Who is eligible for services?

Bright Start is a private provider that contracts with The South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs and The Department of Health and Human Services to provide Early Intervention (ages 0-6) and Case Management (ages 3 – adulthood) in numerous counties throughout South Carolina. We serve individuals who have developmental delays, special needs, intellectual disabilities, related disabilities, and Autism.

Early Intervention 0 – 3

A child must be BabyNet eligible to receive Bright Start services. Anyone can make a referral to BabyNet by completing an Online Referral Form or by calling the BabyNet Central Referral Team at 1-866-512-8881.

Early Intervention 3-6

A child must be DDSN eligible to receive Bright Start services. Anyone can make a referral to DDSN by calling the intake line at 1-800-289-7012

Intellectual Disabilities

To be eligible for these services under the Intellectual Disability category, all three of the following requirements must be met at the time of applying for eligibility.

  • Significantly below-average intellectual functioning (a valid IQ of approximately 70 or below as determined by IQ tests for children and adults and a clinical judgment for infants).
  • Concurrent deficits in adaptive functioning (how effectively an individual copes with common life demands for his or her age and cultural group) in at least two areas: communication, self care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction (e.g., ability to make decisions, seek assistance), functional academic skills, work, leisure, health and safety. Adaptive functioning refers to how well an individual copes with common life demands.
  • On set of these conditions before 18 years of age.

Related Disability

To be eligible for these services under the Related Disabilities Category, all four of the following conditions must be met:

  • The disability is attributable to cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or any condition other than mental illness found to be closely related to mental retardation because this condition results in impairment of general intellectual functioning or adaptive behavior similar to that of persons with mental retardation and requires similar treatment or services.
  • The disability is likely to continue indefinitely.
  • The disability results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: self care, understanding and use of language, learning, mobility, self-direction, and capacity for independent living.
  • The onset of the disability is before 22 years of age.

Diagnosed learning disabilities such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), in the absence of other qualifying criteria, do not constitute eligibility as "related disabilities" for DDSN eligibility. Your Service Coordinator can provide information on agencies that may offer services for these disabilities.*


Autism is defined as abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication, as well as markedly restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities manifested prior to three years of age. Problems that are experienced in these areas must fit a specific pattern that is outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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