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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Early Steps Eligibility

Babies and toddlers grow and develop at their own pace, but there are certain activities your child should be able to do once they are a specific age. If you have concerns about your child, please check with your doctor and contact your local Early Steps office.

To be enrolled in Early Steps, your child must first be found eligible. Through our screening processes, we will be able to find out if your child has significant delays or an established medical condition that will likely result in a delay.

To determine if your child is eligible, he or she will be evaluated in the following areas:

  • Physical: health, hearing, vision
  • Cognitive: thinking, learning, problem solving
  • Gross & fine motor skills: moving, walking, grasping, and coordination
  • Communication: babbling, languages, speech, conversation
  • Social/emotional: playing and interacting with others
  • Adaptive development: self-help skills, (i.e. feeding, toileting, dressing)

Once your child is determined eligible, Early Steps will put together a team of service providers to address your child's needs. This team will develop the (IFSP) based on family/caregivers outcomes and goals.

Services are provided during your child's daily activities so that natural learning opportunities are maximized while still meeting your child's everyday needs.

The Early Steps team also selects a primary service provider for each child as a central point of contact. This person can be a therapist, other licensed healing arts professional or an Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS). The primary service provider is selected based on the needs of the child and family, the IFSP goals, and expertise in the areas of needed support.

Florida's Early Steps is a partnership with providers and families to deliver services that support children's well-being and development where they live, learn and play.

If you feel your child may be eligible, you can refer your family by contacting Florida's Early Steps Directory at (800) 218-0001.