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 Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Montana Youth Transitions - Resources for youth, parents, and professionals.

Developing Your Child's IEP- Parent Center Hub

Guide to Accredited Online Schools - provides a comprehensive introduction to an online education for grades elementary to graduate school. The site features to guides help you find the right program for your needs. Online schools explores the factors motivating millions of students to enroll in online courses, walks you through criteria to consider before enrolling, and offers tips to help you get started. 

Montana OPI Special Education Forms & Guidance

Optimizing Outcomes for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Educational Services Guidelines

This guide focuses on the tools, devices, and systems that can help students who are deaf or hard of hearing thrive in an educational setting.

ADA Guide to Disability Rights
This is a comprehensive guide to Disability Rights Laws produced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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

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. 

Affordable Schools Online

  • Career Guide for Students with Disabilities: ADA Rights & Support 
  • College Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Scholarships & Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities

Affordable Schools Online
College Resources for Students with Disabilities

Go Grad: Graduate School Resources for Students with Disabilities
The following guide provides funding sources, resources for students with visual impairments, hearing loss and an expert interview discussing how to excel in graduate school as a student with a disability.

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.