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Developmental Disabilities

When exploring guardianship or supports for persons with developmental disabilities a comprehensive guide is Lighting the Way. . .


Lighting the Way to Guardianship and Other Decision Making Options


The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) Resource Directory is a tool for individuals to learn about the available resources and organizations available in their local areas, programs offered throughout the state, and nationwide resources. The goal is that by providing a collection of resources, including a direct link to that specific site, people will be able to easily and efficiently locate any type of service they need.


APD’s Resource Directory






Users start by searching within the “search criteria” using either zip code or county. If using a zip code, you must select a radius from that zip code. If searching by county, select a service area (local, state or national), then select the type of disability.  From there you can select up to 5 keywords related to service. Submit and a list of potential resources will be displayed, including the resource/agency name, services provided, phone/fax number, address, age range, contact name, email, a description of the organization, and a link to the organization’s website.


Want additional information about the organization? Click on the title of the resource. This brings you to an additional page that will display a map of the organization, the disabilities the organization serves, and the counties the organization provides services in.


Using the Google map you can get directions to the organization by clicking on “Directions” underneath the address displayed.


Overview of Developmental Disabilities Services in Florida


In each state or territory, a Developmental Disabilities Network, or DD Network has been created and is federally-funded.  These networks are uniquely positioned to meet the diverse needs of individuals with developmental disabilities in their state.


While each entity within the network serves specific, sometimes disparate purposes, they were established with overlapping goals that facilitate collaboration and interconnectivity among the different units. Because of its structure, each entity within a state’s DD Network is able to work cross-functionally to fulfill the mandates of the DD Act and its core values: self-determination, independence, productivity, integration and inclusion in all facets of the community.


State Councils on Developmental Disabilities


The 56 Councils across the United States and its territories work to address identified needs by conducting advocacy, systems change, and capacity building efforts that promote self-determination, integration, and inclusion. Key activities include conducting outreach, providing training and technical assistance, removing barriers, developing coalitions, encouraging citizen participation, and keeping policymakers informed about disability issues.


Florida Developmental Disabilities Council




The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council was established in 1971 to help plan individual and family-centered supports for persons with disabilities in Florida. The Council also guides the development and administration of services for people with developmental disabilities by planning and funding research, innovations, and programs designed to improve the quality of their lives.


To address system-wide issues affecting people with developmental disabilities, the Council engages in state and national advocacy activities in support of legislation, policies, and programs responsive to the needs of people with developmental disabilities. As a member of the Consortium of Developmental Disabilities Councils, the Council is also committed to representing the diverse interests of Developmental Disabilities Councils and the people with disabilities that the councils were created to serve.  Each state has a federally funded disability.


The Developmental Disabilities Council is a non -profit organization that receives federal assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Developmental Disabilities.


A link to their resources, which are available free of charge and will be shipped mailed to you directly: www.fddc.org/publications


State Protection & Advocacy Systems


The 57 P&As across the United States and its territories are dedicated to the ongoing fight for the personal and civil rights of individuals with developmental disabilities. P&As are independent of service-providing agencies within their states and work at the state level to protect individuals with developmental disabilities by empowering them and advocating on their behalf. P&A’s provide legal support to traditionally unserved or underserved populations to help them navigate the legal system to achieve resolution and encourage systems change.


Disability Rights Florida




Disability Rights Florida was founded in 1977 as the statewide designated protection and advocacy system for individuals with disabilities in the State of Florida. Disability Rights Florida is a not-for-profit corporation that has authority and responsibility under eight federal grants. Their services are free and confidential.


To advance the quality of life, dignity, equality, self-determination, and freedom of choice of persons with disabilities through collaboration, education, advocacy, as well as legal and legislative strategies.


National Network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research & Service


The 68 UCEDDs across the United States and its territories are unique among AIDD program grantees in that they are affiliated with universities, allowing them to serve as liaisons between academia and the community. UCEDDs are a nationwide network of independent but interlinked centers, representing an expansive national resource for addressing issues, finding solutions, and advancing research related to the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.


The Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC)


Since 1963, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) have been working to accomplish a shared vision that foresees a nation in which all Americans, including Americans with disabilities, participate fully in their communities. Independence, productivity and community inclusion are key components of this vision. Funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, there are currently 67 UCEDDs that focus on: Interdisciplinary pre-service preparation and continuing education, community services, research, and dissemination.
The Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC) at the University of South Florida was established in October 2005 through a University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service grant award from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities. Through leadership in research and evaluation, theory, policy, capacity building, and practice, the FCIC is committed to developing a range of supports and services in the areas of Community Supports, Early Childhood, Transition, Education, Employment, Health, and Interdisciplinary Training.


The Mailman Center for Child Development is an academic center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine that addresses concerns of individuals with developmental disabilities and children with special health care needs through:


•             Research

•             Clinical service

•             Training for professionals

•             Parental workshops

•             Advocacy



One of the top 10 programs in the United States for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and chronic illness. The Mailman Center is housed in a 9-story building with nearly 115,000 square feet of office, clinical, training, conference, and laboratory space and is located on the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center campus. The Mailman Center annually serves over 19,000 children, youths, and their families. The Mailman Center for Child Development is an integral part of the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics. The Center offers extensive research facilities for education and contains everything needed to fulfill its mission of research, training, and services to children with special needs and their families.


For evaluations and treatment appointments, please contact the following Mailman Center appointment lines:


•             Mailman Center Main Phone Number 305-243-6631(auto attendant line)


For Specific Clinical Programs, please call:


•             Early Steps/Early Intervention Program 305-243-5600 or 305-243-6660

•             Clinical and Pediatric Psychology 305-243-6857

•             Behavioral Pediatrics Clinic 305-243-6857

•             Audiology (Hearing) Services 305-243-6831

•             Speech Language Pathology 305-243-6831

•             Nutrition Services 305-243-6831

•             IDES Clinic 305-243-7541


(Interdisciplinary Developmental Evaluation Services)


•             Social Work 305-243-6864


Additional information about Developmental Disabilities Act




Specific circuits may require specific forms. It is best contact your circuit to determine if they accept the following forms.


To find a circuit:




393 Guardian Advocacy, only


9thJudicial Circuit forms




14thJudicial Circuit Guardian Advocate Information www.jud14.flcourts.org/Judges/FormsChecklists/GuardianAdvocacy/Guardian_Advocate_Manual.pdf


17thJudicial Circuit Guardianship forms http://www.17th.flcourts.org/index.php/judges/probate/probate-and-guardianship-smart-forms


18thJudicial Circuit Probate and Guardianship Forms