Pearl Nelson Child Development Center

Pediatric Therapies • Developmental Instruction

As the largest early intervention provider in the community for Part C/Early Steps, with a staff of 11 therapists and four infant/toddler developmental specialists, we continue to provide outstanding pediatric services for our speech, occupational and physical therapy patients.


In 2012, we provided services to 503 children with 94% demonstrating progress in their development as evidenced through semi-annual evaluation updates. While research indicates that early intervention can reduce the effect of a disability by 30%, at Pearl Nelson Center we saw 32% of our children discharged needing fewer services - or no special services at all.


Children thrive in a fun, safe child-centered environment that allows them to learn through play. Their senses are stimulated by jumping on air mattresses, using indoor or outdoor playground equipment and interacting with their peers during group activities. At Pearl Nelson Center, your child will have the opportunity to learn, grow and achieve great things with the help of our pediatric experts.

What We Do

  • Offer spacious therapy rooms for treatment in a family-friendly environment
  • Provide early intervention services to infants and children up to age three who are at risk of developmental delays
  • Offer therapies from infancy through adolescence
  • Help families transition from developmental instruction to public school services
  • Offer speech, occupational and physical therapy and school-based services
  • Provide family activities and festivals
  • Serve as a liaison between parents and doctors and between parents and community agencies

MaryAnn Bickerstaff

Children's Services Director
(850) 434-7755 x 224


Bachelors of Arts Degree in Special Education/ Habilitative Science

University of West Florida (1986)


MaryAnn has been with the Pearl Nelson Center since 1986 working initially as an Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist before taking on supervisory duties of the Developmental Specialists and eventually becoming the Director in 1990. She has enjoyed seeing the benefits of early intervention services first hand over the years as many of the children she first provided services to, are now adults living and working in our community. She is proud of the growth of the pediatric therapy services and the coordinated team approach the program emphasizes.

Making a difference in the lives of the families served by PNC has been her passion throughout her professional career.


MaryAnn enjoys spending leisure time with her family (husband David and children Emily, Nathan, & Keegan), supporting her children in their extracurricular/ athletic activities, going to the beach, and visiting with her large extended family.





916 East Fairfield Drive

Pensacola, FL 32503
Fax 850-469-0858