MECIC Family Navigation

Mississippi Early Childhood Inclusion Center

Children with special needs face many obstacles in daily life and often require multiple therapies such as physical, speech, and occupational therapies to aid in managing symptoms of the disability. Generally, parents and/or caregivers of children with special needs are at higher risk of depression and anxiety due to daily demands of care and lack of resources. This increased rate of stress can have negative effects on the child and the family as a whole.  Increased psychological distress may be due to lack of knowledge regarding the progression and/or prognosis of the disability, the absence of social support, coping resources, and external agencies.  MECIC will provide a family navigation system to support early identification of children with developmental concerns, including children who are at-risk for cognitive delays and autism spectrum disorder.  The family navigation system will conduct developmental screenings throughout the state and provide autism specific screenings for concerned families.  Family navigators will provide the support for families from a failed screen to a diagnosis by making referrals for diagnostic evaluations, intervention services, and providing resources specific to child and family needs. 

Family sitting on a couchFamily holding a young child in their yard.