Here is an important alert for parents of special needs children with intellectual disabilities: Make sure your child is IQ tested before age 18.
First, some background: Florida's Agency for Persons with Disabilities determines if an individual with a disability is eligible for a Medicaid waiver. A Medicaid waiver can permit your special needs child to receive community-based assistance and avoid institutional living. Unfortunately, securing a waiver has never been a walk in the park. According to a recent Miami Herald article, there are thousands on the waiting list - and it can take years to get off it.
The Agency uses the standard IQ test score when assessing intellectual disability, but documentation is required that the intellectual disability developed before age 18. That means that in order to qualify for a Medicaid waiver, your child will need to have an IQ test administered at age 17 or younger. (This is in contrast to the Social Security Administration, which requires the test to have been administered before age 22.)
Due to budget cuts, Florida public schools are no longer routinely provide testing for students suspected of intellectual disabilities. Therefore, we recommend that if you have a child with an intellectual disability, make sure he is IQ tested before age 18. Private testing is available and generally costs between $1,000 - $2,000. Health insurance does not usually cover such testing, but you have nothing to lose by making the case with your insurance company.