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Who we are...
The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) is the state agency responsible for oversight of services and support to Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. DIDD partners with people, families, community-based providers, advocates, and others to ensure people with disabilities are supported to live the lives they envision for themselves.
DIDD provides services and supports to both children and adults in a variety of ways. These include supports through the Home and Community Based Waivers, the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS), the Katie Beckett Program, the Family Support Program, and other programs. It aims to provide an array of services that support people and families to reach their optimal development and prepare them for independence, employment, and community engagement.
The department supports all Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live the lives they envision for themselves by ensuring people are free to exercise rights, engage with their broader communities and experience optimal health. DIDD is the first state service delivery system in the nation to receive Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership. It has also been recognized as a national leader in its efforts to increase competitive, community-based employment outcomes for people with disabilities and its commitment to enhancing independence through Enabling Technology.
DIDD Programs Guide
Find the age of the person and then explore programs they may be eligible to enroll in below.
*eligibility for programs varies and some programs cannot overlap. See website for eligibility details.
So where do I begin?
Take a look below as we have simplified the information on the services and supports available to help you get started.
The Employment and Community First CHOICES program is for people with both intellectual and developmental disabilities to assist people in becoming employed and live as independently as possible in the community. The state’s three Medicaid health plans operate the program under the oversight of DIDD and TennCare. The Employment and Community First CHOICES program provides an array of community and employment supports in a person-centered manner to support a person’s individual goals. Residential services are also available in the program.
Fill out the Employment and Community First CHOICES online self-referral form located at: https://www.tn.gov/tenncare/long-term-services-supports/employment-and-community-first-choices.html
If you need help completing the Employment and Community First CHOICES self-referral form or have questions, you have a few options. If you already have Medicaid and a Managed Care Organization (MCO), you should contact your MCO.
- Amerigroup: 866-840-4991
- BlueCare: 888-747-8955
- UnitedHealthCare: 800-690-1606
If you need assistance completing the application for the Employment and Community First CHOICES Program, contact the DIDD Regional Intake Office in your area of the state.
- West Tennessee (866) 372-5709
- Middle Tennessee (800) 654-4839
- East Tennessee (888) 531-9876
The Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) is a voluntary program for families with infants and young children that have disabilities or developmental delays. TEIS is governed by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).
If a child is determined eligible for TEIS, they will receive services at no cost to the family. TEIS offers a variety of services including developmental therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
If a parent or caregiver is interested in early intervention services, they can submit a referral. Referrals can be submitted by anyone.
There are three easy ways to refer a child to TEIS:
- MyTN app, available for free in your app store.
Looking for more information, you will find the TEIS page has you covered.
The Katie Beckett Program is for children under the age of 18 with significant disabilities or complex medical needs. These children are otherwise not eligible for Medicaid because of their parents’ income and/or assets. The program has two parts:
- Part A: Provides full Medicaid benefits to children with the most significant disabilities or complex medical needs
- Part B: Provides a capped package (up to $10,000 annually) of flexible service options to help families find financial, physical and emotional relief
DIDD assists with assessment and enrollment process for both parts of the program, and operates Part B.
- Apply for the Katie Beckett Program through TennCare Connect at www.tenncareconnect.tn.gov
- Looking for more information? Find it here on the Katie Beckett Program page
- View a Katie Beckett video
The Family Support Program is designed to assist individuals with severe disabilities and their families to remain together in their homes and communities. Services are flexible, responsive to families and their needs, and provided with the involvement of families, consumers and at the community level.
Family Support Program is available to individuals and families regardless of age and income who do not already receive more comprehensive services provided under other programs.
- For more information on how to apply visit the Family Support Program page.
Enabling Technology is the use of various forms of devices and tech to support a person with disabilities to live as independently as possible. These types of technologies include sensors, mobile applications, remote support systems, and other smart devices. Enabling Technology can support a person in navigating their jobs and communities, gain more control of their environment, and provide remote support and reminders to assist a person in independent living.
- Make sure you visit our Enabling Technology page which is constantly updated with great information.
- Check out this video of Enabling Technology
MAPs is a brand-new program designed to place people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on a pathway for success and achievement. The services in this program will help persons supported effectively identify community interests and resources, assist in establishing community networks, and develop independent living skills through supports such as technology, community transportation, peer mentoring, and an array of employment services.
This program is available to anyone with an I/DD diagnosis who has graduated high school or will graduate within three years. MAPs participants cannot be enrolled in another long term services and supports program including ECF CHOICES, CHOICES, the Katie Beckett Program, or 1915(c) Waivers.
- Check out our MAPs page for more information.
- Click here for a video about MAPs
- Click here to apply for MAPs
DIDD operates three seating and positioning clinics in Arlington, Nashville, and Greeneville. The clinics are staffed with physical and occupational therapists with specialized expertise in evaluating individuals who have complex seating and positioning needs. Each clinic also houses a manufacturing shop with custom design fabricators who have extensive experience in the areas of construction, carpentry, upholstering, and electronics.
The Seating and Positioning Clinics take a variety of insurances and is available to anyone who has complex seating and/or positioning needs
- Find out more by visiting the Seating and Positioning page.
- View a Video of Seating and Positioning
Tennessee START Assessment & Stabilization Teams (TN START) are a statewide resource for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have complex behavioral or mental health needs. TN START provides prevention and stabilization through crisis response, stabilization planning, training and education, consultation, and formalized partnerships. TN START is available in all counties. All team members will utilize evidence-based practices and be trained and certified by the Center for START Services.
TN START is being rolled out in phases and available to anyone currently enrolled in one of DIDD's existing programs.
- Find out more by visiting the TN START Assessment & Stabilization Teams page.
- View a Video about TN START
- Click here to make a referral to TN START
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder is a statewide multilingual information and referral service that helps people with disabilities, their family members, educators, and other professionals find and access resources, support, and services available to meet their needs. Information is available via a phone helpline, as well as an online searchable database containing over 2,200 agencies.
Click here to get started (External Link)