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First Steps Eligibility

Children who are eligible for early intervention services are children between the ages of birth and 36 months that meet the eligibility criteria as outlined below:

State Definition of Diagnosed Conditions

A diagnosed physical or mental condition associated with developmental disabilities or has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay or disability.

The state of Missouri has adopted the following conditions to meet the definition of "diagnosed physical or mental condition associated with developmental disabilities, or a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay or disability, or children who have a developmental delay":

1.  Newborn condition, for a child referred prior to 12 months of age with a birth weight less than 1,500 grams with one or more of the following conditions diagnosed at birth or within 30 days post birth:

2.  Conditions diagnosed, for a child referred prior to 36 months of age, include, but are not limited to, the following:


Other conditions known to be associated with mental retardation or developmental disabilities to be considered for eligibility must be based upon informed clinical opinion by Board-certified neonatologists, pediatricians, geneticists, pediatric neurologists and/or other pediatric specialists.  These physicians may refer a child by indicating the specific condition and documenting the potential impact of the condition in any of the five developmental areas.

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State Definition of Developmental Delay

     A developmental delay, as measured by appropriate diagnostic measures and procedures emphasizing the use of informed clinical opinion, is defined as a child who is functioning at half the developmental level that would be expected for a child developing within normal limits and of equal age.

     In the case of infants born prematurely, the adjusted chronological age (which is calculated by deducting one-half of the prematurity from the child's chronological age) should be assigned for a period of up to 12 months or longer if recommended by the child's physician.  The delay must be identified in one or more of the following areas:

a) cognitive development
b) communication development
c) adaptive development
d) physical development, including vision and hearing
e) social or emotional development

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Service to At Risk Children

It is the policy of the State of Missouri to not include children considered to be "at risk" of having substantial developmental delays for eligibility in the Part C system under this application.  The phrase "at risk" includes infants and toddlers who are not otherwise covered by the definitions described previously.

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Residency Requirements

  1. A child must be a resident of the State of Missouri to receive Part C services from the state's system.
  2. A child living with a parent, legal guardian, or person "acting as a parent" within the definition of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in the State of Missouri is considered a resident.
  3. Citizenship status cannot be used to deny Part C services to an eligible child and family.
  4. A child living in Missouri solely for the purpose of receiving Part C services is not considered a resident.
  5. Citizenship or immigrant status is not a requirement of residency.

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