Texas State launches Bobcat Babies development assessment clinic

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
November 14, 2017

The Department of Physical Therapy at Texas State University's Round Rock Campus has launched Bobcat Babies, a comprehensive developmental assessment clinic for infants and children with suspected developmental delays.

The Bobcat Babies mission is to provide pro bono developmental evaluations to address the unmet needs of the community. The clinic's goal is to meet the challenge of reaching those underserved in the Central Texas area.

"We hope to provide a net to catch infants and young children who may need therapy services or referrals to specialists," said Mary Elizabeth Parker, PT, Ph.D., NCS, PCS, who developed the Bobcat Babies program. "With an ever changing reimbursement and health care system Bobcat Babies will provide a free resource to families to help navigate this course."

Bobcat Babies is a pro bono assessment program designed to identify infants and children up to 3 years old who have suspected delays in development, and provide parents with referrals and resources based on the finding. The comprehensive individual evaluation will help identify children with developmental delays who might otherwise have "slipped through the cracks" of existing healthcare services.

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, 30 to 40 percent of children with special needs do not receive a diagnosis. In best-case scenarios, infants with special needs are identified early and provided the medical care, including therapies, to maximize functional outcomes and optimize quality of life. However, there are many children that may not be diagnosed, may be misdiagnosed or are simply not afforded the opportunity to be assessed.

In addition to Parker, program staff includes Jessica Bowers, M.S., CCC-SLP, a lecturer and co-clinic director in the Department of Communication Disorders and Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at Texas State; and Debbie Baylor P.T., M.Ed., a part-time faculty member in the Texas State Physical Therapy Department since 2000 with 35 years' experience as a physical therapist.

With the Austin area's rapid growth, including Williamson County, the need for early diagnosis and intervention is only going to increase. Parents with children in need of evaluation should contact Bobcat Babies at (512) 716-2994 or via email at bobcatbabies@txstate.edu. Once a clinician schedules an appointment, a detailed developmental assessment including a full physical therapy evaluation will be completed. The family and physician will be provided a written copy of findings with pertinent resources and referrals based on the infant/child’s needs.

Additional partners and collaborations are expected to allow Bobcat Babies to expand the program's scope in 2018.

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,694 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 181,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.