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Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist Training

An ITDS is a non-licensed provider of Early Intervention Services (EI Services). The ITDS focuses on infant/toddler development and ways to promote development and learning, including designing learning environments and activities to promote development across all domains. The ITDS, in consultation with other early intervention providers on the child and family's team, assists the family in understanding the special needs of the child and enhancing the child's development. The ITDS is one of many providers who provide Early Intervention Services (EI Services) and is eligible to enroll as an EI provider in Florida Medicaid.

Requirements for Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS) Application and Approval

You may enroll and be approved as an ITDS if you meet the following requirements:

  1. If an ITDS applicant has an ITDS certificate from an approved university or college they must have a Bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university in early childhood or early childhood/special education, child and family development, family life specialist, communication sciences, psychology or social work.
  2. An equivalent degree based on a transcript review or a minimum of five years documented experience in early intervention may substitute for an out of field college degree.
  3. ITDS applicants with an ITDS certificate from an approved university or college must document one-year professional experience in early intervention.
  4. One year of professional experience in early intervention equals 1600 hours of hands-on experience with 0 - 5 year-old children with special needs and/or developmental delays and their families.
  5. Time spent in a practicum or internship situation (up to 400 hours) may apply toward the 1600 hours of hands on experience.
    • Practicum or internship experiences completed in a Local Early Steps within the past 18 months, that match those of the mentorship can be documented on the Mentorship Documentation Form and apply to the mentorship.
  6. Resumes are not considered certification of experience
  7. An ITDS must document work experience on the Early Steps Certification of Experience Form:.
  8. An ITDS who cannot document one year experience must complete the Early Steps Mentorship requirements and complete the Early Steps Mentorship Documentation Form within six (6) months of being hired or contracted with a Local Early Steps.
  9. If an ITDS applicant does not have an ITDS certificate from an approved university or college, the applicant must have a designation of “highly qualified” based on:
    • Master's degree or higher from an accredited college or university in early childhood or early childhood/special education, child and family development, family life specialist, communication sciences, psychology, social work, or equivalent degree
    • Or a bachelor's degree or higher in any of the above required fields, or equivalent degree, and one of the following:
    • Department of Education Pre-kindergarten Disabilities Endorsement
    • Certification in SKIHI, VIISA, INSITE or completion of university certificate in hearing specialist or vision specialist in early intervention
    • Early Intervention Credential or equivalent certificate from another state
  10. To be approved as an ITDS with a highly qualified designation, the applicant must complete the six (6) Early Steps Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist Online Modules within 60 days of application date.
  11. An ITDS applicant with a highly qualified designation must have one year of documented experience and cannot complete a mentorship in lieu of experience.
  12. All Early Steps ITDS providers must enroll as a Medicaid Early Intervention (EI) Services provider.
  13. Mentorships must be completed prior to Medicaid enrollment.
  14. 14. An ITDS providing services to a child receiving Medicaid must follow the requirements set forth in the Florida Medicaid, Early Intervention Services, Coverage and Limitations Handbook.

Requirements for Temporary Approval for an ITDS to Begin Providing Services

If you meet the requirements above and complete the online application, the following must be submitted before you may be assigned a temporary approval and begin providing services through a Local Early Steps:

  1. ITDS Certificate from an Approved University/College or ITDS Online Modules Certificates (if a Highly Qualified applicant): If you are applying as a Highly Qualified applicant, you must submit the certificates of completion of the Early Steps Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist Online Modules within 60 days of your online application date. You are not eligible to provide services with a Local Early Steps until these certificates of completion are received.
  2. Documentation of Education: Diplomas with areas stated and/or transcripts are acceptable.
  3. Early Steps Certification of Experience Form: This form must be completed and signed to document your experience and practicum or internship
  4. Enrollment in Medicaid: All ITDS providers must enroll in Medicaid as an Early Intervention (EI) service provider. To enroll in Medicaid as an EI service provider, you must send your completed application to the Early Steps Enrollment Specialist to review and be forwarded to Medicaid from Early Steps. If you are completing a mentorship, your EI Medicaid application must be submitted upon completion of the mentorship. Each ITDS is responsible for providing the Early Steps Provider Management Specialist their EI Medicaid Number upon notification of activation.
  5. Current Professional Liability Insurance: A copy of the insurance policy face sheet and a letter from your employer confirming the coverage in your practice area under their policy is required if the employer is named on the face sheet as the insured.
  6. Level II (FBI) Background Screening (current within last 5 years): This must be submitted to allow you to complete a mentorship, if required, and/or begin providing services. If you do not have a current Level II Background Screening, you may submit a fingerprint card to the Early Steps Provider Management Specialist with a check for $53.25 submitted in the form of a cashier's check or money order payable to the Department of Health.
  7. Terms and Conditions of Approval: This form is required of all Early Steps providers.

Requirements for Active Approval for an ITDS (effective for three years):

The following are required in order to be assigned an active approval:

  1. Completion of Mentorship Documentation Form: Only applicable for those ITDS approved without one year experience. A mentorship must be completed within six (6) months of hire or contract with a Local Early Steps. Does not apply to individuals approved in the Highly Qualified category who must have one year experience to enroll and be approved as an ITDS provider.
  2. EI Medicaid Number: Each ITDS is responsible for providing the Early Steps Provider Management Specialist their EI Medicaid Number upon notification of activation.
  3. Completion of Early Steps Online Orientation Modules (1-3): Each ITDS must complete the three Early Steps Online Orientation Modules within ninety (90) days of application date

Requirements for Application Renewal:

Every ITDS must renew their application every three (3) years and document thirty-six (36) hours of CEU/inservice training. All inservice hours must be related to at least one of the Early Intervention Professional Competency Areas.

All documents referenced above must be mailed to:

  • CMS Provider Management Unit
    Attn: Early Steps Provider Management Specialist
    4052 Bald Cypress Way
    Bin #A06
    Tallahassee, FL 32399

Please note that your application cannot be approved until all required documentation is received.

Dual Enrollment

An ITDS who is dually enrolling as a service coordinator must meet the education and experience requirements for both provider types.

University ITDS Programs in Florida

There are several universities in Florida with graduate level programs that qualify for the ITDS Certification. Many have web based coursework so that students can enroll from anywhere in the state. Each program is independent but will recognize coursework completed towards the ITDS Certificate from another participating university. For more information, see below: