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Autism: Life After Diagnosis | Part Five – What are Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) Services for Autism?

About the Series “Autism: Life After Diagnosis – A Road to Service”

ShineLight was created with the distinct purpose of providing a brighter life and future for individuals with autism. As you can imagine, life with services can dramatically improve the quality of life for individuals with autism, which is why early intervention is key. My name is Nikki Giovanni Creecy and I am the Founder and CEO of ShineLight. I have created a blog series entitled “Autism: Life After Diagnosis – A Road to Service” to help individuals with autism as they navigate life after diagnosis and to provide autism treatment near Hoke and throughout North Carolina.

If you have not yet read the introduction to “Autism: Life After Diagnosis – A Road to Service”, I encourage you to do so before proceeding.

This six-part series will cover the following topics:

A Little Bit About Me | Nikki Giovanni Creecy

I am a local, born and raised in Fayetteville, NC, and I have more than two decades of experience in serving individuals with autism. In 2006, after eight years of working with the Autism Society of North Carolina, my vision and leadership led me to create ShineLight, Services and Support for People with Autism. As Founder and CEO of ShineLight, I am committed to hiring and employing cutting-edge methodologies and uniquely qualified staff to provide the very best residential, community, and employment support for individuals with autism. When I’m not involved in my work, I can be found singing in my church choir, teaching Sunday school, and making music as Nikki Giovanni Worship.

Part Five: What are Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) Services for Autism?

Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) services are used to assess and identify autism early in children. EPSDT is a major component of accessing Medicaid for children with autism.


EPSDT emphasizes preventative and comprehensive care from an early age. Prevention can help ensure the early identification, diagnosis, and treatment of autism and can help manage the symptoms when treated earlier.


The second component of EPSDT is periodic health checks of people’s health at age-appropriate intervals. Each state develops its own “periodicity schedule” showing the check-ups recommended at each age. These are based on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Bright Futures guidelines. The goal of Bright Futures is to help health care providers offer prevention-based, family-focused, and developmentally-oriented care for all children.


The third component of EPSDT is screening. Screenings provide physical, mental, developmental, dental, hearing, vision, and other screening tests to detect potential problems. All infants, children, and adolescents with autism should receive regular check-ups of their physical and mental health, growth, development, and nutritional status. In children, a well-child check-up includes:

  • A detailed health and developmental history, including both physical and mental health development assessments
  • A physical exam
  • Age-appropriate immunizations
  • Behavioral tests
  • Vision and hearing tests
  • Dental exams
  • Laboratory tests, including blood lead level assessments at certain ages
  • Health education, including anticipatory guidance


The fourth component of EPSDT is performing diagnostic tests to follow up when a health or behavioral risk is identified during a screening. When a well-child check-up or other visit to a health care professional shows that a child or adolescent might have a health problem, follow-up diagnostic testing and evaluations must be provided under EPSDT. Problems can include diagnosis of mental health, vision, hearing, behavioral, and dental problems. Also included are any necessary referrals so that the child receives all needed treatment.


The final component of EPSDT is treatment in order to correct, reduce or control health problems associated with autism. EPSDT covers health care, autism treatment near Hoke and beyond, and other measures necessary to help with a child’s physical or mental conditions found by a screening or a diagnostic procedure. Under EPSDT, states such as North Carolina must pay for any treatment that is considered “medically necessary” for the child with autism.

ShineLight Provides Autism Treatment Near Hoke & Beyond

ShineLight was created with the distinct purpose of providing a brighter life and future for individuals with autism. ShineLight serves as a guiding light for individuals and their families by leading the way in residential, employment support services, and community advocacy. Our service areas include: Fayetteville, Wake, Sampson, Scotland, Duplin, Wayne, Lenoir, Greene, Wilson, Edgecombe, Durham, Johnston, Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, and Bladen Counties. Contact us today.

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