MECIC Screening and Diagnostic Services

Mississippi Early Childhood Inclusion Center

As Mississippi is a traditionally medically underserved state, healthcare disparities reach all regions of our state.  As a result, there is a continual need to develop processes to identify young children who have special health care needs, including children with development concerns such as children at-risk for developmental delays, and children with autism spectrum disorder. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest developmental screenings be administered at 9, 18, and 30 months and autism specific screening at 18 and 24 months.  Additionally, the AAP recommends standardized developmental screening when surveillance exhibits risk for developmental delays.  Further, best practices for developmental screening include innovative state screening programs and national screening campaigns. To meet the needs of families and to address the healthcare disparities in our state, MECIC will conduct developmental screenings, autism specific screenings, and diagnostic evaluations.

Developmental and Autism Specific Screening

Opportunities for developmental and autism specific screenings will be provided to families during statewide screening days, by parent request, at early learning centers who offer the service to families, at community healthcare events, upon referral from pediatricians, Department of Human Service Resource Families, and Department of Health, First Steps.  Developmental and autism specific screening tools provided by MECIC are:

  • Ages and Stages Questionnaire, 3rd edition
  • Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social and Emotional Development
  • Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised
  • Social Communication Questionnaire
  • The Weatherby Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales – Developmental Profile

Developmental Screening Professional Development

A 10-hour professional development program will demonstrate how childcare directors can implement a developmental screening program in the early learning center.  Participants will attend two trainings (6 clock hours), receive follow-up technical assistance (4 clock hours), and receive an Ages and Stages Questionnaire, 3rd edition to implement at their center. Each year, MECIC will provide the developmental screening professional development to 100 childcare directors.

Pediatric Evaluation and Diagnostic Services

Utilizing a relationship-based developmental evaluation for children ages birth to five, MECIC will provide diagnostic services for autism and developmental disabilities for children referred through the MECIC screening programs.  The diagnostic evaluation team includes a pediatrician, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, early interventionist, parent navigator, and MECIC graduate assistant.