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The application process

Step 1: Get your eligibility documents ready

To apply for adult developmental services, funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) through Developmental Services Ontario (DSO), you will need to prove that you have a developmental disability, live in Ontario, and are 18 years old.

What types of documents do I need to provide to prove this?

You must provide DSO with one document for each of the following areas listed below:

1. Your developmental disability

To prove that you have a developmental disability, you will need a written psychological assessment. It must be done by a psychologist or psychological associate. If you do not have a psychological assessment, please contact your area DSO. They will review options with you.

The assessment must include the following elements:

  1. Information about your cognitive functioning

    This means your ability to reason, organize, plan, make judgments, and identify consequences. It is usually done as an IQ test.

  2. Adaptive information

    This means your capacity to gain independence and apply skills in everyday life.
    It includes the following set of skills:

    • conceptual skills, such as reading, writing, math and money skills;
    • social skills, such as getting along with others;
    • practical skills that you use every day, such as work skills, getting around and using transportation, taking care of your health and safety, following schedules and routines.
  3. Age of onset information

    If you get the assessment done after you turn 18, the psychologist should say if your disability began before the age of 18 and is likely to continue all of your life. If you get it done before you turn 18, no information is needed about age of onset.

2. Living in Ontario

  • health card
  • lease or rental agreement
  • statement of direct deposit for ODSP
  • bank account statements with your address on them
  • driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID

3. Age

  • birth or baptismal certificate
  • passport
  • driver’s license

Step 2: Call your area DSO

To start the application process, call your area DSO. The person you speak with at the DSO will ask you questions to see if you are eligible to apply. Make sure you have all the eligibility documents (from Step 1) ready to prove that you:

  • have a developmental disability,
  • live in Ontario, and
  • are 18 years or older.

It will take some time to get through all of the information, so try to set aside up to 30 minutes for your first call. If at any time you need to stop the call, the information you shared is not lost — it is just on hold until you call the DSO back to complete this part of the process.

With all of the correct documents, you can be confirmed eligible for adult developmental services at age 16, although the services will not start until age 18.

Step 3: Complete an application

You will receive a letter from your area DSO telling you if you are eligible to receive MCCSS funded services. If you are, you will be connected to a DSO assessor in your area. The assessor will set up 2 meetings with you to help you complete an application package and determine the level of support you need.

Each meeting will be about 3 hours long and you will need to have at least 2 people who know you well (e.g., parent, guardian, teacher, etc.) with you at the meetings. Once the assessor knows your needs, you will be connected to services that are available in your area.

Step 4: Stay in touch

It may take some time before you get your services and supports. In the meantime, tell your area DSO if any of your information or situation changes.

Completing the application package

Walk me through the application process!

Have questions?

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page