The goal of First Steps is to help Hoosier families make sure their infants and toddlers receive services now to help them in the future. Services through First Steps are designed to meet the developmental needs of the child; Except in limited circumstances, First Steps does not provide services to meet medical needs.
The sixteen services available through First Steps include:
- Assistive technology (AT) devices include a variety of items, equipment, materials orservices, used with individual children to increase, maintain or improve their functional capabilities. May also include adaptations to toys and learning materials that permit the child to be more successful in their play and developmental activities; evaluation and adaptation of currently used equipment; or evaluation and adaptation of the child’s environment.
- Audiological services, including signed and cued language services, can identify if the child has a hearing loss, how significant the loss is and what it means to the child’s ability to communicate and develop. May include training in specific ways of communication, fitting with and maintenance of hearing aids and insuring that the family can operate and care for the hearing aids.
- Developmental Therapy (DT): see Special Instruction below. Family education, training, counseling and home visits are provided to assist the family in understanding the special needs of the child and enhancing the child’s development. Early intervention providers credentialed at the specialist level may provide these services.
- Health services refer to medical care provided during the time a child is receiving other early intervention services, so that the child will benefit from the other early intervention services. These may include intermittent catheterization or tracheotomy care. It may also include helping the child’s physician work with other early intervention providers concerning the special health needs of the child.
- Medical services for diagnostic purposes are only for diagnostic/evaluation purposes to determine a child’s developmental status and need for early intervention services, when eligibility cannot otherwise be determined.
- Nursing services are individual interventions conducted with the child and/or family that support the other early intervention services. They may include assessment of health status, provision of care to prevent health problems, restore or improve functioning, and promote optimal health and development.
- Nutrition services focus on specific nutritional needs, including assessment and development of a nutrition plan that is individualized and referral to appropriate community resources.
- Occupational therapy (OT) develops adaptive and self-help skills with focus on developing skills related to sensory-motor integration, coordination of movement, fine motor skills, self-help skills (including feeding), and may include adaptive devices or equipment to help the child in these activities.
- Physical therapy (PT) focuses on gross motor skills and the ability to move and effectively use his/her arms, legs, trunk and head.
- Psychological services are concerned with the child’s learning and social/emotional development. Included is administration of psychological/developmental assessments, planning and managing a program of psychological services that may include counseling the child and family, and providing parent training and education programs specific to the child’s developmental needs.
- Service coordination (SC) ensures that the family is well informed of their rights, opportunities and responsibilities within the program. They assist the family in assuming an advocacy role for their child and they assist the family to develop, monitor and revise the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) to include appropriate outcomes and services that are family centered and supportive of the family’s lifestyle and schedule. Service Coordinators work with the family to identify and plan for transitions within and out of First Steps.
- Social work services support the family by assisting them to resolve difficulties or concerns that interfere with or prevent the child from participating fully in early intervention services. Service may include family counseling and linking the family with resources or other services in their community.
- Special instruction [Developmental Therapy (DT)/Early Childhood Education] focuses on infant/toddler development and ways to promote development. This includes designing learning environments and activities to promote development across all domains: cognitive; physical; communication; social/emotional; and adaptive.
- Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)/ Speech Therapy focuses on receptive (understanding what is said) and expressive (being able to speak so that others can understand) communication. It may include the use of sign language, augmentative communication devices or other assistive technology. SLP may also be involved with the child’s feeding program.
- Transportation and related costs include travel costs that families must bear so that their child can participate in early intervention evaluation and/or services.
- Vision services include evaluation and assessment of the child’s ability to see and orientation/mobility services to enhance the vision-impaired child’s ability to move about safely.
- Other services are individualized services or supplies not covered elsewhere, which have been requested and justified by the IFSP team and receive prior approval from the state.