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Developmental Disabilities

Developmental Disabilities

A developmental disability is a disability attributed to mental retardation*, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism or other neurological handicapping condition closely related to mental retardation and requiring treatment similar to that required by individuals with mental retardation* if the disability originated before the person attained age 18, has continued or can be expected to continue indefinitely, and constitutes a substantial handicap to the person.*
-Montana State Law  (*Though the state definition uses the term “mental retardation”, a more commonly accepted term is “intellectual disabilities”)

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. According to the Montana Office of Public Instruction and the United Census Bureau, approximately 1,954 Montana children ages 3 to 5 and 8,416 Montana children ages 6 to 17 experience disability.

Categories for Special Education and Individual Education Plans

The following is a combined list of 13 disability categories. For the purpose of this website we have combined blindness with visual impairment and deafness with hearing impairment. Please choose from the list of disability categories below for more information and resources. 

Your Child's IEP

What Families Need To Know- (Eparent)

Guide to Success: Navigating Montana’s Developmental Disabilities Program
A Guide to Understanding the Developmental Disability Services System
- PLUK

Navigating Montana_s Developmental Disabilities Program


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State Resources

AWARE Inc.
205 E. Park Avenue
Anaconda, MT 59711
(406) 563-8117
(800) 432-6145

Brain Injury Alliance of Montana
1280 South 3rd Street West, Suite #4
Missoula, Montana 59801
(406) 541-6442
(800) 241-6442 – Toll-free in-state

Disability Rights Montana
1022 Chestnut Street
Helena, Montana 59601
(406) 449-2344
(800) 245-4743

Learning Disabilities Association of Montana
3544 Toboggan Rd
Billings, MT 59101
(406) 259-3110

Montana Association for the Blind
PO Box 465
Helena, MT 59624
(406) 442-9411

Montana Association of Community Disability Services
746 33rd B Avenue NE
Great Falls, MT 59404
(406) 899-1988

Montana Association of the Deaf
PO Box 6433
Great Falls, MT 59406
(406) 771-9053

Montana Autism Society of America
Northwest Montana Chapter – Kalispell
PO Box 2528
Kalispell, Montana 59903
(406) 257-8758

Montana Center on Disabilities
College of Education
Montana State University Billings
1500 University Drive
Billings, MT 59101
(406) 657-2312
(888) 866-3822

Montana Council on Developmental Disabilities
2714 Billings Avenue
Helena MT 59601
(866)443-4332

Montana Developmental Disabilities Program
111 Sanders Suite 305
PO Box 4210
Helena, MT 59604-4210
(406) 444-2995

Montana Mental Health Association
25 South Ewing, Suite 206
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 442-4276

Montana Office of Public Instruction: Montana Division of Special Education
1227 11th Avenue
Helena, MT 59601
(888) 231-9393
(406) 444-3095

Montana Rural Institute on Disabilities
The University of Montana Rural Institute

52 Corbin Hall
Missoula, MT 59812
(406)-243-5467
(800)-732-0323

Montana School for the Deaf and Blind
3911 Central Avenue
Great Falls, MT 59405
(406) 771-6000
(800) 882-6732

Montana Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Box 215
Miles City, MT 59301
(877) 747-7734

National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Northwest Chapter
2047 Broadwater, Suite 2
Billings, MT 59102
(406) 252-5927
(800) 344-4867

National Resources

Disability and Health- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
This CDC website contains a wealth of information for families and healthcare providers looking for information and support on a wide variety of disabilities.   

Learning Ally
National non-profit dedicated to helping blind, visually impaired and dyslexic students succeed in education. Educational and professional books on audio, covering all subjects from kindergarten through postgraduate studies. 

National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD)
NCHPAD is a public health practice and resource center on health promotion for people with disability. NCHPAD seeks to help people with disability and other chronic health conditions achieve health benefits through increased participation in all types of physical and social activities, including fitness and aquatic activities, recreational and sports programs, adaptive equipment usage, and more.

U.S. Department of Education: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)
Provides leadership and financial support to states and local districts to improve results for children and youth with disabilities.

PACER Center
A coalition of parent groups that provide information on education and advocacy for children with disabilities.