Department of Developmental Services (DDS)

The Department of Developmental Services is dedicated to creating, in partnership with others, innovative and genuine opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate fully and meaningfully in, and contribute to, their communities as valued members.


Who is Eligible?

An individual must have a diagnosed intellectual disability, autism, or closely related developmental condition.

A developmental delay means a substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired condition with a high probability of resulting in a developmental disability if services are not provided.

An individual must demonstrate severe functional impairments as defined by law.

How To Apply

Referrals for youth should be made no earlier than two years prior to his/her graduation or completion of school services.  Referrals made through the school district are part of the 688 Referral process.  Application to DDS is additional to a 688 referral.

This is typically done in the fall of junior year for those students scheduled to graduate on time. Others should be made two years before they turn 22. 

Referrals are generally made by school personnel but may be made by a family member, the student himself/herself or another professional who is familiar with the student.

Once referred, students will complete the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) Assessment to determine what specific supports would match the student's needs.


Support Services

  • Community 24 Hour Residential Supports provide care, supervision and basic life skills and community living skills training in various residential settings
  • State operated Residential Supports provides residential programs in specialized housing to individuals with intense support needs, most of who have been placed from DDS facilities
  • Individual Supports include help with food shopping, cooking, banking, and housekeeping
  • Day Supports helps individuals to build and maintain their ability to participate in community activities by focusing on important skill areas that include communication, self-care, relationship building and community involvement
  • Employment Supports provide supervision, training, and/or transportation that enable individuals to get paid jobs
  • Family Support Services consist of supplemental supports that help a family to care for their family member at home
  • Respite provides short term out of home care for the individual with intellectual disability

Contact Information

DDS Worcester Office

24 Southbridge St. 

Worcester, MA 01608


Please contact:

Kathe Coll                                            

Transition Services Coordinator

(508) 792-6200 x104

Barbara Eldridge

Children's Coordinator

(508) 792-6200 x117

Becky Gow

Children's Service Coordinator

(508) 792-6200 x126