Empowering families to advocate for themselves so that children with special educational needs can reach their full potential in education and life - through support, training, and education. 
Get Support through the Early Intervention Process
Early intervention, which falls under Part C of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), is a system of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention focuses on helping eligible babies and toddlers learn the basic and brand-new skills that typically develop during the first three years of life.

First Steps is Missouri's Early Intervention system that provides services to families with children, birth to three years of age, with disabilities or developmental delays. The program is designed to meet the needs of families related to enhancing their child's development, learning, and participation in family and community life.

Requesting and managing early intervention services for your child can be overwhelming and difficult, especially since this early in a child's life, parents are already struggling with lack of sleep, change in family dynamics, and other challenges that come with having an infant or toddler. If you feel lost, confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, or just need to be reassured that you are on the right track, please contact MPACT.

Early Intervention Questions and Answers

Leah Clausen, Program Coordinator 0-12
Leah Clausen is a  Program Coordinator for MPACT  who focuses in part on early intervention support and services. She has years of professional  and personal experience navigating the special education proc ess, starting with  First Steps, Missouri's early intervention system.

MPACT: How do you think MPACT can help families throughout the early intervention process even if everything is going smoothly, without issue?  

Leah: It is important that parents know their rights, so that they may be more actively involved in decisions about the services that will enhance their child's learning and growth. MPACT can help parents better understand their rights, which can help avoid problems in the future.

MPACT: As a parent who went through  First Steps and who also supports  First Steps families, what is your main advice, or the one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself? 

Leah: Keep your records organized. You never know what you will need or when you will need it, so gather your records and keep them organized so you have a place to put things when you get that note from the doctor or an evaluation from a therapist.

You can find additional answers to your questions by attending our free parent trainings and also by accessing the First Steps tools located on the Missouri Parents Act website.

First Steps Parent Testimonial

Parent Jennifer Beffa recently shared her story about her family's experience with First Steps, Missouri's early intervention system. You can read more family stories about First Steps on MPACT's website.

Having our second child was so exciting and we had this parenting thing down. After all, our older son was 20 months old when our daughter was born and we thought we were expert parents. 

When she was readmitted to the hospital 10 days after birth with meningitis we entered a new world we knew nothing about. After 18 months of worry, I self-referred to First Steps . Finally, the help and support we had needed for 18 months was available and there was someone to share the worry. 

Our daughter qualified immediately, and we began a long journey of therapy including successes and setbacks with our early intervention heroes. Once a week (sometimes more) we spent time working on little things that added up to huge milestones. We spent days on the floor using odd devices I had never seen before, afternoons playing with bubbles and some form of corn starch messiness, trips to Target learning to sit up in a shopping cart, months perfecting sign language, and many hours on the phone discussing schools, transitions, meltdowns, etc.

My daughter's therapists became my friends... they were the first people I called after a neurologist appointment or a school evaluation; 3 years later this is still the case. We celebrated each milestone together (sometimes with cookies) and strategized over each opportunity for improvement. Her therapists visited her at the babysitters, her early intervention programs, and even attended the transition meetings with me when she went to preschool. In the fall, our daughter will be transitioning again, this time to mainstream kindergarten.

My daughter has an extremely special bond with these ladies and they will forever be in our hearts. When my third was born and wasn't hitting milestones, I reached out again and we are back in the First Steps program. I feel so grateful for the First Steps resources and all early intervention programs. I have no doubt my daughter's success is a result of the dedicated therapists she was lucky enough to work with.

Free Steps to Success Parent Trainings
Missouri Parents Act offers Steps to Success trainings that will help parents to understand the First Steps early intervention program, teach them effective communication and advocacy skills, and help them to prepare for Early Childhood Special Education. All trainings are free of charge; however, registration is encouraged so that you can receive training materials and be notified if there is a change in the time or location of the scheduled training.

In-person workshops are extremely beneficial because they allow you to connect with other parents and professionals as well as provide an opportunity to ask specific questions. However, if you are unable to attend an in-person training, you can view recorded trainings at your convenience.

Steps to Success 2016 Training Schedule
Effectively Communicating Your Child's Needs

Wednesday, July 20
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Good Shepherd Maternity House
1340 Patrudge Avenue
St. Louis, MO  63130

Thursday, August 11
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Waldo Branch Library
201 East 75th Street
Kansas City, MO 64114

Tuesday, November 8
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Trails West Branch Library
11401 East 23rd Street
Independence, MO 64052

IDEA Part C to Part B

Tuesday, July 19
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Abilities First
1370 E Primrose Street
Springfield, MO 65804

Wednesday, August 3
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Columbia Public Library
100 W. Broadway
Columbia, MO 65205

Thursday, October 6
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Kirksville Satellite Regional Office
1702 E. La Harpe Street
Kirksville, MO  63501

Tuesday, November 29
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
719 Teaco Street
Kennett, MO  63857

Parental Rights

Wednesday, July 27
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Hannibal Regional Office
805 Clinic Road
Hannibal, MO 63401

Thursday, September 8
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
SEMO Autism Center
611 N. Fountain Street
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Tuesday, October 18
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Rolla Public Library
900 North Pine Street
Rolla, MO  65401

Wednesday, November 16
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Joplin Public Library
300 South Main Street
Joplin, MO 64801

Understanding the IFSP

Thursday, August 4
10:00 am - 11:30 am
MPACT Office
7421 Mexico Road, Suite 200
St. Peters, MO  63376

Thursday, October 6
11:30 pm - 1:30 pm
North-East Branch Library
6000 Wilson Road
Kansas City, MO 64123

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Ferguson Library
34 North Florissant Road
Ferguson, MO 63135
* Up-to-date training information is available on our  website .
MPACT is funded in part or whole by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs Grant No. H328M090020-10. The contents of the website, however, and any documents cited herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S Department of Education.
Copyright © 2016 MPACT. All rights reserved.
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