Free Online Screening Tool for Parents + Research Study

The First Words Project at Florida State University is currently conducting a research study on the efficacy of a web-based, family-friendly communication screening tool called the Smart Early Screening for Autism and Communication Disorders (Smart ESAC) whose ink-and-paper version has been shown to accurately predict communication delays and potential risk for autism spectrum disorder2. As part of their research, the First Words Project has made the Smart ESAC available for parents online. Parents who complete the  online screening tool receive immediate results and may then access online materials on child development, like handouts and courses, that were developed by the Project. The screening tool takes roughly 10 minutes to complete, and parents do not have to consent to participate in the research study to view their child’s results or access the online materials. There’s also an option to have the results faxed to a doctor’s office via the website.

Families can access the screening tool here:

The First Words Project is a research study conducted by the Florida State University Autism Institute in the College of Medicine, whose goal is “to improve screening tools and early detection of communication problems by maximizing the role of the family and to help families support their child’s development and access intervention services sooner.” To learn more about the First Words Project, click here: First Words Project at Florida State University



The ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM) describes core knowledge and role-specific competencies needed for early intervention service provision, incorporating current research and evidence in the field of early intervention. To access the ESPM, CLICK HERE.

  • Core Knowledge (CK):
    • CK2: The role of primary social and emotional relationships as the foundation for early learning.
    • CK5: The importance of play as context, method and outcome of learning.
    • CK6: The sequences of development and the interrelationships among developmental areas/factors, including:
      • Receptive and expressive communication skills, including second language acquisition
      • Social development
    • Identification and Referral (IR):
      • IR2 (EIS): Knows formal and informal screening tools and procedures that are play-based and culturally and linguistically appropriate (including the use of observation and documentation).
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