Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Developmental Disability? The term “developmental disability” is attributable to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, head injury, autism, a learning disability related to a brain dysfunction, or any other mental or physical impairment. It manifests before the age of 22 and can continue indefinitely. Individuals with developmental disabilities have limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior.

What are SB40 Boards?Senate Bill 40 Boards are local county boards for developmentally disabled adults founded by Mentally Retarded Citizens of Missouri (MRC) in 1965. The tax levy varies in different counties depending on the ballot language as approved by the voters. Services provided can include: transportation, sheltered workshops, residential facilities, vocational, and other related programs and services. According to a 2008 State Audit conducted by Susan Montee, CPA, sixty of the 85 SB40 Boards in Missouri are located in third-class counties that are required to be audited by the State Auditor's Office. These 60 SB40 Boards levied approximately $12 million in property taxes in 2007, while their total receipts for 2007 were approximately $25 million and total cash balances were approximately $14 million.

What is a sheltered workshop? Missouri Sheltered Workshops are state-supported vocational programs designed to provide work for persons with developmental disabilities. They were established in 1965 under Senate Bill #52. There are currently 90 sheltered workshops (non-profit corporations) throughout Missouri and employ over 7,500 people. The state provides 15% of the funding for the workshops; the remaining income needed to operate comes from sub-contract work and local companies. Sheltered Workshops operate much like other assembly and production shops, except that the employees are adults with developmental disabilities who are unable to maintain regular employment. Workers are paid based on their individual ability to produce. Some states no longer use the term "sheltered workshop" and instead use terms such as "center-based employment," "community rehabilitation programs (CRP's)," or "work activity program services."

What is the difference between Mental Retardation (MR) and Mental Illness (MI)? MR is a condition related to subaverage cerebral, cognitive, and adaptive abilities. MI is a medical disorder that affects a person's behavior and daily life. Some examples of MI include acute depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Symptoms of MR become apparent before the age of 22 and is a lifelong condition. Alternatively, MI can occur at any age. An MR person can be thought to behave sensibly at his functional level; an MI person may waver between illogical and normal conduct. It is important to note that an individual can be MR but still have symptoms of MI, such as depression.

Why do some people use the term "mental retardation"? The word "retarded" is an outdated term and it is slowly being transitioned out of daily use; however, some states have yet to make the transition and still use it in order to be eligible for services. There are some in the general public who use the outdated term as well simply because they do not recognize that it is outdated. With the passage of Rosa's Law in 2010, many states have replaced the terminology with "intellectual disability" or "developmental disability."

How does someone with developmental disabilities get a job? Who will help? Begin by contacting the Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation office nearest you. There you can speak with a counselor who will help determine eligibility for employment services. Contact the Regional Office nearest you and check out what other programs and services may be available. You may also try contacting your local sheltered workshop, as they may have case managers on staff who can help you navigate the paperwork process. 

How can I get involved? If you're interested in helping Missouri AID continue its mission, you can make a financial donation online by clicking here, or by sending your donation via postal mail. If you are interested in joining our mailing list or in receiving our free newsletter, please contact us by mail at: Missouri AID, PO Box 831, Cape Girardeau, MO 63702-0831; or simply email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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