the recent establishment of DDS’ Division of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) services, eligibility has expanded such that individuals with autism who have IQs over 70 and have substantial functional limitations have access to services. Click here to see DDS’ {file: Eligibility Fact Sheet for Adult ASD}
If your son or daughter is diagnosed with Autism, Prader-Willi Syndrome, or Smith-Magenis Syndrome, the Lifeworks Family Support Center can help with filling out applications, answering questions about services; assisting with navigating the DDS system, advocating for you with the Intake and Eligibility Team, and assisting you with obtaining records needed for eligibility.

How to Apply

It is important to note that eligibility criteria for the Department’s adult services are different from eligibility criteria for its children’s services. Young adults need to re-apply to DDS during their 17th year before turning age 18, which is when the eligibility requirements change.

KP typically makes this referral for you through the Chapter 688 referral process {Link to 688 info}. Please talk to your student’s liaison or the Transition Coordinator if you are unsure about whether or not the referral process has been initiated.After the referral has been completed and received by the Regional Team, applicants can expect to be contacted by a Regional Eligibility Team member to schedule a face-to-face meeting. The meeting can take place at a departmental office, or a convenient location where an interview can occur.

Generally, a written decision will be sent to applicants 60 days after the Regional Eligibility Team receives all of the necessary documentation and has had the opportunity to conduct an intake interview. There are three types of eligibility determinations: eligible, ineligible and deferral of eligibility determination. If applicants are found eligible, applicants will be given the name of the area office that will be responsible for service planning and prioritization. If applicants are found ineligible, they will be given information about their appeal rights. If DDS is unable to render a decision, applicants will be told what additional information is still needed to complete the eligibility process.

Support Services

DDS provides specialized services and supports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities across diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic groups. They provide wide range of services and supports with the amount and type of support varying according to the individual’s needs and the local resources.

For individuals who are deemed eligible, DDS services may include:

Service Coordination: provided by Department of Developmental Services staff that arranges, coordinates, and monitors the services and supports that the Department provides, purchases or arranges for an individual.

Residential Supports:

  1. DDS Community 24 Hour Residential Supports provide care, supervision and basic life skills and community living skills training in various residential setting.
  2. DDS state operated residential supports provides residential programs in specialized housing to individuals with intense support needs, most of who have been placed from DDS facilities.

Individual Supports: consist of assistance with a variety of activities that is provided regularly or intermittently to enable individuals to live as independently as possible in the community. Individual supports include help with food shopping, cooking, banking, and housekeeping.

Community Day Support: helps individuals to build and maintain their ability to participate in community activities by focusing on important skill areas that include communication, self-care, relationship building and community involvement.

Employment Supports: provide supervision, training, and/or transportation that enable individuals to get paid jobs. It includes help with career planning and job development as well. Here is a guide designed to help families of young adults get started with the school to work transition process.

Family Support Services: consist of supplemental supports that help a family to care for their family member at home. Types of family support services include individual and/or family education and training, support groups, family support coordination, supports planning, supports for community participation, outreach and education, and respite.

Respite: provides short term out of home care for the individual with intellectual disability. It allows parents and other primary caregivers to handle personal matters, emergencies, or take a break.

The newer DDS Autism services generally focus on family, day, and/or employment supports.