Since 1974, The Children’s Center for Communication and Development has led Mississippi in early intervention services for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with significant disabilities.
A clinical division of the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences in the College of Health at The University of Southern Mississippi, The Children’s Center is built on the knowledge and understanding that language, cognitive development, physical development and emotional growth are intertwined, and that early intervention is most successful when a comprehensive approach is taken towards a child’s development.
The Children’s Center had humble beginnings, a couple of tiny therapy rooms in the Speech and Hearing Science Department. Still, the staff was breaking ground, building models, and replicating successful programs from around the country.
Today, The Children’s Center is a full service, intensive, transdisciplinary program that occupies more than 3,000 square feet and directly serves over 90 children and their families from as many as 22 South Mississippi counties. The children served represent a range of disabilities that include various communication and developmental disorders, such as Down syndrome, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, autism, Rett syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, aphasia, apraxia, and conditions related to premature birth.
The Children’s Center customizes comprehensive educational and therapy plans to support each child in achieving his or her maximum potential.
In addition to providing innovative and exemplary direct services, The Children’s Center provides preprofessional training to Southern Miss students and to students from other universities as well as community and junior colleges. Disciplines that are supported at The Children’s Center include: speech-language pathology, audiology, special education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, behavior therapy, nursing, recreational therapy, and music therapy.
The Children’s Center staff also provide on and offsite training to practicing clinical and educational professionals from around Mississippi.
Through The Children’s Center’s direct services, preprofessional and professional training, ad hoc consultations, and interagency collaboration and partnerships, thousands of children with disabilities are better served each year throughout Mississippi and our region.