How to Prepare for a DDA Assessment

Here are tips for getting ready for an assessment with the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), which is managed by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Be sure to send information to the DDA case manager ahead of time and keep a copy. If you save the assessment electronically in Word/Google Documents, it can be easily reviewed and updated any time.

Review

  • Take notes on last year’s assessment and email a list of your concerns to the DDA case manager. This provides the case manager time to prepare answers and check with a supervisor or central office staff if further information is needed to answer questions.

Notification

  • If the individual receiving DDA support is working or is looking for work, invite a job coach to the meeting. Provide details about the meeting day, time and location, with plenty of time for planning.
  • Notify personal care providers about the meeting so they can share information with the case manager about supports being provided.

Documentation   

  • Include full name, address and phone number for the individual with a disability
  • Other Contacts: name, phone, address, and email
    • Close family members, friends, siblings, grandparents.
    • Medicaid Personal Care provider.
    • Employment Vendor
    • Medical doctors and specialists
    • Dentist
  • List of all medications
    • Name, dose, reason: include vitamins and over-the-counter medicines
    • For prescriptions, include the name of the doctor or other prescriber
  • List all diagnoses
    • For example: autism, cerebral palsy, paraplegia, specific cardiac problems, hydrocephalus, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), depression, seizure disorder
    • A primary doctor at the annual checkup can describe diagnoses in a clinic note, required by some DDA case managers
  • Record the dates of the most recent doctor and dentist appointments
    • Include emergency room and hospital visits with or without an overnight
  • Therapies
    • Describe the kind of therapy, frequency of sessions and full contact information for each therapist.
  • The assessment will review what happened over the past seven days, so a journal, whiteboard or note file on a phone can help track events for the week prior to the assessment. The case manager will want to know everything caregivers do for or with the individual with the disability.
    • Note with detail each time you provide verbal prompting, physical guidance, weight-bearing assistance, monitoring for safety, etc. Include things like tying shoes and zipping jackets or advising about the weather and what to wear.
    • Think of everything for an accurate CARE Assessment that details what care was provided to the individual throughout the time period being reviewed,

This information can be printed in PDF form – How To Prepare for a DDA Assessment
Having trouble seeing this document? Please email us at pave@wapave.org for us to email you a different version.

We explain this document in Video form! Training Overview of DDA Assessments

Developmental Disabilities Ombuds

By Tim McCue
Self Advocacy Educator
Pronouns: he/him/his
Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds

The Developmental Disabilities Ombuds; what are they all about?

Are you frustrated with your DD services? We are here to help! An ombuds is a person who makes sure that people who are getting a certain type of service have protection and get treated the way that they deserve to be treated. There are ombuds for people who are elderly and live in nursing homes, and ombuds for kids who need some help at school. The Developmental Disabilities Ombuds, or DD Ombuds, help improve the lives of people who have intellectual or developmental disabilities that are getting services from the government.

We take complaints from individuals with disabilities, their friends, family, guardians and even staff. When you call us, we have to keep what you told us private unless you give us permission to tell other people. Even if you do not get any services but you have a developmental disability, we can offer you information to help you find the help you need. We call this “information and referral”. What are some reasons you might want to make a complaint? Well, maybe you do not like the way you were treated, or maybe you do not feel safe? Another reason could be that you do not get to have the privacy or get to make the decisions you want.

Our biggest goal is to stop abuse and neglect from happening. That is why we regularly visit, or monitor, the places where people with developmental disabilities live across Washington State. These places can be supported living, adult family homes, private residences, or state institutions. As we are monitoring, we collect information so that we can write reports to give to service providers and the Washington state legislature about how well the service system is working. These reports include recommendations for how to improve the services that people are getting.

The Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds also believes that self-advocacy is important. Why? Self-advocacy is all about giving people with disabilities the tools they need let others what they want, including safety, privacy, choice, dignity and respect. We have a self-advocacy educator who works full time to develop advocacy materials and teach self-advocacy skills. At our advocacy trainings, we give presentations and lead activities on topics like problem solving, speaking up, and disability rights.

The DD Ombuds are looking for new places to give advocacy trainings, so if you would like us to come to your meeting or event, send us a message at info@ddombuds.org. If you would like to make a complaint about your developmental disability services, give us a call at 833-727-8900, or fill out a complaint form on our website. Remember, the Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds is your office!

About the author:
Tim McCue has lived his entire life in the cool, crisp climate of Washington State. In 2012, Tim graduated from Lincoln High School and entered the Tacoma Transition Program, where he worked at the Metro Parks’ Greenhouse near Point Defiance. During his time there, he met Mike Raymond and the team at Self Advocates of Washington (SAW), who inspired his interest in advocacy. As a result, he was hired on as an intern to teach students about a variety of topics relating to disability empowerment, later becoming SAW’s Project Manager/Executive Director. He has also spent a considerable amount of time volunteering at various Self Advocacy groups such as Self Advocates in Leadership (SAIL) and Allies in Advocacy, most notably supporting and learning from the Person Centered Planning movement. In 2017, Tim was hired as the Self-Advocacy Educator for the Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds at Disability Rights Washington, where he works to provide disabled individuals with the most powerful tool of all; knowledge.