Early Intervention Services

First Steps is Indiana's early intervention system, serving children ages birth through two years of age experiencing developmental delays or disabilities and their families.

Individualized services are those early intervention services determined through the evaluation and assessment process to be needed by an eligible child and required to be provided to the child and the child’s family in an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Indiana law states that individualized services include the following:

  • Assistive technology devices and services
  • Audiology, sign language and cued language services
  • Family training, counseling, and home visits
  • Health services
  • Medical services only for diagnostic or evaluation purposes
  • Nursing services
  • Nutrition services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological services
  • Service coordination services
  • Social work services
  • Special instruction
  • Speech-Language Pathology services
  • Transportation and related costs
  • Vision services

    For more information about each service, see the Early Intervention Personnel Guide.

    All First Steps early intervention services should be provided within the child’s natural environment. Natural environment means more than the settings in which services are provided.  Natural environments involve the child’s family and other care providers, while making certain that the interventions blend with the family’s natural activities, routines and places, including other peers, family members, etc. as well as the typical toys, furniture and play spaces.

  • The provider must model strategies and ideas as much as possible within the naturally occurring routines, activities and places of the child and family so that families/caregivers can easily continue activities when the provider is not present.
  • The provider should not interrupt the activity that is occurring when he or she arrives; he or she should incorporate his/her activities as much as possible around what is occurring and the individuals present. The provider should not bring anything into the home/childcare unless it is absolutely necessary; s/he should use what is present in the home/childcare.
  • Providers serving children in childcare settings must request the presence of the family for at least one session each month to ensure that the family can incorporate the skills into the home environment.
  • When meeting with family members at the childcare center, the provider should brainstorm ways of transferring activities/strategies demonstrated at the center to the home environment with the family. Providers serving children in childcare settings should leave detailed information about the session for the childcare provider and for family members who were not present.
  • Each provider must complete a face to face sheet documenting each visit with complete information about what occurred during the session, who was present, how they participated, and strategies for the family/caregivers to use between sessions (issue clarification October 2002).
  • The on-going providers should review the face to face sheet as they are writing it to ensure that the family understands the information, any questions are addressed and that the family feels comfortable incorporating strategies between sessions.
  • During each session, the on-going provider must directly address the IFSP outcome for which s/he is responsible.
  • The on-going provider should regularly review IFSP outcomes with families to ensure that they remain a priority for the family and as a method of sharing progress.
  • Providers serving children in childcare settings shall incorporate services into the ongoing routines of the classroom and may not remove the child from the classroom to conduct one-on-one therapy.
  • The on-going provider embeds services/therapy into the child’s natural environment and actively involves the child’s family/caregivers. Providers should not engage in a traditional therapy model that isolates the child from his/her natural environment and family/caregivers.

Division of Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices (2014):

  • INS1: Practitioners, with the family, identify each child’s strengths, preferences, and interests to engage the child in active learning.
  • INS2: Practitioners, with the family, identify skills to target for instruction that help a child become adaptive, competent, socially connected, and engaged and that promote learning in natural and inclusive environments.
  • INS3: Practitioners gather and use data to inform decisions about individualized instruction.
  • INS5: Practitioners embed instruction within and across routines, activities, and environments to provide contextually relevant learning opportunities.
  • E1: Practitioners provide services and supports in natural and inclusive environments during daily routines and activities to promote the child’s access to and participation in learning experiences.

Other resources:

First Steps State Administration:
Bureau of Child Development Services
402 W. Washington Street W453, MS-51
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2739
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