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Florida Early Intervention Definitions S-Z

Scaled Score 

A conversion of a raw score on a test or a version of the test to a common scale that allows for a numerical comparison between children/students.  Scaled scores are particularly useful for comparing test scores over time since the scale will control slight variations for a test that has changed over the years, resulting in several different versions.  In Early Steps the terminology “scaled score” often refers to the score for a BDI-2 subdomain with a mean of 10.

Scientifically-based Research         

The term means research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs; and

Includes research that —

    • Employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment;
    •  Involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify The general conclusions drawn;
    • Relies on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across multiple measurements and observations, and across studies by the same or different investigators;
    •  Is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individuals, entities, programs, or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition of interest, with a preference for random-assignment experiments, or other designs to the extent that those designs contain within-condition or across-condition controls;
    • Ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, offer the opportunity to build systematically on their findings; and
    • Has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review.


A brief procedure designed to identify infants and toddlers who are in need of more intensive evaluation and assessment activities.  Screening encompasses activities carried out by qualified Early Steps providers that are intended to identify at an early stage those children who have a high probability of exhibiting delayed development and may be in need of early intervention services.  These activities should use appropriate screening tools by personnel trained to administer those tools.

Service Coordination           

The activities carried out by a service coordinator to assist and enable a child eligible for IDEA, Part C and the child's family to receive the rights, procedural safeguards, and services that are authorized to be provided under Early Steps. 

Service Coordinator

The individual responsible for coordinating the timely implementation of the IFSP.  This includes activities that promote and support the IFSP team’s capacities and competencies to identify, obtain, coordinate, refer, monitor, and evaluate resources and services to meet the  family’s needs.

Sign Language          

Sign language and cued language services include teaching sign language, cued language, and auditory/oral language, providing oral transliteration services (such as amplification), and providing sign and cued language interpretation.

Social Work Services           


    • Making home visits to evaluate a child's living conditions and patterns of parent-child interaction;
    • Preparing a social or emotional developmental assessment of the child within the family context;
    • Providing individual and family-group counseling with parents and other family members, and appropriate social skill-building activities with the child and parents;
    • Working with those problems in a child's and family's living situation (home, community, and any center where early intervention services are provided) that affect the child's maximum utilization of early intervention services; and
    • Identifying, mobilizing, and coordinating community resources and services to enable the child and family to receive maximum benefit from early intervention services.

Special Instruction   


    • The design of learning environments and activities that promote the child's acquisition of skills in a variety of developmental areas, including cognitive processes and social interaction;
    • Curriculum planning, including the planned interaction of personnel, materials, and time and space, that leads to achieving the outcomes in the child's individualized family support plan;
    • Providing families with information, skills, and support related to enhancing the skill development of the child; and
    • Working with the child to enhance the child's development.


An individual who has significant knowledge, skills and experience, including advanced training or certification and has demonstrated a high level of competency related to a particular area of practice (e.g., diagnosis/intervention related to autism spectrum disorders).

Speech Language Pathology           


    • Identification of children with communication or language disorders and delays in development of communication skills, including the diagnosis and appraisal of specific disorders and delays in those skills;
    • Referral for medical or other professional services necessary for the habilitation or rehabilitation of children with communication or language disorders and delays in development of communication skills; and
    • Provision of services for the habilitation, rehabilitation, or prevention of communication or language disorders and delays in development of communication skills.

Standard Score         

A score that indicates the relationship between a child's scores and the scores of children of similar age.  Standard scores can be compared similarly across tests.


A written order in which a person is commanded to appear as a witness or provide relevant documents.

Super Confidential  

Any information (adult and child) about physical abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, psychiatric treatment, tuberculosis (TB), sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS or adoption proceedings.

Transition Conference        

A meeting required by federal and state regulations and policies that must be conducted at least 90 days prior to the child’s third birthday or, with the consent of all parties, up to nine months prior to the child’s third birthday. 

Transportation and related costs   

The cost of travel and other costs (e.g., tolls and parking expenses) that are necessary to enable an eligible child and the child's family to receive early intervention services.

Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS)         

A program that requires all newborns receive an audiological hearing screen prior to hospital discharge and that also requires referral of infants with diagnosed hearing loss to the primary care physician and to Early Steps.

Vision Services         


    • Evaluation and assessment of visual functioning, including the diagnosis and appraisal of specific visual disorders, delays, and abilities that affect early childhood development;
    • Referral for medical or other professional services necessary for the habilitation or rehabilitation of visual functioning disorders, or both; and
    • Communication skills training, orientation and mobility training for all environments, visual training, and additional training necessary to activate visual motor abilities.

Ward of the State     

A child who as determined by the state where the child resides is a foster child, is a ward of the state, or is in the custody of a public child welfare agency.  The term does not include a foster child who has a foster parent who meets the definition of a parent.


Florida Early Steps Policy Definitions

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