Sacred Heart Children's Hospital
Children's Hospital is on Facebook Donate
Children's Hospital is on Facebook Like Us
Support Sacred Heart Find A Doctor

Early Steps Program

Are you concerned about the development of your infant or child?

“Shouldn’t Jimmy be walking by now?”
“Why isn’t Susie saying ‘mama’ yet?”
“How do I know if my baby is developing properly?”

Parents often ask their child’s pediatrician if certain behaviors are “normal” and if they should be concerned when their child does not appear to be progressing as quickly as other children of the same age. If you have concerns about your child’s development, you can call to discuss the need for a developmental evaluation.

The Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart is the site of the Western Panhandle Early Steps Program, which provides early-intervention services for children with potential developmental delays from birth to three years of age living in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties.

About Early Steps

Early Steps connects families and caregivers with services to enhance their child’s development so children are ready to succeed by the time they enter school. These services are provided at no cost to families.

Early Steps helps infants and toddlers with special needs to:

  • Make the most of every day natural learning opportunities
  • Be involved in as many of their family’s activities as possible
  • Be supported while participating in community activities

Children We Serve

Each year the Early Steps Program at Sacred Heart provides early-intervention services to more than 800 infants and toddlers who have developmental delays or a condition that places them at risk for developmental delays.

Some children may have developmental difficulties because:

  • They were born premature or spent time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for other reasons.
  • They can’t walk without help by fifteen months.
  • They can’t use words by age two.
  • They have trouble seeing or hearing or are slow to learn and understand.

Evaluation Assessment

Each child grows at an individual pace, but research shows that a child’s first three years are the most important time for development. Beginning services before age three provides the best opportunity for your child to reach his/her full potential. Participating in Early Steps has many benefits for your family including an evaluation and assessment of your child’s strengths and needs.

At Early Steps, your child’s development will be assessed in the following areas:

  • Physical: Health, hearing, vision
  • Cognitive: Thinking, learning, problem solving
  • Gross and Fine Motor Skills: Moving, walking, using hands
  • Communication: Babbling, gestures, speech, conversation
  • Social/Emotional: Expressing feelings, playing and interacting with others
  • Adaptive Development: Self-help skills such as feeding, toileting and dressing

These assessments help identify activities and services that will promote your child's development.

Early-Intervention Teams

Each child in Early Steps will have a service coordinator and a family resource specialist. Additional team members can include a development specialist, occupational therapist, physical therapist and/or speech-language pathologist. The team is individualized based on the needs of the child. The team develops a plan with family input throug a process called the Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP).

Contact Us

For more information or to refer a child to the Early Steps Program at Sacred Heart, please call 850-416-7656 or 1-800-281-1845.

Office Location

5150 Bayou Blvd., Suite 1N
Pensacola, FL 32503
Open Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Children's Hospital Services
Pediatric Emergency Department
Pediatric After-Hours
Regional Neonatal & Pediatric Transport Services
Nemours Children's Clinic
Pediatric Surgery
Pediatric Neurosurgery
Pediatric Craniofacial Surgery
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Pediatric Oncology
Pediatric Infusion Center
Pediatric Rehabilitation Services
Autism Center
Cystic Fibrosis Care Center
Pediatric Care Center
Child Life Department
Early Steps Program
Miracle Camp

Copyright © 2015 Sacred Heart Health System - 5151 N. Ninth Avenue - Pensacola, FL 32504
Sacred Heart Health System is an equal opportunity employer. [NONDISCRIMINATION NOTICE]

Questions? Comments? Click Here to Send a Message   |   Need more information? Call 850-416-7000 or Toll Free 1-800-874-1026

Our Privacy Policy | About Sacred Heart Health System | Services\Site Index

Sacred Heart Health System | Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola | Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast | Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf

Sacred Heart Health System is a part of
Ascension Health
Support the Sacred Heart Foundation