Any person who lives in Sonoma, Solano, or Napa Counties, regardless of age or income, who is believed to have or be at risk of having a developmental disability may receive an intake assessment from clinicians to determine if he/she is eligible for regional center services.  A developmental disability is defined as a disability that occurs before the age of 18, is substantially disabling, and is expected to continue indefinitely.

Eligible children for Early Start include infants or toddlers (birth through 36 months) who:

  • have a significant (25%) delay in at least one area of development:  communication, gross/fine motor, social/ emotional, self-help, and/or cognitive skills,
  • have an established risk condition with a known probability of causing a disability or delay, or
  • have severe vision, hearing, or orthopedic (“solely low incidence”) conditions,
  • are at “high risk” of experiencing developmental delays or disabilities due to a combination of biomedical risk factors

Early Start Informational Packet

Eligible individuals (3 years of age and older) with the following developmental disabilities include:

  • Intellectual Disability
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism

People who have a disabling condition found to be closely related to intellectual disability, that requires treatment similar to that required for individuals who have an intellectual disability may also be considered for regional center eligibility.

The applicant must also have a substantial disability. A “substantial disability” means:

  1. A condition which results in a major impairment of cognitive and/or social functioning, representing sufficient impairment to require interdisciplinary planning and coordination of special or generic services to assist the individual in achieving maximum potential and:
  2. The existence of significant functional limitation, as determined by the regional center, in three or more of the following areas of major life activity, as appropriate to the person’s age:
    1. Receptive and expressive language
    2. Learning
    3. Self-care
    4. Mobility
    5. Self-direction
    6. Capacity for independent living
    7. Economic self-sufficiency

Developmental disability shall not include handicapping conditions that are:

  1. Solely psychiatric disorders where there is impaired intellectual or social functioning which originated as a result of the psychiatric disorder or treatment given for such a disorder.  Such psychiatric disorders include psycho-social deprivation and /or psychosis, severe neurosis or personality disorders even where social and intellectual functioning have become seriously impaired as an integral manifestation of the disorder.
  2. Solely learning disabilities.  A learning disability is a condition which manifests as a significant discrepancy between estimated cognitive potential and actual level of educational performance and which is not a result of generalized intellectual disability, educational or psycho-social deprivation, psychiatric disorder or sensory loss.
  3. Solely physical in nature.  These conditions include congenital anomalies or conditions acquired through disease, accident, or faulty development which are not associated with a neurological impairment that results in a need for treatment similar to that required for intellectual disability.