How to apply for Developmental Disability Services?

Thank you for your interest in acquiring a determination of a developmental disability in Colorado. As the Community Centered Board (CCB) for Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties, Horizons will serve as your entry point for developmental disabilities services. As of August 1, 2013, the State of Colorado revised the Rules for Developmental Disability Determination. Specific information regarding this Rule may be found in Health Care Policy and Financing Rules in 10 CCR 2505-10 8.600.4 and 8.607.2

The State of Colorado’s criteria to determine a developmental disability is four-fold:

  1. There is evidence of either a cognitive or adaptive behavior impairment that manifested prior to the age of twenty two (22).
  2. The testing is current. (The most current assessment tool available at the time of the testing should be used. If the applicant is 18 years of age or older and only one test is available, it must have been completed when the person was at least 18 years of age and within 10 years of the request to the CCB. If there is more than one assessment available for review, the assessments must show similar results and can be used regardless of the individual’s age at the time of the request for developmental disability determination).
    For applicants between the ages of five and eighteen (5 – 18) the Intellectual or IQ assessment must be from the list of approved testing tools (see below). Any adaptive assessment is not more than three years old and occurred after the applicants fifth birthday.
  3. The disability is not ONLY attributable to physical or sensory impairment or mental illness (meaning the primary reason for low testing score and cognitive delay is due to a neurological condition and not due to other circumstances such as a mental health condition).
  4. The cognitive or adaptive behavior impairment is due to an intellectual disability or related condition or other neurological condition.


Individuals or families wishing to request a disability determination should present the following:

  1. Request for Developmental Disability Determination signed by applicant or legal guardian (below)

2. Standardized, norm-referenced testing

3. Documentation verifying all medical and behavioral diagnosis

4. Documentation that impairment manifested prior to the age of 22.

5. Signed receipt of Horizons’ HIPAA policy 

When a completed and signed application packet is received with all required documentation, Horizons will make a determination of developmental disability within 30 days. Applicant will receive written determination at that time.

Additional information will be requested after disability determination has been completed to determine eligibility for specific programs.

Cognitive Testing (preferred)

The score shall be determined using a norm-referenced, standardized test of general intellectual functioning and administered by a licensed psychologist or school psychologist.  The following are the Assessments tools recommended by the State of Colorado:

  1. Differential Ability Scale (DAS)
  2. Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC)
  3. Leiter International Performance Scale (Leiter)
  4. Stanford Binet (SB)
  5. Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)
  6. Wechsler Intelligent Scale for Children (WISC)
  7. Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI) 

Adaptive Behavior Assessment

In order to ascertain if an applicant meets the State criteria an adaptive assessment may be needed to reflect the applicant’s true abilities.  Adaptive Behavior will be considered if the overall adaptive behavior composite or equivalent score is two or more standard deviations below the mean and would also require a documented neurological diagnosis as well.  Measurements shall be a norm-referenced, standardized assessment of adaptive behaviors that are appropriate to the person’s living environment.  The following Assessment tools are recommended by the State of Colorado:

  1. Adaptive Behavior Assessment System (ABAS)
  2. Adaptive Behavior Scale-Revised (ABS-R)
  3. Scales of Independent Behavior-Revised (SIB-R)
  4. Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale (VABS)

When determining the overall adaptive behavior score, a maximum confidence level of 90% shall be applied to the overall adaptive behavior score to determine if the interval includes a score of 70 or less.  The adaptive scale shall be determined using interview and record review and not through questionnaires.  All domains must be considered in determining the overall adaptive behavior score.  An adaptive assessment MUST be accompanied with third party documentation of a neurological diagnosis (such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Autism spectrum disorder or seizure disorder).

In the event that a person does not have testing through an agency, the following individuals in Northwest Colorado are willing to assist families to acquire the testing required by the State of Colorado:

Routt County:

Bob Kirchner drbobkirchner@yahoo.com 970-846-1920

Nicole LeCuyer nicole.lecuyer@nwboces.org 970-879-0391

Tracy Metzler metzler222@msn.com 970-879-8460

Richard Boersma  970-879-7637 ext. 3

Moffat County:

Teresa Laster teresa.laster@moffatsd.org

*Please note that none of the above individuals works for Horizons and your relationship with them is completely separate from your relationship with Horizons including arranging for payment for testing.

The assessment report, signed and dated by the administering professional, should include the following information:

  1. The psychological evaluation should include, at a minimum, Full Scale IQ scores or Composite scores.
  2. For the Wechsler, if a valid FSIQ cannot be obtained due to certain disabilities, please include the General Ability Index (GAI) score.
  3. Confidence intervals (or standard error) at a maximum of 90 % confidence level.
  4. A general Statement of whether the results accurately reflect the individual’s general functioning.
  5. If the individual has mental illness, physical impairments, or sensory impairments, report should include a Statement to indicate whether impaired intellectual or adaptive behavior functioning is or is not solely due to these factors.
  6. A third party Statement or document that indicates if the onset of disability occurred prior to the age of 22.

If you have any questions, please contact our eligibility coordinator at our main Steamboat Office, 970-879-4466.

In simplified terms:

Basically, the State of Colorado requires four things to determine eligibility:

  1. Proof of a cognitive, adaptive or intellectual disability (testing – signed and dated by the person who administered the test).  See website for a list of State approved assessments as well as persons able to administer a cognitive or adaptive test in Horizons five county area.
  2. Proof that the disability occurred prior to age 22.  This could be the age of applicant when they apply for developmental disability determination, an IEP from school documenting disability or appropriate medical records.
  3. Why the applicant is disabled (medical diagnosis).
  4. A signed application for disability determination.