Rights Under the Lanterman Act
What is the Lanterman Act?
Known as the Lanterman Act for short, the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act was passed in California in 1969. In addition to having the same rights as other Californians, the Lanterman Act states that individuals with developmental disabilities have the right to make choices about their life, have access to information needed to make those choices, and receive support and services that help them reach their full potential. At the time the act was passed, it was decided by state legislature that state government agencies do not provide well enough services. This led to the creation of the regional center system, a system of 21 nonprofit organizations throughout the state that coordinate services for eligible individuals. The regional centers are overseen by the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS). Read here to learn more about the regional center system.
What Services Are Covered Under Lanterman and Who is Eligible?
Once an individual becomes a client of a regional center, the regional center is required under the Lanterman Act to develop an Individual Program Plan (IPP) based on the individual’s needs. To determine if an individual’s condition is covered under the Lanterman Act, the regional center will review medical diagnoses and records as well as past services received. An individual that is eligible for services under the Lanterman Act has a developmental disability that started before the age of 18, is expected to continue indefinitely, and has major deficits in three of the following areas – communication skills, learning, self-care, mobility, self-direction, independent living, or economic self-sufficiency. Cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, intellectual disability, or a condition closely related to an intellectual disability are the five conditions considered a developmental disability in California.
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