Frequently Asked Questions

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What Are Developmental Disabilities?

  

Developmental disabilities are typically present at birth, and are life-long, incurable disabilities impacting individuals’ language, cognitive and behavioral development. Sometimes, Developmental Disabilities can affect fine/gross motor, executive functioning and other adaptive functions, at times, having negative effects on other body parts, too. Typically, individuals with developmental disabilities need long-term support in the areas of life skills, self-care, self-direction, health, safety, mobility and many other areas.  The support services individuals require are in the form of nursing assistance, medical and therapeutic services (services that are covered by Medicaid). 

What Are Some Types of Developmental Disabilities?

Autism, Behavioral disorders, Brain Injuries, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Epilepsy, Hearing Loss, Intellectual Disability, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, Vision Impairment and others.  Individuals that do not have a developmental disability, but are deemed medically fragile, also require long-term services and may be eligible for either Katie Beckett, or the NOW/COMP waiver programs.

Can Anyone With a Developmental Disability Qualify for the Katie Beckett or NOW/COMP Waivers?

No.  It is not the individual's disability that makes them eligible for a waiver.  Having Autism Spectrum Disorder, for example, is not enough to be eligible for a waiver.  It is whether the individual's disability rises to an institutional level of care that makes them eligible for a waiver.  This means that the care and treatment necessary must be comparable to that provided in a hospital, nursing home or intermediate skilled nursing facility.   Individuals eligible for the Katie Beckett and NOW/COMP waivers must have been diagnosed with a developmental disability by qualified medical professionals before the ages of 18 and 22, respectively.  

Why Is It Required That My Child Have A Minimum of 5 Therapy Sessions Per Week to Maintain A Waiver?

If an individual is approved for a waiver which allows them to remain in the comfort and security of their home while receiving medical and therapeutic support in their community, they must receive a minimum amount of care equivalent to what they would receive, if they were in fact institutionalized in a hospital, nursing home or skilled intermediate nursing facility.  If your child receives services in school such as speech, occupational or physical therapy, school-based therapy counts toward your child's minimum of 5 weekly sessions, as long as your Pediatrician requests school-based therapy in their order (script) for total weekly sessions.  In some circumstances a child may not be required to participate in 5 weekly therapy sessions based on the results from a Psychological Evaluation using intelligence and behavioral testing.

Can I use my child's Primary Pediatrician to diagnose and treatment their disabilities?

A Pediatrician is the primary provider responsible for managing the overall medical care your child receives.  But, in areas where a child's development or behavior is a concern, it may be necessary that you and your child's Pediatrician work together to seek the services of a more specialized physician such as a Developmental Pediatrician. Developmental Pediatricians have attained more advanced training in all areas of child development.  Depending on your child's disability, you may also need the services of even more specialized physicians or researchers such as an Endocrinologist, Neurologist, Cardiologist, Physiatrist, Geneticist or Gastroenterologist.  Regardless of your child's needs it is always best to consult their Primary Pediatrician first in order to obtain the best medical advice and care they will need.  These physicians will be necessary in managing your child's health, and attesting to their level of care when  applying or reapplying for Medicaid waivers.  

What If My Child Is Found Not Eligible for the Katie Beckett Waiver? Is There Another Option?

Yes!  Easterseals of North Georgia's Champion for Children Program is an excellent option for children who are medically fragile, have developmental disabilities and are not eligible for Katie Beckett.  The program provides financial assistance and support to families needing medical or therapeutic services for their children.  

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What options are there for teens and adults with developmental disabilities?

Adult Disability Medical Services

As disabled children experience transitions throughout their primary and secondary education the same will be the case for their healthcare needs . Families are often stressed and left wondering what doctors will care for their disabled children when they become older. Typically children stop receiving medical services from their pediatricians and pediatric therapists around 18 to 20 years old.  At that time, It will be necessary to transition them to medical providers who treat, and understand the substantial medical needs of developmentally disabled adults.  Sometimes families and caregivers begin their child's transition to adult healthcare as early as 12 years old.  The Adult Disability Medical Healthcare (ADMH) is a service provider for disabled teens and adults providing primary healthcare.  There are 4 physicians on staff at the ADMH.  The ADMH also partners with hospitals and private practitioners who offer more specialized medical services when such treatments are necessary.  The ADMH accepts Medicaid and insurance, and has provided care to disabled individuals from all over Georgia and other states. To learn more about how the ADMH assists teens and adults with developmental disabilities, please visit their website at www.theadmh.org

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Are there any other Community Services available?

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Community Service Boards

Community Service Boards provide a wealth of healthcare services for individuals affected by mental illness, behavioral health issues and those with intellectual disabilities.  These boards receive funding and oversight by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.  Georgia has at least 26 recognized community service boards; many serving multiple counties around the state. So, not every county has its own service board.   Additionally, service boards assist in the treatment and recovery of those affected by substance abuse.  Community service boards are also the "safety nets" for eligible uninsured or under insured individuals who, without the support of their local service board, would not have access to the necessary healthcare, peer support, residential treatment, crisis intervention and even job training opportunities these agencies provide.  To learn where your nearest community service board is, and to learn if you or someone you're caring for may benefit from them go to: https://dbhdd.georgia.gov/locations/community-service-board 


Facing a crisis situation and need help immediately?

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Mental Health Issues

The Georgia Crisis and Access Line has professional counselors working 24/7 to listen and get your the help you need

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Developmental Disabilities

The Georgia Crisis and Access Line also supports families, advocates and healthcare providers of developmentally disabled individuals needing critical and emergency resources 

The Georgia Crisis and Access Line

1-800-715-4225

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Cam and Madi's Promise Incorporated

P.O. Box 82 Smyrna, GA 30081

(770) 239-1522

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Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm

Saturday - Sunday: Closed