Current state law limits developmental disabilities to those that occur before 18 years of age. SB 283 (Wilk) would extend the definition to brain injuries that occur between 18-22 years of age, consistent with new science that shows that the brain continues developing at this age, and would make these people eligible for the corresponding state services and support.
AAP Positional Letter
April 28, 2017
The Honorable Scott Wilk
State Capitol, Room 4090
Sacramento, CA 94249
Fax: (916) 651-4921
SB 283 (Wilk): Developmental services: traumatic brain injuries.
AAP-CA Position: SUPPORT
Dear Senator Wilk:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing the 5,000 pediatrician members of all four California AAP regional chapters statewide, strongly supports your proposed legislation SB 283 (Wilk). This bill would extend the definition of developmental disabilities to include brain injuries acquired between 18 and 22 years of age, so as to render those who have these disabilities eligible for developmental disability services.
Current law defines a developmental disability as a disability that originates before an individual attains 18 years of age; continues, and can be expected to continue, indefinitely; and constitutes a substantial disability for that individual. However, not only do 38 states and the federal government set the age at 22 rather than 18, but an ever-increasing body of research suggests that the brain continues to develop significantly into the early and mid-20s. This means that many young adults who are brain injured do in effect suffer a developmental disability, as their brains are not yet fully matured at the time of the injury; yet they are not currently eligible for the support services afforded to those who suffer a brain injury before they turn 18.
SB 283 (Wilk) would make sure that these young adults have access to state services and support by extending eligibility for these services. With this legislation, young adults with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) who incur disabilities that are indefinite in nature will qualify for community based resource support. This would improve the quality of life of young adults with brain injuries and their families.
California pediatricians strongly support SB 283 (Wilk). We thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and well-being of children, youth, and families in California.
Mona Patel, M.D., Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
State Government Affairs Committee, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
CC: Kris Calvin, CEO; AAP-CA Leadership; Lydia Bourne