Why Is California 45 Years Behind in the Onset Definition of a Developmental Disability?

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My recent effort to change California’s age of onset definition of developmental disability was made with state Senator Portantino, and resulted in unanimous bi-partisan votes in both the Senate and Assembly before the bill was vetoed by Governor Newsom last year.

California’s antiquated law states that a developmental disability is one which begins prior to the age of 18, yet it is a medical fact that the developmental phase of the brain continues to at least age 22.  The Federal government acknowledged this fact in 1978 by changing its age of onset to age 22, and 38 other states then did the same. California is 45 years behind on this issue.  I do not intend to stop my efforts to rectify what I believe is discrimination by the state against a portion of its developmentally disabled citizens.  

The analysis we used was the California Department of Public Health records and other data to determine that over the past several decades more than a thousand Californians had brain injuries between age 18 and 22, severe enough to be eligible for Regional Center services and would become retroactively eligible if the law was changed.

If you are an individual with, or have a family member with a developmental disability, we are interested in connecting with you, so that we may meet you and hear your story.

Please email me in care of the ILCSC, at ilcsc@ilcsc.org, with your contact information and I will respond.

Jim O’Hara


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