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.
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
- 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.
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.
- Performance Plans and Improvement Plans (Mississippi SMART)
- How to Apply for Mississippi Early Intervention Unit Approval
- Procedural Safeguards and Advocacy
- Public Awareness
- All documents
- Directory of Early Intervention Service Providers
- Mississippi Directory of Audiology Clinics
- Mississippi Directory of Ear, Nose and Throat Physicians
- Natural Environments for Child Development
- Council for Exceptional Children/Division for Early Childhood
- Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
- Early Childhood Outcomes Center
- Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute
- PACER Center, Champions for Children with Disabilities
- U.S. Department of Education/Office of Special Education
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.
Your input is important. We want to hear from you about maternal and child health needs, the MCH Block Grant, and programs in Mississippi. Take a moment to share your comments, ideas and concerns with us.