Excel By 5 to offer autism screenings

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Mississippi Early Childhood Inclusion Center is holding free developmental and autism screenings at the Excel By 5 Resource Center in Poplarville.
For the first time, the center will host free autism screenings as the first step toward a child’s diagnosis, Melanie Davis, the coordinator of the Early Childhood Academy, said.
Parents can schedule an appointment from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 20, to have their child, aged from birth to 5, assessed for developmental disorders, she said.
Staff from the MS Childhood Inclusion Center will observe the child and ask parents questions about their typical behavior that might cause them to question their development, Davis said.
However, it’s important to keep in mind this service is a screening, not a diagnosis. Parents can take the documents provided after the screening to a pediatrician to expedite the diagnosis process, though, Davis said.
“It puts you a step ahead,” she said.
Autism is a spectrum, and early diagnosis and intervention is key to helping a child reach their full potential, Davis said.
Parents aren’t expected to know everything about development disorders, she said, so that’s why the resource center is providing these screenings for the community.
“We are all about early childhood. We’re interested in educating the whole child and meeting their needs socially or educationally,” Davis said.
The center provides local resources that would otherwise be unavailable to families who cannot afford to travel to receive these services, she said.
The center also offers resources on appropriate play, school readiness and other programs, all free of charge to any local family, Davis said.
“We are being very intentional on doing things to provide outreach to the community in different ways,” she said.
Recently the center held a zoo day where members of the Hattiesburg Zoo visited and gave children the opportunity to learn about the animals.
The center is also holding a Mud Day on July 13 at 10 a.m. as an outdoor sensory experience.
To schedule a developmental screening appointment, call Shelley Ezelle at 601-432-6179.
For more information about the center, located at 101 Highway 11 North on the Pearl River Community College Campus, call 601-403-1492.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

email author More by Julia