Early Childhood Services

First Steps:

First Steps is Missouri's Early Intervention system, is an important program for young children with developmental delays and their families. First Steps provides seventeen therapy services for children from birth up to 3 years old, with developmental disabilities or diagnosed conditions associated with developmental delays.

First Steps is:

• A voluntary program intended to help families understand their child's special needs, obtain the help they desire, and provide the best conditions for their child's growth and development.

• Offers coordinated services and assistance to young children with special needs and to their families.

• Ensures the family and child receive services in their natural environment, such as home and child care.

• Children are eligible for services if they exhibit a significant delay in one or more of the following developmental areas: cognition, communication, physical, social-emotional, and adaptive. Children may also be eligible if they have a diagnosed physical or mental condition associated with developmental delays or if the infant was born very premature.

Serving 10 counties in Southwest Missouri: Barry, Barton, Cedar, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, St. Clair, and Vernon.

Families can contact First Steps of Southwest Missouri by calling:

Toll Free: 866-583-2392

Local Office: 417-623-3243

Cerebral Palsy Center:

The Cerebral Palsy Center was started in 1957 by family members of individuals with Cerebral Palsy. Children with developmental delays or ones that are medically fragile have been able to acquire services over the past 60 years. This organization celebrated its 60th anniversary in January 2017. This agency is not affiliated with any national organization.

The Center serves as an area resource to other agencies and school districts. Children enrolled are accepted no matter the reason for their developmental delays. Children with autism, genetic disorders, premature birth, traumatic brain injuries, etc. are routinely served. When there is available space, same aged peers or children from low income families may attend the licensed day care and preschool facility. The Center will accept state subsidy payments for daily center fees. Comprehensive children's therapeutic services are provided each day in accordance with a child's doctor's orders or a Missouri First Steps' Individual Family Service Plan. There are scholarships available for eligible children.

C.P. of Tri-County's mission is to provide pediatric therapeutic services to children ages 6 months to 6 years, living in the Joplin Metro Area.

Cerebral Palsy of Tri-County accepts children from outside the Joplin Metro area if the parent provides transportation.