Developmental Instruction

Children qualify for early intervention services following an evaluation by our team of specialists and must have either a developmental delay or an established condition.


Developmental Delay - The child has significant delay in at least one area of development (gross or fine motor, cognitive, speech, social or self care). This may include babies born prematurely or with low birth weight and Apgar scores. Referrals for developmental instruction services must come through the Early Steps Program at Sacred Heart Health System.


Established Condition - The child has a condition that is historically known to be associatied with delays such as Down syndrome, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Prader Willi syndrome or other established conditions.


Developmental Instruction - Services are provided in the home, child care setting or at the Pearl Nelson Center, based upon the family's preferences and the needs of the child. An infant/toddler developmental specialist assists families in identifying goals for their child and demonstrates developmental play activities designed to address the child's unique strengths and needs.

Meet our Developmental Specialists

Developmental instruction is provided by Infant Toddler Development Specialists (ITDS). ITDS are certified under the Early Steps program, which is administered under Children’s Medical Services. ITDS have at least a year of verified experience with infants and toddlers; and they must possess a bachelor’s in psychology, early education, special education, or a related health field.


The ITDS staff works closely with parents and involves them in activities that promote important skill development. These activities can easily be applied to routine care such as feeding, bathing and bedtime to provide additional opportunities for learning and growth.

Andrea Hamilton, Developmental Instruction Coordinator
Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist


B.S. Family, Child & Consumer Sciences

Florida State University, 1996


Andrea is a Milton native but has lived in Pensacola since 1997. She has been employed at Pearl Nelson Center for 14 years and has always worked with young children, primarily the 0-3 population. Her emphasis is addressing global developmental delays and although she loves ALL children, those with Down Syndrome holds a special place in her heart. She has chosen early intervention because she believes in the positive impact of addressing developmental concerns as soon as possible.


Andrea loves sports, especially FSU football. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling across the world, baking good treats, and shopping with her friends.

Eleanor Cutts, M. Ed.
Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist

BFA in Fine Art, Furman University (1974)
M. Ed. in Special Education, University of Alabama (1979)


Eleanor is originally from North Carolina and has lived in Pensacola since 1981. She has plenty of experience, working with a variety of special needs. She has attended many professional development trainings, most recently on the autism spectrum and suspected apraxia of speech. She has worked at Pearl Nelson Center since 1995.


Eleanor enjoys the arts - painting, drawing and creating fancy beadwork. She kayaks and likes being outdoors. She follows the gluten-free/casein-free diet and adapts recipes. She also enjoys listening to live music - especially jazz.

Lori Douglass

Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist

BS in Child Development (Minor in Psychology), University of Maine in Orono (1982)


Lori is originally from Maine and has lived in Pensacola since 1990. She has been with Arc Gateway for 22 years. She enjoys working with children ages 0-3 with various developmental delays, and works in both the home enviroment and community settings.


Lori is involved with retired racing greyhound adoptions and has been a mentor through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northwest Florida for 12 years.

Wendy Lawrence

Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist


BS in Child Development, University of Southern Mississippi (2001)
National Child Development Association Certificate (1999)


Wendy comes to us from Brandon, Missori and has lived in Pensacola since 1999. She taught pre-K for 16 years and has worked in the administrative field. She is most interested in sensory integration and how it affects development and has found early intervention to be her most rewarding career.


Wendy enjoys the outdoors and family time. She loves to cook and plan special events - she is always on the go!

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3932 N. 10th Ave., Pensacola FL 32503
P: 850-434-2638, F: 850-438-2180