West Central Early Steps
The Early Steps program builds a child’s strengths and teaches caregivers activities that will help the child learn and develop.
Florida’s Early Steps partners with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital to provide early intervention and therapy services to eligible infants and toddlers (birth to 3 years old) with significant developmental delays or a condition that may result in a developmental delay.
This federal and state program focuses on building the child’s strengths and teaching the caregivers activities that will help the child learn and develop. Research shows that a child’s earliest experiences play a critical role in brain development. Starting interventions early puts children on the right path to learn and develop at their fullest potential.
Who Might be Eligible for Early Steps?
Children who qualify for the Early Steps program have at-risk or confirmed conditions that can lead to physical or mental delays, such as:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Cerebral palsy
- Congenital cataracts
- Congenital hypothyroidism
- Congenital Zika virus infection
- Down syndrome
- Low birth weight babies (under 1,200 to 1,500 grams)
- Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)
- Spina bifida
See a complete list of eligible conditions or contact the Early Steps program serving your area for more information.
How Early Steps Works
Before beginning the Early Steps program, infants and toddlers are assessed in the following developmental domains to determine eligibility:
Early Steps services are done in a natural environment. Therefore, the program provides services to the family and child where they live, learn and play to support appropriate learning opportunities during everyday activities and routines. Most services will be held at the child’s home.
There is no income requirement to qualify for the program and families are not charged for services.
Early Steps Services
The program’s services are based on a child’s strengths and needs and may include:
- Assistive technology devices
- Audiology services
- Behavioral services
- Family training and home visits
- Occupational, physical and speech therapy
- Service coordination
- Vision services
- Other individualized services
Benefits of Early Steps
- Provides services in the child’s natural environment (usually the home)
- Increases each child's unique developmental and learning opportunities
- Uses a team-based approach for consistent evaluation and services
- Encourages family participation
- Teaches caregivers activities to help the child learn and develop
Florida’s West Central Early Steps program serves the following counties:
If you would like to refer a child, please call us at 1-727-767-4403. If you live in another county, you can find your program through the Children's Medical Services Early Steps website listing or by calling 1-800-218-0001.