First Steps is Indiana’s early intervention program that provides services to infants and toddlers who have developmental delays or disabilities.
embrace engage evolve expand express
First Steps Early Intervention Services
First Steps is the name of Indiana’s Early Intervention program.
The goal of First Steps is to help Hoosier families make sure their infants and toddlers receive services now to help them in the future. Services through First Steps are designed to meet the developmental needs of the child. Some children may appear to be behind with speech progression, physical movements, or their attention span. Families with children ages birth to 3 years of age who are experiencing developmental delays and/or have a diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay may be eligible for First Steps services.
Getting started with First Steps is an easy process that begins with a phone call to the Systems Point of Entry (SPOE) office 1 (800) 387-7837 or by completing the online referral form found at: First Steps | Referrals | Indiana (indianafirststeps.org). Once a referral is received, a First Steps Service Coordinator (SC) will contact the family within two business days. At that time, the SC will talk to the family about the First Steps program and the developmental concerns they may have for their child. The SC will schedule the First Steps Assessment Team (AT) to conduct an assessment at no cost to the family in the child’s home at a time convenient for the family. The Assessment Team, which consists of trained early intervention therapists, will evaluate the child in all developmental areas to determine whether First Steps services are warranted.
Kidworks therapists provide First Steps services. Families can request therapists from Kidworks. We would love to serve your family!
what to look for
Signs Your Child May Benefit from
First Steps Early Intervention Services
There are many reasons why you or your pediatrician may be concerned about your child’s development including:
Delayed Developmental Milestones
Your Child is Struggling to Get Their Needs and Wants Met
Your Child is Showing Signs of Sensory Seeking or Avoiding Behaviors
Your Child is Not Progressing With Self Care Activities (Dressing/Feeding/Play)
Your Child Has Difficulty Walking
Your Child Has a Strong Preference for Turning Their Head to One Side (Torticollis)
Your Child Has Limited Interest in Toys/Playing or a Limited Attention Span
First Steps services through Kidworks occur in the child’s natural environment which is often his/her home. You, your Service Coordinator and the ongoing therapy providers (therapists) will determine the appropriate level of service necessary to make steady progress month. Your therapists will work with you and your child to learn new skills and strategies to help during the every day routines important to your family. Strategies and techniques will be demonstrated with opportunities for the caregiver to try these strategies and techniques during the session. By building knowledge and skills in the caregiver, stronger carryover can occur between sessions leading to faster and greater improvement in the child’s skills. At Kidworks we believe that parents and therapists working together results in the best outcomes for our clients.
Kidworks has been a gift to our family from day one. I was a scared and near-tears mom who’s little boy just aged-out of Indiana’s First Steps and was given a list of places to call to get him more help. As I went through the list, the star aligned. I was surprised when the owner picked up the phone that day- a mom who was inspired by her own children and struggles to find help and who was determined enough to open her own clinic to help others. It was amazing how she could read my fear and know that I needed someone to really walk me through not only the process of “what do I do next,” but also support me with being a mom of a child with special needs for the first time. At the end of that conversation, I felt like someone finally knew how I was feeling and I felt confident getting my son an evaluation for services.
One day in my son’s occupational therapy session, we had a giant “light-bulb moment.” Our son was in the corner, staring at the hinges in the door. It was as though he was stuck there and had no interest in any other activity. I remember feeling really embarrassed by it. Then, after a while, Molly, our OT, crawled over to the door and started staring at the hinges with him. I asked her, “What are you doing?” She said, “I’m staring at the hinges. You have to enter his world.”
What she was really teaching me was that if I wanted to connect with my son, in a way he could understand, I was going to have to start seeing the world through his eyes. Meet him where he is at. And, from that day forward, nothing was the same. The growth my son had was incredible. She changed MY thinking, so that I could help my son when my therapist was not there. And now, 10 years later, we still refer to this moment and remind ourselves to get into his world. Just the other day, my husband said, “You need to go look at the hinges.”
We had many services over the years at Kidworks, including Speech Therapy, Music Group, Occupational Therapy, and various social clubs. I owe so many profound experiences in my life to the therapists at Kidworks. My son struggled to talk and spent a lot of time screaming for his needs early on. Then, when he learned to talk, he only spoke back the things he heard. He could say, line for line, every commercial, cartoon, or movie line he ever watched and would say it in a sort of robotic way. He would use these “scripts” to try to communicate with us. For many years, he had never spoken a word that came from his own mind. Then, one day, he said, “I love you” to me and it was different. I wasn’t scripted and it wasn’t spoken in that way where you knew it was from something he watched on TV.
I was lucky enough to be the first one to hear him say words from his mind and his heart and I owe that to Ann, his Speech Therapist. Ann was incredibly supportive and went above and beyond the role of SLP over the years. She watched my son and my family grow not only in size, but in knowledge and confidence. She helped us, help ourselves until the day he “graduated” speech therapy, a truly bittersweet moment for our family.
Many times, when I hear my son chatter on and on today, I think back to those days early on with Ann and think how lucky we were to have her.
I cannot express my gratitude enough to all the therapists that helped my son and my family over the years at Kidworks. Our town is so lucky to have a clinic like this- one that leads with their hearts.
Our Office Address
1120 S Calumet, Suite 3
Chesterton, IN 46304
Give Kidworks A Call