The first 2,000 days (five years) of a child’s life are critical for brain development. In that time, each child’s brain must grow quickly and forge essential pathways that allow for learning, empathy,creativity, and physical prowess. Good nutrition,social interaction, love, stimulation, and play are all required for the child to develop the foundation for complex language, speech,motor, social, and problem solving skills.
While most families experience the early years of a child’s life with relative ease, some sense that her/his baby is not growing and developing the way they were expecting. CHP’s Family Services are a place to turn before questions and concerns become
overwhelming. Many parents find these services vital to cope with the day-to-day physical, medical, financial, and emotional realities of their situation.
First Steps is an Early Intervention program for families with children who have developmental delays or disabilities, or who are at-risk for such delays. We provide play-based educational and therapeutic services for infants and toddlers (between birth and age three) living in South Berkshire County. First Steps is certified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Parents may call us directly at (413) 644-0104 or may be referred by pediatricians, health care providers, social service agencies, medical centers, childcare providers and other professionals involved with families of young children. All children living in Massachusetts between birth and age three are entitled to a developmental assessment at the parents’ request.
If a child is eligible and the parent chooses to receive services, an individualized plan is written based on parent concerns and goals. Additional specialty services are available to families that have an infant or toddler with particular challenges, such as hearing impairment, vision impairment, or suspected or diagnosed autism spectrum disorder.
The CHP First Steps team includes the following professionals: program director, program assistant, developmental specialists, speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, social worker/counselor, and a nutritionist.
We provide a wide range of services for children and their families. For children passing their third birthday and still in need of services, CHP also provides programs through the CHP Family Support Network. The CHP First Steps team will assist the family in transitioning to appropriate services. A special resource unique to the First Steps program is our parent liason. Click here to meet Crystal and read about her experience.
Families do not bear the cost of insurance co-payments and deductibles. If a child is enrolled, there is an Annual Cost Participation Fee for some families, based on family size and income. No family will be denied services based on an inability to pay.
CHP First Steps is a non-profit program funded by Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, third party revenue and annual participation fees, private donations, and grants, including The Coolidge Hill Foundation, The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation, the Berkshire United Way and the Kare Bear Invitational Golf Tournament.