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The terms used in the Early Steps Policy Handbook and the Early Steps Operations Guide have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:



Reference/Related Documents

Activity Settings

The everyday family and community experiences, events, and situations that provide learning opportunities for children and have development-enhancing (or development-impeding) qualities and consequences.  Examples of family activity settings may include bath time, eating, and play activities.  Community activity settings may include child care, playground, and swimming.



A hearing instrument worn by a person with diagnosed hearing loss that make sounds louder. Hearing instruments (hearing aids) are set specifically for individual hearing losses and couple to ears by custom-made ear molds.  Analog or linear, programmable, and digital hearing instruments may be appropriate.


Annual Evaluation of the IFSP

A face-to-face annual review of a child's development in all domains, including review of existing evaluations and assessments from community providers.  The IFSP team will review the success and appropriateness of the services authorized on the IFSP and considers revision(s) of the Individualized Family Support Plan as needed and agreed upon by the Individualized Family Support Plan Team.  At a minimum, the family, service coordinator and at least one other professional member of the team must attend.


Arena-Style Assessment

A planned observation process which typically involves a facilitator, who serves as the primary contact with the child and family during the assessment process; another team member who may serve as a coach to support the facilitator, provide cues for missed items, or reflect on what could be done to enhance the assessment; and may involve one or more observers who serve as the multidisciplinary “eyes and ears” if expertise from more than two backgrounds and training is necessary.  The family participates as additional observers, and contributors (Berman & Shaw, 1996). This approach allows team members to be involved in planning the assessment and observing the child in the assessment setting.  The child interacts with just one adult rather than all members of the assessment team.  Arena assessment allows for an interactive and integrated process across domains to get a holistic picture of the child.


Articulation disorder

A disorder characterized by the inaccurate production of sounds past the age at which correct production should occur.



The ongoing procedures used by appropriate qualified personnel throughout the period of a child's eligibility to identify the following:

  1. The child's unique strengths and needs and the services appropriate to meet those needs.
  2. The resources, priorities, and concerns of the family and the supports and services necessary to enhance the family's capacity to meet the developmental needs of their infant or toddler with a disability.


Assistive Technology Device

Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.


34 CFR


Assistive Technology Service

A service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device including:
  1. The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environment. (Assistive Technology Evaluation Code  ASTE, Augmentative Communication Evaluation Code  AGCM)
  2. Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities.
  3. Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices.
  4. Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs.
  5. Training or technical assistance for a child with disabilities or, if appropriate, that child's family.
  6. Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing early intervention services) or other individuals who provide services to or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of individuals with disabilities.


34 CFR



Identification of children with auditory impairment, using at risk criteria and appropriate audiologic screening techniques. Determination of the range, nature, and degree of hearing loss and communication functions, by use of audiological evaluation procedures.

  1. Referral for medical and other services necessary for the habilitation or rehabilitation of children with auditory impairment;
  2. Provision of auditory training, aural rehabilitation, speech reading and listening device orientation and training, and other services;
  3. Provision of services for prevention of hearing loss; and
  4. Determination of the child's need for individual amplification, including selecting, fitting, and dispensing appropriate listening and vibrotactile devices, and evaluating the effectiveness of those devices.


Audiological Evaluation

Diagnostic tests performed by an audiologist to determine if hearing loss is present.


Audiological Screening

Tests that screen for hearing ability by introducing specified amounts of sound into an individual’s ears with the purpose of receiving either an objective (ABR or OAE) or a behavioral response.  Persons receiving an audiological screening either “pass” or “fail” in one or both ears.  Individuals who fail audiological screening require an evaluation by an audiologist to diagnose if hearing loss is present.



The taxonomy code used in the early intervention data system for service coordination activity that does not meet the Medicaid description for Targeted Case Management.


Central Directory

A statewide system for providing resource and referral information to families of infants and toddlers who have disabilities or are at risk of developmental delay, as well as professionals and paraprofessionals serving the population.


Child Find

A system required by Part C of the IDEA that ensures that infants and toddlers in the state who are eligible for services under IDEA, Part C are identified, located, and evaluated, including an effective method to determine which children are receiving needed early intervention services.  The child find system under IDEA, Part C must be coordinated with all other major efforts conducted by the State to locate and identify children such as the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS) system under Part B, Head Start, Maternal and Child Health Programs and Medicaid Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) programs.


Children’s Medical Services (CMS)

A comprehensive program within the Florida Department of Health that consists of the following components:

  1. The newborn screening program established in 383.14, Florida Statutes.
  2. The regional perinatal intensive care centers program established in 383.15 - 383.21, Florida Statutes. 
  3. The developmental evaluation and intervention program, established in 391.301, Florida Statutes.
  4. Early Steps, also known as the Florida Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention Program, established in 391.308, Florida Statutes.
  5. The Children's Medical Services network established in 391.029, Florida Statutes.


Children’s Medical Services Care Coordination Plan

A plan developed by the CMS Network Care Coordinator and the family, based on information from the assessment process, that identifies the activities and timeframes to meet a child’s medical needs.


Children’s Medical Services Network

A component of the CMS Program; a statewide-managed care network that includes a specified provider panel, a defined benefit package, and case management (care coordination) for eligible children from birth until age 21 with special health care needs.


Children’s Registry and Information System  (CHRIS)

A data management and service coordination system, coordinated through the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS) Network, for children, birth through age six, to assist local school districts in the educational planning of service needs.



An interactive process of observation and reflection in which the coach promotes the other person's ability to support the child in being and doing.  Coaching assists persons who are identified as being significant in the child’s life, and who the child wants and needs to be with and doing what he or she wants and needs to do (Shelden & Rush, 2001).


Community Partners

Local interagency councils, community groups, early intervention service providers, local governmental agencies, corporations and other organizations that are involved with or interested in services for infants and toddlers and their families.



(a) The parent has been fully informed of all information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought, in the parent’s native language or other mode of communication.

(b) The parent understands and agrees in writing to the carrying out of the activity for which consent is sought and the consent describes that activity and lists the records (if any) that will be released and to whom.

(c) The parent understands that the granting of consent is voluntary on the part of the parent and may be revoked at any time. 


34 CFR



A process in which service providers meet together to share content expertise in a specific area or discuss evidence-based practice related to the implementation of strategies to achieve outcomes on the individualized family support plan (IFSP). Consultation may be via telephone contact or face-to-face meeting. The family is informed of and participates in consultation at the level desired.


34 CFR


Continuous Improvement Plan

A document that contains written actions for each program standard which was determined to be out of compliance during the annual Early Steps Quality Assurance Review Process.



Standards on which a judgment or decision may be based.


Criteria/ Procedures

Standards which measure the degree to which progress toward achieving outcomes is being made and whether modifications or revisions of the outcomes or services are necessary.


Cultural Competence

A set of values, behaviors, attitudes, and practices within a system, organization, and program or among individuals and which enables them to work effectively cross culturally.  Further, it refers to the ability to honor and respect the beliefs, language, inter-personal styles and behaviors of individuals and families receiving services, as well as staff who are providing such services.



A curriculum-based test identifies a child's ability to perform functional skills within a developmental sequence.  Curriculum-based assessment uses developmental landmarks or expectancies as potential instructional goals and objectives.



Information in a form suitable for processing by a computer, which is organized for analysis and used as the basis for management and decision-making.



A deposition is the testimony of a witness taken prior to a hearing. 



Physical destruction or removal of personal identifiers from information so that the information is no longer personally identifiable.


34 CFR §300.613(a)

Developmental Evaluation and Intervention (DEI) Program

A program to identify and track infants at high risk for developmental disabilities.  The program provides services to eligible infants who are admitted to hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Units.  Infants must meet both medical and financial eligibility criteria and must be determined to need DEI services.


Chapter 391, Part III, Florida Statutes

Developmental Screening

A brief assessment procedure designed to identify infants and toddlers who may have a developmental concern and need more intensive diagnostic or assessment activities.  A screening may also provide helpful information to the evaluation and assessment team.



A profession or vocation regulated by the State of Florida, Department of Health, Medical Quality Assurance.


Durable Medical Equipment

Durable Medical Equipment (DME) is defined as medically-necessary equipment that can withstand repeated use, serves a medical purpose, and is appropriate for use in the recipient’s home as determined by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).



Duration means the period of time during which a service persists, specifying the start date and end date (e.g., 3 months – May 1, 2009 through August 1, 2009).  Duration is stated in specific and measurable terms.


Early Childhood Education

Service provided to a child who requires socialization opportunities in structured early care and education setting in order to achieve specific IFSP outcomes, when no other opportunity exists as a part of everyday routines, activities, and places or other community programs


Early Intervention Services

Services that are designed to meet the developmental needs of an eligible child and their family as stated in the Individualized Family Support Plan and provided under public supervision by qualified personnel through private and public resources.


Early Steps

A comprehensive, multidisciplinary, community-based, family-focused system that provides a coordinated system of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with a developmental delay or an established condition which may result in a delay.  This umbrella program has three components:  the Developmental, Evaluation and Intervention (DEI) Program, the IDEA, Part C Program, and services provided under Chapter 393, Florida Statutes, for children, birth to 36 months.


Early Steps Record

Any information recorded in any way, including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm, and microfiche.  As used in policy, record refers to any recorded information related to screening, evaluation and assessment, eligibility determination, development and implementation of the Individualized Family Support Plan, provision of services, individual complaints dealing with the child, and any other area under IDEA, Part C related to the child or the child's family. It also refers to the documentation of provider qualifications.  The Early Steps record consists of both what is maintained by the LES and what is maintained by providers.


34 CFR §99.3

Early Steps State Office (ESSO)

A bureau under Children’s Medical Services within the Florida Department of Health that oversees a statewide, coordinated system of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or established conditions.


Established Condition

A diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in disability or developmental delay.


34 CFR



The procedures used by appropriate qualified personnel to determine a child's initial and continuing eligibility for Early Steps, consistent with the definition of “infants and toddlers with disabilities” in §303.16, including determining the status of the child in each of the developmental areas in 34 CFR §303.322 (c)(3)(ii).


34 CFR



34 CFR §303.322(c)(3)(ii)


34 CFR §303.16


Evaluation & Assessment Team

A group consisting of at least two (2) professionals from two different disciplines who collect and synthesize information from those who are familiar with the child, as well as gathering new information using appropriate tools and procedures for the purpose of identifying the child’s strengths, needs, and making recommendations for support and services to meet those needs.  The team must be multidisciplinary having specialists available, as appropriate, to address the individualized needs of infants and toddlers served.


Everyday Routines, Activities, Places (ERAP)

Routines that are customarily a part of families’ day (e.g., mealtime, bath time, playtime, car rides, nap time).  Activities a family does with their infant or toddler on a regular basis (e.g., going for a walk, feeding ducks at the park, playgroups, shopping, story time at the library).  And places where families and children participate on a regular basis (e.g., home, child care, neighborhood, library, park, and store).


ex parte court order

A court order made or undertaken on behalf of only one of the parties involved in a court case.



For the purpose of Early Steps, anyone who has an integral role in the care and rearing of the child which includes: parents, siblings, grandparents, stepparents, and other family members such as aunts, cousins, or other primary caregivers, e.g., foster parents or others as identified by the family. 


Family Assessment

An assessment of the family's routines, concerns, resources, and priorities that is based on information provided by the family through personal interview. The assessment is conducted by trained personnel.  Family assessments under this part must be family-directed and designed to determine the resources, priorities, and concerns of the family and the identification of the supports and services necessary to enhance the family’s capacity to meet the developmental needs of the child.


34 CFR


Family training, counseling, and home visits

Services provided, as appropriate, by social workers, psychologists, and other qualified personnel to assist the family of a child eligible under this part in understanding the special needs of the child and enhancing the child's development.


34 CFR


Family Resource Specialist

Individuals employed by the Local Early Steps who assist families of children in the early intervention system by providing information, support, and training, and also serve as a community link to family centered efforts and activities.  All Family Resource Specialists are family members of a child who received or would have been eligible for early intervention services.


First Contacts

This is the phase of the Early Steps process that occurs between referral and the initial evaluation/assessment, i.e., the first 44 days of a family’s involvement with Early Steps.  The purpose of the First Contacts process is to gather information about the child and family in preparation for the evaluation and assessment and provide the family with information about Early Steps. 


Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS)

A student support system responsible for the location and identification of children who may be eligible for IDEA services (Child Find). FDLRS also provides public awareness, screening, in-service training, technology and parent services as a support for school districts, families and community organizations that serve children with disabilities, birth through twenty-one years of age.


Florida Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers (FICCIT)

A council that advises the Early Steps State Office in the implement of a statewide system - coordinated, comprehensive, multidisciplinary interagency programs providing early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays.  FICCIT consists of members who are appointed by the Governor and represent the population of the state.


Foster Parent

A person in a parental relationship to a child, or any person exercising supervisory authority over a child in place of the parent. A foster parent is not considered an agency employee solely because payment is received for a child cared for in the foster home. Foster parents serve as "parent" to students with disabilities in educational matters. If a child lives with a foster parent who is also an employee of the school district, the foster parent continues to represent the child's educational interest as a parent; no surrogate parent is required.


Section 1000.21(5), Florida Statutes



Frequency means how often or the number of days or sessions that a service will be provided, whether the service is provided on an individual or group basis.  Frequency is stated in specific and measurable terms.


34 CFR §303.344(d)(3)

Health Services

Services necessary to enable a child to benefit from the other early intervention services during the time that the child is receiving the other early intervention services.

    The term includes:

    (1) Such services as clean intermittent catheterization, tracheostomy care, tube feeding, the changing of dressings or colostomy collection bags, and other health services; and Consultation by physicians with other service providers concerning the special health care needs of eligible children that will need to be addressed in the course of providing other early intervention services.

  The term does not include the following:

    (1) Services that are--

    (i) Surgical in nature (such as cleft palate surgery, surgery for club foot, or the shunting of hydrocephalus); or

    (ii) Purely medical in nature (such as hospitalization for management of congenital heart ailments, or the prescribing of medicine or drugs for any purpose).

   (2) Devices necessary to control or treat a medical condition.

   (3) Medical-health services (such as immunizations and regular `well-baby'' care) that are routinely recommended for all children. 


34 CFR §303.13

Hearing Impaired

A hearing loss of 30 decibels (dB) or greater, pure tone average of 500, 1000, 2000 Hertz (Hz), unaided in the better ear measured by audiometers calibrated in accordance with the standards established by the American National Standards Institute.



Homeless children and youth meet the definition of homeless children in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and includes individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence including those who are:  sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing or economic hardship or a similar reason; living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds, due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations, or are living in emergency or transitional shelters, or abandoned in hospitals, or are awaiting foster care placement; who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation for human beings; living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and migratory children who qualify as homeless as defined above.


IDEA §602(11)



A broad concept that includes eligibility determination, child find and public awareness. 


Individual Educational Plan (IEP)

A written plan that describes the specially designed instruction and related services which will be provided to that student. Used by local school districts.

Rule 6A-6.03028, Florida Administrative Code

Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP) Process

A family-centered planning process involving the family, evaluators, the service coordinator, service providers and others, which results in a written plan of early intervention services to meet the identified outcomes for an individual child and family.


34 CFR


Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP) Team

A group consisting of the family, the service coordinator, and at least two (2) professionals from two different disciplines who have been or are currently involved in the assessment or provision of services to the child.  The team has specialists available, as appropriate, to address the individualized needs of infants and toddlers served.  The IFSP Team works with the family to assess the functional status of the child, the priorities, concerns and resources of the child and family, develop the initial Individualized Family Support Plan, assist in the implementation and review of progress toward achievement of identified outcomes, makes modifications to the IFSP when appropriate, and assists in developing transition plans when appropriate.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B

A federal program that requires states to provide free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to students with disabilities from age three through twenty-one.  Eligibility criteria are mandated through federal and state regulations, and services are supported with public funds.  Also see Pre-kindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C

A federal program that states participate in voluntarily, that requires states to provide a statewide, community based, comprehensive, coordinated, family-focused, multidisciplinary, interagency program of early intervention services for infants and toddlers, birth to age three, with established conditions or developmental delays and their families.


34 CFR §303.1

Informed Clinical Opinion


The use of both quantitative and qualitative information that has been gathered about a child to assist in making a determination regarding the child's developmental status. Informed clinical opinion makes use of multiple sources of information, such as parent input, medical records, and other information that has been gathered about a child. Informed clinical opinion is always the consensus of the multidisciplinary team, and not the judgment of only one member. 


Initial Contact

The initial contact (most often a telephone call) is to occur within 5 working days of the referral.  This is the first time an LES representative makes contact with the family to inform them that a referral has been received and advise them of next steps in the process.



Intensity means the length of time the service is provided during each session (e.g. 60 minutes), whether the service is provided on an individual or group basis. Intensity is stated in specific and measurable terms.


34 CFR §303.344(d)(3)

Interagency Agreement

A written document, which outlines roles and responsibilities of collaborative, interagency community groups that have the charge and authority to make decisions and define mandates regarding policies and procedures for infants, young children, and their families.


Interim Individualized Family Support Plan

A plan used in unique situations to serve as the vehicle for authorizing the initiation of early intervention services prior to the completion of evaluations, determination of eligibility and the development of the initial Individualized Family Support Plan.



A reason that constitutes sufficient grounds, proof that an action is just or valid; a reasonable explanation


Licensed Health Care Professional

A licensed practitioner of the healing arts who practices a discipline that is regulated by the Florida Statutes and licensed by the Department of Professional Regulation.


Local Early Steps (LES) Office

The local organization that contracts with Department of Health, Children's Medical Services to ensure provision of early intervention services in a designated geographic area and is responsible to fulfill federal, state and local policies in the implementation of services.


Local Education Agency (LEA)

The local school district in which the child resides which is responsible for the provision of Part B specially designed instruction and related services and has the option of serving infants and toddlers with an established condition or developmental delay, birth to age three, as an ES provider.  In Florida, counties are equivalent with the school districts.



The actual place or places where a service will be provided.

34 CFR


Medical Services

Services that are for diagnostic or evaluation purposes provided by a licensed physician to determine a child's developmental status and need for early intervention services.

34 CFR


Medically Necessary or Medical Necessity

“Medically necessary” or “medical necessity” means that the medical or allied care, goods, or services furnished or ordered must:

(a) Meet the following conditions:

  1. Be necessary to protect life, to prevent significant illness or significant disability, or to alleviate severe pain;
  2. Be individualized, specific, and consistent with symptoms or confirmed diagnosis of the illness or injury under treatment, and not in excess of the patient’s needs;
  3. Be consistent with generally accepted professional medical standards as determined by the Medicaid program, and not experimental or investigational;
  4. Be reflective of the level of service that can be safely furnished, and for which no equally effective and more conservative or less costly treatment is available; statewide; and
  5. Be furnished in a manner not primarily intended for the convenience of the recipient, the recipient's caretaker, or the provider.

(b) The fact that a provider has prescribed, recommended, or approved medical or allied care, goods, or services, does not, in itself, make such care, goods or services medically necessary or a medical necessity or a covered service.


Method/ Method of Delivery

Method means how a service is provided.  Method may include, training/education activities, providing resource material, modifying the environment, positioning, equipment, coaching/consulting among providers/family, exploring/identifying options, planning, teaching, supporting, etc. 


Native Language

The language or mode of communication normally used by a person, or in the case of a child, the language used by the parents or caregiver(s) of the child.

34 CFR


Natural Environments

The day-to-day routines, activities and places that promote learning opportunities for an individual child and family.  This means settings, including home and community settings that are natural or normal for the child’s age peers who have no disabilities.

34 CFR


Norm Referenced

A norm referenced test is one that has been given to a large number of children intended to be representative of the general population that then defines how average or "typically-developing" children score.  A score on this type of tests permits comparison between a child's performance and the performance of a group of children of similar age.



For all children enrolled in Early Steps, without regard to reason for eligibility, the LES provides (unless the parent opts out as set forth in the Early Steps “Understanding Notification” brochure) the following information to the local school district for Child Find Purposes only:  child’s name, child’s date of birth, parent(s) name(s), and parent contact information.


Nursing Services

(i)The assessment of health status for the purpose of providing nursing care, including the identification of patterns of human response to actual or potential health problems;

(ii) Provision of nursing care to prevent health problems, restore or improve functioning, and promote optimal health and development; and

(iii) Administration of medications, treatments, and regimens prescribed by a licensed physician.

34 CFR


Nutrition Services


(i) Conducting individual assessments in--

    (A) Nutritional history and dietary intake;

    (B) Anthropometric, biochemical, and clinical variables;

    (C) Feeding skills and feeding problems; and

    (D) Food habits and food preferences;

(ii) Developing and monitoring appropriate plans to address the nutritional needs of children eligible; and

(iii) Making referrals to appropriate community resources to carry out nutrition goals.

34 CFR


Occupational Therapy

Services to address the functional needs of a child related to adaptive development, adaptive behavior and play, and sensory, motor, and postural development. These services are designed to improve the child's functional ability to perform tasks in home, school, and community settings, and include:

(i) Identification, assessment, and intervention; 

(ii) Adaptation of the environment, and selection, design, and fabrication of assistive and orthotic devices to facilitate development and promote the acquisition of functional skills; and

(iii) Prevention or minimization of the impact of initial or future impairment, delay in development, or loss of functional ability.

34 CFR



A process by which parents of a child served under IDEA, Part C may orally object to notification to the Local Education Agency, after being informed that notification will occur in the absence of objection by the parent.



A statement of change that a family wants to see for their child or family as a result of their involvement in Early Steps.



A trained person who serves as an assistant or aide to a certified or licensed professional. 



A "parent" means:

(A) a natural, adoptive or foster parent of a child (unless a foster parent is prohibited by State law from serving as a parent);

(B) a guardian (but not the State if the child is a ward of the State);

(C) an individual acting in the place of a natural or adoptive parent (including a grandparent, stepparent or other relative) with whom the child lives, or an individual who is legally responsible for the child's welfare; or 

(D) except as used in IDEA sections 615(b)(2) and 639(a)(5), an individual assigned under either of those sections to be a surrogate parent.


IDEA §602(23)


34 CFR



Personally Identifiable Information

Personally identifiable information includes: 

(1) The name of the child, the child's parent, or other family member;

(2) The address of the child;

(3) A personal identifier, such as the child's or parent's social security number; or

(4) A list of personal characteristics or other information that would make it possible to identify the child with reasonable certainty.


34 CFR §303.401(c)

Physical Therapy

Services to address the promotion of sensorimotor function through enhancement of musculoskeletal status, neurobehavioral organization, perceptual and motor development, cardiopulmonary status, and effective environmental adaptation. These services include: 

(i)      Screening, evaluation, and assessment of infants and toddlers to identify movement dysfunction; 

(ii)    (ii) Obtaining, interpreting, and integrating information appropriate to program planning to prevent, alleviate, or compensate for movement dysfunction and related functional problems; and 

(iii)   (iii) Providing individual and group services or treatment to prevent, alleviate, or compensate for movement dysfunction and related functional problems.


34 CFR



Entails the service setting and location.


Plan of Care (POC)

A comprehensive and individualized written plan for implementation of Early Intervention Services and Therapy Services for an eligible child and the child's family enrolled in Early Steps.


Prekindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities

The Prekindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities (the preschool component of Part B in Florida), is provided by the local school district to meet the child’s needs for specially designed instruction and related services, ages three through five.  Eligibility for special education is based on criteria in State Board of Education rules.

IDEA §619


An infant born prior to 37 weeks gestation.


Primary Service Provider (PSP)

The identified professional on the IFSP team that works with the child/family/primary caregivers on a regular basis and with other members of the team providing services directly, through consultation and/or joint visits.


Psychological Services


(i)      Administering psychological and developmental tests and other assessment procedures;

(ii)    Interpreting assessment results;

(iii)   Obtaining, integrating, and interpreting information about child behavior, and child and family conditions related to learning, mental health, and development; and

(iv)  Planning and managing a program of psychological services, including psychological counseling for children and parents, family counseling, consultation on child development, parent training, and education programs.


34 CFR


Public Agency

Includes the lead agency (Florida Department of Health, Children’ Medical Services), and any other political subdivision of the state that is responsible for providing early intervention services to children eligible under Part C of the IDEA.  This may include agencies receiving funds under Part C of the IDEA as well as agencies that are involved in the state's Early Steps system or carry out a function required under IDEA, Part C, but do not directly receive IDEA, Part C funds.


Public Awareness and Education


Activities that focus on the early identification of children who are eligible for Early Steps and include the preparation and dissemination by the lead agency to all primary referral sources, especially hospitals and physicians, of materials for parents on the availability of early intervention services.



IDEA, Part C regulations define qualified as “a person who has met State approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration or other comparable requirements that apply to the area in which the person is providing early intervention services.”


34 CFR §303.22


Provision of information regarding a child who is potentially eligible for early intervention services through Early Steps due to possible developmental delay or established condition.


Referral Source

An individual, facility or agency that refers a child to the appropriate public agency within the system.  Referral sources include: hospitals, (including prenatal and postnatal facilities), physicians, parents, day care programs, local educational agencies, public health facilities, other social service agencies, and other health care providers.


34 CFR



Referral to Preschool Special Education

In Florida, referral to preschool special education is a separate and distinct process and should occur as outlined in the transition plan in the child’s IFSP.



Appropriate short-term, episodic care which is provided due to the planned or emergency absence of a family member or primary caregiver.  Respite is provided to meet a unique, temporary need.  The purpose of respite services is to minimize stress that families and caregivers experience from addressing all the needs related to having a child with a disability or an emergency need of the caregiver.  Respite is an early intervention service if it is identified on the IFSP as necessary to enable the family or caregiver to successfully meet the developmental outcomes for their child.



A brief procedure designed to identify infants and toddlers who are in need of more intensive evaluation and assessment activities.  Screening encompasses activities that are intended to identify at an early stage those children who have a high probability of exhibiting delayed or abnormal development.


Service Coordination

The activities carried out by a service coordinator to assist and enable a child eligible for IDEA, Part C and the child's family to receive the rights, procedural safeguards, and services that are authorized to be provided under Early Steps. 


34 CFR


Service Coordinator

The individual responsible for coordinating the implementation of the IFSP.  This includes activities that promote and support the family’s capacities and competencies to identify, obtain, coordinate, monitor, and evaluate resources and services to meet their needs.


Social Work Services


(i)      Making home visits to evaluate a child's living conditions and patterns of parent-child interaction;

(ii)    Preparing a social or emotional developmental assessment of the child within the family context;

(iii)   Providing individual and family-group counseling with parents and other family members, and appropriate social skill-building activities with the child and parents;

(iv)  Working with those problems in a child's and family's living situation (home, community, and any center where early intervention services are provided) that affect the child's maximum utilization of early intervention services; and

(v)  Identifying, mobilizing, and coordinating community resources and services to enable the child and family to receive maximum benefit from early intervention services.


34 CFR


Special Instruction


(i)  The design of learning environments and activities that promote the child's acquisition of skills in a variety of developmental areas, including cognitive processes and social interaction;

(ii) Curriculum planning, including the planned interaction of personnel, materials, and time and space, that leads to achieving the outcomes in the child's individualized family support plan;

(iii) Providing families with information, skills, and support related to enhancing the skill development of the child; and

(iv) Working with the child to enhance the child's development


34 CFR



An individual who has significant knowledge, skills and experience, including advanced training or certification and has demonstrated a high level of competency related to a particular area of practice (e.g., diagnosis/intervention related to autism spectrum disorders).


Speech Language Pathology


(i)  Identification of children with communicative or oropharyngeal disorders and delays in development of communication skills, including the diagnosis and appraisal of specific disorders and delays in those skills;

(ii)  Referral for medical or other professional services necessary for the habilitation or rehabilitation of children with communicative or oropharyngeal disorders and delays in development of communication skills; and

(iii) Provision of services for the habilitation, rehabilitation, or prevention of communicative or oropharyngeal disorders and delays in development of communication skills.


34 CFR


Standard Score

A score that indicates the relationship between a child's scores and the scores of children of similar age.  Standard scores can be compared similarly across tests.



A written order in which a person is commanded to appear as a witness or provide relevant documents.


Super Confidential

 Any information (adult and child) about physical abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, psychiatric treatment, tuberculosis (TB), sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS or adoption proceedings.


Surrogate Parent

An individual appointed to act in the place of a parent in safeguarding a child's rights in the decision-making process regarding early intervention services. 


Transition Conference

A meeting required by federal and state regulations and policies that must be conducted at least 90 days prior to the child’s third birthday or, with the consent of all parties, up to nine months prior to the child’s third birthday. 


IDEA §637(a)(9) (A)(ii)(II)

Transportation and related costs

The cost of travel (e.g., mileage, or travel by taxi, common carrier, or other means) and other costs (e.g., tolls and parking expenses) that is necessary to enable an eligible child and the child's family to receive early intervention services.


34 CFR


Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS)

A program that requires all newborns receive an audiological hearing screen prior to hospital discharge and that also requires referral of infants with diagnosed hearing loss to the primary care physician and to Early Steps.


Chapter 383.145, Florida Statutes

Vision Services


(i)  Evaluation and assessment of visual functioning, including the diagnosis and appraisal of specific visual disorders, delays, and abilities;

(ii) Referral for medical or other professional services necessary for the habilitation or rehabilitation of visual functioning disorders, or both; and

(iii) Communication skills training, orientation and mobility training for all environments, visual training, independent living skills training, and additional training necessary to activate visual motor abilities.


34 CFR


Ward of the State

A child who as determined by the state where the child resides is a foster child, is a ward of the state, or is in the custody of a public child welfare agency.  The term does not include a foster child who has a foster parent who meets the definition of a parent.


IDEA §602(36)



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