Early Intervention Program (First Steps)


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First Steps EIP is a program that matches the unique needs of infants and toddlers who have developmental delays, or a birth condition that could cause a developmental delay, with Early Intervention services and resources within the community.

If you have a child that is under three years old, First Steps may provide developmental services and other resources to help your child meet his or her maximum potential. Services provided include (but are not limited to): screenings, evaluations and assessments, Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs), Early Intervention services, and transition plans to preschool services under Part B of IDEA, or other programs.

Positions Available: Pediatric Therapists

Services Provided at No Cost to the Family

Comprehensive, Multidisciplinary Evaluation

Two or more qualified professionals in separate disciplines administer two evaluation tools, one of which is a standardized instrument, to determine a child's initial and ongoing eligibility for early intervention services.


The ongoing procedures used by qualified, multidisciplinary personnel to identify the child's unique strengths and needs and the services appropriate to meet those needs.

Service Coordination

Active and ongoing coordination of services for infants, toddlers with potential developmental delays and their families. Services include, but are not limited to:

  • comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation
  • assessment
  • service coordination
  • family-centered programming
  • nutrition counseling
  • behavioral services
  • vision and hearing assessment
  • physical therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • language development

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)

A written plan under Part C of IDEA for providing early intervention services to an infant or toddler with a disability and to the infant's or toddler's family.

Procedural Safeguards

Protections for infants and toddlers and their families eligible under Part C of IDEA, which include confidentiality of and access to records, parental consent and notice, dispute resolution options, and the appointment of a surrogate parent when needed.

Eligibility Requirements for EIP Services

To be eligible for early intervention services through the First Steps Early Intervention Program, a child must meet the criteria in at least one of the following categories:

1. Developmental Delay

  • 33% delay in one area of development or a 25% delay in two or more areas of development: cognitive, physical (gross motor, fine motor, vision and hearing), communication, social or emotional, and adaptive development.
  • The child has to score 2.0 standard deviations below the mean in one developmental area or 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in each of the two areas on the testing protocols administered.

2. Diagnosed Physical or Mental Condition

These conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • chromosomal abnormalities
  • genetic or congenital disorders
  • sensory impairments
  • inborn errors of metabolism
  • disorders reflecting disturbance of the development of the nervous system
  • congenital infection
  • severe attachment disorders
  • disorders secondary to exposure to toxic substances, including fetal alcohol syndrome

3. Informed Clinical Opinion

Clinical opinion may be used by qualified professionals to determine the initial and continuing eligibility if the child's evaluation and assessment results do not meet the criteria for developmental delay, and the child does not have a diagnosis that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay.





To learn more about First Steps and to find out whether you are eligible, contact your local health office, or call (601) 576-7427 in the Jackson area, or call toll-free 1-800-451-3903.

To contact a district coordinator, see our list of Early Intervention Coordinators.

For more information about Maternal and Child Health Programs and the MCH Block Grant, call 1-800-721-7222.

Last reviewed on Dec 10, 2019

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