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Supporters Push For Funding For Early Steps Program

MIAMI (CBS4) - Aiden Victorero acts like any other rambunctious 18 month old, but his mother fears in the future he may have speech trouble. So she brought him to Miami Children's Hospital to take part in the Early Steps program.

"He's going to be evaluated for his speech and see if he can be accepted into the program," said Stacia Victorero.

Early Steps offers services to families of children with developmental conditions like autism and cerebral palsy. Victorero said her daughter benefited from the program.

"They gave her occupational therapy and physical therapy to help with her balance and movement," Victorero.

But even with insurance, the co-pays and frequent trips to the hospital were too much for Victorero.

"It's very difficult to afford it, I had to stop working," said Victorero.

The statewide program relies on state and federal funding, but in 2011 the funds were cut and millions of dollars, which kept the Early Steps program afloat, are no longer available.

"The thought of losing that amount of money would be detrimental to the program, not just detrimental to our program here at Miami Children's Hospital but to the other 15 centers state-wide because we would not be able to provide those services that they so desperately need," said Dr. Christina Morgan, a psychologist with Early Steps.

Advocates for Early Steps have a list of ways you can get involved and help keep its funding.

Log onto their Facebook Page Save Early Steps or email the message "Save Early Steps" to your state senator and representative.


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