DARS offers critical services for children with disabilities and special health-care needs. From early childhood through the transition into adulthood, DARS has several programs that can help your child or young adult, including getting therapy and other early intervention services, getting federal benefits, finding assistive technologies, and preparing for independence and employment.
Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
From early childhood through the transition into adulthood, DARS has several programs that can help your child or young adult:
- Get therapy and other early intervention services.
- Get federal benefits.
- Find assistive technologies.
- Prepare for independence and employment.
The word "assistive" in the DARS agency name refers to the various programs and services they have to help children with disabilities or special health-care needs. The word “rehabilitative” describes the many programs DARS offers, which help people regain abilities they once had. Here are some of the services that DARS has to offer:
To apply for either of these programs, call 1-800-628-5115 or find and call your local DBS office.
- Disability Determination Services (DDS) is a division of DARS that is funded entirely through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Texans with disabilities (including children) must first apply for Social Security disability benefits at their local SSA office. For more information visit the SSA website or call 1-800-772-1213.
- Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) offers a variety of important services to children from birth to 36 months of age, who have qualifying developmental delays and disabilities, and to their families. You can ask about ECI services by calling the DARS Inquiries Line at 1-800-628-5115 or emailing DARS.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ECI Respite Services offer ECI-eligible families short term breaks from care-giving responsibilities. Respite offers families relief from the stress and constant demands of caring for a young child with a disability or special health-care needs. You can talk with your service coordinator to learn about ECI Respite Services or other services that may be available in your community. Your service coordinator can give you a copy of the ECI Respite Brochure, which explains respite services.
- Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services offers support services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. These include: information about assistive technology, referrals to available resources, and assistance to families regarding access to services. The office contracts with local service providers across the state to assist persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. A list of these resource specialists can be found at the DHHS Specialist Program web page.
- The DARS Autism Program offers Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to children 3 to 15 years old who are on the autism spectrum. A limited number of local community agencies and organizations provide services through grant contracts. Services are available in the following areas: Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Rosenberg, and San Antonio. Families pay for a portion of the cost of services. You can learn more about the DARS Autism Program or find a contractor at the DARS Autism Program web page.
- Division for Blind Services (DBS) provides case management and services like life skills training; and exploring the world of work that helps children who are blind or visually impaired to develop their individual potential and prepare for vocational success. These services include:
- Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) provides transition planning services to eligible students with disabilities through the Vocational Rehabilitation program. Transition planning services prepare students with disabilities to move from receiving special education to receiving vocational rehabilitation services, and help minimize potential delays in service delivery during the transition from school to competitive employment or independence. Transition services help students make an effective transition from secondary school to adult life and the world of work.
Get In Touch With DARS
If you are trying to get in touch with DARS, you can reach them: