April 18, 2019  

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Institute for Disability Studies to Hold Screening for Autism Events

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As part of autism awareness month, the Mississippi Early Childhood Inclusion Center at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Institute for Disability Studies will hold a “Screening for Autism Day” in seven cities throughout the state. 

To ensure that children in Mississippi have access to early screening, Mississippi Early Childhood Inclusion Center (MECIC) will conduct screening for children ages 5 years and under in the following cities:  Tupelo, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Long Beach, Ocean Springs, Oxford, and Grenada from 4 until 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 19.  Resources and referrals to agencies such as First Steps and the public schools will be provided to parents. 

The first step in the identification process is screening. A screen is a short test to tell if children are on track with their development. It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that all children be screened for developmental delays at their 9, 18, 24 or 30-month well-baby visits. Children should be specifically screened for autism at 18 and 24 months.

Screenings will be held at the following locations:

  • Grenada - Families First: Family Resource Center for North MS, 910 Telegraph Street
  • Hattiesburg - First Presbyterian Church, Currie Hall 102, 4901 Hardy Street
  • Jackson - Families First Resource Center, 1425 Lakeland Dr., Suite D
  • Long Beach – Institute for Disability Studies, USM Gulf Park Campus, 730 East Beach Boulevard
  • Ocean Springs - First Baptist Church, 602 Washington Avenue
  • Oxford - Creative Learning Center, North Oxford Baptist Church, 304 County Road 101
  • Tupelo - Lee County Library, Helen Foster Auditorium, 219 N. Madison Street

“Because early intervention can be very effective in treating ASD, it is important that we identify children early in life,” said Dr. Alicia Westbrook, MECIC director. “The first three years of life are the most important for intervention. Yet, the average age for identification is four. We can do better. Children with autism can be identified as young as two, with some symptoms occurring earlier than that.”   

For more information you can go to the Institute’s website www.usm.edu/disability-studies or call 601.266.6225.